29 August 2012

Health and Work at Older Ages

Kevin Milligan and David Wise try to unravel the mystery of why people are living longer and healthier lives but not necessarily working longer. They postulate that age-specific mortality rates are an indicator of health status, and therefore argue that men who have the same mortality rates in different years – but who are of different ages -- have similar capacity for work. After analyzing the employment rates of older men in a number of nations, they find that American men aged 55 to 69 in 2007 would have worked 3.7 years longer, on average, if they had worked as much as they did in 1977 at each mortality level. French men in 2007 would have worked 4.6 years longer, on average, if they had worked as much as American men at each level of mortality. In contrast, Japanese men work slightly more than American men, given levels of mortality.

28 August 2012

The Impact of Bilingual Education Programs

Texas requires school districts to offer bilingual education when they have at least 20 limited English proficient (LEP) students enrolled in a particular elementary grade and language. Using data from these districts, Aimee Chin, Meltem Daysal, and Scott Imberman find that bilingual education programs do not significantly affect the standardized test scores of students with Spanish as their home language but do have positive effects on their non-LEP peers.

27 August 2012

Revaluation of Targets after Merger Bids

Ulrike Malmendier, Marcus Opp, and Farzad Saidi collect data on all unsuccessful merger bids in the United States between 1980 and 2008 and document initial announcement effects of 15 percent for stock deals and 25 percent for cash deals. They then show that by the time of the deal's failure, the value of the target firms in stock transactions falls below its pre-announcement level while the value of the targets in cash deals remains about 15 percent above the pre-announcement level. These estimates imply that for the average cash deal completed during their sample period, approximately $78m (in 2010 dollars) is attributable to target revaluation rather than to the merger.

24 August 2012

When Does It Pay to Delay Social Security?

John Shoven and Sita Nataraj Slavov find that if real interest rates are close to zero, then most households – even those with mortality rates that are twice the average – benefit from some delay in taking Social Security benefits, at least for the primary earner. However, at real interest rates closer to their historical average, singles even with substantially greater than average mortality do not benefit from delay. Primary earners with high mortality, on the other hand, can still improve the present value of their household’s benefits through delay.

23 August 2012

Global Banks and Crisis Transmission

Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Elias Papaioannou, and Fabrizio Perri find that for 20 developed countries between 1978 and 2009, in periods without financial crises the increases in bilateral banking linkages were associated with more divergent output cycles. However, this relationship was significantly weaker during periods of financial turmoil, suggesting that financial crises induce co-movement among more financially integrated countries. The researchers also show that countries with stronger financial ties to the United States, whether direct or indirect, experienced cycles that were more synchronized with the United States during the 2007-9 downturn.

22 August 2012

Job Applications to Distressed Firms

Looking at jobs posted by 40 high-profile financial services firms to a job search platform between April 2008 and December 2009, Jennifer Brown and David Matsa find that firms attract significantly fewer applications per job opening during periods of firm-level financial distress. On average, about 20 percent fewer job seekers apply to a given position for each 10-percentage point increase in the firm’s probability of default. These effects are particularly evident in locations where workers have weaker protections against unemployment and for positions requiring advanced training.

21 August 2012

The Effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Infant Health

Hilary Hoynes, Doug Miller, and David Simon examine the impact of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on birth weight and the prevalence of low birth weight infants (weighing less than 2,500 grams), two widely used measures of infant health. They use data from U.S. Vital Statistics covering all births beginning in 1984, and look at the outcomes a few years before the 1986 expansion in the EITC, through the year 1998, and then a few years after the fully phased in 1993 expansion in the EITC. They find that for single mothers with less than a high school education, an increase of $1000 in EITC income is associated with a 6 to 10 percent reduction in low birth weight rate. The effects are even larger among African-American mothers.

20 August 2012

Effects of Federal Policies to Insure Young Adults

The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) required private health insurers to allow older dependent children to stay on their parents' policies until age 26. Using data covering the period from August 2008 to November 2011, Yaa Akosa Antwi, Asako Moriya, and Kosali Simon find the ACA substantially reduced a lack of insurance among young adults. They were about 30 percent more likely to be on their parents’ employer policies after the staggered implementation had begun in September 2010 than before the law was enacted. Increases in dependent coverage were greater for whites than non-whites, for single individuals than for married individuals, and for non-students relative to students.

17 August 2012

How Weather Affects the Car and Housing Markets

Meghan Busse, Devin Pope, Jaren Pope, and Jorge Silva-Risso analyze data on more than forty million vehicle transactions and four million housing purchases in order to estimate the effect of weather on purchasing decisions. They find that the decision to buy a convertible, a 4-wheel drive vehicle, or a vehicle with black exterior finish is highly dependent on the weather at the time of purchase. Similarly, what potential buyers say they would pay for having a swimming pool or central air in a house is higher when the house goes under contract in the summertime than in the wintertime.

16 August 2012

The Benefits of College Athletic Success

Michael Anderson gathered data on games played by all FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as “Division I-A”) college teams from 1986 to 2009 from the website, including data on the game’s date, the opponent, the score of each team, and the expected score differential between the two teams (known as the spread). He finds that having a winning team reduces acceptance rates and increases donations, applications, academic reputation, in-state enrollment, and incoming SAT scores.
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