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Income volatility and wealth volatility are central objects of investigation for the literature on income and wealth inequality and dynamics. Here we analyse the two concepts in a comparative perspective for the same individuals in Italy and the U.S. over the last two decades. Contrary to our expectations, we find that in both countries wealth volatility reaches significantly higher values than income volatility, the effect being mostly driven by changes in the market value of real estate assets. We also show that there is more volatility in both dimensions in the United States and that the overall trend in both countries is increasing over time. We conclude by exploring volatility in consumption.
During 2013-2014, China launched a nation-wide real-time air quality monitoring and disclosure program, a watershed moment in the history of its environmental regulations. We present the first empirical analysis of this natural experiment by exploiting its staggered introduction across cities. The program has transformed the landscape of China's environmental protection, substantially expanded public access to pollution information, and dramatically increased households' awareness about pollution issues. These transformations, in turn, triggered a cascade of behavioral changes in household activities such as online searches, day-to-day shopping, and housing demand when pollution was elevated. As a result, air pollution's mortality cost was
I offer an overview of some key conceptual aspects associated with the rise of global value chains (GVCs). I outline a series of alternative interpretations and definitions of what the rise of GVCs entails, and I trace the implications of these alternative conceptualizations for the measurement of the phenomenon, as well as for elucidating the key determinants and implications of GVC participation, both at the country level and at the firm level. In the process, I offer some speculative thoughts about the future of GVCs in light of the advent of an array of new technologies.
This paper examines the effect of stringent environmental regulations on firms' environmental practices, economic performance, and environmental innovation. Reducing COD levels by 10% relative to 2005 levels is an aim of the Chinese 11th Five-Year Plan. Using a difference-in-differences framework based on a comprehensive firm-level dataset, we find that more stringent environmental regulations faced by firms are positively associated with a greater probability of reducing COD emissions; also, there exists an evident heterogeneous effect across industries with different pollution intensities. Stricter environmental regulations also account for the sharp decline in firms' profits, capital, and labor. After executing a complete chain of tests
The q-factor model shows strong explanatory power and largely summarizes the cross section of average stock returns. In particular, the q-factor model fully subsumes the Fama-French (2018) 6-factor model in head-to-head factor spanning tests. The q-factor model is an empirical implementation of the investment CAPM. The basic philosophy is to price risky assets from the perspective of their suppliers (firms), as opposed to their buyers (investors). As a disruptive innovation, the investment CAPM has broad-ranging implications for academic finance and asset management practice.
In the 1920s, the United States substantially reduced immigrant entry by imposing country-specific quotas. We compare local labor markets with more or less exposure to the national quotas due to differences in initial immigrant settlement. A puzzle emerges: the earnings of existing US-born workers declined after the border closure, despite the loss of immigrant labor supply. We find that more skilled US-born workers – along with unrestricted immigrants from Mexico and Canada – moved into affected urban areas, completely replacing European immigrants. By contrast, the loss of immigrant workers encouraged farmers to shift toward capital-intensive agriculture and discouraged entry from unrestricted workers.
How does a country's economic geography evolve along the development path? This paper documents recent employment growth in 18,961 regions in eight of the world's main economies. Overall, market potential is losing importance, and local density is gaining importance, as correlates of local growth. In mature economies, growth is strongest in low-market-potential areas. In emerging economies, the opposite is true, though the association with market potential is also weakening there. Structural transformation away from agriculture can account for some of the observed changes. The part left unexplained by structural transformation is consistent with a standard economic geography model that yields a bell-shaped relation between trade costs and t.
In recent years, electrification has re-emerged as a key priority in low-income countries, with a particular focus on electrifying households. Yet the microeconomic literature examining the impacts of electrifying households on economic development has produced a set of conflicting results. Does household electrification lead to measurable gains in living standards or not? Focusing on grid electrification, we discuss how the divergent conclusions across the literature can be explained by differences in methods, interventions, potential for spillovers, and populations. We then use experimental data from Lee, Miguel, and Wolfram (2019) — a field experiment that connected randomly-selected households to the grid in rural Kenya — to show that i.
Prescription pharmaceuticals are frequently used consumer products, whose manufacturing location is commonly held as a trade secret by firms and U.S. regulatory agencies. Here we use previously non-publicly available data to describe levels and trends in the manufacturing locations of the most commonly used prescription pharmaceuticals, off-patent generic drugs, intended to be consumed by Americans. We find that the base ingredients required for the manufacturing of these prescription drugs are overwhelmingly and increasingly manufactured in non-domestic locations, specifically India and China. The manufacturing of finished prescription drugs for the American market is equally split between domestic and foreign locations, but is increasingl.
This paper uses a new approach to measuring financial openness, highlighting interconnectedness in a network of financial flows. Applying an adapted version of eigenvector centrality, often used in network analysis, the new measure captures multidimensional and high-degree financial relations among countries. It provides a nuanced picture of financial integration and interconnectedness in the global and regional financial networks. The United Kingdom and the United States remain the ‘core’ in the global banking network, with all other countries scattered in the ‘periphery’. The application of the new measure of financial integration to the empirical analysis reveals the nonlinear relationship between financial integration and output volatil.
