12 July 2018

Early Social Security Claiming and Old-Age Poverty

Reductions in the early entitlement age for Social Security enacted in 1961 lowered the average claiming age by 1.4 years. The actuarial adjustment to benefits associated with early claiming lowered Social Security income for male-headed families in retirement and was associated with a large rise in elderly poverty, Gary V. Engelhardt, Jonathan Gruber, and Anil Kumar find.

11 July 2018

Measuring Inflation in a World of E-Commerce

Based on millions of online transactions for products in many different categories, Austan D. Goolsbee and Peter J. Klenow estimate that between 2014 and 2017 online inflation was about 1 percentage point lower than CPI inflation in the same product categories.

10 July 2018

Global Portfolio Diversification for Long-Horizon Investors

The effect of an increase in the cross-country correlation of stock returns on the benefits of global diversification for long-term investors depends on why the correlations rise. An increase in the correlation of cash flow shocks raises the risk of a globally diversified portfolio at all horizons, while an increase in the correlation of discount rate shocks has a much more muted effect, according to Luis M. Viceira and Zixuan Wang.

9 July 2018

When Demand Increases Cause Shakeouts

Opening of new interstate highways between the 1960s and the 1980s were associated with increases in hotel employment, but decreases in the number of hotel firms operating in local areas, Thomas N. Hubbard and Michael J. Mazzeo find. This result illustrates the possibility that increases in product demand can change the competitive dynamics in an industry in a way that leads to a “shake out” of some firms.

6 July 2018

From Revolving Doors to Regulatory Capture?

Patent examiners are more likely to be hired by firms whose patent applications they approved, raising the possibility of regulatory capture, according to Haris Tabakovic and Thomas G. Wollmann. They suggest that forward-looking patent examiners may consequently issue lower quality patents, measured by numbers of citations.

5 July 2018

The Impact of Exports on Innovation in France

Positive export shocks spur innovation for high productivity firms, but may negatively affect innovation in low productivity firms, Philippe Aghion, Antonin Bergeaud, Matthieu Lequien, and Marc J. Melitz find in a study of French manufacturers.

3 July 2018

The Lifetime Medical Spending of Retirees

U.S. households headed by someone who is 70 years old will on average incur $122,000 in medical spending over their remaining lives, John Bailey Jones, Mariacristina De Nardi, Eric French, Rory McGee, and Justin Kirschner calculate. Five percent of households will spend over $300,000; 1 percent will spend more than $600,000.

2 July 2018

National Highways and Hinterland Cities in China

Studying the impact of China’s recently constructed national highway system on local economic outcomes, Nathaniel Baum-Snow, J. Vernon Henderson, Matthew A. Turner, Qinghua Zhang, and Loren Brandt find that, with improved access, regional population centers specialize more in manufacturing and services, while peripheral areas lose manufacturing but gain in agriculture.

29 June 2018

Unions and Inequality Over the 20th Century

Studying data on earnings and union density for the past 80 years, Henry S. Farber, Daniel Herbst, Ilyana Kuziemko, and Suresh Naidu find that unions have had an equalizing effect on the income distribution.

28 June 2018

How Effective is Energy-Efficient Housing?
Evidence from a Field Experiment in Mexico

In a field experiment in Mexico, provision of insulation and other energy-efficient upgrades had no detectable impact on residential electricity use or residents’ thermal comfort, Lucas W. Davis, Sebastian Martinez, and Bibiana Taboada report. This finding is partly due to relatively low air conditioner ownership.
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