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Crisis Chronicles: The Hamburg Crisis of 1799 and How Extreme Winter Weather Still Disrupts the Economy
With intermittent war raging across much of Western Europe near the end of the eighteenth century, by about 1795, Hamburg had replaced Amsterdam as an important hub for commodities trade. And from 1795 to 1799, Hamburg boomed. Prices for goods increased, the harbor was full, and warehouses were bulging. But when a harsh winter iced over the harbor, excess demand and speculation drove up prices. By spring, demand proved lower than supply, and prices started falling, credit tightened, and the decline in prices accelerated. So when a ship bound for Hamburg laden with gold sunk off the coast, an ...
Clouded Judgment: The Role of Sentiment in Credit Origination
Using daily fluctuations in local sunshine as an instrument for sentiment, we study its effect on day-today decisions of lower-level financial officers. Positive sentiment is associated with higher credit approvals, and negative sentiment has the opposite effect of a larger magnitude. These effects are stronger when financial decisions require more discretion, when reviews are less automated, and when capital constraints are less binding. The variation in approval rates affects ex-post financial performance and produces significant real effects. Our analysis of the economic channels suggests ...
Weather, Social Distancing, and the Spread of COVID-19
Using high-frequency panel data for U.S. counties, I estimate the full dynamic response of COVID-19 cases and deaths to exogenous movements in mobility and weather. I find several important results. First, weather and mobility are highly correlated and thus omitting either factor when studying the COVID-19 effects of the other is likely to result in substantial omitted variable bias. Second, temperature is found to have a negative and significant effect on future COVID-19 cases and deaths, though the estimated effect is sensitive to which measure of mobility is included in the regression. ...
Sellin’ in the Rain: Adaptation to Weather and Climate in the Retail Sector
Using novel methodology and proprietary daily store-level sporting goods and apparel brand data, I find that, consistent with long-run adaptation to climate, sales sensitivity to weather declines with historical norms and variability of weather. Short-run adaptation to weather shocks is dominated by changes in what people buy and how they buy it, with little intertemporal substitution. Over four weeks, a one-standard deviation one-day weather shock shifts sales by about 10 percent. While switching between indoor and outdoor stores offsets a small portion of contemporaneous responses to ...
Weather-adjusting employment data
First version: December 18, 2014. This version: January 12, 2015. This paper proposes and implements a statistical methodology for adjusting employment data for the effects of deviation in weather from seasonal norms. This is distinct from seasonal adjustment, which only controls for the normal variation in weather across the year. Unusual weather can distort both the data and the seasonal factors. We control for both of these effects by integrating a weather adjustment step in the seasonal adjustment process. We use several indicators of weather, including temperature, snowfall and ...