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Browse FSI scholarship on geopolitics, global health, energy, cybersecurity and more.

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Journal Article

Rodney C. Ewing, Rodney C. Ewing
Science of The Total Environment, 2020

A new study reveals particles that were released from nuclear plants damaged in the devastating 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami contained small amounts of radioactive plutonium.

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Book

Scott Rozelle, Natalie Hell
University of Chicago Press, 2020

Book Synopsis:

As the glittering skyline in Shanghai seemingly attests, China has quickly transformed itself from a place of stark poverty into a modern, urban, technologically savvy economic powerhouse. But as Scott Rozelle and Natalie Hell show in Invisible China, the truth is much more complicated and might be a serious cause for concern.

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Journal Article

Soojong Kim
PNAS Journal, 2020

Voluntary physical distancing is essential for preventing the spread of COVID-19. We assessed the role of political partisanship in individuals’ compliance with physical distancing recommendations of political leaders using data on mobility from a sample of mobile phones in 3,100 counties in the United States during March 2020, county-level partisan preferences, information about the political affiliation of state governors, and the timing of their communications about COVID-19 prevention.

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Policy Brief

Arzan Tarapore
The National Bureau of Asian Research - Special Report no. 88, 2020
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Journal Article

Yiwei Qian, Yi Ming Zheng, Sarah-Eve Dill, Scott Rozelle
PLOS One, 2020
A growing body of literature has documented that community-based early childhood development (ECD) interventions can improve child developmental outcomes in vulnerable communities. One critical element of effective community-based programs is consistent program participation. However, little is known about participation in community-based ECD interventions or factors that may affect participation. This paper examines factors linked to program participation within a community-based ECD program serving 819 infants and their caregivers in 50 rural villages in northwestern China. The results find that more than half of families did not regularly attend the ECD program. Both village-level social ties within the program and proximity to the program significantly predict program participation. Increased distance from the program site is linked with decreased individual program participation, while the number of social ties is positively correlated with participation. The average program participation rates among a family’s social ties is also positively correlated with individual participation, indicating strong peer effects. Taken together, our findings suggest that attention should be given to promoting social interactions and reducing geographic barriers among households in order to raise participation in community-based ECD programs.
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White Paper

Elena Cryst, Esteban Ponce de León, Daniel Suárez Pérez, Shelby Perkins, David Thiel
2020
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White Paper

Shelby Grossman, Ross Ewald, Jennifer John, Asfandyar Mir, Kim Ngo, Natasha Patel, A. R.
2020
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White Paper

Graham Webster, Graham Webster, Yan Luo, Samm Sacks, Naomi Wilson, Abigail Coplin
2020

Over the past two decades, U.S. and Chinese technological trajectories have been closely linked. Internet protocols, hardware design and manufacturing, software development and deployment, and services and standards have to varying degrees been crossborder phenomena, with China and the United States two of the world’s most consequential and integrated countries. The last few years, however, have seen a rise in mutual suspicion and moves—both direct and indirect—to unwind this extraordinary level of technological interdependence.

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Journal Article

Nathan Chael, Christophe Crombez, Pieterjan Vangerven
Annual Review of Resource Economics, 2020

This review evaluates the use of spatial models for the analysis of policymaking. First, we examine spatial theory and its applications in a variety ofinstitutional settings.

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Working Paper

Jeremy Ferwerda, Nicholas Adams-Cohen, Jennifer Fei, Duncan Lawrence, Jeremy M. Weinstein, Jens Hainmueller
Immigration Policy Lab (IPL) Working Paper Series, 2020

A growing number of countries have established programs to attract immigrants who can contribute to their economy. Research suggests that an immigrant's initial arrival location plays a key role in shaping their economic success. Yet immigrants currently lack access to personalized information that would help them identify optimal destinations. Instead, they often rely on availability heuristics, which can lead to the selection of sub-optimal landing locations, lower earnings, elevated outmigration rates, and concentration in the most well-known locations.

