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Research Roundup

1. The mortgage crisis seems to have been due to borrowers at ALL income levels expecting house prices to rise. Google the term “predatory borrowing” … not quite consistent with the prevailing narrative.

2. This paper may in fact be carefully done, but the result suggesting more government spending even when output multipliers are tiny is exactly what you’d predict they’d find based on the little we know of them. In other words, “Houston, we have an epistemological problem.”

3. You say potato

Overall, agency concerns appear modest. Around 80% of the eligible receive the subsidy as intended

4. Retirement is good for you.

5. This is sure to make headlines … NOT.  Home weatherization programs deliver a negative 10% return, and that’s not due to people keeping their houses warmer in response. This is in fact about what I calculated when we considered doing our own home here in Rochester.

The findings suggest that the upfront investment costs are about twice the actual energy savings. Further, the model-projected savings are roughly 2.5 times the actual savings. While this might be attributed to the “rebound” effect – when demand for energy end uses increases as a result of greater efficiency – the paper fails to find evidence of significantly higher indoor temperatures at weatherized homes. Even when accounting for the broader societal benefits of energy efficiency investments, the costs still substantially outweigh the benefits; the average rate of return is approximately -9.5% annually.

6. The authors suggest that risk taking behavior comes more from nurture than from nature. Their measure of risk? Investing in stocks.

7. An interesting finding on the history of corporations: it seems they may not be originated in government privilege and monopoly. This, too, is sure to be widely cited and popularized.

8. A model of “civil” disobedience by Glaeser and Sunstein.

9. Another finding sure to be a key point made, especially on the left, during the next election cycle: the EITC appears to be very well targeted and have a high unemployment reduction elasticity. This is not surprising.

10. Who takes advantage of solar subsidies? I think we should create a bumper sticker that says something like, “Going Green … for Those With Green.”

11. This paper is sure to be widely relied upon by the right during the next election cycle.

Our findings suggest that providing broader access to medical marijuana may have the potential benefit of reducing abuse of highly addictive painkillers.

12. Another hidden cost of war.

13. A Latin American financial crisis Nostradamus?

14. The importance of networking. Note to my students – this is not at all unrelated to grade inflation on campus and why I’ve chosen to reduce the number of recommendations I write.

15. Finally, another paper sure to get lots of airplay, fracking benefits those with low skills. My prediction is that if this one does in fact get picked up, it will be something like, “fracking contributes to degradation of education.” And I’m sure in the next breath the writer will go on to lament how in the golden days of the 50s, you used to be able to just get a good job and support a family by …

One Response to “Research Roundup”

  1. jb says:

    As to number 7, the next time you hear someone in academic circles whining about undue “corporate influence”, etc. you might mention this little factoid and ask if this is what they are referring to: “the oldest corporation in the Western Hemisphere is the Harvard Corporation, known formally as the President and Fellows of Harvard College ”
    http://www.harvard.edu/about-harvard/harvards-leadership/president-and-fellows-harvard-corporation

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