Effects of Access to Legal Same-Sex Marriage on Marriage and Health: Evidence from BRFSS -- by Christopher Carpenter, Samuel T. Eppink, Gilbert Gonzales Jr., Tara McKay
We exploit variation in access to legal same-sex marriage (SSM) across states and time to provide novel evidence of its effects on marriage and health using data from the CDC BRFSS from 2000-2016, a period spanning the entire rollout of legal SSM across the United States. Our main approach is to relate changes in outcomes for individuals in same-sex households (SSH) [i.e., households with exactly two same-sex adults], which we show includes a substantial share of gay and lesbian couples, coincident with adoption of legal SSM in two-way fixed effects models. We find robust evidence that access to legal SSM significantly increased marriage take-up among men and women in SSH. We also find that legal SSM was associated with significant increases in health insurance, access to care, and utilization for men in SSH. Our results provide the first evidence that legal access to SSM improved health for adult gay men.
Firm Performance and Macro Forecast Accuracy -- by Mari Tanaka, Nicholas Bloom, Joel M. David, Maiko Koga
Ever since Keynes' famous quote about animal spirits, there has been an interest in linking firms' expectations and actions. However, empirical evidence has been limited due to a lack of firm-level panel data on expectations and outcomes. In this paper, we build such a dataset by combining a unique survey of Japanese firms' GDP forecasts with company accounting data for 25 years for over 1,000 large Japanese firms. We find four main results. First, firms' GDP forecasts are positively associated with their employment, investment, and output growth in the subsequent year. Second, both optimistic and pessimistic forecast errors lower profitability. Third, while over-optimistic forecasts lower measured productivity, over-pessimistic forecasts do not tend to have an effect on productivity. Overall, these results are stronger for firms whose performance is more sensitive to the state of macroeconomy. We show that a simple model of firm input choice under uncertainty and costly adjustment can rationalize there results. Finally, larger and more cyclically sensitive firms make more accurate forecasts, presumably reflecting a higher return to accuracy for these firms. More productive, older, and bank-owned firms also make more accurate forecasts, suggesting that forecasting ability is also linked to management ability, experience, and governance. Collectively, our results highlight the importance of firms' forecasting ability for micro and macro performance.
Early crowdfunding platforms were based on a premise of complete disintermediation from traditional experts. This approach becomes problematic when equity is involved because of asymmetric information between entrepreneurs and investors. Moreover, it favors regions that already attract a disproportionate share of capital offline. We find that the introduction of intermediaries through online syndicates reverses this trend, leading to a large 33% increase in capital flows to new regions. At the same time, this "democratization effect" relies on the presence of intermediaries with professional networks that can bridge these new regions with California. Evidence from a large-scale field experiment with over 26,000 investors corroborates the idea that social networks constitute a key friction to additional democratization, since they shape how online investors screen and evaluate intermediaries. Intermediaries use their reputation to vouch for high potential startups that would otherwise be misclassified because of information asymmetry. This allows them to arbitrage opportunities across regions and shift capital flows to startups from new regions that are 36.9% more likely to generate above median returns. We discuss implications for the design of equity crowdfunding platforms.
We develop a theory of trust in lending, distinguishing between trust and reputation, and use it to analyze the competitive interactions between banks and non-bank lenders (fintech firms). Trust enables lenders to have assured access to financing, whereas a loss of investor trust makes this access conditional on market conditions and lender reputation. Banks endogenously have stronger incentives to maintain trust. When borrower defaults erode trust in lenders, banks are able to survive the erosion of trust when fintech lenders do not. Trust is also asymmetric in nature--it is more difficult to gain it than to lose it.
The Biophysical and Economic Geographies of Global Climate Impacts on Agriculture -- by Uris Baldos, Thomas Hertel, Frances Moore
This paper explores the interplay between the biophysical and economic geographies of climate change impacts on agriculture. It does so by bridging the extensive literature on climate impacts on yields and physical productivity in global crop production, with the literature on the economic geography of climate change impacts. Unlike previous work in this area, instead of using a specific crop model or set of models, we instead employ a statistical meta-analysis which encompasses all studies available to the IPCC-AR5 report. This comprehensive approach to the assessment of the biophysical impacts of climate change has the added advantage of permitting us to isolate specific elements of the biophysical geography of climate impacts, such as the role of initial temperature, and differential patterns of warming across the globe. We combine these climate impact estimates with the GTAP model of global trade in order to estimate the national welfare changes which are decomposed into three components: the direct (biophysical impact) contribution to welfare, the terms of trade effect, and the allocative efficiency effect. We find that the terms of trade interact in a significant way with the biophysical geography of climate impacts. Specifically, when we remove the biophysical geography, the terms of trade impacts are greatly diminished. And when we allow the biophysical impacts to vary across the empirically-estimated uncertainty range, taken from the meta-analysis, we find that the welfare consequences are highly asymmetric, with much larger losses at the low end of the yield distribution than gains at the high end. Furthermore, by drawing on the estimated statistical distribution of trade elasticities, we are also able to explore the interplay between economic and biophysical uncertainties. Here, we find that regional welfare is most sensitive to extremely adverse yield outcomes in the presence of uncertainty in trade elasticities.
