Behavioral Effects of Student Loan Repayment Plan Options on Borrowers' Career Decisions: Theory and Experimental Evidence -- by Katharine G. Abraham, Emel Filiz-Ozbay, Erkut Y. Ozbay, Lesley J. Turner
We study the effects of available student loan repayment plans on borrowers' career choices. By removing the risk of loan default, income driven repayment (IDR) plans make higher-paying but riskier jobs more attractive to those with moderate skill levels. We present experimental evidence that student loan recipients consider the repayment plans offered to them as well as the plans available to other borrowers as a reference in their evaluations of loans and careers. Emotions such as regret over a choice that turns out to be suboptimal ex post and relief at being unburdened from having to make a choice that could turn out badly play significant roles in borrowers' career choices. Compared to giving borrowers a choice between a standard loan repayment plan that requires a fixed amount to be repaid over a shorter period and an IDR plan that protects borrowers from default by linking payments to income, offering only the IDR plan generates notable benefits. Removing the standard plan from borrowers' choice sets makes remunerative but risky careers more appealing to borrowers and raises their expected net income. Moreover, these effects are strongest when borrowers holding different plans coexist in the population, as in this environment relief from the possibility of being exposed to a regret-triggering situation is most salient.
Reimbursement Rates for Primary Care Services: Evidence of Spillover Effects to Behavioral Health -- by Johanna Catherine Maclean, Chandler McClellan, Michael F. Pesko, Daniel Polsky
We study spillover effects of the largest ever increase in Medicaid primary care reimbursement rates on behavioral health and healthcare outcomes; mental illness, substance use disorders, and tobacco product use. Much of the variation in Medicaid reimbursement rates we leverage is attributable to a large federally mandated increase between 2013 and 2014 through the Affordable Care Act. We apply differences-in-differences models to survey data specifically designed to measure behavioral health outcomes over the period 2010 to 2016. We find that higher primary care Medicaid reimbursement rates improve behavioral health outcomes among enrollees. We find no evidence that behavioral healthcare service use is altered. Previous economic research shows that the mandated boost increased office visits. Thus our results suggest that primary care providers are efficient in improving behavioral health outcomes among Medicaid enrollees. Given established shortages of behavioral health providers, these findings are important from a healthcare workforce and policy perspective.
We examine competition amongst ridesharing platforms where firms compete by choosing both the price of rides and the extent of idleness. Idleness means drivers who are compensated without picking up passengers, instead acting to reduce passenger wait time. We show that when consumers are the only agents who multihome, idleness falls compared with when they face a monopoly ridesharing platform. When drivers and consumers multihome, idleness further falls to zero as it involves costs for each platform that are appropriated, in part, by their rival. Interestingly, socially superior outcomes may involve monopoly or competition under various multihoming regimes, depending on the density of the city, and the relative costs of idleness versus consumer disutility of waiting.
Large firms play a pivotal role in international trade, shaping the export patterns of countries. We propose and quantify a granular multi-sector model of trade, which combines fundamental comparative advantage across sectors with granular comparative advantage embodied in outstanding individual firms. We develop an SMM-based estimation procedure, which takes full account of the general equilibrium of the model, to jointly estimate these fundamental and granular forces using French micro-data with information on firm domestic and export sales across manufacturing industries. We find that granularity accounts for about 20% of the variation in realized export intensity across sectors, and is more pronounced in the most export-intensive sectors. In turn, idiosyncratic firm dynamics accounts for a large share of the evolution of a country's comparative advantage over time. Governments face strong incentives to target trade policy at large individual foreign exporters, and to use lenient antitrust regulation at home to substitute for beggar-thy-neighbor trade policy.
The relationship between venture capital and growth is examined using an endogenous growth model incorporating dynamic contracts between entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. At each stage of financing, venture capitalists evaluate the viability of startups. If viable, venture capitalists provide funding for the next stage. The success of a project depends on the amount of funding. The model is confronted with stylized facts about venture capital; viz., statistics by funding round concerning the success rates, failure rates, investment rates, equity shares, and IPO values. Raising capital gains taxation reduces growth and welfare.
