Are the elites worse than you think?

Here is a new and important paper by Joshua D. Kertzer, noting that it mainly confirms what I observe every day (aren’t those the very best research studies?)  Here is part of the abstract: …political scientists both overstate the magnitude of elite-public gaps in decision-making, and misunderstand the determinants of elite-public gaps in political attitudes, […]

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How to build Haitian state capacity

Strengthening state capacity in low income countries requires raising tax revenue while maintaining political stability. The risk of inciting political unrest when attempting to increase taxes may trap governments in a low-tax equilibrium, but public goods provision may improve both tax compliance and political stability. To test these questions empirically, I partner with the national […]

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Youyang Gu will estimate vaccination numbers and herd immunity

We believe COVID-19 herd immunity (>60% of population immune) will be reached in the US by late summer/early fall 2021 (Sep-Nov 2021). At the time herd immunity is reached, roughly half of the immunity will be achieved via natural infection, and the other half will be achieved via vaccination. New COVID-19 infections may become negligible […]

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Why do wealthy parents have wealthy children?

From Andreas Fagereng, Magne Mogstad, and Marte Rønning Abstract: We show that family background matters significantly for children’s accumulation of wealth and investor behavior as adults, even when removing the genetic connection between children and the parents raising them. The analysis is made possible by linking Korean-born children who were adopted at infancy by Norwegian […]

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Cognitive biases: where do we stand?

Here is a new and very important paper by Victor Stango and Jonathan Zinman, here are some of the main results, noting that each and every paragraph is important: Our first finding is that biases are more rule than exception. The median consumer exhibits 10 of 17 potential biases. No one exhibits all 17, but […]

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Who Mismanages Student Loans and Why?

From Kimberly Rodgers Cornaggia and Han Xia: With a license to use individually identifiable information on student loan borrowers, we find that a majority of distressed student borrowers manage their debt sub-optimally and that suboptimal debt management is associated with higher loan delinquency. Cross-sectional analysis indicates that loan (mis)management varies significantly across student gender, ethnicity, […]

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How good has media coverage of Covid-19 been?

We analyze the tone of COVID-19 related English-language news articles written since January 1, 2020. Ninety one percent of stories by U.S. major media outlets are negative in tone versus fifty four percent for non-U.S. major sources and sixty five percent for scientific journals. The negativity of the U.S. major media is notable even in […]

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Do pandemics boost public faith in science?

No, according to Barry Eichengreen, Cevat Giray Aksoy, and Orkun Saka: It is sometimes said that an effect of the COVID-19 pandemic will be heightened appreciation of the importance of scientific research and expertise. We test this hypothesis by examining how exposure to previous epidemics affected trust in science and scientists. Building on the “impressionable […]

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