Asset Prices and Corporate Responses to Bank of Japan ETF Purchases -- by Ben Charoenwong, Randall Morck, Yupana Wiwattanakantang
Since 2010, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) has purchased stocks to boost domestic firms' valuations to increase GDP growth. The stock return elasticity with respect to BOJ purchases relative to the previous month's market cap is around 2 and increases across longer horizons. Over one quarter, BOJ share purchases worth 1% of assets correspond to an increase of 1% in share valuation and a .27% increase in assets. Consistent with elevated valuations letting firms "cash out," BOJ share purchases predict equity issuances and fewer stock buybacks. However, less than 9% of increased assets reflect net tangible capital investments, whereas cash and short-term investments account for over 50%. This unconventional monetary stimulus thus boosts share prices but is largely not transmitted into real investment growth.
Understanding the Correlation between Alzheimer's Disease Polygenic Risk, Wealth, and the Composition of Wealth Holdings -- by Su H. Shin, Dean R. Lillard, Jay Bhattacharya
We investigate how the genetic risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease (AD) relates to saving behavior. Using nationally representative data from the 1992-2014 Health and Retirement Study (HRS), we find that genetic predisposition for AD correlates with, but is not causally related to older individuals' wealth holdings. People with higher Alzheimer's Disease polygenic risk score (PGS) hold roughly 9 percent more wealth in CDs (hands-off assets) and around 11 percent, 15 percent, and 7 percent less wealth in stocks, IRAs, and other financial assets (hands-on assets) respectively. We explore three hypotheses that could explain these correlations. We hypothesize that people with high risk of AD choose different portfolios because: (i) they know their polygenic risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease and related dementia, (ii) they have lower cognitive capacity, and (iii) the genome-wide association studies (GWAS) process that generated the Alzheimer's Disease PGS failed to fully account for the aging process. Our extended model results do not support the first two hypotheses. Consistent with the third hypothesis, the interaction between age and the Alzheimer's Disease PGS explains the correlation between genetic traits and asset holdings.
Effects of Maternal Work Incentives on Adolescent Social Behaviors -- by Dhaval M. Dave, Hope Corman, Ariel Kalil, Ofira Schwartz-Soicher, Nancy Reichman
This study exploits variations in the timing of welfare reform implementation in the U.S. in the 1990s to identify plausibly causal effects of welfare reform on a range of social behaviors of the next generation as they transition to adulthood. We focus on behaviors that are important for socioeconomic and health trajectories, estimate effects by gender, and explore potentially mediating factors. Welfare reform had no favorable effects on any of the youth behaviors examined and led to decreased volunteering among girls, increases in skipping school, damaging property, and fighting among boys, and increases in smoking and drug use among both boys and girls, with larger effects for boys (e.g., ~6% for boys compared to 4% for girls for any substance use). Maternal employment, supervision, and child's employment explain little of the effects. Overall, the intergenerational effects of welfare reform on adolescent behaviors were unfavorable, particularly for boys, and do not support longstanding arguments that limiting cash assistance leads to responsible behavior in the next generation. As such, the favorable effects of welfare reform for women may have come at a cost to the next generation, particularly to boys who have been falling behind girls in high school completion for decades.
We propose a test for the identifying assumptions invoked in designs based on random assignment to one of many "judges.'' We show that standard identifying assumptions imply that the conditional expectation of the outcome given judge assignment is a continuous function with bounded slope of the judge propensity to treat. The implication leads to a two-part test that generalizes the Sargan-Hansen overidentification test and assesses whether implied treatment effects across the range of judge propensities are possible given the domain of the outcome. We show the asymptotic validity of the testing procedure, demonstrate its finite-sample performance in simulations, and apply the test in an empirical setting examining the effects of pre-trial release on defendant outcomes in Miami. When the assumptions are not satisfied, we propose a weaker average monotonicity assumption under which IV still converges to a proper weighted average of treatment effects.
We study the evolution of super star firms in the U.S. economy over the past 60 years. Contrary to common wisdom, super stars firms have not become larger, have not become more productive, and the contribution of star firms to aggregate U.S. productivity growth has fallen by more than one third since 2000.
A Panel-based Proxy for Gun Prevalence in the US -- by Daniel Cerqueira, Danilo Santa Cruz Coelho, John J. Donohue, Marcelo Fernandes, Jony Arrais Pinto Jr.
There is a consensus that the proportion of suicides committed with a firearm is the best proxy for gun ownership prevalence. Cerqueira et al. (2108) exploit the socioeconomic characteristics of suicide victims in order to develop a new and more refined proxy. It is based on the fixed effects of the victim's place of residence estimated from a discrete choice model for the likelihood of committing suicide with gun. We empirically assess this new indicator using gun ownership data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and suicide registers of the US National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) from 1995 through 2004. We demonstrate that this new gun proxy provides significant gains in correlation with the percentage of households with firearms.
