11 December 2012
, Stelios Michalopoulos
, and Elias Papaioannou
combine linguistic maps on the spatial distribution of groups within countries with satellite images of light density at night to construct estimates of inequality in well-being (and/or public goods provision) across ethnic lines for a large number of countries. They find that ethnic inequality is weakly correlated with the standard measures of income inequality and is strongly negatively correlated with per capita GDP across countries. When they analyze within-country, across-district variation in 17 Sub-Saharan countries, along with household survey data, they find that those from the same ethnic group report worse living conditions, lower levels of formal education, and inadequate access to basic public goods when they reside in districts characterized with a higher degree of ethnic group inequality.
10 December 2012
Using unique data from a supplement to the Health and Retirement Study, Steven Haider
and Kathleen McGarry
find that parents appear to distribute college-based transfers relatively unequally across their children, typically contributing more to the education of older children than to their younger siblings. They find no evidence that parents use cash transfers later in life to offset these differences in college support.
7 December 2012
Since NAFTA took effect on January 1, 1994, trade between NAFTA members has increased considerably. Lorenzo Caliendo
and Fernando Parro
find that Mexico had the largest increase in exports and imports, followed by the United States and Canada. They estimate that 93 percent of the increase in Mexico's total trade-over-GDP ratio was a consequence of tariff reductions attributed to NAFTA.
6 December 2012
Between 1991 and 2011, gross interstate migration in the United States declined by about 50 percent. Greg Kaplan
and Sam Schulhofer-Wohl
suggest that this is because of a combination of two factors: 1) a reduction in the geographic specificity of returns to different types of skills -- that is, it now matters less where your job is than what your job is; and 2) an increase in workers' information about how much they will enjoy living in alternative locations -- it's easier to use information technology and less expensive to travel, so workers can learn about other locations before they move there.
5 December 2012
The U.S. military retirement system underwent substantial changes in 1986 with the passage of the Military Retirement Reform Act, and again in 2000 when key provisions of that bill were repealed. Jeff Smith
and Jim West
study rates of officer retention under more and less generous pension benefit regimes brought about by those changes and find that reductions in benefits significantly reduce the probability of officers remaining in the military. They estimate that a 20-percent reduction in the generosity of retirement benefits has roughly the same effect on the probability of remaining on active duty as a 0.27 percentage point reduction in the unemployment rate, or a roughly 2 percent increase in the GDP growth rate.