Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


Channel Description:

Founded in 1920, the National Bureau of Economic Research is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community. Over the years the NBER's research agenda has encompassed a wide variety of issues that confront our society. Early research focused on the aggregate economy, examining in detail the business cycle and long-term economic growth. Simon Kuznets' pioneering work on national income accounting, Wesley Mitchell's influential study of the business cycle, and Milton Friedman's research on the demand for money and the determinants of consumer spending were among the early studies done at the NBER. Toward a Firmer Basis of Economic Policy: The Founding of the National Bureau of Economic Research, Solomon Fabricant, 1984
    0 0

    This chapter focuses on women, work, and family, with a particular focus on differences by educational attainment. First, we review long-term trends regarding family structure, participation in the labor market, and time spent in household production, including time with children. In looking at family, we focus on mothers with children. Next we examine key challenges faced by mothers as they seek to combine motherhood and paid work: workforce interruptions associated with childbearing, the impact of home and family responsibilities, and constraints posed by workplace culture. We also consider the role that gendered norms play in shaping outcomes for mothers. We conclude by discussing policies that have the potential to increase gender equality in the workplace and mitigate the considerable conflicts faced by many women as they seek to balance work and family.

    0 0

    We study the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) on total factor productivity (TFP) of domestic firms using a new, representative firm-level data set spanning six countries. A novel finding is that firm-level spillovers from foreign firms to domestic companies can be significantly positive, non-existent, or even negative, depending on which sectors receive FDI. When foreign firms produce in the same narrow sector as domestic firms, the latter are negatively affected by increasing competition and positively affected by knowledge spillovers. We find that the positive spillovers dominate if foreign firms enter sectors where firms are "technologically close," controlling for the endogeneity of their entry decision into such sectors. Positive technology spillovers also affect firms in other sectors, if those sectors are technologically close to the sectors receiving FDI. Increasing FDI in sectors that are technologically close to other sectors boosts TFP of domestic firms by twice as much as increasing FDI by the same amount across all sectors.

    0 0

    Regulation can influence the structure, conduct and performance of consumer product markets and the structure of product markets can influence regulation. Since the vast majority of prescription drugs consumed by Americans are generic, the structure of the U.S. generic prescription drug market is of wide interest. The supply of prescription drugs in the U.S. is also heavily regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We describe events leading up to the passage and implementation of the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments in 2012 (GDUFA I), and compare its FDA commitments, provisions, goals and fee structure to that of the 1992 Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) for branded drugs. Although GDUFA I expires September 30, 2017, reauthorization for GDUFA II is currently underway and is likely to shift the user fee structure away from annual facility fees to annual program fees. We explain how the fee structure of GDUFA I, and that being considered for GDUFA II, erects barriers to entry and creates scale and scope economies for incumbent manufacturers of generic drugs. Furthermore, in order to implement fees under GDUFA I, FDA required the submission of self-reported data on generic manufacturing practices including domestic and foreign active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and finished dosage form (FDF) facilities. These data provide an unprecedented window into the recent evolution of generic drug manufacturing markets. Our analyses of these data suggest that generic drug manufacturing in 2017 is quite concentrated: a very large portion of ANDA holders have small portfolios consisting of less than five ANDAs, while a small number of very large ANDA holders have portfolios consisting of hundreds or even thousands of ANDAs. The number of API and FDF facilities have each declined by approximately 10-11% between 2013 and 2017. Furthermore, in 2017, generic manufacturing is largely foreign and has become increasingly so since 2013. We discuss the implications of the current structure of the U.S. generic prescription drug market for GDUFA II ratification and implementation.

    0 0

    Using data from a Canadian field experiment on the financial barriers to higher education, we estimate the distribution of the value of financial aid for prospective students, and relate it to parental socio-economic background, individual skills, risk and time preferences. Our results point out that a considerable share of prospective students are affected by credit constraints. We find that most of the individuals are willing to pay a sizable interest premium above the prevailing market rate for the option to take up a loan, with a median interest rate wedge equal to 6.6 percentage points for a $1,000 loan. The willingness-to-pay for financial aid is highly heterogeneous across students, with preferences and in particular discount factors, playing a key role in accounting for this variation.

