Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit. Michael Luca, April 11, 2017, Paper, “We study the impact of the minimum wage on firm exit in the restaurant industry, exploiting recent changes in the minimum wage at the city level. The evidence suggests that higher minimum wages increase overall exit rates for restaurants. However, lower quality restaurants, which are already closer to the margin of exit, are disproportionately impacted by increases to the minimum wage. Our point estimates suggest that a one dollar increase in the minimum wage leads to a 14 percent increase in the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant (which is the median rating), but has no discernible impact for a 5-star restaurant (on a 1 to 5 star scale).Link

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Too Late to Compensate Free Trade’s Losers. Dani Rodrik, April 11, 2017, Opinion, “It appears that a new consensus has taken hold these days among the world’s business and policy elites about how to address the anti-globalization backlash that populists such as Donald Trump have so ably exploited. Gone are the confident assertions that globalization benefits everyone: we must, the elites now concede, accept that globalization produces both winners and losers. But the correct response is not to halt or reverse globalization; it is to ensure that the losers are compensated.Link

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Optimal Taxation and Insurance Using Machine Learning. Maximilian Kasy, April 10, 2017, Paper, “How should one use (quasi-)experimental evidence when choosing policies such as tax rates, health insurance copay, unemployment benefit levels, class sizes in schools, etc.? This paper suggests an approach based on maximizing posterior expected social welfare, combining insights from (i) optimal policy theory as developed in the field of public finance, and (ii) machine learning using Gaussian process priors. We provide explicit formulas for posterior expected social welfare and optimal policies in a wide class of policy problems.Link

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Concentrating on the Fall of the Labor Share. Lawrence Katz, April 2017, Paper, “In this paper, we discuss an explanation for the fall in share of labour in GDP based on the rise of “superstar firms.” If globalization or technological changes advantage the most productive firms in each industry, product market concentration will rise as industries become increasingly dominated by superstar firms with high profit margins and a low share of labor in firm value-added and sales. As the importance of superstar firms increases, the aggregate labour share will fall. This hypothesis suggests that sales will increasingly concentrate in a small number of firms and that industries where concentration rises most will have the largest declines in the labour share. We find support for these predictions aggregating up micro-data from the US Census 1982-2012.Link

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America’s Economy and the Case for Free Markets. N. Gregory Mankiw, April 9, 2017, Video, “The Harvard economics professor on the economy and our need for free markets. Click “Show more” to view chapters. For more conversations, visit htttp://conversationswithbillkristol.org Chapter 1 (00:15 – 45:37): The State of the U.S. Economy Chapter 2 (45:37 – 1:06:03): The Case for Free Markets Greg Mankiw is a professor of economics at Harvard University and was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush (2003-2005). In this Conversation, Mankiw analyzes the American economy and shares his perspective on current public policy debates about trade, immigration, technological innovation, jobs, and economic growth. Reflecting on the economic challenges the U.S. faces today, Mankiw makes the case for a robust commitment to free markets—both for the sake of America and for the world.Link

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Is the SEC Captured? Evidence from Comment-Letter Reviews. Jonas Heese, Karthik Ramanna, April 8, 2017, Paper, “SEC oversight of publicly listed firms ranges from comment letter (CL) reviews of firms’ reporting compliance to pursuing enforcement actions against violators. Prior literature finds that firm political connections (PC) negatively predict enforcement actions, inferring SEC capture. We present new evidence that firm PC positively predict CL reviews and substantive characteristics of such reviews, including the number of issues evaluated and the seniority of SEC staff involved. These results, robust to identification concerns, are inconsistent with SEC capture and indicate a more nuanced relation between firm PC and SEC oversight than previously suggested.Link

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Growing Out of Populism? Kenneth Rogoff, April 4, 2017, Opinion, “After nine dreary years of downgrading their GDP forecasts, macroeconomic policymakers around the world are shaking their heads in disbelief: Despite a populist-propelled wave of political tumult, global growth is actually set to outperform expectations in 2017. It’s not just American exceptionalism. Although US growth is very strong, Europe has been outperforming expectations by more. There is even happy news for emerging markets, which are still bracing for US Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes but have gained a better backdrop against which to adjust.Link

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Collaborative is Superadditive in Political Economics. Richard Zeckhauser, 2017, Book Chapter, “This collection gathers some of the greatest minds in economics to discuss their experiences of collaborative research and publication. Nobel Prize winners and other eminent scholars from a representative sample of economics’ major sub-disciplines share how and why they came to work primarily in partnerships or on their own, whether naturally or by necessity. The contributions include discussions of personal experiences, statistical analyses, different levels of investment, and how the digital age has changed researcher interactions. As budget cuts and resource consolidation make working together vital in ever more fields of academia, this book offers valuable advice to help young and seasoned scholars alike identify the right co-author(s).Link

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The Rise of Economic Insecurity in the EU: Concepts and Measures. Jason Beckfield, 2017, Paper, “Economic instability, an array of social changes, and welfare state retrenchment place the question of economic insecurity high on the scholarly and political agenda. We contribute to thesedebates by drawing conceptual distinctions between inequality and insecurity. Fundamentally,inequality concerns the distribution of resources across individuals, while insecurity concerns exposure to multiple social risks that can deteriorate living conditions. The multiplicity and dynamism of insecurity inform our development of a new measure of economic insecurity, using longitudinal data from the EU-SILC database. Substantively, we then use our new measure to analyze the distribution of insecurity in Europe.Link

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Civil Society and Three Dimensions of Inequality in Post-1989 Poland.  Grzegorz Ekiert, April 2017, Paper, “This article presents three novel arguments regarding the role of civil society in the democratic transformation of Poland. First, under communism, associational life was neither extinct nor always totally controlled by the state. Over time, some organizations achieved a modicum of autonomy. The massive Solidarity movement left a legacy of civic engagement that influenced post-1989 developments. Second, inequality under state socialism needs to be treated comprehensively. While the level of income inequality was modest, economic inequality was more pronounced (privileges of the communist elites). Civic and political inequalities were acute. All three forms of inequality generated discontent and mobilization. Third, after 1989, civil society has become an institutional vehicle for virtually eliminating political inequality, advancing civic equality, and controlling the growth of economic inequality.Link

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