We evaluate progress in President's Johnson's War on Poverty. We do so relative to the scientifically arbitrary but policy relevant 20 percent baseline poverty rate he established for 1963. No existing poverty measure fully captures poverty reductions based on the standard that President Johnson set. To fill this gap, we develop a Full-income Poverty Measure with thresholds set to match the 1963 Official Poverty Rate. We include cash income, taxes, and major in-kind transfers and update poverty thresholds for inflation annually. While the Official Poverty Rate fell from 19.5 percent in 1963 to 12.3 percent in 2017, our Full-income Poverty Rate based on President Johnson’s standards fell from 19.5 percent to 2.3 percent over that period. Tod.
This paper extends the blockchain sustainability framework of Budish (2018) to consider proof of stake (in addition to proof of work) consensus mechanisms and permissioned (where the number of nodes are fixed) networks. It is demonstrated that an economically sustainable network will involve the same cost regardless of whether it is proof of work or proof of stake although in the later the cost will take the form of illiquid financial resources. In addition, it is shown that regulating the number of nodes (as in a permissioned network) does not lead to additional cost savings that cannot otherwise be achieved via a setting of block rewards in a permissionless (i.e., free entry) network. This suggests that permissioned networks will not be a.
This paper summarizes the philosophical and empirical grounds for giving a primary role to the evaluations that people make of the quality of their lives. These evaluations permit comparisons among communities, regions, nations and population subgroups, enable the estimation of the relative importance of various sources of happiness, and provide a well-being lens to aid the choice of public policies to support well-being. Available results expose the primacy of social determinants of happiness, and especially the power of generosity and other positive social connections to improve the levels, distribution and sustainability of well-being.
We conduct a randomized field experiment to quantify biases that affect consumers of addictive goods: present-biased preferences, naïve beliefs regarding present bias, and projection-biased beliefs over future abstinence. These biases reflect departures from the neoclassical benchmark needed to accommodate intertemporal and state-dependent prediction errors and have important theoretical and policy ramifications. Our experiment employs a new approach for remote monitoring to ensure truthful reporting of behavior and valuations, and a novel identification of subjects’ biases based on willingness to pay for future abstinence incentives that serve as partial commitment devices. We find that cigarette smokers overestimate their likelihood of fu.
Do increases in federal minimum wage impact the financial health of small businesses? Using intertemporal variation in whether a state’s minimum wage is bound by the federal rate and credit-score data for approximately 15.2 million establishments for the period 1989–2013, we find that increases in the federal minimum wage worsen the financial health of small businesses in the affected states. Small, young, labor-intensive, minimum-wage sensitive establishments located in the states bound to the federal minimum wage and those located in competitive and low-income areas experience higher financial stress. Increases in the minimum wage also lead to lower bank credit, higher loan defaults, lower employment, a lower entry and a higher exit rate
We use causal forests to evaluate the heterogeneous treatment effects (TEs) of repeated behavioral nudges towards household energy conservation. The average response is a monthly electricity reduction of 9 kilowatt-hours (kWh), but the full distribution of responses ranges from -30 to +10 kWh. Selective targeting of treatment using the forest raises social net benefits by 12-120 percent, depending on the year and welfare function. Pre-treatment consumption and home value are the strongest predictors of treatment effect. We find suggestive evidence of a "boomerang effect": households with lower consumption than similar neighbors are the ones with positive TE estimates.
China is planning to implement the largest CO2 emissions trading system in the world. To reduce emissions, the system will be a tradable performance standard (TPS), an emissions pricing mechanism that differs significantly from the emissions pricing instruments used in other countries, such as cap and trade (C&T) and a carbon tax. We employ matching analytically and numerically solved models to assess the cost-effectiveness and distributional impacts of China’s forthcoming TPS for achieving CO2 emissions reductions from the power sector. We find that the TPS’s implicit subsidy to electricity output has wide-ranging consequences for both cost-effectiveness and distribution. In terms of cost-effectiveness, the subsidy disadvantages the TPS re.
We evaluate a randomized pilot study in which the IRS sent informational letters to 3.9 million taxpayers who paid a tax penalty for lacking health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Drawing on administrative data, we study the effect of the intervention on taxpayers’ subsequent health insurance enrollment and mortality. We find the intervention led to increased coverage in the two years following treatment and that this additional coverage reduced mortality among middle-aged adults over the same time period. Our results provide the first experimental evidence that health insurance reduces mortality.
Conventional models of production under uncertainty specify that output is produced in fixed proportions across states of nature. I investigate a representation of technology that allows firms to transform output from one state to another. I allow the firm to choose the distribution of its random productivity from a convex set of such distributions, described by a limit on a moment of productivity scaled by a natural productivity shock. The model produces a simple discount factor linked to productivity, which can be used to price any asset, without regard to preferences.
The majority of IPOs and acquisitions are achieved without venture capital financing, yet research has focused mostly on VC backed firms. Using founding choices and a predictive analytics approach on virtually all US registered businesses, we shed light into these “missing” growth firms. Founding choices that predict raising venture capital also strongly predict equity exits without VC. Firms with growth potential are similar to each other, irrespective of funding source. Moreover, matching firms that are born with identical observables, but only differ in whether they receive venture capital, suggests an upper bound to the returns to venture capital of 600%.

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