Divorce laws and the economic behavior of married couples

By regulating when divorce can occur and how resources are divided when it does, divorce laws can affect people’s behavior and their wellbeing both during marriage and at divorce. Household survey data from the United States shows that the introduction of unilateral divorce in states that imposed an equal division of property is associated with higher household savings and lower female employment rates among couples that are already married. This paper develops a model of household behavior to account for these effects and study how current laws can affect the wellbeing of different household members.

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Wealthy ‘hand-to-mouth’ households: key to understanding the impacts of fiscal stimulus

Many families in Europe and North America have substantial assets in the form of housing and retirement accounts but little in the way of liquid wealth or credit facilities to offset short-term income falls. This research shows that these households respond strongly to receiving temporary government transfers, boosting the economy through increased consumption. The findings have far-reaching implications for the design of fiscal stimulus policies in a recession.

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Prices, markups and trade reform

In our globalized economy, information about the costs, benefits, and distributional consequences of lowering trade barriers is essential to policymakers trying to decide if a particular agreement should be supported. This research fills an important gap in our knowledge concerning the effects of reducing trade barriers when firms have some degree of monopoly power.

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Family welfare cultures: evidence from Norway’s system of disability insurance

Over the past 50 years, many countries have seen a dramatic rise in the share of their adult population receiving disability benefits – and some argue that the explanation lies in a culture where dependency on welfare is passed from parents to children. By analysing a natural experiment provided by Norway’s system of disability insurance, this research presents some of the first causal evidence for the intergenerational transmission of ‘family welfare cultures’.

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Competition and ideological diversity: historical evidence from US newspapers

Many news outlets are struggling to survive in rapidly evolving print and digital media markets. This has caused concern that these markets will be dominated by a small number of firms with political agendas. What can regulators do to prevent this from happening and ensure, as much as possible, that the public is served by a competitive, politically diverse marketplace of ideas?

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Should cable television channels be offered à la carte?

Why do cable TV companies force people to purchase channels they don’t even like? Wouldn’t consumers be better off if they could purchase channels individually rather than only as part of large packages? Not necessarily. This research shows that channel prices would be higher on average if they were offered individually, and if the increase in prices is large enough it can more than offset the benefits of unbundling.

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Climate change: the potential impact on global agricultural markets

Many fear that climate change will have severe effects on the global economy, particularly through the threat to food production and farmers’ earnings. This research suggests that much of the potential harm could be avoided if farmers can switch their crops in response to changing relative yields.

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Healthcare: how competition can improve management quality and save lives

NHS hospitals in England are rarely closed in constituencies where the governing party has a slender majority. This means that for near random reasons, those areas have more competition in healthcare – which has allowed the authors to assess its impact on management quality and clinical performance.

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The impact of consumer financial regulation: evidence from the CARD Act

Does greater regulation of consumer financial products actually benefit consumers? This research, analyzing the CARD act enacted in the U.S. in 2009, suggests that it does. In particular, the act’s restrictions on hidden credit card fees were found to reduce borrowing costs (especially for consumers with low credit scores) without increasing interest charges and other fees and without reducing access to credit.

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