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Jel Classification:I10 

A Parsimonious Behavioral SEIR Model of the 2020 COVID Epidemic in the United States and the United Kingdom

I present a behavioral epidemiological model of the evolution of the COVID epidemic in the United States and the United Kingdom over the past 12 months. The model includes the introduction of a new, more contagious variant in the UK in early fall and the US in mid December. The model is behavioral in that activity, and thus transmission, responds endogenously to the daily death rate. I show that with only seasonal variation in the transmission rate and pandemic fatigue modeled as a one-time reduction in the semi-elasticity of the transmission rate to the daily death rate late in the year, the ...
Staff Report , Paper 619

Working Paper
Health-care reform or labor market reform? a quantitative analysis of the Affordable Care Act

An equilibrium model with ?rm and worker heterogeneity is constructed to analyze labor market and welfare implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Our model implies a signi?cant reduction in the uninsured rate from 22.6 percent to 5.6 percent. {{p}} The model predicts a moderate positive welfare gain from the ACA, due to redistribution of income through Health Insurance Subsidies at the Exchange as well as Medicaid expansion. About 2.1 million more part-time jobs are created under the ACA, in expense of 1.6 million full-time jobs, mainly because the link between ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 15-10

Working Paper
Pandemic Recessions and Contact Tracing

We study contact tracing in a new macro-epidemiological model in which infected agents may not show any symptoms of the disease and the availability of tests to detect these asymptomatic spreaders of the virus is limited. Contact tracing is a testing strategy aiming at reconstructing the infection chain of newly symptomatic agents. A coordination failure arises as agents fail to internalize that their individual consumption and labor decisions raise the number of traceable contacts to be tested, threatening the viability of the tracing system. The collapse of the tracing system considerably ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-31

Working Paper
How do Doctors Respond to Incentives? Unintended Consequences of Paying Doctors to Reduce Costs

Billions of dollars have been spent on pilot programs searching for ways to reduce healthcare costs. I study one such program, where hospitals pay doctors bonuses for reducing the total hospital costs of admitted Medicare patients (a ?bundled payment?). Doctors respond to the bonuses by becoming more likely to admit patients whose treatment can generate high bonuses, and sorting healthier patients into participating hospitals. Conditional on patient health, however, doctors do not reduce costs or change procedure use. These results highlight the ability of doctors to game incentive schemes, ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2017-9

Working Paper
The Dynamics of the Smoking Wage Penalty

Cigarette smokers earn significantly less than nonsmokers, but the magnitude of the smoking wage gap and the pathways by which it originates are unclear. Proposed mechanisms often focus on spot differences in employee productivity or employer preferences, neglecting the dynamic nature of human capital development and addiction. In this paper, we formulate a dynamic model of young workers as they transition from schooling to the labor market, a period in which the lifetime trajectory of wages is being developed. We estimate the model with data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2020-11

Working Paper
Social Distancing and Supply Disruptions in a Pandemic

Drastic public health measures such as social distancing or lockdowns can reduce the loss of human life by keeping the number of infected individuals from exceeding the capacity of the health care system but are often criticized because of the social and the economic cost they entail. We question this view by combining an epidemiological model, calibrated to capture the spread of the COVID-19 virus, with a multisector model, designed to capture key characteristics of the U.S. Input Output Tables. Our two-sector model features a core sector that produces intermediate inputs not easily replaced ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-031

Measuring the Effects of the Covid-19 Delta Wave on the U.S. Hourly Labor Market

In this article, we take a closer look at the implications of rising Covid-19 cases and vaccination rates for the U.S. hourly labor market. To do so, we rely on geographic variation in the high-frequency data collected by the firm Homebase with its timekeeping software. This data source allows us to make use of U.S. state-level variation on a daily basis in order to decompose the effects on hourly employees and hours worked from both rising cases and vaccinations.
Chicago Fed Letter , Issue 461 , Pages 6

Working Paper
What Happened to the US Economy During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic? A View Through High-Frequency Data

Burns and Mitchell (1946, 109) found a recession of “exceptional brevity and moderate amplitude.” I confirm their judgment by examining a variety of high-frequency data. Industrial output fell sharply but rebounded within months. Retail seemed little affected and there is no evidence of increased business failures or stressed financial system. Cross-sectional data from the coal industry documents the short-lived impact of the epidemic on labor supply. The Armistice possibly prolonged the 1918 recession, short as it was, by injecting momentary uncertainty. Interventions to hinder the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP 2020-11

Working Paper
Opioids and the Labor Market

This paper quantifies the relationship between local opioid prescription rates and labor market outcomes in the United States between 2006 and 2016. To understand this relationship at the national level, we assemble a data set that allows us both to include rural areas and to estimate the relationship at a disaggregated level. We control for geographic variation in both short-term and long-term economic conditions. In our preferred specification, a 10 percent higher local prescription rate is associated with a lower prime-age labor force participation rate of 0.53 percentage points for men ...
Working Papers , Paper 18-07R3

Behavior and the Transmission of COVID-19

We show that a simple model of COVID-19 that incorporates feedback from disease prevalence to disease transmission through an endogenous response of human behavior does a remarkable job fitting the main features of the data on the growth rates of daily deaths observed across a large number countries and states of the United States from March to November of 2020. This finding, however, suggests a new empirical puzzle. Using an accounting procedure akin to that used for Business Cycle Accounting as in Chari et al. (2007), we show that when the parameters of the behavioral response of ...
Staff Report , Paper 618


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