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Hoynes, Miller and Simon (2015), henceforth HMS, report that the national expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is associated with decreases in low birth weight. We question their findings. HMS’s difference-in-differences estimates are unidentified in some comparisons, while failed placebo tests undermine others. Their effects lack a plausible mechanism as the association between the EITC and prenatal smoking also fails placebo tests. We contend that the waning of the crack epidemic is a possible confound, but we show that any number of policies directed at poor women also eliminate the effect of the EITC when aggregated to the national level. Identifying small, causal effects of a national policy at a single point in time is exc.
Between 2020 and 2029, the IRS will fail to collect nearly $7.5 trillion of taxes it is due. It is not possible to calculate with precision how much of this “tax gap” could be collected. This paper offers a naïve approach. The analysis suggests that with feasible changes in policy, the IRS could aspire to shrink the tax gap by around 15 percent in the next decade—generating over $1 trillion in additional revenue by performing more audits (especially of high-income earners), increasing information reporting requirements, and investing in information technology. These investments will increase efficiency and are likely to be very progressive.
This paper measures the unemployment gap (the difference between actual and efficient unemployment rates) using the Beveridge curve (the negative relationship between unemployment and job vacancies). We express the unemployment gap as a function of current unemployment and vacancy rates, and three sufficient statistics: elasticity of the Beveridge curve, recruiting cost, and nonpecuniary value of unemployment. In the United States, we find that the efficient unemployment rate started around 3% in the 1950s, steadily climbed to almost 6% in the 1980s, fell just below 4% in the early 1990s, and remained at that level until 2019. These variations are caused by changes in the level and elasticity of the Beveridge curve. Hence, the US unemployme.
If international trade is strictly trade in intermediate goods, would the common presumption, that small, less developed economies (the South) lose from trade wars still be true? We address this question by constructing a dynamic general equilibrium model in which the North and the South trade technology-embodied intermediate goods. We show that the detrimental effects of the trade war are mitigated by the fact that producers in the South can adjust their choice of imported intermediate goods and their investment in domestic technologies. We establish sufficient conditions under which the steady-state trade equilibrium length of the production line and the range of domestic production in the South both expand in response to a tariff war. It.
In the wake of the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, both the U.S. and Canada experienced a sustained increase in job reallocation, including firms moving into exporting. The change involved big firms as much as small firms. To mimic these patterns,we formulate a model of innovation by both domestic and foreign firms. In the model, trade liberalization quickens the pace of creative destruction, thereby speeding the flow of technology across countries. The resulting dynamic gains from trade liberalization are an order of magnitude larger than the gains in a standard static model.
There are two salient facts about health care in low and middle-income countries; 1) the private sector plays an important role and 2) the care provided is often of poor quality. Despite these facts we know little about what drives quality of care in the private sector and why patients continue to seek care from poor quality providers. We use two field studies in India that provide unique insight into this issue. First, we use a discrete choice experiment to show that patients are willing to pay higher prices for better technical quality (defined by correct treatment and correct diagnosis). Second, we use standardized patients to show that private providers who provide better technical quality are not able to charge higher prices. Instead p.
Over the past 20 years, elite colleges in the US have seen dramatic increases in applications. We provide context for part of this trend using detailed data on Harvard University that was unsealed as part of the SFFA v. Harvard lawsuit. We show that Harvard encourages applications from many students who effectively have no chance of being admitted, and that this is particularly true for African Americans. African American applications soared beginning with the Class of 2009, with the increase driven by those with lower SAT scores. Yet there was little change in the share of admits who were African American. We show that this change in applicant behavior resulted in substantial convergence in the overall admissions rates across races yet no
We provide novel systematic evidence on the extent and terms of direct lending by nonbank financial institutions, and explore whether banks are still special in lending to informationally opaque firms. Analyzing hand-collected data for a random sample of publicly-traded middle-market firms during the 2010-2015 period, we show that nonbank lending is widespread, with 32% of all loans being extended by nonbanks. Nonbank borrowers are less profitable, more levered, and more volatile than bank borrowers. Firms with a small negative EBITDA are 34% more likely to borrow from a nonbank than firms with a small positive EBITDA. While nonbank lenders are less likely to monitor by including financial covenants, they are more likely to align incentives.
There is increasing interest in expanding Medicare health insurance coverage in the U.S., but it is not clear whether the current program is the right foundation on which to build. Traditional Medicare covers a uniform set of benefits for all income groups and provides more generous access to providers and new treatments than public programs in other developed countries. We develop an economic framework to assess the efficiency and equity tradeoffs involved with reforming this generous, uniform structure. We argue that three major shifts make a uniform design less efficient today than when Medicare began in 1965. First, rising income inequality makes it more difficult to design a single plan that serves the needs of both higher- and lower-i.
Evidence from studies of the employment effects of minimum wages in developing countries is mixed. One interpretation is that there is simply no clear evidence of disemployment effects in developing countries. Instead, however, we find evidence that the heterogeneity is systematic, with estimated effects more consistently negative when institutional factors or the competitive model predict more negative effects – for vulnerable workers, in the formal sector, and when minimum wage laws are strong and binding. That is, the evidence points to negative employment effects of minimum wages in developing countries when more features of estimates predict negative employment effects.
