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Seldomly updated

July, 2021

  • 5 July

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  • 5 July

    Earnings Dynamics, Changing Job Skills, and STEM careers

    Summary The US labor market is particularly dynamic for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) jobs, with new technologies proliferating throughout workplaces every year. This technological change is the engine of long-run productivity growth, but it also means that workers in technology-intensive occupations must constantly learn on the job, or risk becoming obsolete. This paper considers the consequences of technological obsolescence for workers in STEM occupations. We have three main findings. First, we look at how job skills change over time by studying the appearance of new skills and the disappearance of old skills over time. The overall rate of skill turnover is high—comparing

June, 2021

  • 7 June

    Can Integration Change Gender Attitudes?

    Summary Can integration of men and women change gender attitudes even in a traditionally male-dominated environment? This research carried out a randomized experiment in the Norwegian military, to study the effects of mixed-gender training squads on male squad members. This casts some light on what social psychologists call the “contact hypothesis”, which predicts that exposure to members of a minority group can change the biases and beliefs of the dominant group. We carried out the experiment at the boot camp stage of training, lasting eight weeks. We randomized female recruits to some squads but not others during this time. The experiment provided intensive

May, 2021

  • 4 May

    Face-to-Face Communication in Organizations

    Summary The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many of us have now been working at home for most of the last year. The results of this global experiment have sometimes been positive, or at least not as negative as feared. Engagement and productivity have not nosedived, and many workers seem to prefer the new arrangements. There are, however, potential drawbacks. Not interacting with colleagues in person on a regular basis may, for example, decrease the sort of creativity that is facilitated by physical proximity, provide fewer learning opportunities for junior workers, and threaten performance on activities that require rapid decisions on the basis of complex information. Many factors have changed for

April, 2021

  • 19 April

    Moral Values and Voting

    Summary What roles do moral values play in elections, and how do politicians appeal to them? To examine these questions, this research introduces a core idea of modern moral psychology into the study of political economy. People may endorse “universalist” values, such as individual rights, justice, and impartial fairness, or more “communal” concepts, such as community, loyalty, betrayal, respect, and tradition. This may help in understanding election outcomes. The research summarized here asks whether voting decisions in the United States partly reflect the match between the moral values of voters and politicians. It introduces methods for studying the moral types of politicians and voters, and the

  • 8 April

    Geography, transportation, and endogenous trade costs

    Summary Whether by sea, land or air, the entirety of trade is carried out by the transportation sector. We know surprisingly little, however, about the role of transportation in shaping trade networks. How do transport markets interact with the markets for world trade in goods? How does the behavior of profit-maximizing transport agents influence transport costs, and thus global imports and exports? A new paper uses vessel AIS data—which regularly reports each ship’s exact position and how deeply it is submerged in the water—and data on shipping contracts to document several facts about transport markets and world trade. The paper illustrates that ships travel

March, 2021

  • 16 March

    Second chance: the social benefits of diversion in the criminal justice system

    Summary Public officials have made substantial efforts over the past decade to reform criminal justice policy. The general trend in the US has been towards more leniency, especially for first-time and low-risk defendants, with ‘diversion’ emerging as a popular option. Diversion is a practice where a police officer, prosecutor, or judge provides an opportunity for an individual charged with a criminal offense to avoid a conviction either through a dismissal of the charge or by some alternative measure. Despite the growing popularity of such programs, until now not much has been known about the impact of diversion on future behavior. A recent study estimates the

  • 1 March

    What Goes Up May Not Come Down: Asymmetric Incidence of Value-Added Taxes

    Summary Value-Added Taxes (VATs) raise the most revenue of any tax in OECD countries and some form of VAT has been adopted by almost all countries in the world. While it is commonly assumed that their incidence is borne by consumers, there is limited empirical evidence on this question. New evidence from Finland analyzes the effect of a large—14 percentage point—VAT decrease in the hairdressing sector in Finland, which was later reversed. The magnitude of the cut, its temporary nature, and the richness of the Finnish administrative dataset allows the authors to track the effect of the VAT cut on prices and firm-level outcomes. They uncover several new facts

February, 2021

  • 1 February

    Age of marriage, weather shocks, and the direction of marriage payments

    Summary Child marriage, defined as marriage before the age of 18, has been associated with a wide array of poor economic, social, and health outcomes for women and their children. It was estimated in 2014, however, that around half of all prime-aged women living in South Asia and in Sub-Saharan Africa were married as children.  This post summarizes a recent article, which has demonstrated that aggregate economic shocks have sizable effects on the age of marriage of women living in developing countries. The study focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa, where it is customary for the groom or his family to pay a bride price to the bride’s family, and India, where the bride’s family traditionally pays a dowry to

January, 2021

  • 5 January

    Innovation in the global firm

    Summary Multinational corporations are among the most innovative firms in the world. Although they are defined by their geographically fragmented production processes, the innovation that they carry out is comparatively concentrated, with a large share of them pursuing innovation investment mainly in one ‘headquarters’ country.  A new study analyzes data on the global operations of US-based multinationals to quantify the impact of innovation investments by parent firms on their affiliates located abroad. These data have been collected by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and cover the period from 1989 to 2008. The results suggest that ‘headquarters innovation’