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Journal Article

Huan Zhou, Yuju Wu, Chengfang Liu, Chang Sun, Yaojiang Shi, Linxiu Zhang, Alexis Medina, Scott Rozelle
BMC Public Health, 2020
Background: Empirical evidence suggests that the uptake of maternal and child health (MCH) services is still low in poor rural areas of China. There is concern that this low uptake may detrimentally affect child health outcomes. Previous studies have not yet identified the exact nature of the impact that a conditional cash transfer (CCT) has on the uptake of MCH services and, ultimately, on child health outcomes. The objective of this study is to examine the relationship between CCT, uptake of MCH services, and health outcomes among children in poor rural areas of western China. Methods: We designated two different sets of villages and households that were used as comparisons against which outcomes of the treated households could be assessed. In 2014, we conducted a large-scale survey of 1522 households in 75 villages (including 25 treatment and 50 comparison) from nine nationally designated poverty counties in two provinces of China. In each village, 21 households were selected based on their eligibility status for the CCT program. Difference-in-difference analyses were used to assess the impact of CCT on outcomes in terms of both intention-to-treat (ITT) and average-treatment-effects-on-the-treated (ATT). Results: Overall, the uptake of MCH services in the sample households were low, especially in terms of postpartum care visits, early breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding, and physical examination of the baby. The uptake of the seven types of MCH services in the CCT treatment villages were significantly higher than that in the comparison villages. The results from both the ITT and ATT analyses showed that the CCT program had a positive, although small, impact on the uptake of MCH services and the knowledge of mothers of MCH health issues. Nonetheless, the CCT program had no noticeable effect on child health outcomes. Conclusions: The CCT program generated modest improvements in the uptake of MCH services and mothers’ knowledge of MCH services in poor rural areas of Western China. These improvements, however, did not translate into substantial improvements in child health outcomes for two potential reasons: poor CCT implementation and the low quality of rural health facilities.
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Journal Article

C. Jason Wang, Henry Bair
JAMA Pediatrics, 2020

There is general consensus among experts that K-12 schools should aim to reopen for in-person classes during the 2020-2021 school year. Globally, children constitute a low proportion of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases and are far less likely than adults to experience serious illness. Yet, prolonged school closure can exacerbate socioeconomic disparities, amplify existing educational inequalities, and aggravate food insecurity, domestic violence, and mental health disorders. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently published its g

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Working Paper

Yue Ma, Cody Abbey, Derek Hu, Weiting Hung, Xinwu Zhang, Chiayuan Chang, Chyi-In Wu, Scott Rozelle
2020
The effectiveness of educational technology (EdTech) in improving the outcomes of poor, marginalized students has primarily been documented by studies conducted in developing countries; however, relevant research involving randomized studies in developed country contexts is relatively scarce. The objective of the current study is to examine whether an in-school computer assisted learning (CAL) intervention can improve the math performance (the primary outcome) and academic attitudes (secondary outcomes) of rural students in Taiwan, including a marginalized subgroup of rural students called Xinzhumin. We also seek to identify which factors are associated with the effectiveness of the intervention. In order to achieve this, we conducted a randomized control trial involving 1,840 sixth-grade students at 95 schools in four relatively poor counties and municipalities of Taiwan during the spring semester of 2019. According to the ITT analysis, the O-CAL intervention had no significant ITT impacts on the primary outcome of student math performance as well as on most secondary outcomes of the overall treatment group (who on average used the software for only about one quarter of the protocol’s minimum required time of 30 minutes per week, indicating that compliance was low). However, the LATE analysis revealed significant improvements in the math performance of the 30% most active students in the treatment group (who used the software for about two thirds of the minimum required time). Effect sizes of active users overall (0.16 SD-0.22 SD) increased in accordance with increases in usage and were larger for active Xinzhumin users specifically (0.21 SD-0.35 SD). A wide range of student-level and (in particular) teacher-level characteristics were associated with the low compliance to the intervention, which are findings that may help inform educational policymakers and administrators of the potential challenges of introducing school-based interventions that depend heavily on teacher adoption and integration.  
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Working Paper

