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Author:De Giorgi, Giacomo 

Discussion Paper
Which Households Have Negative Wealth?

At some point in its life a household?s total debt may exceed its total assets, in which case it has ?negative wealth.? Even if this status is temporary, it may affect the household?s ability to save for durable goods, restrict access to further credit, and may require living in a state of limited consumption. Detailed analysis of the holdings of negative-wealth households, however, is a topic that has received little attention. In particular, relatively little is known about the characteristics of such households or about what drives negative wealth. A better understanding of these factors ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160801

Discussion Paper
Restoring Economic Growth In Puerto Rico: Introduction to the Series

The difficult economic and financial issues facing the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have remained very much in the news since our post on options for addressing its fiscal problems appeared last fall. That post was itself a follow-up on a series of analyses, starting with a 2012 report that detailed the economic challenges facing the Commonwealth. In 2014, we extended that analysis with an update where we focused more closely on the fiscal challenges facing the Island. As the problems deepened, we have continued to examine important related subjects ranging from positive revisions in ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160808

Discussion Paper
Migration in Puerto Rico: Is There a Brain Drain?

Given Puerto Rico’s long-term economic malaise and ongoing fiscal crisis, it is no wonder that out-migration of the Island’s residents has picked up. Over the past five years alone, migration has resulted in a net outflow of almost 300,000 people, a staggering loss. It would make matters worse, however, if Puerto Rico were losing an outsized share of its highest-paid workers. But we find that, if anything, Puerto Rico’s migrants are actually tilted somewhat toward the lower end of the skills and earnings spectrum. Still, such a large outflow of potentially productive workers and ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160809b

Discussion Paper
Human Capital and Education in Puerto Rico

Educational attainment is an important element of human capital; however a series of recent papers highlights the crucial role of the quality of education?which determines the skills actually learned, rather than the number of years spent in a classroom?as a main driver of growth. In fact, Hanushek and Woessmann argue that the importance of more appropriately measuring skills is seen in the very tight relationship between quality of skills, or knowledge capital, and growth. Moreover, the researchers state, ?The knowledge capital?growth relationship suggests little mystery for East Asia, Latin ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160811

Report
The price effects of cash versus in-kind transfers

This paper examines the effect of cash versus in-kind transfers on local prices. Both types of transfers increase the demand for normal goods; in-kind transfers also increase supply in recipient communities, which should cause prices to fall relative to cash transfers. We test and confirm this prediction using a program in Mexico that randomly assigned villages to receive boxes of food (trucked into the village), equivalently valued cash transfers, or no transfers. We find that prices are significantly lower under in-kind transfers compared with cash transfers; relative to the control group, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 735

Report
The gender gap in mathematics: evidence from a middle-income country

Using a large administrative data set from Chile, we find that, on average, boys perform better than girls in mathematics. In this paper, we document several features of their relative performance. First, we note that the gender gap appears to increase with age (it doubles between fourth grade and eighth grade). Second, we test whether commonly proposed explanations such as parental background and investment in the child, unobserved ability, and classroom environment (including teacher gender) help explain a substantial portion of the gap. While none of these explanations help in explaining a ...
Staff Reports , Paper 721

Report
Business cycle fluctuations and the distribution of consumption

This paper sheds new light on the interactions between business cycles and the consumption distribution. We use Consumer Expenditure Survey data and a factor model to characterize the cyclical dynamics of the consumption distribution. We first establish that our approach is able to closely match business cycle fluctuations of consumption from the National Account. We then study the responses of the consumption distribution to total factor productivity shocks and economic policy uncertainty shocks. Importantly, we find that the responses of the right tail of the consumption distribution, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 716

Report
Small firms’ formalization: the stick treatment

Firm informality is pervasive throughout the developing world, and Bangladesh is no exception. The informal status of many firms substantially reduces the tax basis and therefore affects the provision of public goods. The literature on encouraging formalization has focused predominantly on reducing the direct costs of formalization and has found negligible effects from such policies. In this paper, we focus on a stick intervention, which, to the best of our knowledge, is the first in a developing-country setting to deal with the most direct and dominant form of informality: the lack of ...
Staff Reports , Paper 728

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