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12 июля, 05:11

Business in a Time of Spanish Influenza -- by Howard Bodenhorn

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Mandated shutdowns of nonessential businesses during the COVID-19 crisis brought into sharp relief the tradeoff between public health and a healthy economy. This paper documents the short-run effects of shutdowns during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, which provides a useful counterpoint to choices made in 2020. The 1918 closures were shorter and less sweeping, in part because the US was at war and the Wilson administration was unwilling to let public safety jeopardize the war’s prosecution. The result was widespread sickness, which pushed some businesses to shutdown voluntarily; others operated shorthanded. Using hand-coded, high-frequency data (mostly weekly) this study reports three principal results. First, retail sales declined during the three waves of the pandemic; manufacturing activity slowed, but by less than retail. Second, worker absenteeism due to either sickness or fear of contracting the flu reduced output in several key sectors and industries that were not ordered closed by as much as 10 to 20% in weeks of high excess mortality. Output declines were the result of labor-supply rather than demand shocks. And, third, mandated closures are not associated with increases in the number or aggregate dollar value of business failures, but the number and aggregate dollar value of business failures increased modestly in weeks of high excess mortality. The results highlight that the tradeoff between mandated closures and economic activity is not the only relevant tradeoff facing public health authorities. Economic activity also declines, sometimes sharply, during periods of unusually high influenza-related illness and excess mortality even absent mandated business closures.

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12 июля, 05:10

Older People are Less Pessimistic about the Health Risks of Covid-19 -- by Pedro Bordalo, Katherine B. Coffman, Nicola Gennaioli, Andrei Shleifer

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A central question for understanding behaviour during the Covid-19 pandemic, at both the individual and collective levels, is how people perceive the health and economic risks they face. We conducted a survey of over 1,500 Americans from May 6 – 13, 2020, to understand these risk perceptions. Here we report some preliminary results. Our most striking finding is that perceived personal health risks associated with Covid-19 fall sharply with age.

Выбор редакции
12 июля, 05:09

Competition Laws, Norms and Corporate Social Responsibility -- by Wenzhi Ding, Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Wensi Xie

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Theory offers differing perspectives and predictions about the impact of product market competition on corporate social responsibility (CSR). Using firm-level data on CSR from 2002 through 2015 and panel data on competition laws in 48 countries, we discover that intensifying competition induces firms to increase CSR activities. Analyses indicate that (a) intensifying competition spurs firms to invest more in CSR as a strategy for strengthening relationships with workers, suppliers, and customers and (b) the competition-CSR effect is stronger in economies where social norms prioritize CSR-type activities, e.g., treating others fairly, satisfying implicit agreements, protecting the environment, etc.

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12 июля, 05:09

Venture Capital’s Role in Financing Innovation: What We Know and How Much We Still Need to Learn -- by Josh Lerner, Ramana Nanda

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Venture capital is associated with some of the most high-growth and influential firms in the world. Academics and practitioners have effectively articulated the strengths of the venture model. At the same time, venture capital financing also has real limitations in its ability to advance substantial technological change. Three issues are particularly concerning to us: 1) the very narrow band of technological innovations that fit the requirements of institutional venture capital investors; 2) the relatively small number of venture capital investors who hold, and shape the direction of, a substantial fraction of capital that is deployed into financing radical technological change; and 3) the relaxation in recent years of the intense emphasis on corporate governance by venture capital firms. While our ability to assess the social welfare impact of venture capital remains nascent, we hope that this article will stimulate discussion of and research into these questions.

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12 июля, 05:08

U.S. Banks and Global Liquidity -- by Ricardo Correa, Wenxin Du, Gordon Y. Liao

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We characterize how U.S. global systemically important banks (GSIBs) supply short-term dollar liquidity in repo and foreign exchange swap markets in the post-Global Financial Crisis regulatory environment and serve as the "lenders-of-second-to-last-resort". Using daily supervisory bank balance sheet information, we find that U.S. GSIBs modestly increase their dollar liquidity provision in response to dollar funding shortages, particularly at period-ends, when the U.S. Treasury General Account balance increases, and during the balance sheet taper of the Federal Reserve. The increase in the dollar liquidity provision is mainly financed by reducing excess reserve balances at the Federal Reserve. Intra-firm transfers between depository institutions and broker-dealer subsidiaries within the same bank holding company are crucial to this type of "reserve-draining" intermediation. Finally, we discuss factors that contributed to the repo spike in September 2019 and the subsequent response of U.S. GSIBs to recent policy interventions by the Federal Reserve.

Выбор редакции
12 июля, 05:07

Variation in Health Care Prices Across Public and Private Payers -- by Toren L. Fronsdal, Jay Bhattacharya, Suzanne Tamang

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We study a unique all-payer data set spanning 38 states to examine the differences in inpatient reimbursement rates paid by traditional Medicare (TM), Medicare Advantage (MA), Medicaid, and private (under-65) insurers, and the differences in negotiated rates across the 60 largest private insurers. After controlling for enrollee and hospital mix, we find that private insurers pay 37 percent more than TM, and MA pays 10 percent more than TM for the five most common inpatient diagnoses. The correlation in risk-adjusted payments by private insurers and by TM at the same hospital for the same diagnosis is only 0.10. There is significant variation in negotiated prices within and across private payers. Among the five largest US insurers, the most expensive insurer negotiates prices that are 5-26 percent higher than the mean price for the 20 most common inpatient diagnoses. Additionally, we find a 10 percent increase in insurer market share corresponds to a 7 percent decrease in inpatient negotiated prices and a 10 percent decrease in the standard deviation of prices. This finding suggests that increased insurer market power allows payers to negotiate prospective payment contracts – rather than the more common fee-for-service payments – thereby offloading financial risk to providers.

