16.4.14

Diabetes and Labor Income

From a new paper by Xiaoou Liu & Chen Zhu: 
This paper analyzes the impact of diabetes awareness on labor income using data from a natural experiment in China. We find that diabetes in general leads to a 17.8% decrease in annual income after respondents being diagnosed, and the adverse impact is heterogeneous across different populations. Males and individuals with lower income are affected more, suggesting that social support may be necessary. The estimated income losses are primarily due to psychosocial consequences of diabetes, such as reduced productivity, diabetes-related distress, or discrimination in the workplace.

3.4.14

Germany: From Sick Man of Europe to Economic Superstar

Germany lost on average 11 days of work each year per 1,000 employees by strikes and lock-outs between 1991 and 1999, but only five days per 1,000 employees between 2000 and 2007. These figures for the earlier and later time period compare to 40 and 32 days per 1,000 employees in the United States, 30 and 30 days in the United Kingdom, 73 and 103 days in France, 158 and 93 days in Italy, and 220 and 164 days in Canada (Lesch 2009). (p. 177).
That is from this very interesting article that I should use in an institutional economics class. The title is "From Sick Man of Europe to Economic Superstar: Germany’s Resurgent Economy."


2.4.14

The Violent Effects of Cocaine Supply Shortages in the Mexican Drug War

[In markets lacking third party enforcement]. . . scarcity increases unprotected revenue, meaning that violence increases as there are greater opportunities to prey on others and agents must resort to violence in order to avoid being preyed upon.
That is form this very interesting paper by Juan Camilo CastilloDaniel Mejia, & Pascual Restrepo . The argument is excellent.
The authors explain:
Using high frequency variation in the supply of cocaine generated by exogenous changes in Colombian enforcement, we find that violence increased in Mexico during months with supply shortages resulting from seizures in Colombia.
HT: Daniel Mejia

Women whose first child is a boy work less than women with first-born girls

Women whose first child is a boy work less than women with first-born girls. After a first-born boy the probability that women have more children increases. Higher fertility is a possible explanation for the lower labor supply of mothers.
The hypothesis is that a first-born boy increases marital stability. The paper is published here and a draft is here.  

Quantifying Some of the Impacts of Economics Blogs

The paper by McKenzie & Özler has been around for sometime, and it was recently published. The abstract:
Economics blogs represent a significant change in the way research on development economics is discussed and disseminated, yet little is known about the impact of this new medium. Using surveys of development researchers and practitioners, along with experimental and nonexperimental techniques, we try to quantify some of the blogs’ effects. We find that links from blogs cause a striking increase in the number of abstract views and downloads of economics papers. Furthermore, blogging raises the profile of the blogger and changes readers’ perceptions about his or her institution. Finally, we find some suggestive evidence that a blog can increase knowledge of the topics it covers for the average, but not the marginal, reader.

1.4.14

Long-Term Health Effects of Malaria

. . . Our findings suggest that people who were exposed to a high malaria risk around birth tend to have a higher likelihood of cardiovascular diseases and worse cognitive functions at old age.
That is from a paper about an interesting historical case in Taiwan. A draft is here.  

Financial Literacy and Rules of Thumb

Micro-entrepreneurs often lack the financial literacy required to make important financial decisions. We conducted a randomized evaluation with a bank in the Dominican Republic to compare the impact of two distinct programs: standard accounting training versus a simplified, rule-of-thumb training that taught basic financial heuristics. The rule-of-thumb training significantly improved firms' financial practices, objective reporting quality, and revenues. For micro-entrepreneurs with lower skills or poor initial financial practices, the impact of the rule-of-thumb training was significantly larger than that of the standard accounting training, suggesting that simplifying training programs might improve their effectiveness for less sophisticated individuals.
The rule-of-thumb training taught mainly to keep personal and business financial accounts separated, and also to include a fixed salary as a business expense. Those measures are important for the sustainability of the business and to prevent capital depletion. 
The paper is by Alejandro Drexler, Greg Fischer & Antoinette Schoar. A draft is here

Open Access Journals in Economics

These results suggest that a paradigm shift toward OA [Open Access] in the immediate future is fairly unlikely. Still, there are certain factors which might alter (and even invert) this trend. First of all, scientific communities and departments could trigger self-enforcing prophecies and enact policies designed to enhance the perception of OA journals. Second, the fact that universities increasingly struggle to pay for costly journal subscriptions could become a rallying point for redirecting academics’choices, both as authors and as readers, towards the new OA publications. Our empirical findings show that familiarity with OA journals in effect increases the probability of submitting papers to them. In this respect, we note the interesting case of associate professors who, as siblings of OA journals, are more likely to submit their work to them. An important help in catalysing change might come from emerging countries, where OA journals are more favourably perceived. As such nations come to play a larger role in the academic community, they could become the main supporters of OA. (p. 27-28). 
That is from this paper by Matteo Migheli and Giovanni B. Ramello. The title is "Open Access Journals & Academics’ Behaviour."
 HT: Jonas Holmström

31.3.14

Unemployment and Rape

. . . this paper shows the existence of a positive relationship between unemployment and rape. (p. 14).
That is from this paper by Raul Caruso. The paper has other interesting conclusions, and the data is from Europe.  
HT: Eve-Angeline Lambert.

26.3.14

Bowling for fascism: social capital and the rise of the Nazi Party

Social capital is often associated with desirable political and economic outcomes. This paper contributes to a growing literature on its "dark side". We examine the role of social capital in the downfall of democracy in interwar Germany. We analyze Nazi Party entry in a cross-section of cities, and show that dense networks of civic associations such as bowling clubs, choirs, and animal breeders went hand-in-hand with a rapid rise of the Nazi Party. Towns with one standard deviation higher association density saw at least one-third faster entry. All types of associations – veteran associations and non-military clubs, “bridging” and “bonding” associations – positively predict NS Party entry. Party membership, in turn, predicts electoral success. These results suggest that social capital aided the rise of the Nazi movement that ultimately destroyed Germany’s first democracy. We also show that the effects of social capital were more important in the starting phase of the Nazi movement, and in towns less sympathetic to its message.
That is the abstract of this paper by Shanker Satyanath, Nico Voigtländer, & Hans-Joachim Both.
From the conclusions:

Why is social capital associated with benign outcomes in some contexts, but not in others? We examine political differences within Germany to answer this question. Weimar Germany’s institutions did not work well – governments were weak and short-lived, economic policy often failed, and extremist parties blossomed (Bracher 1978). At the same time, the state of Prussia was a bastion of well-functioning republican institutions. There, the “Weimar coalition” reigned without interruption from 1919 to 1932. Politicians from the middle governed, and their defense of democracy was vigorous (Orlow 1986). In Prussia, the link between association density and Nazi Party entry was much weaker than in the rest of the country. This suggests that the effects of social capital depend on the institutional context; where democratic politics on the whole “worked”, more social capital was not associated with more Nazi Party entry. (p. 29) 
HT: Fabio Sabatini

24.3.14

Malnutrition and sanitation facilities

. . . [O]ne underlying determinant had a major impact in the prevalence of malnutrition: improved sanitation facilities. 
That is the conclusion of a paper by Emely García, she wrote it when she was an undergrad student in my health econ class. 

Undergraduate research is a challenge and a great opportunity.