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Series:Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers 

Working Paper
Wage Risk and Government and Spousal Insurance

The extent to which households can self-insure and the government can help them to do so depends on the wage risk that they face and their family structure. We study wage risk in the UK and show that the persistence and riskiness of wages depends on one's age and position in the wage distribution. We also calibrate a model of couples and singles with two alternative processes for wages: a canonical one and a flexible one that allows for the much richer dynamics that we document in the data. We use our model to show that allowing for rich wage dynamics is important to properly evaluate the ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 44

Working Paper
Manning Up and Womaning Down: How Husbands and Wives Report Earnings When She Earns More

To infer social preferences regarding the relative earnings of spouses, we use measurement error in the earnings reported for married couples in the Current Population Survey. We compare the earnings reported for husbands and wives in the survey with their “true” earnings as reported by their employers to tax authorities. Compared with couples where the wife earns just less than the husband, those where she earns just more are 15.9 percentage points more likely to under-report her relative earnings. This pattern reflects the reporting behavior of both husbands and wives and is consistent ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 28

Working Paper
Can Reputation Discipline the Gig Economy? Experimental Evidence from an Online Labor Market

Just as employers face uncertainty when hiring workers, workers also face uncertainty when accepting employment, and bad employers may opportunistically depart from expectations, norms, and laws. However, prior research in economics and information sciences has focused sharply on the employer?s problem of identifying good workers rather than vice versa. This issue is especially pronounced in markets for gig work, including online labor markets, where platforms are developing strategies to help workers identify good employers. We build a theoretical model for the value of such reputation ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 16

Working Paper
Medical Expenses and Saving in Retirement: The Case of U.S. and Sweden

Many U.S. households have significant wealth late in life, contrary to the predictions of a simple life-cycle model. In this paper, we document stark differences between U.S. and Sweden regarding out-of-pocket medical and long-term-care expenses late in life, and use them to investigate their role in discouraging the elderly from dissaving. Using a consumption-saving model in retirement with significant uninsurable expense risk, we find that medical expense risk accounts for a quarter of the U.S.-Sweden difference in retirees' dissaving patterns. Furthermore, medical expense risk affects ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 8

Working Paper
Why Does Consumption Fluctuate in Old Age and How Should the Government Insure it?

In old age, consumption can fluctuate because of shocks to available resources and because health shocks affect utility from consumption. We find that even temporary drops in income and health are associated with drops in consumption and most of the effect of temporary drops in health on consumption stems from the reduction in the marginal utility from consumption that they generate. More precisely, after a health shock, richer households adjust their consumption of luxury goods because their utility of consuming them changes. Poorer households, instead, adjust both their necessary and luxury ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 40

Working Paper
The Indirect Fiscal Benefits of Low-Skilled Immigration

Low-skilled immigrants indirectly affect public finances through their effect on native wages & labor supply. We operationalize this general-equilibrium effect in the workhorse labor market model with heterogeneous workers and intensive and extensive labor supply margins. We derive a closed-form expression for this effect in terms of estimable statistics. We extend the analysis to various alternative specifications of the labor market and production that have been emphasized in the immigration literature. Empirical quantifications for the U.S. reveal that the indirect fiscal benefit of one ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 38

Working Paper
Nonlinear Pricing in Village Economies

This paper examines the price of basic staples in rural Mexico. We document that nonlinear pricing in the form of quantity discounts is common, that quantity discounts are sizable for typical staples, and that the well-known conditional cash transfer program Progresa has significantly increased quantity discounts, although the program, as documented in previous studies, has not affected on average unit prices. To account for these patterns, we propose a model of price discrimination that nests those of Maskin and Riley (1984) and Jullien (2000), in which consumers differ in their tastes and, ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 23

Working Paper
Spatial Patterns of Development: A Meso Approach

Over the last two decades, the literature on comparative development has moved from country-level to within-country analyses. The questions asked have expanded, as economists have used satellite images of light density at night and other big spatial data to proxy for development at the desired level. The focus has also shifted from uncovering correlations to identifying causal relations, using elaborate econometric techniques including spatial regression discontinuity designs. In this survey we show how the combination of geographic information systems with insights from disciplines ranging ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 4

Working Paper
Sectoral Impact of COVID-19: Cascading Risks

Workers are unequal in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic: Those who work in essential sectors face higher health risk whereas those in non-essential social-consumption sectors face greater economic risk. We study how these health and economic risks cascade into other sectors through supply chains and demand linkages. In the U.S., we find the cascading effects account for about 25-30% of the exposure to both risks. The cascading effect increases the health risk faced by workers in the transportation and retail sectors, and it increases the economic risk faced by workers in the textile and ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 31

Working Paper
Human Capital and Development Accounting: New Evidence from Wage Gains at Migration

We use new data on the pre- and post-migration wages of U.S. immigrants to measure the importance of human capital for development accounting. Wages increase at migration, but by less than half of the gap in GDP per worker. This finding implies that human capital accounts for a large share of cross-country income differences. Wage gains decline with education, consistent with imperfect substitution between skill types. We bound the human capital share in development accounting to between one-half and two-thirds; additional assumptions lead to an estimate of 60 percent. We also provide results ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 1

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