15 February 2017

Faculty Deployment in Research Universities

Paul N. Courant and Sarah Turner find that within departments at two major public research universities, the highest-paid faculty teach fewer undergraduate courses than their lower-paid colleagues, confirming the hypotheses that salaries are determined principally by research output and associated reputation and that universities respond rationally to relative prices in deploying faculty.

14 February 2017

Disability Benefits and Veterans' Employment Decisions

Expansion of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation program in 2001 increased program enrollment among older veterans. It also decreased labor force participation and induced a substantial switch from wage employment to self-employment, research by Courtney Coile, Mark Duggan, and Audrey Guo shows.

13 February 2017

College Scholarships for the Under-Represented:
Enrollment, Persistence, and Completion Projections

Randomly assigned scholarship offers to applicants to Nebraska’s public colleges and universities dramatically improved enrollment and retention, and projected graduation rates, for groups with historically low college attendance, according to research by Joshua Angrist, David Autor, Sally Hudson, and Amanda Pallais.

10 February 2017

Neighborhoods and Intergenerational Mobility

One-fifth of the black-white earnings gap can be explained by differences in poverty levels, income inequality, schools, and crime rates in the counties in which black and white children grow up, research by Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren shows. Most areas that generate better outcomes have high house prices, but there are some "opportunity bargains" – locales that generate good outcomes but are not very expensive.

9 February 2017

The Historical Evolution of the Wealth Distribution:
A Quantitative-Theoretic Investigation

The most important driver of the rise in wealth inequality in the U.S. over the last 30 years has been the significant drop in tax progressivity that started in the late 1970s and intensified during the early 1980s, according to a study by Joachim Hubmer, Per Krusell, and Anthony A. Smith, Jr.

8 February 2017

Variation in Instructor Effectiveness in Higher Education

Studying University of Phoenix instructors in an algebra course required for all BA degree programs, Pieter De Vlieger, Brian Jacob, and Kevin Stange find substantial differences in teacher effectiveness. Effectiveness grows modestly with course-specific teaching experience, but is unrelated to pay.

7 February 2017

Killer Incentives: Status Competition
and Pilot Performance during World War II

Using data on over 5,000 German pilots during World War II, Philipp Ager, Leonardo Bursztyn, and Hans-Joachim Voth find that when the daily bulletin of the German armed forces mentioned the accomplishments of a particular fighter pilot, the best pilots among his peers tried harder and scored more victories. Their survival rate was unaffected. Average pilots won only a few additional victories but died at a markedly higher rate.

6 February 2017

Evaluating the Gains from Economic Integration?
Evidence from U.S. Agriculture

Using data on crop markets in approximately 2,600 U.S. counties from 1880 to 1997, Arnaud Costinot and Dave Donaldson find that the long-run benefits from economic integration among U.S. agricultural markets were substantial and similar in magnitude to those due to productivity improvements.

3 February 2017

Distributional National Accounts:
Methods and Estimates for the United States

Average pre-tax national income per adult has increased 60 percent since 1980 but has stagnated for the bottom 50 percent of the distribution at about $16,000 a year, according to a study by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman. The pre-tax income of adults between the median and the 90th percentile of the income distribution has grown 40 percent since 1980, while incomes of those in the top decile have risen much faster.

2 February 2017

Willingness to Delay Social Security Claiming

Half of respondents in an experiment designed by Raimond Maurer and Olivia S. Mitchell would delay Social Security claiming in return for an incentive payment if no work requirement were in place, and 46 percent would do so if there were an incentive and a work requirement. In the former case, the average incentive needed to induce delayed claiming was about $60,400; when part-time work was required, the average was $66,700.
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