NBER Working Papers and Publications by Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln

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January 2016How do Hours Worked Vary with Income? Cross-Country Evidence and Implications
with Alexander Bick, David Lagakos: w21874
This paper builds a new internationally comparable database of hours worked to measure how hours vary with income across and within countries. We document that average hours worked per adult are substantially higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries. The pattern of decreasing hours with income holds for both men and women, for adults of all ages and education levels, and along both the extensive and intensive margin. Within countries, hours worked per employed are also decreasing in the individual wage for most countries, though in the richest countries, hours worked are flat or increasing in the wage. Our findings imply that aggregate productivity and welfare differences across countries are larger than currently thought.
June 2015Natural Experiments in Macroeconomics
with Tarek Alexander Hassan: w21228
A growing literature relies on natural experiments to establish causal effects in macroeconomics. In diverse applications, natural experiments have been used to verify underlying assumptions of conventional models, quantify specific model parameters, and identify mechanisms that have major effects on macroeconomic quantities but are absent from conventional models. We discuss and compare the use of natural experiments across these different applications and summarize what they have taught us about such diverse subjects as the validity of the Permanent Income Hypothesis, the size of the fiscal multiplier, and about the effects of institutions, social structure, and culture on economic growth. We also outline challenges for future work in each of these fields, give guidance for identifying u...
June 2009Inequality Trends for Germany in the Last Two Decades: A Tale of Two Countries
with Dirk Krueger, Mathias Sommer: w15059
In this paper we first document inequality trends in wages, hours worked, earnings, consumption, and wealth for Germany from the last twenty years. We generally find that inequality was relatively stable in West Germany until the German unification (which happened politically in 1990 and in our data in 1991), and then trended upwards for wages and market incomes, especially after about 1998. Disposable income and consumption, on the other hand, display only a modest increase in inequality over the same period. These trends occured against the backdrop of lower trend growth of earnings, incomes and consumption in the 1990s relative to the 1980s. In the second part of the paper we further analyze the differences between East and West Germans in terms of the evolution of levels and inequality...


  • Nicola Fuchs-Schuendeln & Dirk Krueger & Mathias Sommer, 2009. "Code and data files for "Inequality Trends for Germany in the Last Two Decades: A Tale of Two Countries"," Computer Codes 09-195, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  • Nicola Fuchs-Schuendeln & Dirk Krueger & Mathias Sommer, 2010. "Inequality Trends for Germany in the Last Two Decades: A Tale of Two Countries," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 103-132, January. citation courtesy of

October 2005Good bye Lenin (or not?): The Effect of Communism on People's Preferences
with Alberto Alesina: w11700
Preferences for redistribution, as well as the generosities of welfare states, differ significantly across countries. In this paper, we test whether there exists a feedback process of the economic regime on individual preferences. We exploit the "experiment" of German separation and reunification to establish exogeneity of the economic system. From 1945 to 1990, East Germans lived under a Communist regime with heavy state intervention and extensive redistribution. We find that, after German reunification, East Germans are more in favor of redistribution and state intervention than West Germans, even after controlling for economic incentives. This effect is especially strong for older cohorts, who lived under Communism for a longer time period. We further find that East Germans' preferences...

Published: Alesina, Alberto and Nicola Fuchs-Schuendeln. “Good Bye Lenin (or not?) – The Effect of Communism on People’s Preferences.” American Economic Review 97 (September 2007): 1507-1528.

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