How Do Travel Costs Shape Collaboration? -- by Christian Catalini, Christian Fons-Rosen, Patrick Gaule
We develop a simple theoretical framework for thinking about how geographic frictions, and in particular travel costs, shape scientists' collaboration decisions and the types of projects that are developed locally versus over distance. We then take advantage of a quasi-experiment - the introduction of new routes by a low-cost airline - to test the predictions of the theory. Results show that travel costs constitute an important friction to collaboration: after a low-cost airline enters, the number of collaborations increases by 50%, a result that is robust to multiple falsification tests and causal in nature. The reduction in geographic frictions is particularly beneficial for high quality scientists that are otherwise embedded in worse local environments. Consistent with the theory, lower travel costs also endogenously change the types of projects scientists engage in at different levels of distance. After the shock, we observe an increase in higher quality and novel projects, as well as projects that take advantage of complementary knowledge and skills between sub-fields, and that rely on specialized equipment. We test the generalizability of our findings from chemistry to a broader dataset of scientific publications, and to a different field where specialized equipment is less likely to be relevant, mathematics. Last, we discuss implications for the formation of collaborative R&D teams over distance.
We leverage a large-scale incentivized survey eliciting behaviors from (almost) an entire university student population, a representative sample of the U.S. population, and Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to address concerns about the external validity of experiments with student participants. Behavior in the student population offers bounds on behaviors in other populations, and correlations between behaviors are largely similar across samples. Furthermore, non-student samples exhibit higher measurement error. Adding historical lab participation data, we find a small set of attributes over which lab participants differ from non-lab participants. Using an additional set of lab experiments, we see no evidence of observer effects.
Teacher collective bargaining is a highly debated feature of the education system in the US. This paper presents the first analysis of the effect of teacher collective bargaining laws on long-run labor market and educational attainment outcomes, exploiting the timing of passage of duty-tobargain laws across cohorts within states and across states over time. Using American Community Survey data linked to each respondent's state of birth, we examine labor market outcomes and educational attainment for 35-49 year olds, separately by gender. We find robust evidence that exposure to teacher collective bargaining laws worsens the future labor market outcomes of men: in the first 10 years after passage of a duty-to-bargain law, male earnings decline by $2,134 (or 3.93%) per year and hours worked decrease by 0.42 hours per week. The earnings estimates for men indicate that teacher collective bargaining reduces earnings by $213.8 billion in the US annually. We also find evidence of lower male employment rates, which is driven by lower labor force participation. Exposure to collective bargaining laws leads to reductions in the skill levels of the occupations into which male workers sort as well. Effects are largest among black and Hispanic men. Estimates among women are often confounded by secular trend variation, though we do find suggestive evidence of negative impacts among nonwhite women. Using data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we demonstrate that collective bargaining laws lead to reductions in measured non-cognitive skills among young men.
We provide a model of self-selection by candidates in a probabilistic voting environment to shed light on the forces shaping the quality of politicians from both the supply and demand sides of politics. The model highlights that the patterns of selection and the comparative statics of politician quality depend critically on how the costs of running for office vary for candidates with different qualities. The model offers predictions on how the quality of the political class will vary with key parameters pertaining to both the supply and demand for candidates. We use the model to frame a review of the empirical literature on political selection that has emerged in the last two decades. We contrast areas where significant progress has been made with others where important theoretical predictions remain untested or existing evidence does not allow a consensus, highlighting areas for future research.
Redistributing the Gains From Trade Through Progressive Taxation -- by Spencer G. Lyon, Michael E. Waugh
Should a nation's tax system become more progressive as it opens to trade? Does opening to trade change the benefits of a progressive tax system? We answer these question within a standard incomplete markets model with frictional labor markets and Ricardian trade. Consistent with empirical evidence, adverse shocks to comparative advantage lead to labor income losses for import-competition-exposed workers; with incomplete markets, these workers are imperfectly insured and experience welfare losses. A progressive tax system is valuable, as it substitutes for imperfect insurance and redistributes the gains from trade. However, it also reduces the incentives for labor to reallocate away from comparatively disadvantaged locations. We find that optimal progressivity should increase with openness to trade with a ten percentage point increase in openness necessitating a five percentage point increase in marginal tax rates for those at the top of the income distribution.
Making Policies Matter: Voter Responses to Campaign Promises -- by Cesi Cruz, Philip Keefer, Julien Labonne, Francesco Trebbi
Can campaign promises change voter behavior, even where clientelism and vote buying are pervasive? We elicit multidimensional campaign promises from political candidates in consecutive mayoral elections in the Philippines. Voters who are randomly informed about these promises rationally update their beliefs about candidates, along both policy and valence dimensions. Those who receive information about current promises are more likely to vote for candidates with policy promises closest to their own preferences. Those informed about current and past campaign promises reward incumbents who fulfilled their past promises; they perceive them to be more honest and competent. However, voters with clientelist ties to candidates respond weakly to campaign promises. A structural model allows us to disentangle information effects on beliefs and preferences by comparing actual incumbent vote shares with shares in counterfactual elections: both effects are substantial. Even in a clientelist democracy, counterfactual incumbent vote shares deviate more from actual shares when policy and valence play no role in campaigning than when vote-buying plays no role. Finally, a cost benefit analysis reveals that vote-buying is nevertheless more effective than information campaigns, explaining why candidates do not use them.
Revealed Growth: A Method for Bounding the Elasticity of Demand with an Application to Assessing the Antitrust Remedy in the Du Pont Decision -- by Wallace P. Mullin, Christopher M. Snyder
We propose a method for bounding the demand elasticity in growing, homogeneous-product markets that requires only minimal data--market price and quantity over a time span as short as two periods. Reminiscent of revealed-preference arguments using choices over time to bound the shape of indifference curves, we use shifts in the equilibrium over time to bound the shape of the demand curve under the assumption that growing demand curves do not cross. We apply the method to assess the effectiveness of the antitrust remedy in the 1952 Du Pont decision, ordering the incumbent manufacturers to license their patents for commercial plastics. Commentators have suggested that the incumbents may have preserved the monopoly outcome by gaming the licensing contracts. The upper bounds on demand elasticities that we compute are significantly less than 1 in many post-remedy years. Such inelastic demand is inconsistent with monopoly, suggesting the remedy may have been effective.