    0 0

    The U.S., according to some measures, has one of the highest marginal effective corporate tax rates (METRs) of any developed country. Yet the tax collects less than 2 percent of GDP. This paper studies the impact of replacing the U.S. corporate tax with a Business Cash Flow Tax (BCFT). Our paper studies BCFT reform with reference to a particular, but reasonably generic, proposal, namely the House Republican "Better Way" tax plan. We use the Global Gaidar Model - a 17-region, global, overlapping-generations model, calibrated to U.N. demographic and IMF fiscal data - to simulate the dynamic, general equilibrium impact of this reform. In the short run, the U.S. capital stock, pre-tax wage rates, and GDP rise by roughly 25 percent, 8 percent, and 9 percent, respectively. Over time, the capital stock and wage rates remain significantly above their baseline values. There is a smaller long-run increase in GDP as workers spend some of their higher wages on additional leisure. The tax reform produces enough additional revenues to permit a reduction in personal income tax rates while maintaining the economy's initial debt-to-GDP ratio. The beneficiaries of the House plan are today's and tomorrow's workers. We also simulate a matching METR cut by the rest of the world, which raises the world interest rate. The short-run increases in the capital stock, pre-tax wage rates, and GDP are smaller. However, along the transition path, all U.S. agents experience slightly higher welfare than under the House plan. This reflects the combination of a higher post-corporate tax world interest rate and Americans' disproportionately large holdings of global assets

    0 0

    This paper presents a dynamic political economy model of community development. In each period, a community invests in a local public good. The community can grow, with new housing supplied by competitive developers. To finance investment, the community can tax residents and issue debt. In each period, fiscal decisions are made by current residents. The community's initial wealth (the value of its stock of public good less its debt) determines how it develops. High initial wealth leads to rapid development. Low initial wealth leads to gradual development that is fueled by community wealth accumulation. Wealth accumulation arises from the desire to attract more households to share the costs of the public good. The long run size of the community can be too large or too small and development may proceed too slowly. Nonetheless, some development occurs and, at all times, public good provision is efficient.

    0 0

    This paper seeks to better understand what makes big data analysis different, what we can and cannot do with existing econometric tools, and what issues need to be dealt with in order to work with the data efficiently. As a case study, I set out to extract any business cycle information that might exist in four terabytes of weekly scanner data. The main challenge is to handle the volume, variety, and characteristics of the data within the constraints of our computing environment. Scalable and efficient algorithms are available to ease the computation burden, but they often have unknown statistical properties and are not designed for the purpose of efficient estimation or optimal inference. As well, economic data have unique characteristics that generic algorithms may not accommodate. There is a need for computationally efficient econometric methods as big data is likely here to stay.

    0 0

    The conventional wisdom in macroeconomic modeling is to attribute business cycle fluctuations to innovations in the level of the fundamentals. Though volatility shocks could be important too, their propagating mechanism is still not well understood partly because modeling the latent volatilities can be quite demanding. This paper suggests a simply methodology that can separate the level factors from the volatility factors and assess their relative importance without directly estimating the volatility processes. This is made possible by exploiting features in the second order approximation of equilibrium models and information in a large panel of data. Our largest volatility factor V1 is strongly counter-cyclical, persistent, and loads heavily on housing sector variables. When augmented to a VAR in housing starts, industrial production, the fed-funds rate, and inflation, the innovations to V1 can account for a non-negligible share of the variations at horizons of four to five years. However, V1 is only weakly correlated with the volatility of our real activity factor and does not displace various measures of uncertainty. This suggests that there are second-moment shocks and non-linearities with cyclical implications beyond the ones we studied. More theorizing is needed to understand the interaction between the level and second-moment dynamics.

    0 0

    We document that the correlation between capital inflows and outflows has increased substantially over time in a sample of 128 advanced and developing countries. We provide evidence that this is a result of an increase in financial globalization (stock of external assets and liabilities). This dominates the effect of an increase in trade globalization (exports plus imports), which reduces the correlation between capital inflows and outflows. In the context of a two-country model with 14 shocks we show that the theoretical impact of financial and trade globalization on the correlation between capital inflows and outflows is consistent with the data.

