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  • Author: Benjamin Crost
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: This paper provides evidence that adverse economic conditions contributed to the rise of anti-democratic extremism in the United States. A state-level analysis shows that increases in the unemployment rate during the Great Recession led to a large increase in the number of anti democratic extremist groups. The effect is concentrated in states with high pre-existing racial resentment, as proxied by racist web searches, and strongest for the male unemployment rate and the white unemployment rate. If unemployment had remained at its pre-recession level, the increase in anti-democratic groups between 2007 and 2010 could have been reduced by more than 60%.
  • Topic: Economics, Democracy, Inequality, Far Right, Economic Inequality, Political Extremism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Björn Brey
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP)
  • Abstract: Did recent technological change, in the form of automation, affect immigration policy in the United States? I argue that as automation shifted employment from routine to manual occupations at the bottom end of the skill distribution, it increased competition between natives and immigrants, consequently leading to increased support for restricting low-skill immigration. I formalise this hypothesis theoretically in a partial equilibrium model with constant elasticity of substitution in which technology leads to employment polarization, and policy makers can vote on immigration legislation. I empirically evaluate these predictions by analysing voting on low-skill immigration bills in the House of Representatives during the period 1973-2014. First, I find evidence that policy makers who represent congressional districts with a higher share of manual employment are more likely to support restricting low-skill immigration. Second, I provide empirical evidence that representatives of districts which experienced more manual-biased technological change are more likely to support restricting low-skill immigration. Finally, I provide evidence that this did not affect trade policy, which is in line with automation having increased employment in occupations exposed to low-skill immigration, but not those exposed to international trade.
  • Topic: Economics, Immigration, Economic Policy, Automation, Technocracy, Skilled Labor
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas Brand, Fabien Tripier
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: Highly synchronized during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, the Euro area and the US have diverged in the period that followed. To explain this divergence, we provide a structural interpretation of these episodes through the estimation for both economies of a business cycle model with financial frictions and risk shocks, measured as the volatility of idiosyncratic uncertainty in the financial sector. Our results show that risk shocks have stimulated US growth in the aftermath of the Great Recession and have been the main driver of the double-dip recession in the Euro area. They play a positive role in the Euro area only after 2015. Risk shocks therefore seem well suited to account for the consequences of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and the subsequent positive effects of unconventional monetary policies, notably the ECB’s Asset Purchase Programme (APP).
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Political Economy, Global Recession, Finance, Europe Union, Economic Growth, Risk
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Trevon Logan, Peter Temin
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper records the path by which African Americans were transformed from enslaved persons in the American economy to partial participants in the progress of the economy. The path was not monotonic, and we organize our tale by periods in which inclusiveness rose and fell. The history we recount demonstrates the staying power of the myth of black inferiority held by a changing white majority as the economy expanded dramatically. Slavery was outlawed after the Civil War, and blacks began to participate in American politics en masse for the first time during Reconstruction. This process met with white resistance, and black inclusion in the growing economy fell as the Gilded Age followed and white political will for black political participation faded. The Second World War also was followed by prosperity in which blacks were included more fully into the white economy, but still not completely. The Civil Rights Movement proved no more durable than Reconstruction, and blacks lost ground as the 20th century ended in the growth of a New Gilded Age. Resources that could be used to improve the welfare of whites and blacks continue to be spent on the continued repressions of blacks.
  • Topic: Economics, Race, History, Capitalism, Slavery
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Yuet-Yee Linda Wong, Audra J. Bowlus
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP), Western University
  • Abstract: We present the first study of the high school-to-work transition for American Millennial males and females. Using data from the PSID Transition to Adulthood from 2005-2011, we estimate the Burdett and Mortensen (1998) model and study changes between Generation X and Millennials. We find convergence in racial differences in transition patterns across the generations and in gender earnings by the Great Recession. These patterns are driven by a large decline in search efficiencies for white males. Finally, we show the labor market deteriorated for high school graduates prior to, with a further decline during, the Great Recession.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Global Recession, Human Capital, Labor Market, Productivity
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Martin Gaynor, Nirav Mehta, Seth Richards-Shubik
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP), Western University
  • Abstract: We study physician agency and optimal payment policy in the context of an expensive medication used in dialysis care. Using Medicare claims data we estimate a structural model of treatment decisions, in which physicians differ in their altruism and marginal costs, and this heterogeneity is unobservable to the government. In a novel application of nonlinear pricing methods, we theoretically characterize the optimal unrestricted contract in this screening environment with multidimensional heterogeneity. We combine these results with the estimated model to construct the optimal contract and simulate counterfactual outcomes. The optimal contract is a flexible fee-for-service contract, which pays for reported treatments but uses variable marginal payments instead of constant reimbursement rates, resulting in substantial health improvements and reductions in costs. Our structural approach also yields important qualitative findings, such as rejecting the optimality of any linear contract, and may be employed more broadly to analyze a variety of applications.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Health Care Policy, Human Capital, Productivity, Medicare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jacob Bastian, Lance Lochner
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP), Western University
  • Abstract: Parents spend considerable time and resources investing in their children's development. Given evidence that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) aects maternal labor supply, we investigate how the EITC aects a broad array of time-use activities, focusing on the amount and nature of time spent with children. Using 2003-2018 time-use data, we nd that federal and state EITC expansions increase maternal work time, which reduces time devoted to home production, leisure, and time with children. However, for children of all ages, almost none of the reduction comes from time devoted to investment activities, such as active learning and development activities.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Children, Women, Income Inequality, Tax Systems, Human Capital, Family, Productivity
