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Jel Classification:I15 

Pandemics Change Cities: Municipal Spending and Voter Extremism in Germany, 1918-1933

We merge several historical data sets from Germany to show that influenza mortality in 1918-1920 is correlated with societal changes, as measured by municipal spending and city-level extremist voting, in the subsequent decade. First, influenza deaths are associated with lower per capita spending, especially on services consumed by the young. Second, influenza deaths are correlated with the share of votes received by extremist parties in 1932 and 1933. Our election results are robust to controlling for city spending, demographics, war-related population changes, city-level wages, and regional ...
Staff Reports , Paper 921

Working Paper
Disparities and Mitigation Behavior during COVID-19

This paper uses a unique large-scale survey administered in April 2020 to assess disparities on several dimensions of wellbeing under rising COVID-19 infections and mitigation restrictions in the US. The survey includes three modules designed to assess different dimensions of well-being in parallel: physical health, mental and social health, and economic and financial security. The survey is unique among early COVID-19 data efforts in that provides insight on diverse dimensions of wellbeing and for subnational geographies. I find dramatic declines in wellbeing from pre-COVID baseline measures ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 32

Working Paper
The Slaughter of the Bison and Reversal of Fortunes on the Great Plains

In the late 19th century, the North American bison was brought to the brink of extinction in just over a decade. We show that the bison?s slaughter led to a reversal of fortunes for the Native Americans who relied on them. Once the tallest people in the world, the generations of bison-reliant people born after the slaughter were among the shortest. Today, formerly bison-reliant societies have between 20-40% less income per capita than the average Native American nation. We argue that federal Indian policy that limited out-migration from reservations and restricted employment opportunities to ...
Center for Indian Country Development series , Paper 1-2019

Working Paper
Indian Residential Schools, Height, and Body Mass Post-1930

We study the effects of Canadian Indian residential schooling on two anthropometric measures of health during childhood: adult height and body weight. We use repeated cross sectional data from the 1991 and 2001 Aboriginal Peoples Survey and leverage detailed historical data on school closures and location to make causal inferences. We ?nd evidence that, on average, residential schooling increases adult height and the likelihood of a healthy adult body weight for those who attended. These effects are concentrated after the 1950s when the schools were subject to tighter health regulations and ...
Center for Indian Country Development series , Paper 3-2019

Journal Article
Health and Economic Development from Cross-Country Perspectives

In this article, we provide a comprehensive overview of the role that health plays in economic develop­ment. We study cross-country differences in income and health and examine the underused value-of-­life and life-year gain measures. In particular, we compare two value-of-life measures, one based on life expectancy and lifetime utility, and the other based on adult mortality and life insurance data. We find that the perception and receptiveness of life insurance are likely better in countries at more advanced stages of economic development. The value-of-life measure based on life insurance ...
Review , Volume 102 , Issue 1 , Pages 79-98

Working Paper
The Distributional Effects of COVID-19 and Mitigation Policies

This paper develops a quantitative life cycle model in which economic decisions impact the spread of COVID-19 and, conversely, the virus affects economic decisions. The calibrated model is used to measure the welfare costs of the pandemic across the age, income and wealth distribution and to study the effectiveness of various mitigation policies. In the absence of mitigation, young workers engage in too much economic activity relative to the social optimum, leading to higher rates of infection and death in the aggregate. The paper considers a subsidy-and-tax policy that imposes a tax on ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 400

Discussion Paper
How Have Households Used Their Stimulus Payments and How Would They Spend the Next?

In this post, we examine how households used economic impact payments, a large component of the CARES Act signed into law on March 27 that directed stimulus payments to many Americans to help offset the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. An important question in evaluating how much this part of the CARES Act stimulated the economy concerns what share of these payments households used for consumption—what economists call the marginal propensity to consume (MPC). There also is interest in learning the extent to which the payments contributed to the sharp increase in the U.S. ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20201013b

Discussion Paper
The Banking Industry and COVID-19: Lifeline or Life Support?

By many measures the U.S. banking industry entered 2020 in good health. But the widespread outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and the associated economic disruptions have caused unemployment to skyrocket and many businesses to suspend or significantly reduce operations. In this post, we consider the implications of the pandemic for the stability of the banking sector, including the potential impact of dividend suspensions on bank capital ratios and the use of banks’ regulatory capital buffers.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20201005

Working Paper
The Distributional Effects of COVID-19 and Optimal Mitigation Policies

This paper develops a quantitative heterogeneous agent–life cycle model with a fully integrated epidemiological model in which economic decisions affect the spread of COVID-19 and, conversely, the virus affects economic decisions. The calibrated model is used to study the distributional consequences and effectiveness of two mitigation policies: a stay-at-home subsidy that subsidizes reduced hours worked and a stay-at-home order that limits outside hours. First, the stay-at-home subsidy is preferred because it reduces deaths by more and output by less, leading to a larger average welfare ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 400

Working Paper
Technology adoption and mortality

We develop a quantitative theory of mortality trends and population dynamics. In our theory, individuals incur time and/or goods costs over their life cycle, to adopt a better health technology that increases their age-specific survival probability. Technology adoption is a source of a dynamic externality: As more individuals adopt the better technology, the marginal benefit of future adoption increases. The allocation of time and/or goods also depends on total factor productivity (TFP): As TFP grows, more resources are allocated to technology adoption. Both channels---the dynamic externality ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-039


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