NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Philipp Ager

Department of Business and Economics
University of Southern Denmark
Campusvej 55
5230 Odense M, Denmark

E-Mail: phag@sam.sdu.dk
Institutional Affiliations: University of Southern Denmark and CEPR

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2019How the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Shaped Economic Activity in the American West
with Katherine Eriksson, Casper Worm Hansen, Lars Lønstrup: w25727
This paper examines the long-run effects of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake on the spatial distribution of economic activity in the American West. Using variation in the potential damage intensity of the earthquake, we show that more severely affected cities experienced lower population increases relative to less affected cities until the late 20th century. This long lasting effect is largely a result of individuals’ high geographical mobility at that time. Less affected areas became more attractive migration destinations in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, which permanently changed the spatial distribution of economic activity in the American West.
March 2019The Intergenerational Effects of a Large Wealth Shock: White Southerners After the Civil War
with Leah Platt Boustan, Katherine Eriksson: w25700
The nullification of slave-based wealth after the US Civil War (1861-65) was one of the largest episodes of wealth compression in history. We document that white southern households with more slave assets lost substantially more wealth by 1870 relative to households with otherwise similar pre-War wealth levels. Yet, the sons of these slaveholders recovered in income and wealth proxies by 1880, in part by shifting into white collar positions and marrying into higher status families. Their pattern of recovery is most consistent with the importance of social networks in facilitating employment opportunities and access to credit.
December 2016Killer Incentives: Status Competition and Pilot Performance during World War II
with Leonardo Bursztyn, Hans-Joachim Voth: w22992
A growing theoretical and empirical literature shows that public recognition can lead employees to exert greater effort. However, status competition is also associated with excessive expenditure on status goods, greater likelihood of bankruptcy, and more risk taking by money managers. This paper examines the effects of recognition and status competition jointly. In particular, we focus on the spillover effects of public recognition on the performance and risk taking of peers. Using newly collected data on monthly “victory” scores of more than 5,000 German pilots during World War II, we find that status competition had important effects: After the German armed forces bulletin mentioned the accomplishments of a particular fighter pilot, his former peers performed considerably better. This ou...
 
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