25 November 2015

Discretion in Hiring

Human resource experts debate whether firms should rely on hard metrics, such as job test scores, or give managers discretion in making hiring decisions. A study by Mitchell Hoffman, Lisa B. Kahn, and Danielle Li suggests that, when faced with similar applicant pools, managers who exercise more discretion, as measured by their likelihood of overruling test-based recommendations, end up making worse hires.

24 November 2015

Taste for Competition and the Gender Gap
Among Young Business Professionals

Ernesto Reuben, Paola Sapienza, and Luigi Zingales investigate whether differences in individuals’ “taste for competition” explains gender differences in earnings and industry choice in a sample of high-ability MBA graduates. They find that competitive individuals earn nine percent more than their less competitive counterparts, and that gender differences in taste for competition explain around 10 percent of the overall gender gap in earnings.

23 November 2015

The U.S. Debt Restructuring of 1933:
Consequences and Lessons

When the United States unilaterally restructured its debt in 1933 by declaring it would no longer honor the gold clause in Treasury securities, there was a flight to quality in the sovereign market, according to a study by Sebastian Edwards, Francis A. Longstaff, and Alvaro Garcia Marin, but little effect on either the Treasury's ability to sell new debt or the willingness of investors to roll over restructured debt.

20 November 2015

Many Die Without Wills

Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), Marco Francesconi, Robert A. Pollak, and Domenico Tabasso find that many older Americans have not made wills. Although the probability of having a will increases with age, 30 percent of HRS respondents aged 70 and over have no wills. Of HRS respondents who died between 1995 and 2010, 38 percent died without wills.

19 November 2015

Factors Determining Callbacks to Job Applications by the Unemployed

Henry S. Farber, Dan Silverman, and Till von Wachter investigate how unemployment duration, age, and holding a low-level "interim" job affect qualified women’s chances of receiving a callback when applying for an administrative support job. They find no relationship between callback rates and the duration of unemployment, but significantly less interest in applicants who are over 50 or who hold interim jobs.

18 November 2015

Greek Budget Realities: No Easy Options

Christopher L. House and Linda L. Tesar examine the economic impacts of various strategies Greece could pursue to grapple with the €319.5 billion it owes external creditors through 2057. They find that increases in distortionary taxes on consumption, capital income, and labor income, as well as reductions in government expenditures sufficient to make significant progress all would produce declines in output in both the short and long run.

17 November 2015

What Determines End-of-Life Assets? A Retrospective View

Many Americans’ assets are relatively constant in their later years, according to analysis by James Poterba, Steven Venti, and David A. Wise of data from the Health and Retirement Study. Most individuals who have substantial assets when first surveyed, early in their retirement years, tend to maintain those assets until near the end of life, and those with limited assets continue in that economic status. Shocks such as divorce or a health event cause major erosion of resources.

16 November 2015

Bubble Investing: Learning from History

Reviewing the frequency of large, sudden increases in market value in a broad panel data set on world equity markets, William N. Goetzmann finds no strong connection between financial bubbles and crashes. He concludes that bubbles are indeed booms that go bad, but not all booms go bad.

13 November 2015

Using Linked Survey and Administrative Data
to Better Measure Income and Outcomes

The Current Population Survey, the source of official poverty and inequality statistics, misses over one-third of housing assistance recipients, 40 percent of food stamp recipients and 60 percent of TANF and General Assistance recipients, according to research by Bruce D. Meyer and Nikolas Mittag. The under-reporting of program benefits sharply understates both the income of poor households and the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs.

12 November 2015

How Do Patents Affect Follow-On Innovation?
Evidence from the Human Genome

Analyzing administrative data on successful and unsuccessful patent applications submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Bhaven Sampat and Heidi L. Williams find that patented genes appear more valuable prior to patenting than genes for which patent application is not made, but that, on average, gene patents have no effect on follow-on innovation.
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