Cash Transfers and Nonlinear Prices

Cash transfer programs have become increasingly popular in developing countries over the past twenty years. Recently, World Bank researchers have documented a dramatic expansion of such programs to address the Covid-19 crisis. The reason for the popularity of these programs is that they have proved successful at alleviating poverty in both the short run, by […]

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Should There Be Vertical Choice in Health Insurance Markets?

Are consumers on ACA exchanges actually made better off by having a choice between a high-deductible and a low-deductible health plan? Would U.K. citizens be better off if they could opt into accepting a deductible, in exchange for an up-front payment? The research summarized here introduces a framework for exploring such questions theoretically and empirically. […]

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Research lessons for practical school choice policy

Many cities use centralized school choice systems to assign students to schools. In centralized choice, students submit ranked lists of schools to a centralized authority. The authority then uses some combination of priorities (e.g., test scores or neighborhoods) and random tiebreakers to place each student in at most one school. Centralized choice systems help alleviate […]

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The long-term benefits of better school lunches

Although school meal programs have been around since the 1940s in countries such as Finland, Sweden, the UK, and the US, they have been difficult to evaluate. The US school lunch program, for instance, is federal: hence there is little variation across areas, and quasi-experimental approaches to measuring the effects are not easily applied (Hoynes […]

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Killer acquisitions

Innovation matters because it drives economic growth, increases profits, and can often make consumers better off. Innovating firms are sometimes taken over by incumbents, typically while the innovating firm remains in the early stages of product development. Economists have traditionally viewed these deals quite positively as a routine part of overall growth. Established firms which […]

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Taxation and Innovation in the Twentieth Century

How sensitive are inventors to changes in tax rates? This is a critical and controversial question in public policy given the centrality of the tax system to the structure of incentives in the real economy. While targeted tax policies, such as R&D tax credits, can spur innovation, our work focuses on whether general personal and […]

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Tackling Youth Unemployment: Evidence from a Labor Market Experiment in Uganda

Motivation: youth unemployment as a global challenge Young people face a higher risk of unemployment than adults in all countries of the world (ILO 2020). Understanding which active labor market policies are effective at facilitating the transition of youth into remunerative employment is thus critical to ensure global economic and social stability. Nowhere is the […]

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How Should R&D Procurement Be Structured?

Many buyers, such as firms and government agencies, acquire products that are not commercially available — from customized parts for automobiles or airplanes to major weapons systems with novel capabilities. Suppliers who want to compete for these procurement contracts must engage in costly R&D to design and develop the relevant products. Accordingly, the potential suppliers […]

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Effects of vertical mergers on competition: evidence from the carbonated drinks industry

The competitive impacts of vertical mergers are a long-standing question in antitrust economics. A recent wave of vertical mergers has reinvigorated the academic and policy debate on enforcement, and the discussion is far from settled. An example of this is that US antitrust authorities presented new vertical merger guidelines in 2020, but the Federal Trade […]

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Minimum Wages and Racial Inequality

Last summer’s mass mobilization for racial justice sparked debates around how to combat entrenched racial inequality in the United States. Recent corporate diversity initiatives, while a step in the right direction, are not sufficient to topple structural racism in the economy. One of the most striking dimensions of inequality in the United States is the […]

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