American distress (average is over)

The proportion of the US population in extreme distress rose from 3.6% in 1993 to 6.4% in 2019. Among low-education midlife White persons, the percentage more than doubled, from 4.8% to 11.5%. Regression analysis revealed that (1) at the personal level, the strongest statistical predictor of extreme distress was “I am unable to work,” and […]

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What is new in behavioral genetics?

Here is an excellent conceptual survey article by K. Paige Harden, it goes well beyond the usual.  Hard to summarize, but here are two good bits: An early study using a DNA-based method estimated the heritability of height to be∼80%,and it noted that this result was “consistent with results from independent twin and family studies […]

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Which economic methods are in practice statistically more honest than others?

…our results suggest that the [instrumental variables] and, to a lesser extent, [difference-in-difference] research bodies have substantially more p-hacking and/or selective publication than those based on [randomized controlled trials] and [regression-discontinuity]… (p.3) And: We find no evidence that: (1) Papers published in the ‘Top 5’ journals are different to others; (2) The journal ‘revise and […]

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Determinants of life expectancy

Life expectancy in the US increased 3.3 years between 1990 and 2015, but the drivers of this increase are not well understood. We used vital statistics data and cause-deletion analysis to identify the conditions most responsible for changing life expectancy and quantified how public health, pharmaceuticals, other (nonpharmaceutical) medical care, and other/unknown factors contributed to […]

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Who is my favorite public intellectual?

Over the weekend I sat in on Anna Gát’s Interintellect Salon, which I enjoyed.  Many of the participants were asked who is their favorite public intellectual.  My answer was something like: Alex Tabarrok, he’d better be, I’ve been working with him for thirty years!  There would be something wrong if he wasn’t.  And I always […]

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The fragility of herd immunity

Trouble in the Madrid region is brewing again, even though earlier seroprevalance had clocked in at about 20 percent: Good for New York of course, here is a thread discussing the comparison, to me the conclusions seem premature.  The important point in any case is that Covid-protected time periods need not last forever, and you […]

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The Washington Consensus Works: Causal Effects of Reform, 1970-2015

  Sustained economic reform significantly raises real GDP per capita over a 5- to 10-year horizon. Despite the unpopularity of the Washington Consensus, its policies reliably raise average incomes. Countries that had sustained reform were 16% richer 10 years later. As for the method: In this paper, we define generalized reform as a discrete, sustained […]

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Evidence from 27 Thousand Economics Journal Articles on Africa

The first two decades of the 21st century have seen an increasing number of peer-reviewed journal articles on the 54 countries of Africa by both African and non-African economists. I document that the distribution of research across African countries is highly uneven: 45% of all economics journal articles and 65% of articles in the top […]

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New results on the housing boom and bust

We build a model of the US economy with multiple aggregate shocks that generate fluctuations in equilibrium house prices. Through counterfactual experiments, we study the housing boom-bust around the Great Recession, with three main results. First, the main driver of movements in house prices and rents was a shift in beliefs, not a change in […]

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Are School Reopening Decisions Related to Union Influence?

Yes, in short.  Here is a new paper from Corey Deangelis and Christos Makridis: The COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread school closures affecting millions of K-12 students in the United States in the spring of 2020. Groups representing teachers have pushed to reopen public schools virtually in the fall because of concerns about the health […]

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