Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #NBERday

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Not doing full #NBERday but a super quick comment here about Africa agriculture, cc @Noahpinion .

(Not doing full #NBERday because Ruth and I are leading a VBS program for 600 kids here in HK so time is limited)
There are FOUR #NBERday papers out this week about experimental interventions to boost (chronically low) African agricultural productivity.

They generally concur: ag extension WORKS.
The key to boosting agricultural yield is agricultural extension: informing farmers about best practices and methods, connecting them to tools, encouraging a model of a conscientious and informed farmer. All four papers find program spillovers in actual field tests. #NBERday
Read 4 tweets
Iiiiiit's #NBERday and I don't have time just yet to review all the cool papers out this week but one paper is just too fun to not do right now.
Q: What caused fertility declines in the 19th century?

A: French cultural norms.
Let me back up.

There's a big debate on what causes fertility declines in the long run. It's "something about modernity" but exactly *what* has been hard to pin down. But recently, a growing chorus of economics research points to basically cultural answers. #NBERday
Read 110 tweets
It's #NBERday , but the subtitle of this #NBERday will be " @swinshi dancing on the smoking graves of his foes"

Q: "Extreme poverty" as measured in surveys is rising fast in America. But... can we trust the data?

A: No. When you link to IRS data *half* of people in "extreme poverty" actually ARE NOT IN POVERTY AT ALL.
90% of people in extreme poverty are not in extreme poverty when you use a more correct measure of their income and account for in-kind transers.

Read 34 tweets
It's #NBERday!!!!!! Woooooo!!!!
First up:

Q: Why is the rate of business startups declining?

A: It's the demographics, stupid.
This is another paper after one last year showed a very similar finding, that declining firm startup rates were pretty clearly linked to declining working-age population growth: #NBERday
Read 42 tweets
Iiiiiiiiit's #NBERday !!!!!
Let's start simple!

Q: Do employers discriminate against resumes they perceive to be American Indian?

A: Basically no. Four different ways of indicating indigenous status were tested. None show discrimination.
This is a surprising finding. Most resume studies do find discrimination. The found a pretty precisely estimated null using a very standard study design, and with plenty of robustness checks. So indigenous low SES is probably not mostly explained by CURRENT prejudice. #NBERday
Read 40 tweets
Iiiiiiiit's #NBERday ! I will have an interruption soon, but I may be able to get one or two done. Also I didn't do #NBERday last week, so may review some from then as well.
Let's start with a fun one:

Q: Does student loan forgiveness make the people with forgiven debts richer and more prosperous?

A: Yes.
This paper exploits a very fun quirk. One loan company kept bad records and couldn't follow up on a lot of its lending, so a lot of the debt it held was discharged. In effect, those loans were forgiven. #NBERday
Read 72 tweets
It's late here in Hong Kong so I can't do a full #NBERday, but I do want to review one fascinating paper.
Q: Why did British fertility suddenly fall off a cliff in 1877?

A: Because of a massive shock to social norms when a secuarlist progressive duo published a book about birth control triggering a controversial censorship trial.
NBER has been running tons of "culture matters" pieces recently. For example, there was the one showing that the idea of evolution appreciably altered norms about life and competition in a measurable way: #NBERday
Read 19 tweets
Iiiiiiiit's #NBERday ! And it's the first #NBERday in like 3 weeks when I've actually had time to sit down and do a bunch of papers, so it may run long, and dig back several weeks.
Let's start simple:

Q: Do (corporate) apologies work?

A: Yes, if they appear to be an actual costly signal and reflect a genuine mistake, they work. But automated emails after every late Uber trip? Not so much. #NBERday
Basically, Uber's economics team did an experiment: if we randomly vary the structure of apologies for late rides, and if we randomly add rebates, does it change future customer loyalty?

Answer: yes. It does.
Read 91 tweets
Well folks.... it's #NBERday !!! I didn't do it last week so a few papers will be from last week's batch.
We're going to start with papers about what I know you'll all agree is the most important topic: fertility and family! #NBERday
And we get to START with the economic history of fertility! So fun!

Q: Which came first in a random French village: cultural or economic modernization?

A: Cultural. Fertility transition LONG predated sectoral shift or education.
Read 62 tweets
Iiiiiiiiit's still technically #NBERday for one more hour so I'm not technically late yet, HA!
Today's papers that I'll review include some neat ones. Lots of them touch on what I'll far-too-broadly call "Culture." #NBERday
Sorry for the long delay. Had a short lunch that became a long lunch, and then I had to help set up and load-test a zipline before putting kids on it. #NBERday
Read 85 tweets
Iiiiiiiit's #NBERday ! I'll be reviewing papers from the last 3 weeks because in case you didn't know I was enjoying a lovely vacation in India, suckers. My sweat is going to smell like turmeric and cardamom for WEEKS.
Let's start big.

