Found 27 article(s) for author 'Public Policy'

Public Information is an Incentive for Politicians: Experimental Evidence from Delhi Elections

Public Information is an Incentive for Politicians: Experimental Evidence from Delhi Elections. Rohini Pande, Michael Walton, November 11, 2019, Paper, “In 2010, two years prior to Delhi’s municipal elections, we informed a random set of municipal councilors that a newspaper would report on their performance just before the next election. To evaluate this intervention we collected data on the infrastructure spending preferences of slum dwellers and created an index of pro-poor spending for each councilor. In wards dense with slums, the anticipation of future disclosures caused councilors to increase their pro-poor spending by 0.6 standard deviations over the next two years. A cross-cutting intervention that privately provided councilors with information about the state of infrastructure in the slums had no effect, suggesting that only public disclosures incentivize councilors. Party and voter responses support this interpretation: treated councilors were 12 percentage points more likely to receive a party ticket for re-election. The effect was concentrated among councilors who undertook more pro-poor spending in high-slum wards, and translates into a substantially higher vote share.Link

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The Economic Value of the National Parks

The Economic Value of the National Parks. Linda Bilmes, October 18, 2019, Audio, “The National Parks have been famously called “America’s Best Idea,” but they may also be “America’s Best Investment”, thanks to the valuable services they provide such as recreation, carbon storage, and educational programs. In the new book “Valuing U.S. National Parks and Programs,” John Loomis and Linda Bilmes attempt to sum up the vast value of the National Parks. Linda Bilmes teaches Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and joins Host Steve Curwood in the Living on Earth studios.Link

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Female Labor in Jordan: A Systematic Approach to the Exclusion Puzzle

Female Labor in Jordan: A Systematic Approach to the Exclusion Puzzle. Ricardo Hausmann, Tim O’Brien, Miguel Santos, October 2019, Paper, “Women in Jordan are excluded from labor market opportunities at among the highest rates in the world. Previous efforts to explain this outcome have focused on specific, isolated aspects of the problem and have not exploited available datasets to test across causal explanations. We develop a comprehensive framework to analyze the drivers of low female employment rates in Jordan and systematically test their validity, using micro-level data from Employment and Unemployment Surveys (2008-2018) and the Jordanian Labor Market Panel Survey (2010-2016). We find that the nature of low female inclusion in Jordan’s labor market varies significantly with educational attainment, and identify evidence for different factors affecting different educational groups. Among women with high school education or less, we observe extremely low participation levels and find the strongest evidence for this phenomenon tracing to traditional social norms and poor public transportation. On the higher end of the education spectrum – university graduates and above – we find that the problem is not one of participation, but rather of unemployment, which we attribute to a small and undiversified private sector that is unable to accommodate women’s needs for work and work-family balance.Link

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Public economics and public policy: The ideas and influence of Martin Feldstein, 1939-2019

Public economics and public policy: The ideas and influence of Martin Feldstein, 1939-2019. Lawrence Summers, September 25, 2019, Paper, “Martin Feldstein, who passed away in June 2019, was one of the most important applied economists of the last half-century. This column, by two of his students and close colleagues, celebrates his intellectual legacy, outlining his seminal contributions on a wide range of topics in public economics and beyond, his pioneering use of large data sets, and his influential voice in US public policy over many decades. As president of the National Bureau of Economic Research for nearly 30 years, Feldstein advanced the conduct and dissemination of economic research, and helped to create the modern economics profession.Link

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Don’t Blame Economics, Blame Public Policy

Don’t Blame Economics, Blame Public Policy. Ricardo Hausmann, September 1, 2019, Opinion, “Engineering and medicine have in many respects become separate from their respective underlying sciences of physics and biology. Public-policy schools, which typically have a strong economics focus, must now rethink the way they teach students – and medical schools could offer a model to follow.Link

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A Unified Welfare Analysis of Government Policies

A Unified Welfare Analysis of Government Policies. Nathaniel Hendren, August 2018, Paper, “We conduct a comparative welfare analysis of 133 historical policy changes over the past half-century in the United States, focusing on policies in social insurance, education and job training, taxes and cash transfers, and in-kind transfers. For each policy, we use existing causal estimates to calculate both the benefit that each policy provides its recipients (measured as their willingness to pay) and the policy’s net cost, inclusive of long-term impacts on the government’s budget. We divide the willingness to pay by the net cost to the government to form each policy’s Marginal Value of Public Funds, or its “MVPF”. Comparing MVPFs across policies provides a unified method of assessing their impact on social welfare. Our results suggest that direct investments in low-income children’s health and education have historically had the highest MVPFs, on average exceeding 5. Many such policies have paid for themselves as governments recouped the cost of their initial expenditures through additional taxes collected and reduced transfers.Link

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No Data in the Void: Values and Distributional Conflicts in Empirical Policy Research and Artificial Intelligence

No Data in the Void: Values and Distributional Conflicts in Empirical Policy Research and Artificial Intelligence. Maximilian Kasy, August 2019, Paper, “Decision making based on data – whether by policymakers drawing on empirical research, or by algorithms using machine learning – is becoming ever more widespread. Any time such decisions are made, we need to carefully think about the goals we want to achieve, and the policies we might possibly use to achieve them. Data cannot absolve us of this responsibility. They do not allow us to avoid value judgements, and do not relieve us from taking sides in distributional conflicts. This essay introduces a general framework to clarify this point, and then discusses a series of settings in which the choice of objectives (goals) has far-reaching and maybe unexpected implications.Link

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The American Dream Is Harder To Find In Some Neighborhoods

The American Dream Is Harder To Find In Some Neighborhoods. Raj Chetty, 10/1/18, Audio, “Does the neighborhood you grow up in determine how far you move up the economic ladder? A new online data tool being made public Monday finds a strong correlation between where people are raised and their chances of achieving the American dream.Link

Opportunity Atlas –


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Charging the Future – Challenges and Opportunities for Electric Vehicle Adoption

Charging the Future – Challenges and Opportunities for Electric Vehicle Adoption. Henry Lee, August 2018, Paper, “Electric vehicles (EVs) have advanced significantly this decade, owing in part to decreasing battery costs. Yet EVs remain more costly than gasoline fueled vehicles over their useful life. This paper analyzes the additional advances that will be needed, if electric vehicles are to significantly penetrate the passenger vehicle fleet.Link

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Poverty in America: New Directions and Debates

Poverty in America: New Directions and Debates. Matthew Desmond, Bruce Western, July 2018, Paper, “Reviewing recent research on poverty in the United States, we derive a conceptual framework with three main characteristics. First, poverty is multidimensional, compounding material hardship with human frailty, generational trauma, family and neighborhood violence, and broken institutions. Second, poverty is relational, produced through connections between the truly advantaged and the truly disadvantaged. Third, a component of this conceptual framework is transparently normative, applying empirical research to analyze poverty as a matter of justice, not just economics. Throughout, we discuss conceptual, methodological, and policy-relevant implications of this perspective on the study of extreme disadvantage in America.Link

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