NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

21 February 2017

The Costs of and Net Returns to College Major

In a study of Florida public universities Joseph G. Altonji and Seth D. Zimmerman find that the cost of producing graduates in the highest-cost major — engineering — is roughly double that of producing graduates in low-cost majors, such as business.

17 February 2017

Political Determinants of Competition
in the Mobile Telecommunication Industry

The regulatory rules in the mobile communications sector affect concentration, competition, and prices, Mara Faccio and Luigi Zingales find. U.S. consumers would save $65 billion a year if U.S. mobile service prices were in line with those in Germany, which has a more pro-competitive regulatory structure.

16 February 2017

Arrested Development: Theory and Evidence
of Supply-Side Speculation in the Housing Market

Undeveloped land both facilitates construction and intensifies the speculation that causes booms and busts in house prices, according to a study by Charles G. Nathanson and Eric Zwick. The researchers suggest that this explains why the largest house price booms in the United States between 2000 and 2006 occurred in areas with undeveloped land and associated elastic housing supply.

15 February 2017

Faculty Deployment in Research Universities

Paul N. Courant and Sarah Turner find that within departments at two major public research universities, the highest-paid faculty teach fewer undergraduate courses than their lower-paid colleagues, confirming the hypotheses that salaries are determined principally by research output and associated reputation and that universities respond rationally to relative prices in deploying faculty.

14 February 2017

Disability Benefits and Veterans' Employment Decisions

Expansion of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation program in 2001 increased program enrollment among older veterans. It also decreased labor force participation and induced a substantial switch from wage employment to self-employment, research by Courtney Coile, Mark Duggan, and Audrey Guo shows.

13 February 2017

College Scholarships for the Under-Represented:
Enrollment, Persistence, and Completion Projections

Randomly assigned scholarship offers to applicants to Nebraska’s public colleges and universities dramatically improved enrollment and retention, and projected graduation rates, for groups with historically low college attendance, according to research by Joshua Angrist, David Autor, Sally Hudson, and Amanda Pallais.

10 February 2017

Neighborhoods and Intergenerational Mobility

One-fifth of the black-white earnings gap can be explained by differences in poverty levels, income inequality, schools, and crime rates in the counties in which black and white children grow up, research by Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren shows. Most areas that generate better outcomes have high house prices, but there are some "opportunity bargains" – locales that generate good outcomes but are not very expensive.

9 February 2017

The Historical Evolution of the Wealth Distribution:
A Quantitative-Theoretic Investigation

The most important driver of the rise in wealth inequality in the U.S. over the last 30 years has been the significant drop in tax progressivity that started in the late 1970s and intensified during the early 1980s, according to a study by Joachim Hubmer, Per Krusell, and Anthony A. Smith, Jr.

8 February 2017

Variation in Instructor Effectiveness in Higher Education

Studying University of Phoenix instructors in an algebra course required for all BA degree programs, Pieter De Vlieger, Brian Jacob, and Kevin Stange find substantial differences in teacher effectiveness. Effectiveness grows modestly with course-specific teaching experience, but is unrelated to pay.

7 February 2017

Killer Incentives: Status Competition
and Pilot Performance during World War II

Using data on over 5,000 German pilots during World War II, Philipp Ager, Leonardo Bursztyn, and Hans-Joachim Voth find that when the daily bulletin of the German armed forces mentioned the accomplishments of a particular fighter pilot, the best pilots among his peers tried harder and scored more victories. Their survival rate was unaffected. Average pilots won only a few additional victories but died at a markedly higher rate.
 
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