    0 0

    A portfolio's liquidity depends not only on the liquidity of its holdings but also on its diversification. We propose simple, theoretically motivated measures of portfolio liquidity and diversification. We also develop an equilibrium model relating portfolio liquidity to fund size, expense ratio, and turnover. As the model predicts, mutual funds with less liquid portfolios have smaller size, higher expense ratios, and lower turnover. The model also yields additional predictions that we verify empirically: larger funds are cheaper, funds that trade less are larger and cheaper, and funds that are too big perform worse. We also find that mutual fund portfolios have become more liquid because both components of diversification, coverage and balance, have trended upward.

    0 0

    This paper has two main parts. In the first, we describe a method that smooths the objective function in a general class of indirect inference models. Our smoothing procedure makes use of importance sampling weights in estimation of the auxiliary model on simulated data. The importance sampling weights are constructed from likelihood contributions implied by the structural model. Since this approach does not require transformations of endogenous variables in the structural model, we avoid the potential approximation errors that may arise in other smoothing approaches for indirect inference. We show that our alternative smoothing method yields consistent estimates. The second part of the paper applies the method to estimating the effect of women's fertility on their human capital accumulation. We find that the curvature in the wage profile is determined primarily by curvature in the human capital accumulation function as a function of previous human capital, as opposed to being driven primarily by age. We also find a modest effect of fertility induced nonemployment spells on human capital accumulation. We estimate that the difference in wages among prime age women would be approximately 3% higher if the relationship between fertility and working were eliminated.

    0 0

    How much are low-income individuals willing to pay for health insurance, and what are the implications for insurance markets? Using administrative data from Massachusetts' subsidized insurance exchange, we exploit discontinuities in the subsidy schedule to estimate willingness to pay and costs of insurance among low-income adults. As subsidies decline, insurance take-up falls rapidly, dropping about 25% for each $40 increase in monthly enrollee premiums. Marginal enrollees tend to be lower-cost, consistent with adverse selection into insurance. But across the entire distribution we can observe - approximately the bottom 70% of the willingness to pay distribution - enrollee willingness to pay is always less than half of own expected costs. As a result, we estimate that take-up will be highly incomplete even with generous subsidies: if enrollee premiums were 25% of insurers' average costs, at most half of potential enrollees would buy insurance; even premiums subsidized to 10% of average costs would still leave at least 20% uninsured. We suggest an important role for uncompensated care for the uninsured in explaining these findings and explore normative implications.

    0 0

    We study the effect of minimum wage increases on employment in automatable jobs - jobs in which employers may find it easier to substitute machines for people - focusing on low-skilled workers from whom such substitution may be spurred by minimum wage increases. Based on CPS data from 1980-2015, we find that increasing the minimum wage decreases significantly the share of automatable employment held by low-skilled workers, and increases the likelihood that low-skilled workers in automatable jobs become unemployed. The average effects mask significant heterogeneity by industry and demographic group, including substantive adverse effects for older, low-skilled workers in manufacturing. The findings imply that groups often ignored in the minimum wage literature are in fact quite vulnerable to employment changes and job loss because of automation following a minimum wage increase.

    0 0

    Researchers use a variety of methods to estimate total factor productivity (TFP) at the firm level and, while these may seem broadly equivalent, how the resulting measures relate to the TFP concept in theoretical models depends on the assumptions about the environment in which firms operate. Interpreting these measures and drawing insights based upon their characteristics thus must take into account these conceptual differences. Absent data on prices and quantities, most methods yield ``revenue productivity" measures. We focus on two broad classes of revenue productivity measures in our examination of the relationship between measured and conceptual TFP (TFPQ). The first measure has been increasingly used as a measure of idiosyncratic distortions and to assess the degree of misallocation. The second measure is, under standard assumptions, a function of fundamentals (e.g., TFPQ). Using plant-level U.S. manufacturing data, we find these alternative measures are (i) highly correlated; (ii) exhibit similar dispersion; and (iii) have similar relationships with growth and survival. These findings raise questions about interpreting the first measure as a measure of idiosyncratic distortions. We also explore the sensitivity of estimates of the contribution of reallocation to aggregate productivity growth to these alternative approaches. We use recently developed structural decompositions of aggregate productivity growth that depend critically on estimates of output versus revenue elasticities. We find alternative approaches all yield a significant contribution of reallocation to productivity growth (although the quantitative contribution varies across approaches).

