Market Access, Trade Costs, and Technology Adoption: Evidence from Northern Tanzania -- by Shilpa Aggarwal, Brian Giera, Dahyeon Jeong, Jonathan Robinson, Alan Spearot
In this paper, we quantify market access in rural Tanzania, and the extent to which it constrains agricultural productivity. We collect granular data on farmer input and sales decisions, input and output prices, and travel costs in all 1,183 villages in two regions of Tanzania. We find that a village in the 90th percentile of the travel-cost adjusted price distribution faces input and output prices 40-55% less favorable than a village at the 10th percentile. In reduced form, an additional standard deviation of travel time is associated with 20-25% lower input adoption and output sales. We develop and quantify a spatial model of input adoption and conservatively estimate that farmers behave as if they face travel costs of 6% ad-valorem per kilometer of travel, which is equivalent to 40% when traveling to the closest retailer. Holding exogenous local factors fixed, we estimate that reducing travel costs by 50% (approximately the effect of paving rural roads) doubles adoption and reduces the adoption-remoteness gradient by 18%.
The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers -- by Seth Gershenson, Cassandra M. D. Hart, Joshua Hyman, Constance Lindsay, Nicholas W. Papageorge
We examine the impact of having a same-race teacher on students' long-run educational attainment. Leveraging random student-teacher pairings in the Tennessee STAR class-size experiment, we find that black students randomly assigned to a black teacher in grades K-3 are 5 percentage points (7%) more likely to graduate from high school and 4 percentage points (13%) more likely to enroll in college than their peers in the same school who are not assigned a black teacher. We document similar patterns using quasi-experimental methods and statewide administrative data from North Carolina. To examine possible mechanisms, we provide a theoretical model that formalizes the notion of "role model effects" as distinct from teacher effectiveness. We envision role model effects as information provision: black teachers provide a crucial signal that leads black students to update their beliefs about the returns to effort and what educational outcomes are possible. Using testable implications generated by the theory, we provide suggestive evidence that role model effects help to explain why black teachers increase the educational attainment of black students.
We develop and estimate a joint model of the education and teacher-expectation production functions that identifies both the distribution of biases in teacher expectations and the impact of those biases on student outcomes via self-fulfilling prophecies. Our approach leverages a unique feature of a nationally representative dataset: two teachers provided their educational expectations for each student. Identification of causal effects exploits teacher disagreements about the same student, an idea we formalize using lessons from the measurement error literature. We provide novel, arguably causal evidence that teacher expectations affect students' educational attainment: Estimates suggest an elasticity of college completion with respect to teachers' expectations of about 0.12. On average, teachers are overly optimistic about students' ability to complete a four-year college degree. However, the degree of over-optimism of white teachers is significantly larger for white students than for black students. This highlights a nuance that is frequently overlooked in discussions of biased beliefs: less biased (i.e., more accurate) beliefs can be counterproductive if there are positive returns to optimism or if there are socio-demographic gaps in the degree of teachers' optimism; we find evidence of both.
Collateral Damage: The Impact of Foreclosures on New Home Mortgage Lending in the 1930s -- by Price Fishback, Sebastian Fleitas, Jonathan Rose, Kenneth Snowden
Foreclosures led to severe disruptions in home mortgage lending during the recent Great Recession and the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is difficult to measure these impacts in the modern market where origination, funding and servicing are separated within complex lending structures, but during the 1930s local building & loans (B&Ls) combined all three functions. We measure the impact of foreclosures on new mortgage lending using a panel of all B&Ls in 4 states. The foreclosure overhang explains about 30 percent of the drop in new mortgage lending by B&Ls as the housing crisis intensified between 1930 and 1935.
This paper shows that globalization has far-reaching implications for the economy's fertility rate and family structure because they influence work-life balance. Employing population register data on new births, marriages, and divorces together with employer-employee linked data for Denmark, we show that lower labor market opportunities due to Chinese import competition lead to a shift towards family, with more parental leave taking and higher fertility as well as more marriages and fewer divorces. This pro-family, pro-child shift is driven largely by women, not men. Correspondingly, the negative earnings implications of the rising import competition are concentrated on women, and gender earnings inequality increases. We show that the choice of market versus family is a major determinant of worker adjustment costs to labor market shocks. While older workers respond to the shock rather similarly whether female or not, for young workers the fertility response takes away the adjustment advantage they typically have-if the worker is a woman. We find that the female biological clock-women have difficulties to conceive beyond their early forties-is central for the gender differential, rather than the composition of jobs and workplaces, as well as other potential causes.
The Short-Run Effects of GDPR on Technology Venture Investment -- by Jian Jia, Ginger Zhe Jin, Liad Wagman
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in the European Union in May 2018. We study its short-run impact on investment in new and emerging technology firms. Our findings indicate negative post-GDPR effects on EU ventures, relative to their US counterparts. The negative effects manifest in the overall dollar amounts raised across funding deals, the number of deals, and the dollar amount raised per individual deal.
