NBER Working Papers by Yueran Ma

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Working Papers

February 2016What is Different About Urbanization in Rich and Poor Countries? Cities in Brazil, China, India and the United States
with Juan Pablo Chauvin, Edward Glaeser, Kristina Tobio: w22002
Are the well-known facts about urbanization in the United States also true for the developing world? We compare American metropolitan areas with comparable geographic units in Brazil, China and India. Both Gibrat’s Law and Zipf’s Law seem to hold as well in Brazil as in the U.S., but China and India look quite different. In Brazil and China, the implications of the spatial equilibrium hypothesis, the central organizing idea of urban economics, are not rejected. The India data, however, repeatedly rejects tests inspired by the spatial equilibrium assumption. One hypothesis is that the spatial equilibrium only emerges with economic development, as markets replace social relationships and as human capital spreads more widely. In all four countries there is strong evidence of agglomeration eco...
June 2015Expectations and Investment
with Nicola Gennaioli, Andrei Shleifer: w21260
Using micro data from Duke University quarterly survey of Chief Financial Officers, we show that corporate investment plans as well as actual investment are well explained by CFOs’ expectations of earnings growth. The information in expectations data is not subsumed by traditional variables, such as Tobin’s Q or discount rates. We also show that errors in CFO expectations of earnings growth are predictable from past earnings and other data, pointing to extrapolative structure of expectations and suggesting that expectations may not be rational. This evidence, like earlier findings in finance, points to the usefulness of data on actual expectations for understanding economic behavior.

Forthcoming: Expectations and Investment, Nicola Gennaioli, Yueran Ma, Andrei Shleifer. in NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2015, Volume 30, Eichenbaum and Parker. 2016

June 2013The Supply of Gender Stereotypes and Discriminatory Beliefs
with Edward L. Glaeser: w19109
What determines beliefs about the ability and appropriate role of women? An overwhelming majority of men and women born early in the 20th century thought women should not work; a majority now believes that work is appropriate for both genders. Betty Friedan (1963) postulated that beliefs about gender were formed by consumer good producers, but a simple model suggests that such firms would only have the incentive to supply error, when mass persuasion is cheap, when their products complement women's time in the household, and when individual producers have significant market power. Such conditions seem unlikely to be universal, or even common, but gender stereotypes have a long history. To explain that history, we turn to a second model where parents perpetuate beliefs out of a desire to...

Published: The Supply of Gender Stereotypes and Discriminatory Beliefs, Edward L. Glaeser, Yueran Ma. in Human Capital in History: The American Record, Boustan, Frydman, and Margo. 2014

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