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Vanessa Alviarez, Keith Head, Thierry Mayer
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: We assess the consequences for consumers in 76 countries of multinational acquisitions in beer and spirits. Outcomes depend on how changes in ownership affect markups versus efficiency. We find that owner fixed effects contribute very little to the performance of brands. On average, foreign ownership tends to raise costs and lower appeal. Using the estimated model, we simulate the consequences of counterfactual national merger regulation. The US beer price index would have been 4-7% higher without divestitures. Up to 30% savings could have been obtained in Latin America by emulating the pro-competition policies of the US and EU.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Multinational Corporations
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Latin America, Global Focus
  • Author: Farid Toubal, Mathieu Parenti, Julien Martin
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: This paper argues that tax avoidance by large corporations has contributed to the 25% increase in concentration among U.S. firms since the mid-1990s. Corporate tax avoidance gives large firms a competitive edge, which translates into larger market shares and an increase in the granularity of the economy. We develop IV and difference-in-differences strategies that show the causal impact of tax avoidance on firm-level sales. Had firms not resorted to tax avoidance in 2017, our results imply that the average industry concentration would have been 8.3% lower, which is around its early 2000 level.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Markets, Tax Systems, Corporations , Tax Evasion, Corporate Tax
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: John Macwilliams, Sarah Lamonaca, James Kobus
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: The Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) bankruptcy, which was caused by liabilities resulting from massive wildfires, has widely been called the first climate change bankruptcy. It will likely not be the last, as climate change exacerbates natural disasters, leading to more frequent and intense wildfires, storms, and flooding. Wildfires alone could become up to 900 percent more destructive in certain regions by midcentury, and utility assets will also be increasingly exposed to threats stemming from hurricanes, rising sea levels, and other climate-related events. These extreme weather events will increase costs to utility-sector stakeholders, including investor-owned utilities, state and local governments, ratepayers, and taxpayers. These risks could place financial stress on utility companies, drive up electricity rates, crowd out essential investment in renewable energy and grid upgrades, and disrupt service. In this paper, Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy reviews and analyzes the PG&E bankruptcy, assesses how capital markets have reacted to the bankruptcy through the lens of valuations in the US utility sector, and discusses policy implications of California’s recent legislative response to wildfire risk. This paper examines market indicators to assess investor expectations of climate risk exposure and likely cost allocation. Neither debt nor equity markets suggest widespread concern about climate risk in the utility sector. In the absence of strong market signals to encourage climate risk mitigation, the authors find that policy frameworks are needed to ensure that companies make necessary preventative investments and to define how costs will be allocated among stakeholders. This paper also reviews a recently passed California bill aimed at achieving these objectives and the lessons and best practices it offers for other policy makers. In short, the paper finds the following: Market indicators suggest that the California wildfires and subsequent PG&E bankruptcy have not caused imminent concern about climate risks in the utility sector. Equity valuations for the sector remain strong, with a utility stock index trading at a higher-than-average premium to the market benchmark. In credit markets, regulated utilities in the United States have raised more than $50 billion of corporate debt in 2019 to date, and borrowing spreads are currently below historical averages. There are several reasons why markets may not reflect widespread climate risk to utilities, despite the scientific evidence around likely future damage. Investors may believe that cost increases from climate change will occur too far in the future to materially impact the present value of their investments. Even if investors believe that climate change risks are material to valuation, they may also believe that such risks will not be considered by other investors for some time. Investors may be viewing wildfires as a California-specific risk, though the regional skew of wildfires is likely to shift significantly in coming years. They may lack the information or modeling tools for assessing the likelihood and geographic dispersion of high-impact tail events, such as the wildfires that PG&E faced. Financial markets may also reflect the belief that the costs of climate change in the utility sector will fall predominantly on ratepayers, insurance companies, and/or taxpayers rather than investors, and therefore investors may not view themselves as materially exposed. California’s recent creation of a wildfire insurance fund with contributions from both ratepayers and companies provides important policy lessons for designing comprehensive frameworks to allocate climate damage costs. These include the strengthening of both regulatory and corporate climate resilience expertise, mandating preventative investment as a prerequisite for cost-recovery mechanisms, defining utility financial exposure for climate damage situations, and providing cash for utilities to provide essential services when facing large disasters. The policy also presents some potential pitfalls that may be instructive for other state policy makers. The legislation sets aside large reserves for future damage, a necessary measure, but one that will result in higher electric bills. The bill does not allow utilities to earn a return on safety-related spending, which broadly diminishes incentives for proactive climate mitigation investment. The potential insufficiency of the wildfire fund also creates uncertainty about future cost allocation. Finally, failing to reform the California legal framework that allows utilities to be held liable for damages they did not cause perpetuates risks for companies and ratepayers. If the first climate change bankruptcy is indicative of a new reality, it is not that utilities are going to go bankrupt overnight. Rather, climate disasters will increasingly add financial stress to utility-sector stakeholders, as costs accumulate from both acute events and damaging extreme weather impacts. Adapting the regulatory bargain for a climate-exposed future will require lawmakers, regulators, and shareholders to develop new approaches and new incentive structures to ensure an accountable, robust utility sector. Moreover, while climate change is already presenting real financial challenges to utilities, it will not be the only sector to face large climate-driven costs. Other corporate actors can look to the utility experience to better understand how policy makers, investors, and companies will respond to the growing financial threat from climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Gas, Electricity
  • Political Geography: United States, California