Accounting for Firm Heterogeneity within U.S. Industries: Extended Supply-Use Tables and Trade in Value Added using Enterprise and Establishment Level Data -- by James J. Fetzer, Tina Highfill, Kassu W. Hossiso, Thomas F. Howells, III, Erich H. Strassner, Jeffrey A. Young
This paper presents experimental tables created by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis comparing industry-specific shares of the components of total output of globally engaged firms located in the United States that are part of a multinational enterprise with those of firms that are part of an enterprise entirely located in the United States. Recent research has shown both the importance of accounting for trade in value added when estimating bilateral trade flows and that multinational enterprises located in the United States account for the lion's share of U.S. trade in goods and services. However, trade in value added is typically accounted for using input-output tables that are aggregated across all types of firms. The experimental tables are consistent with other research showing that value added as a share of output is lower for foreign-owned firms compared with domestic-owned firms and that exports and imports as a share of output is larger for foreign-owned firms. We also find heterogeneity in the composition of output among different types of domestic-owned firms. Future work will analyze this heterogeneity in more detail using establishment-level data on production and trade.
Social Security Programs and Employment at Older Ages in the Netherlands -- by Klaas de Vos, Arie Kapteyn, Adriaan Kalwij
There have been a vast number of social security reforms aimed at increasing employment at older ages over the last two decades in the Netherlands. These reforms mainly lead to more stringent eligibility criteria for, and reduced generosity of, social security programs. Our empirical evidence suggests that these reforms are likely to have contributed to individuals working longer, but it is difficult to pinpoint which reforms have been most effective. Furthermore, we show that the recent increase in the state pension eligibility age is likely to further increase employment at older ages.
Market power arises in the case where a seller is aware that raising output will depress price. In the profit-maximizing equilibrium with market power, price exceeds marginal cost. The Lerner index---the ratio of price less marginal cost to the price---is a widely accepted measure of market power. Measuring marginal cost is a challenge. This paper develops and applies a direct empirical approach---marginal cost is measured as the ratio of the observed change in cost to the observed change in output. Because marginal cost is a partial derivative, both changes need to be adjusted for other sources of change. Thus marginal cost is the ratio of (1) the change in cost not associated with changes in input prices to (2) the change in output not associated with productivity change. I develop data for the 60 KLEMS industries for this measure. I find a typical Lerner index of 0.15. Lerner indexes grew moderately between 1988 and 2015.
Cyclical patterns in earnings can arise when contracts between firms and their workers are incomplete, and when workers cannot borrow or lend so as to smooth their consumption. Earnings cycles generate occasional large changes in earnings, consistent with some recent empirical findings. At the calibrated parameter values, financial constraints promote investment in reputation - an intangible capital form - in contrast to their documented inhibiting effect on investment in tangible capital.
Who Profits from Patents? Rent-Sharing at Innovative Firms -- by Patrick Kline, Neviana Petkova, Heidi Williams, Owen Zidar
This paper analyzes how patent-induced shocks to labor productivity propagate into worker compensation using a new linkage of US patent applications to US business and worker tax records. We infer the causal effects of patent allowances by comparing firms whose patent applications were initially allowed to those whose patent applications were initially rejected. To identify patents that are ex-ante valuable, we extrapolate the excess stock return estimates of Kogan et al. (2017) to the full set of accepted and rejected patent applications based on predetermined firm and patent application characteristics. An initial allowance of an ex-ante valuable patent generates substantial increases in firm productivity and worker compensation. By contrast, initial allowances of lower ex-ante value patents yield no detectable effects on firm outcomes. Patent allowances lead firms to increase employment, but entry wages and workforce composition are insensitive to patent decisions. On average, workers capture roughly 30 cents of every dollar of patent-induced surplus in higher earnings. This share is roughly twice as high among workers present since the year of application. These earnings effects are concentrated among men and workers in the top half of the earnings distribution, and are paired with corresponding improvements in worker retention among these groups. We interpret these earnings responses as reflecting the capture of economic rents by senior workers, who are most costly for innovative firms to replace.
Heterogeneous Environmental and Grid Benefits from Rooftop Solar and the Costs of Inefficient Siting Decisions -- by Steven E. Sexton, A. Justin Kirkpatrick, Robert Harris, Nicholas Z. Muller
Federal and state policies in the U.S. subsidize electricity generation from 1.4 million rooftop solar arrays because of pollution avoidance benefits and grid congestion relief. Yet because these benefits vary across the U.S. according to solar irradiance, technologies of electricity generators, and grid characteristics, the value of these benefits, and, consequently, the optimal subsidy, are largely unknown. Policy, therefore, is unlikely to have induced efficient solar investments. This paper (1) provides the first systematic, theoretically consistent, and empirically valid estimates of pollution damages avoidable by solar capacity in each U.S. zip code, (2) relates these external benefits to subsidy levels in each U.S. state, and (3) estimates the share of these benefits that spillover to other states. It also measures the energy value of capacity across the U.S. and the value of transmission congestion relief in California. Environmental benefits are shown to vary considerably across the U.S., and to largely spillover to neighboring states. Subsidy levels are essentially uncorrelated with environmental benefits contributing to installed capacity that sacrifices approximately $1 billion per year in environmental benefits. Energy value is estimated to vary less than environmental benefits, while California rooftop solar is shown to generate no congestion relief.