There's a debate, especially among conservative wonks, recently re-ignited by @oren_cass , about whether conventional market economics on trade only treats people like "consumers" while ignoring their role as "producers." #NBERday
This question matters: say you have a merger that results in higher prices of products, or say you have a trade deal that allows firms to offshore jobs and reduce prices. Who wins in these circumstances? #NBERday
Read 120 tweets


My first paper for @AEI is PUBLISHED! It's a compendium of all my thinking on fertility to date, and basically lays out my argument for why fertility rates are unlikely to recover.…
Basically, somebody FINALLY let me write a piece of the length that is my natural inclination: OF COURSE I'm game to do 31 pages with 20 charts on fertility decline! That's a moderately busy morning! ;-)
The key takeaway is that *no matter what* you think is causing fertility decline, *virtually every indicator* points towards things having no large improvement within the next 5 years or so.
Read 27 tweets

I'll be mostly reviewing papers from today's NBER releases, but a few from last week as well, as I didn't review any last week.
Today is going to be heavy on education-related topics. This is a sexy topic these days not least because educational institutions generate a lot of data and house economists. #NBERday
However, I should note here that economics of education is *adjacent to* some of my actual expertise, not my area of greatest mastery. Thus, while I can discuss these papers somewhat, several of them (seem to) disagree, and I can't tell you who to believe for sure. #NBERday
Read 86 tweets
It's #NBERday! Only a few papers drew my attention this week, so the thread'll be short.
Really just 3. Short publish list today and even short list for topics I'm curious about. #NBERday
Let's get to it, then!

Q: What happens to low wage workers when minimum wages goes up?

A: Wages rise, hours worked fall. Income raises: but only for experienced workers, and partly because they get jobs commuting outside of the high-wage region.
Read 32 tweets
It's #NBERday!

Let's talk gender.
There's been a rash of studies showing that motherhood has a huge impact on the gender gap, female labor behavior, etc. It is The Big Thing that methods used say 20 or 30 years ago had a hard time appropriately controlling for. #NBERday
We've seen studies from Denmark, New Zealand, France, and Australia showing, conclusively, using very simple-but-compelling methods that a monumentally big share of the gender gap is explained by childbearing, and social policies like maternity leave don't change that. #NBERday
Read 70 tweets
Today is a big day.

Today is #NBERday

In factm double-#NBER-day, because I wasn't able to get to it last Monday.

Q: Do tax hikes impact economic growth?

A: Yes. They reduce it (in interwar Britain). #NBERday
The method here is fun. They went through every budget in interwar Britain (1918-1939), and categorized each tax by its motivation: ideological, countercyclical, etc. They argue some of these taxes are plausibly exogenous due to arbitrary political motivations. #NBERday
Read 59 tweets
It's #NBERday! I haven't done it in a few weeks because the NBER release lists have been short, and only a few papers really got me jazzed.
Let's start with the most interesting and compelling paper in the lot for me:

Q: Does lead impact fertility?

A: YES. More lead, les babies. Moderate reductions in lead exposure have demographically-significant fertility impacts. #NBERday
This is in line with e.g. Flint's experience, where intense lead exposure created a sudden baby-bust. It's in line with medical research as well. The study design... is making the best of limited data that it can. #NBERday
Read 96 tweets
Okay folks, today is monday. So sit down, buckle up, and brace for some tales of woe, death, and despire.

Q: What happens if we teach a bunch of formerly-very-violent Liberian farmers ways to nonviolently manage disputes?

A: They become less violent! Because local elites monopolize the peaceful system! #NBERday
Basically, an NGO funded a grant to teach a random sample of Liberian villages some peaceful dispute resolution mechanisms, in the hope that this would create norms of nonviolent dispute resolution.

Turns out, it actually worked! #NBERday
Read 52 tweets
For the last 3 weeks I have both been 1) busy and 2) not deeply fascinated by very many NBER papers. So I've been accumulating reviews for a big #NBERday review-athon TODAY!
So, let's get to it! We will start with papers about the most important and interesting topic and the only one REALLY worth studying if we're being honest.

Migration! #NBERday
Q: If you forcibly remove tens of thousands of "tribal forest dwellers" from India, give'em 5 acres of land and some cash, and make'em live a more modernized life, what happens?

A: They end up a TON richer, especially the least educated ones. #NBERday
Read 103 tweets

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