Ten Years after the Financial Crisis: What Have We Learned from the Renaissance in Fiscal Research? -- by Valerie A. Ramey
This paper takes stock of what we have learned from the "Renaissance" in fiscal research in the ten years since the financial crisis. I first summarize the new innovations in methodology and discuss the various strengths and weaknesses of the main approaches. Reviewing the estimates, I come to the surprising conclusion that the bulk of the estimates for average spending and tax change multipliers lie in a fairly narrow range, 0.6 to 1 for spending multipliers and -2 to -3 for tax change multipliers. However, I identify economic circumstances in which multipliers lie outside those ranges. I conclude by reviewing the debate on whether multipliers were higher on the stimulus spending in the U.S. and the fiscal consolidations in Europe.
Synthetic Difference In Differences -- by Dmitry Arkhangelsky, Susan Athey, David A. Hirshberg, Guido W. Imbens, Stefan Wager
We present a new perspective on the Synthetic Control (SC) method as a weighted least squares regression estimator with time fixed effects and unit weights. This perspective suggests a generalization with two way (both unit and time) fixed effects, and both unit and time weights, which can be interpreted as a unit and time weighted version of the standard Difference In Differences (DID) estimator. We find that this new Synthetic Difference In Differences (SDID) estimator has attractive properties compared to the SC and DID estimators. Formally we show that our approach has double robustness properties: the SDID estimator is consistent under a wide variety of weighting schemes given a well-specified fixed effects model, and SDID is consistent with appropriately penalized SC weights when the basic fixed effects model is misspecified and instead the true data generating process involves a more general low-rank structure (e.g., a latent factor model). We also present results that justify standard inference based on weighted DID regression. Further generalizations include unit and time weighted factor models.
Parenting decisions are among the most consequential choices people make throughout their lives. Starting with the work of pioneers such as Gary Becker, economists have used the toolset of their discipline to understand what parents do and how parents' actions affect their children. In recent years, the literature on parenting within economics has increasingly leveraged findings and concepts from related disciplines that also deal with parent-child interactions. For example, economists have developed models to understand the choice between various parenting styles that were first explored in the developmental psychology literature, and have estimated detailed empirical models of children's accumulation of cognitive and noncognitive skills in response to parental and other inputs. In this paper, we survey the economic literature on parenting and point out promising directions for future research.
Intergenerational Mobility in Africa -- by Alberto Alesina, Sebastian Hohmann, Stelios Michalopoulos, Elias Papaioannou
We examine intergenerational mobility (IM) in educational attainment in Africa since independence, using census data from 26 countries. First, we map and characterize the geography of IM. There is substantial variation both across and within countries with differences in literacy of the old generation being the strongest correlate of IM. Inertia is stronger for rural, as compared to urban, households and present for both boys and girls. Second, we explore the correlates of mobility across more than 2,800 regions. Colonial investments in the transportation network and missionary activity are associated with upward mobility. IM is also higher in regions close to the coast and national capitals as well as in rugged areas without malaria. Upward mobility is higher and downward mobility is lower in regions that were more developed at independence, with higher urbanization and employment in services and manufacturing. Third, we identify the effects of regions on educational mobility by exploiting within-family variation from children whose families moved during primary school age. While sorting is sizable, there are considerable regional exposure effects.
Born in the Family: Preferences for Boys and the Gender Gap in Math -- by Gaia Dossi, David N. Figlio, Paola Giuliano, Paola Sapienza
We study the correlation between parental gender attitudes and the performance in mathematics of girls using two different approaches and data. First, we identify families with a preference for boys by using fertility stopping rules in a population of households whose children attend public schools in Florida. Girls growing up in a boy-biased family score 3 percentage points lower on math tests when compared to girls raised in other families. Second, we find similar strong effects when we study the correlations between girls' performance in mathematics and maternal gender role attitudes, using evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. We conclude that socialization at home can explain a non-trivial part of the observed gender disparities in mathematics performance and document that maternal gender attitudes correlate with those of their children, supporting the hypothesis that preferences transmitted through the family impact children behavior.
Concerns that technological progress degrades job opportunities have been expressed over much of the last two centuries by both professional economists and the general public. These concerns can be seen in narratives both in scholarly publications and in the news media. Part of the expressed concern about jobs has been about the potential for increased economic inequality. But another part of the concern has been about a perceived decline in job quality in terms of its effects on monotony vs creativity of work, individual sense of identity, power to act independently, and meaning of life. Public policy should take account of both of these concerns, inequality and job quality.