NBER News and Research Archive

11 July 2014

Board Quotas and Labor Market Outcomes for Women

Marianne Bertrand, Sandra Black, Sissel Jensen, and Adriana Lleras-Muney investigate the effects of a 2003 Norwegian law that mandated 40 percent representation of each gender on the board of public companies. Female board members appointed after this reform were observably more qualified than their female predecessors, and the gender gap in earnings within boards fell substantially. But there is little evidence of "trickle down" to higher earnings lower in the corporate hierarchy, and it appears that the reform had very little impact on women in business beyond its direct effect on the newly appointed female board members.

10 July 2014

"Business Climate," Growth, and Economic Inequality

David Neumark and Jennifer Muz find that states with more business-friendly tax and cost-of-business environments, as measured by their “business climate indexes,” have faster growth of employment, wages and output, as well as rising levels of economic inequality.

9 July 2014

New Estimates of the Return to Schooling

Manudeep Bhuller, Magne Mogstad, and Kjell Salvanes estimate the return to education using panel data from Norway that provides career-long earnings histories for many workers. The findings suggest that educational investments generate an internal rate of return of around 10 percent, after taking into account income taxes and earnings-related pension entitlements.

8 July 2014

New Evidence on the Productivity Slowdown

John Fernald documents a slow-down in U.S. labor and total factor productivity prior to the Great Recession, a time pattern that rules out recession-related economic disruptions and explanations that focus on housing or finance as explanations of the productivity decline. The slowdown is located in industries that produce information technology (IT) or that use IT intensively, consistent with a return to normal productivity growth after nearly a decade of exceptional IT-fueled gains.

7 July 2014

Understanding Intertemporal Variation in Purchasing Power Parities

Angus Deaton and Bettina Aten investigate the substantial differences between the Purchasing Power Parity results that were associated with the 2005 and 2011 International Comparison Program. They conclude that PPPs for consumption for countries in Asia (excluding Japan) and Africa were overstated by between 20 and 30 percent in the 2005 report, which has implications for the measurement of inequality and consumption growth.

3 July 2014

The Revolving Door in Banking Regulation

David Lucca, Amit Seru, and Francesco Trebbi find that the flow of federal and state banking regulators from government positions to the private sector is countercyclical, driven primarily by higher outflows during economic booms. The duration of job spells is shorter in the regulatory sector than in the private sector. The results support a "regulatory schooling" model of worker career paths.

2 July 2014

Tracking the Effects of Unconventional Monetary Policy

Gabriel Chodorow-Reich finds that "unconventional monetary policy," which begin in the winter of 2008-9, raised the market value of banks and life insurance companies by increasing the value of legacy assets. He also finds evidence of "reaching for yield" among some money market funds and defined benefit pension funds during the 2009-2011 period.

1 July 2014

The Impact of Joining a Credit Union on Prices: Evidence from Latvia

Alberto Cavallo, Brent Neiman, and Roberto Rigobon use high-frequency data on individual product prices to study how Latvia's decision to drop its pegged exchange rate and join the euro zone affected prices. They find that price dispersion between Latvia and euro zone countries collapsed swiftly following entry to the euro. The percentage of goods with nearly identical prices in Latvia and Germany increased from 6 percent to 89 percent.

30 June 2014

Monetary Policy "Surprises" and Economic Activity

Mark Gertler and Peter Karadi identify U.S. monetary policy shocks using both vector autoregression (VAR) and high-frequency identification (HFI) methods. They find that monetary policy surprises lead to modest movements in short-term interest rates, which in turn result in large movements in credit costs and economic activity. The large movements in credit costs are mainly due to the reaction of both term premia and credit spreads, channels that are typically absent from the standard model of monetary policy transmission.

27 June 2014

Snow Days and Student Achievement

Joshua Goodman studies detailed student attendance and achievement data from Massachusetts and finds that while individual student absences are negatively related to achievement on state-wide tests in mathematics and English, but that school-wide absences associated with snow days are not. The results suggest that teachers can deal relatively well with coordinated disruptions of instructional time, relative to idiosyncratic disruptions.

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