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12 июля, 05:07

Choosing Technology: An Entrepreneurial Strategy Approach -- by Joshua S. Gans, Michael Kearney, Erin L. Scott, Scott Stern

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A central premise of research in the strategic management of innovation is that start-ups are able to leverage emerging technological trajectories as a source of competitive advantage. But, if the potential for a technology is given by the fundamental character of a given technological trajectory, then why does entrepreneurial strategy matter? Or, put another way, if the evolution of technology is largely shaped by the strategic choices entrepreneurs make, then why do technological trajectories exhibit systematic patterns such as the Technology S-curve? Taking a choice-based perspective, this paper illuminates the choices confronting a start-up choosing their technology by resolving the paradox of the Technology S-curve through a reformulation of the foundations of the Technology S-curve. Specifically, we reconceptualize the Technology S-curve not as a technological given but as an envelope of potential outcomes reflecting differing strategic choices by the entrepreneur in exploration versus exploitation. Taking this lens, we are able to clarify the role of technological uncertainty on start-up strategy, the impact of constraints on technological evolution, and how technology choice is shaped by the possibility of imitation. Our findings suggest that staged exploration may stall innovation as a result of the replacement effect, increasing the strategic importance of commitment.

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12 июля, 05:06

The Macroeconomic Impact of Europe’s Carbon Taxes -- by Gilbert E. Metcalf, James H. Stock

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Policy makers often express concern about the impact of carbon taxes on employment and GDP. Focusing on European countries that have implemented carbon taxes over the past 30 years, we estimate the macroeconomic impacts of these taxes on GDP and employment growth rates for various specifications and samples. Our point estimates suggest a zero to modest positive impact on GDP and total employment growth rates. More importantly, we find no robust evidence of a negative effect of the tax on employment or GDP growth. We examine evidence on whether the positive effects might stem from countries that used the carbon tax revenues to reduce other taxes; while the evidence is consistent with this view, it is inconclusive. We also consider the impact of the taxes on emission reductions and find a cumulative reduction on the order of 4 to 6 percent for a $40/ton CO2 tax covering 30% of emissions. We argue that reductions would likely be greater for a broad-based U.S. carbon tax since European carbon taxes do not include in the tax base those sectors with the lowest marginal costs of carbon pollution abatement.

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12 июля, 05:05

The Effect of Managers on Systematic Risk -- by Antoinette Schoar, Kelvin Yeung, Luo Zuo

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Tracking the movement of top managers across firms, we document the importance of manager-specific fixed effects in explaining heterogeneity in firm exposures to systematic risk. These differences in systematic risk are partially explained by managers’ corporate strategies, such as their preferences for internal growth and financial conservatism. Managers’ early-career experiences of starting their first job in a recession also contribute to differential loadings on systematic risk. These effects are more pronounced for smaller firms. Overall, our results suggest that managerial styles have important implications for asset prices.

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12 июля, 05:05

MPCs, MPEs and Multipliers: A Trilemma for New Keynesian Models -- by Adrien Auclert, Bence Bardóczy, Matthew Rognlie

We establish an impossibility result for New Keynesian models with a frictionless labor market: these models cannot simultaneously match plausible estimates of marginal propensities to consume (MPCs), marginal propensities to earn (MPEs), and fiscal multipliers. A HANK model with sticky wages provides a solution to this trilemma.

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12 июля, 05:04

Can Payroll Tax Cuts Help Firms During Recessions? -- by Youssef Benzarti, Jarkko Harju

This paper estimates the effect of payroll tax cuts on firm activity during economic downturns. We use two regional payroll tax cuts in Finland as well as the onset of the Great Recession to estimate the effect of the recession on firms treated by the payroll tax cuts compared to a similar control group. When implemented, prior to the Great Recession, we estimate that the payroll tax cuts had limited effects on firms located in the treated regions. However, when the recession starts, some of its negative effects were substantially hampered by the previously enacted payroll tax cuts in treated firms. These effects are exacerbated for men and low-skilled employees. We also find that sales and profits in treated firms respond differently in treated firms during the recession. This shows that payroll tax cuts can make firms more resilient during downturns.

Выбор редакции
12 июля, 05:03

Culture and Student Achievement: The Intertwined Roles of Patience and Risk-Taking -- by Eric A. Hanushek, Lavinia Kinne, Philipp Lergetporer, Ludger Woessmann

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Patience and risk-taking – two cultural traits that steer intertemporal decision-making – are fundamental to human capital investment decisions. To understand how they contribute to international differences in student achievement, we combine PISA tests with the Global Preference Survey. We find that opposing effects of patience (positive) and risk-taking (negative) together account for two-thirds of the cross-country variation in student achievement. In an identification strategy addressing unobserved residence-country features, we find similar results when assigning migrant students their country-of-origin cultural traits in models with residence-country fixed effects. Associations of culture with family and school inputs suggest that both may act as channels.