Harvard’s Reinhart Says Economy in ‘Sweet Spot,’ Rates Have ‘Rock Bottom Feel’. Carmen Reinhart, January 22, 2020, Video, “Harvard Kennedy School Professor Carmen Reinhart discusses the current state of the U.S. economy and Federal Reserve monetary policy. She talks with Bloomberg’s Tom Keene and Jonathan Ferro at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”Link



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Overcoming Resource Scarcity: Consumers’ Response to Gifts Intending to Save Time and Money. Ashley Whillans, 2020, Paper, “Consumers feel increasingly pressed for time and money. Gifts have the potential to reduce scarcity in recipients’ lives, yet little is known about how recipients perceive gifts given with the intention of saving them time or money. Across 4 studies (N=1,403), we demonstrate that the recipients of gifts intending to save money experience more negative self-conscious emotions and infer lower status position than recipients of gifts intending to save time. Recipients who report experiencing greater financial scarcity in their daily lives (who may benefit most from gifts intending to save them money), experience negative emotions to a greater extent and perceive an even lower status position than recipients who experience relatively little money scarcity. These findings are the first to directly evaluate the implications of receiving gifts seeking to address time and money scarcity and suggest that recipients may benefit more from gifts given with the intention to save time.Link

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Jeffry Frieden on Globalization, the Rise of Populism, and the Future of Democracy January 2020. GrowthPolicy’s Devjani Roy interview Jeffry Frieden, Chair of the Department of Government at Harvard and Stanfield Professor of International Peace, on globalization, the rise of populism, and the future of democracy. | Click here for more interviews like this one. […]

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The Best Tool to Fight Climate Change. Jeffrey Frankel, January 20, 2020, Opinion, “If they are serious about tackling climate change, governments must quickly establish the expectation that the price of carbon will follow a generally rising path in the future. Lofty statements from public officials and optimal calculations from climate modelers will not do the job.Link

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On the Effects of Linking Cap-and-Trade Systems for CO2 Emissions. Martin Weitzman, 2020, Paper, “Linkage of national cap-and-trade systems is typically advocated by economists on a general analogy with the beneficial linkage of free-trade areas and on the specific grounds that linkage will ensure cost effectiveness among the linked jurisdictions. The paper analyses the less obvious effects of linkage with the bottom–up approach of the Paris Agreement where each country sets its nationally determined contribution for its own carbon dioxide…Link

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The Past and Future of Econ 101: The John R. Commons Award Lecture. N. Gregory Mankiw, January 2020, Paper, “The introductory economics course, often called Econ 101, is where most economists get their start and where many students receive their only exposure to the field. This essay discusses the course’s evolution. It first looks back at how economics was taught at Harvard in the 19th century, based on a textbook by Professor Francis Bowen. It then looks ahead at how the introductory course may change as pedagogical tools improve, as society confronts new challenges, and as the field accumulates new knowledge.Link

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How do Private Equity Fees Vary Across Public Pensions? Emil Siriwardane, January 2020, Paper, “We document large variation in net-of-fee performance across public pension funds investing in the same private equity fund. In aggregate, these differences imply that the pensions in our sample would have earned $45 billion more – equivalent to $8.50 more per $100 invested – had they each received the best observed terms in the irrespective funds. There are also large pension-effects in the sense that some pensions systematically pay more fees than others when investing in the same fund. With better terms, the 95th percentile pension would have earned $14.91 more per $100 invested compared to $1.12 for the 5th percentile pension. Attributes like size, relationships, and governance account for a modest amount of the pension effects, meaning similar pensions consistently pay different fees.” Link

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Diffusing Political Concerns: How Unemployment Information Passed Between Social Ties Influences Danish Voters. James Alt, Horacio Larreguy, January 2020, Paper, “While social pressure is widely believed to influence voters, evidence that information passed between social ties affects beliefs, policy preferences, and voting behavior is limited. We investigate such information diffusion by examining whether networks of strong and mostly weak social ties relay information about unemployment shocks in Denmark. We link surveys with rich population-level administrative data that logs unemployment shocks afflicting respondents’ familial, vocational, and educational networks. We find that the share of second-degree social ties—individuals that voters learn about indirectly—that became unemployed within the last year increases a voter’s perception of national unemployment, self-assessed risk of becoming unemployed, support for unemployment insurance, and voting for left-wing political parties. Voters update about national aggregates from all shocks equally, whereas subjectiveperceptionsandpreferencesrespondprimarilytounemploymentshocksafflicting second-degree ties in similar vocations. This suggests that information diffusion through social ties principally affects political preferences via egotropic—rather than sociotropic—motives.Link

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Insights from Transparency and Accountability Action Plans in Indonesia and Tanzania. Archon Fung, Stephen Kosack, Dan Levy, January 2020, Paper, “This paper provides insight into community designed and led actions in Indonesia and Tanzania that were prompted by Transparency for Development (T4D), a six-year research project that explores whether, how, and in what conditions “transparency and accountability” or “social accountability” programs improve maternal and newborn health care. We find that all communities participating in the T4D program planned social actions, with the vast majority completing at least one action. We also find that the focus of the actions was diverse in nature, though participants in nearly every community planned at least one action aimed at educating members of the community. We compare actions designed in Indonesia to those in Tanzania and find a number of similarities and differences in the types of actions designed and whether the actions were completed. When analyzed from a social accountability lens, we find three trends. Firstly, the actions were overwhelmingly collaborative in nature. Secondly, the majority of the actions were short route, meaning they targeted the health facility or provider directly, rather than government officials higher up the accountability chain. Finally, when classified by accountability “type” we find that more than half of communities took a self-help approach, with only about a quarter pursuing solutions through social accountability channels.Link

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Reinventing Retail: The Novel Resurgence of Independent Bookstores. Ryan Raffaelli, January 20202, Paper, “This study examines how community-based brick-and-mortar retailers can achieve sustained market growth in the face of online and big box retail competition. The appearance of Amazon.com in 1995 led to a significant decline in the number of in- dependent bookstores in the United States, leading many analysts to predict the demise of the sector. However, between 2009 and 2018 independent bookstores proved to be far more resilient than expected. The American Booksellers Association (ABA) reported a 49% percent growth in the number of “indie” booksellers, from 1,651 in 2009 to 2,470 in 2018. This study identifies “3C’s” that contributed to the independent bookstore resurgence…Link

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