Binscatter is very popular in applied microeconomics. It provides a flexible, yet parsimonious way of visualizing and summarizing ?big data? in regression settings, and it is often used for informal testing of substantive hypotheses such as linearity or monotonicity of the regression function. This paper presents a foundational, thorough analysis of binscatter: We give an array of theoretical and practical results that aid both in understanding current practices (that is, their validity or lack thereof) and in offering theory-based guidance for future applications. Our main results include ...
The Spread of COVID-19 and the BCG Vaccine: A Natural Experiment in Reunified Germany
As COVID-19 has spread across the globe, several observers noticed that countries still administering an old vaccine against tuberculosis—the BCG vaccine—have had fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita in the early stages of the outbreak. This paper uses a geographic regression discontinuity analysis to study whether and how COVID-19 prevalence changes discontinuously at the old border between West Germany and East Germany. The border used to separate two countries with very different vaccination policies during the Cold War era. We provide formal evidence that there is indeed a ...
Assessing Macroeconomic Tail Risk
What drives macroeconomic tail risk? To answer this question, we borrow a definition of macroeconomic risk from Adrian et al. (2019) by studying (left-tail) percentiles of the forecast distribution of GDP growth. We use local projections (Jord, 2005) to assess how this measure of risk moves in response to economic shocks to the level of technology, monetary policy, and financial conditions. Furthermore, by studying various percentiles jointly, we study how the overall economic outlook-as characterized by the entire forecast distribution of GDP growth-shifts in response to shocks. We find that ...
Inflation at Risk
We investigate how macroeconomic drivers affect the predictive inflation distribution as well as the probability that inflation will run above or below certain thresholds over the near term. This is what we refer to as Inflation-at-Risk–a measure of the tail risks to the inflation outlook. We find that the recent muted response of the conditional mean of inflation to economic conditions does not convey an adequate representation of the overall pattern of inflation dynamics. Analyzing data from the 1970s reveals ample variability in the conditional predictive distribution of inflation that ...
Targeted business incentives and the debt behavior of households
The empirical effects of place-based tax incentive schemes designed to aid low-income communities are unclear. While a growing number of studies find beneficial effects on employment, there is little investigation into other behaviors of households affected by such programs. We analyze the impact of the Texas Enterprise Zone Program on household debt and delinquency. Specifically, we utilize detailed information on all household liabilities, delinquencies, and credit scores from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax, a quarterly longitudinal 5% random sample of ...
Shrinking Networks: A Spatial Analysis of Bank Branch Closures
As more consumers take advantage of online banking services, branch networks are declining across the country. Limited attention has been given to identifying any possible spatial patterns of branch closures and, more importantly, the community demographics where branches close their doors. This analysis uses an innovative spatial statistics concept to study financial services: Using data from 2010 to 2016, a random labelling test is conducted to understand branch closure clustering in the Philadelphia, Chicago, and Baltimore metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). Additionally, spatial ...
Assessing Macroeconomic Tail Risk
What drives macroeconomic tail risk? To answer this question, we borrow a definition of macroeconomic risk from Adrian et al. (2019) by studying (left-tail) percentiles of the forecast distribution of GDP growth. We use local projections (Jord, 2005) to assess how this measure of risk moves in response to economic shocks to the level of technology, monetary policy, and financial conditions. Furthermore, by studying various percentiles jointly, we study how the overall economic outlook?as characterized by the entire forecast distribution of GDP growth?shifts in response to shocks. We find that ...
Impact of Allowing Sunday Alcohol Sales in Georgia on Employment and Hours
This paper uses differential timing across counties of the removal of restrictions on Sunday alcohol sales in the state of Georgia to determine whether the change had an impact on employment and hours in the beer, wine, and liquor retail sales industry. A triple-difference (DDD) analysis finds significant relative increases in average weekly hours in the treated industry. There is no significant relative employment increase. The DDD hours result is stronger when we limit the counties removing restrictions to those that border states with significantly higher alcohol excise taxes.
How have global shocks impacted the real effective exchange rates of individual Euro area countries since the Euro's creation?
This paper uncovers the response pattern to global shocks of euro area countries' real effective exchange rates before and after the start of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), a largely open ended question when the euro was created. We apply to that end a newly developed methodology based on high dimensional VAR theory. This approach features a dominant unit to a large set of over 60 countries' real effective exchange rates and is based on the comparison of two estimated systems: one before and one after EMU. ; We find strong evidence that the pattern of responses depends crucially on the ...
Inflation as a global phenomenon - some implications for policy analysis and forecasting
We evaluate the performance of inflation forecasts based on the open-economy Phillips curve by exploiting the spatial pattern of international propagation of inflation. We model these spatial linkages using global inflation and either domestic slack or oil price fluctuations, motivated by a novel interpretation of the forecasting implications of the workhorse openeconomy New Keynesian model (Martnez-Garca and Wynne (2010), Kabukcuoglu and Martnez-Garca (2014)). We find that incorporating spatial interactions yields significantly more accurate forecasts of local inflation in 14 advanced ...