    0 0

    Using comprehensive high-frequency state and local sales tax data, we show that household spending responds strongly to changes in sales tax rates. Even though sales taxes are not observed in posted prices and have a wide range of rates and exemptions, households adjust in many dimensions, stocking up on storable goods before taxes rise and increasing online and cross-border shopping. Interestingly, households adjust spending similarly for both taxable and tax-exempt goods. We embed an inventory problem into a continuous-time consumption-savings model and demonstrate that this seemingly irrational behavior is optimal in the presence of shopping trip fixed costs. The model successfully matches estimated short-run and long-run tax elasticities with a reasonable implied reservation wage of $7-10. We provide additional empirical evidence in favor of this new shopping-complementarity mechanism. While our results reject non-salience of sales tax changes, on average, we also show that upcoming tax changes that are more salient prompt larger responses.

    0 0

    We analyze older individuals' debt and financial vulnerability using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and the National Financial Capability Study (NFCS). Specifically, in the HRS we examine three different cohorts (individuals age 56-61) in 1992, 2004, and 2010 to evaluate cross-cohort changes in debt over time. We also use two waves of the NFCS (2012 and 2015) to gain additional insights into debt management and older individuals' capacity to shield themselves against shocks. We show that recent cohorts have taken on more debt and face more financial insecurity, mostly due to having purchased more expensive homes with smaller down payments.

    0 0

    A majority of countries neither freely float their currencies nor firmly peg. But most of the remainder in practice also don't obey such well-defined intermediate exchange rate regimes as target zones. This paper proposes to define an intermediate regime, to be called "systematic managed floating," as an arrangement where the central bank regularly responds to changes in total exchange market pressure by allowing some fraction to be reflected as a change in the exchange rate and the remaining fraction to be absorbed as a change in foreign exchange reserves. An operational criterion for judging systematic managed floaters is a high correlation between exchange rate changes and reserve changes. The paper rejects the view that exchange rate regimes make no difference. In regressions to test effects on real exchange rates, we find that positive external shocks tend to cause real appreciation for most systematic managed-floaters; more strongly so for pure floaters; and not at all for most firm peggers. Two measures of exogenous external shocks are used: (i) for commodity-exporters, a country-specific index of global prices of the export commodities and (ii) for other Asian emerging market economies, the VIX.

    0 0

    Generic pharmaceuticals provide low-cost access to treatment. Despite their chemical equivalence to branded products, many mechanisms may hinder generic substitution. Consumers may be unaware of their equivalence. Firms may influence consumers through advertising or product line extensions. We estimate a structural model of pharmaceutical demand where consumers learn about stochastic match qualities with specific drugs. Naive models, without consumer heterogeneity and learning, grossly underestimate demand elasticities. Consumer bias against generics critically depends on experience. Advertising and line extensions yield modest increases in branded market shares. These effects are dominated by consumers' initial perception bias against generics.

    0 0

    The world is experiencing the second largest refugee crisis in a century, and one of the major points of contention involves the possible adverse effects of incoming refugees on host communities. We examine the effects of a large refugee influx into Florida public schools following the Haitian earthquake of 2010 using unique matched birth and schooling records. We find precise zero estimated effects of refugees on the educational outcomes of incumbent students in the year of the earthquake or in the two years that follow, regardless of the socioeconomic status, grade level, ethnicity, or birthplace of incumbent students.

    0 0

    We present evidence of a positive relationship between school starting age and children's cognitive development from age 6 to 15 using a regression discontinuity design and large-scale population-level birth and school data from the state of Florida. We estimate effects of being relatively old for grade (being born in September versus August) that are remarkably stable - always just around 0.2 SD difference in test scores - across a wide range of heterogeneous groups, based on maternal education, poverty at birth, race/ethnicity, birth weight, gestational age, and school quality. While the September-August difference in kindergarten readiness is dramatically different by subgroup, by the time students take their first exams, the heterogeneity in estimated effects effectively disappears. We document substantial variation in compensatory behaviors targeted towards young for grade children. While the more affluent families tend to redshirt their children, young for grade children from less affluent families are more likely to be retained in grades prior to testing. School district practices regarding retention and redshirting are correlated with improved outcomes for the groups less likely to use those remediation approaches (i.e., retention in the case of more-affluent families and redshirting in the case of less-affluent families.) We also study college and juvenile detention outcomes using administrative data from a large Florida school district, and show that being an older age at school entry increases children's college attainment and reduces the likelihood of being incarcerated for juvenile crime.