Return Migrants' Self-selection: Evidence for Indian Inventor -- by Stefano Breschi, Francesco Lissoni, Ernest Miguelez
Based on an original dataset linking patent data and biographical information for a large sample of US immigrant inventors with Indian names and surnames, specialized in ICT technologies, we investigate the rate and determinants of return migration. For each individual in the dataset, we both estimate the year of entry in the United States, the likely entry channel (work or education), and the permanence spell up to either the return to India or right truncation. By means of survival analysis, we then provide exploratory estimates of the probability of return migration as a function of the conditions at migration (age, education, patenting record, migration motives, and migration cohort) as well as of some activities undertaken while abroad (education and patenting). We find both evidence of negative self-selection with respect to educational achievements in the US and of positive self-selection with respect to patenting propensity. Based on the analysis of time-dependence of the return hazard ratios, return work migrants appear to be negatively self-selected with respect to unobservable skills acquired abroad, while evidence for education migrants is less conclusive.
Escalation of Scrutiny: The Gains from Dynamic Enforcement of Environmental Regulations -- by Wesley Blundell, Gautam Gowrisankaran, Ashley Langer
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses a dynamic approach to environmental enforcement for air pollution, with repeat offenders subject to high fines and designation as high priority violators (HPV). We estimate the benefits of dynamic monitoring and enforcement by developing and estimating a dynamic model of a plant and regulator, where plants decide when to invest in pollution abatement technologies. We use a fixed grid approach to estimate random coefficient specifications. Investment, fines, and HPV designation are very costly to most plants. Eliminating dynamic enforcement would have large adverse impacts on the number of high priority violators and pollutants emitted.
The outcome of any important macroeconomic policy change is the net effect of forces operating on different parts of the economy. A central challenge facing policy makers is how to assess the relative strength of those forces. Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) models are the leading framework that macroeconomists have for dealing with this challenge in an open and transparent manner. This paper reviews the state of DSGE models before the financial crisis and how DSGE modelers responded to the crisis and its aftermath. In addition, we discuss the role of DSGE models in the policy process.
Peer Effects in Water Conservation: Evidence from Consumer Migration -- by Bryan Bollinger, Jesse Burkhardt, Kenneth Gillingham
Social interactions are widely understood to influence consumer decisions in many choice settings. This paper identifies causal peer effects in water conservation during the growing season, utilizing variation from consumer migration. We use machine learning to classify high-resolution remote sensing images to provide evidence that conversion to dry landscaping underpins the peer effects in water consumption. We also provide evidence that without a price signal, peer effects are muted, demonstrating a complementarity between information transmission and prices. These results inform water use policy in many areas of the world threatened by recurring drought conditions.
Compensation of most US public school teachers is rigid and solely based on seniority. This paper studies a 2011 reform that gave school districts in Wisconsin full autonomy to redesign teacher pay schemes. I show that, following the reform, some districts switched to flexible compensation and started paying high-quality teachers more. Teacher quality increased in these districts relative to those with seniority pay, due to a change in workforce composition and an increase in effort. I estimate a structural model of this labor market to investigate the effects of alternative pay schemes on the composition of the teaching workforce.
We develop a new approach for estimating average treatment effects in the observational studies with unobserved cluster-level heterogeneity. The previous approach relied heavily on linear fixed effect specifications that severely limit the heterogeneity between clusters. These methods imply that linearly adjusting for differences between clusters in average covariate values addresses all concerns with cross-cluster comparisons. Instead, we consider an exponential family structure on the within-cluster distribution of covariates and treatments that implies that a low-dimensional sufficient statistic can summarize the empirical distribution, where this sufficient statistic may include functions of the data beyond average covariate values. Then we use modern causal inference methods to construct flexible and robust estimators.
After adjusting for sample-selection bias, I find a net decline in average stature of 0.64 inches in the birth cohorts of 1832--1860 in the US. This result supports the veracity of the Antebellum Puzzle--a deterioration of health during early modern economic growth in the US. However, this adjustment alters the trend in average stature, validating concerns over bias in the historical heights literature. The adjustment is based on census-linked military height data and uses a two-step semi-parametric sample-selection model to adjust for selection on observables and unobservables.