A common challenge in estimating the long-term impacts of treatments (e.g., job training programs) is that the outcomes of interest (e.g., lifetime earnings) are observed with a long delay. We address this problem by combining several short-term outcomes (e.g., short-run earnings) into a \surrogate index," the predicted value of the long-term outcome given the short-term outcomes. We show that the average treatment effect on the surrogate index equals the treatment effect on the long-term outcome under the assumption that the long-term outcome is independent of the treatment conditional on the surrogate index. We then characterize the bias that arises from violations of this assumption, deriving feasible bounds on the degree of bias and pro.
How large are the welfare gains from trade? Would such gains be significantly amplified in the long run when productivity is endogenously enhanced? To address these questions, we focus on the dynamic effect of trade, in particular, how trade affects the incentives for technological advancement. We construct an innovation-based endogenous growth model of North-South trade. There are two types of innovation: one by the North to upgrade the general purpose technology (GPT) and another by all countries to advance entrepreneurial knowledge for developing differentiated products. We find sizable welfare gains from trade, about 5.3% when compared to autarky. The gains in our dynamic model are much higher than the static estimates where the effects.
We study default and endogenous leverage in the laboratory. To this purpose, we develop a general equilibrium model of collateralized borrowing amenable to laboratory implementation and gather experimental data. In the model, leverage is endogenous: agents choose how much to borrow using a risky asset as collateral, and there are no ad-hoc collateral constraints. When the risky asset is financial, namely, its payoff does not depend on ownership (such as a bonds), collateral requirements are high and there is no default. In contrast, when the risky asset is non-financial, namely, its payoff depends on ownership (such as a firm), collateral requirements are lower and default occurs. The experimental outcomes are in line with the theory's main.
A literature has found that medical providers inflate bills and report more conditions given financial incentives. We evaluate whether Medicare reimbursement incentives are driven more by bill inflation or coding costs. Medicare reformed its payment mechanism for inpatient hospitalizations in 2007, increasing coding costs. We first examine whether increased extra reimbursements from reporting more diagnoses lead hospitals to report more high bill codes. We find that increases in reimbursements within narrow patient groups led to more high bill codes before 2007 but not after. Using the payment reform, we then test for costly coding by comparing hospitals that adopted electronic medical records (EMRs) to others. Adopters reported relatively
By exploiting variation in state capital gains taxation as an instrument, we analyze the economic consequences of housing speculation during the U.S. housing boom in the 2000s. We find that housing speculation, anchored, in part, on extrapolation of past housing price changes, led not only to greater price appreciation, economic expansions, and housing construction during the boom in 2004-2006, but also to more severe economic downturns during the subsequent bust in 2007-2009. Our analysis supports supply overhang and local household demand as two key channels for transmitting these adverse effects.
Can massive online retailers such as Amazon and Alibaba issue digital tokens that potentially compete with bank debit accounts? We explore whether a large platform’s ability to guarantee value and liquidity by issuing prototype digital tokens for in-platform purchases constitutes a significant advantage that could potentially be leveraged into wider use. Our central finding is that unless introducing tradability creates a significant convenience yield, platforms can potentially earn higher revenues by making tokens non-tradable. The analysis suggests that if platforms have any comparative advantage in issuing tradable tokens, it comes from other factors.
After decades of successful growth, economic unions have recently become the focus of heightened political controversy. We argue that this is partly due to the growth of trade between countries that are increasingly dissimilar. We develop a theoretical framework to study the effects on trade, income distribution and welfare of economic unions that differ in size and scope. Our model shows that political support for international unions can grow with their breadth and depth as long as member countries are sufficiently similar. However, differences in economic size and factor endowments can trigger disagreement over the value of unions between and within countries. The model is consistent with some salient features of the process of European
This paper synthesizes recent research in economics and psychology on the measurement and empirical importance of personality skills and preferences. They predict and cause important life outcomes such as wages, health, and longevity. Skills develop over the life cycle and can be enhanced by education, parenting, and environmental influences to different degrees at different ages. Economic analysis clarifies psychological studies by establishing that personality is measured by performance on tasks which depends on incentives and multiple skills. Identification of any single skill therefore requires isolation of confounding factors, accounting for measurement error using rich data and application of appropriate statistical techniques. Skills.
Physicians, judges, teachers, and agents in many other settings differ systematically in the decisions they make when faced with similar cases. Standard approaches to interpreting and exploiting such differences assume they arise solely from variation in preferences. We develop an alternative framework that allows variation in both preferences and diagnostic skill, and show that both dimensions are identified in standard settings under quasi-random assignment. We apply this framework to study pneumonia diagnoses by radiologists. Diagnosis rates vary widely among radiologists, and descriptive evidence suggests that a large component of this variation is due to differences in diagnostic skill. Our estimated model suggests that radiologists vi.

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