Guirong Li, Xinwu Zhang, Delei Liu, Hao Xue, Derek Hu, Oliver Lee, Chris Rilling, Yue Ma, Cody Abbey, Robert Fairlie, Prashant Loyalka, Scott Rozelle
2020
In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, many education systems have relied on distance learning and educational technologies to an unprecedented degree. However, rigorous empirical research on the impacts on learning under these conditions is still scarce. We present the first large-scale, quantitative evidence detailing how school closures affected education in China. The data set includes households and teachers of 4,360 rural and urban primary school students. We find that although the majority of students engaged in distance education, many households encountered difficulties including barriers to learning (such as access to appropriate digital devices and study spaces), curricular delays, and costs to parents equivalent to about two months of income. We also find significant disparities across rural and urban households.
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White Paper

Shelby Grossman, Ala' Alrababa'h, Josh A. Goldstein, Natasha Patel, Shelby Perkins, Abuzar Royesh, David Thiel
2020
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Journal Article

David Studdert, Mark Hall, Michelle Mello
New England Journal of Medicine, 2020

Since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis in the United States, government action taken to “flatten” the curve of disease transmission has varied dramatically among states, counties, and cities. The early epicenters — New York City, Washington State, and the San Francisco Bay Area — implemented aggressive measures in mid-March, many of which remain in place. Other states and localities opted for milder restrictions, acted much later, or barely intervened at all. Many states began unwinding restrictions weeks ago, although surging case numbers are prompting some to change course.

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Journal Article

Michelle Mello, Jeremy A. Greene , Joshua M. Sharfstein
JAMA Network, 2020

In June 24, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom remarked on a disturbing phenomenon: health officers are “getting attacked, getting death threats, they’re being demeaned and demoralized.” At least 27 health officers in 13 states (including Nichole Quick of Orange County in southern California, Ohio Health Director Amy Acton, and West Virginia Health Officer Cathy Slemp) have resigned or been fired since the start of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

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Book

Donald K. Emmerson
2020

Southeast Asia is arguably the most diverse region in the world. Accordingly, rather than addressing the exact same question, the contributors to this volume have — as experts on Southeast Asia-China relations — explored the matters they see as most important and most deserving of exploration and exposure. After the editor’s introduction, the chapters proceed in pairs. Each pair and a closing chapter cover a distinctive theme in Southeast Asia’s interactions with China.

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Working Paper

Ken Moon, Prashant Loyalka, Patrick Bergemann, Joshua Cohen
2020
Product reliability is a key concern for manufacturers. We examine a significant but under-recognized determinant of product reliability: the rate of workers quitting from the product's assembly line, or its worker turnover. While modern manufacturers make extensive efforts to control defects and assure quality worksmanship, some quality variation in the manufactured units may be revealed only after they have been used repeatedly. If this is the case, then the disruptiveness of high turnover may directly lead to product reliability issues. To evaluate this possibility, our study collects four post-production years of field failure data covering nearly fifty million sold units of a premium mobile consumer electronics product. Each device is traced back to the assembly line and week in which it was produced, which allows us to link product reliability to production conditions including assembly lines' worker turnover, workloads, firm learning, and the quality of components. Significant effects manifest in two main ways: (1) In the high-turnover weeks immediately following paydays, eventual field failures are surprisingly 10.2% more common than for devices produced in the lowest-turnover weeks immediately before paydays. Using post-payday as an instrumental variable, we estimate that field failure incidence grows by 0.74-0.79% per 1 percentage increase in weekly turnover. (2) Even in other weeks, assembly lines experiencing higher turnover produce an estimated 2-3% more field failures. We demonstrate that staffing and retaining a stable factory workforce critically underlies product reliability and show the value of connected field data in informing manufacturing operations. Keywords: Data-driven workforce planning, Empirical operations management, Employee turnover, People 
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Working Paper

Benjamin Golez, Peter Koudijs
SSRN, 2020

One of the most puzzling findings in asset pricing is that expected returns dominate variation in the dividend-to-price ratio, leaving little room for dividend growth rates. Even more puzzling is that this dominance only emerged after 1945. We develop a present value model to argue that a general increase in equity duration can explain these findings. As cash flows to investors accrue further into the future, shocks to highly persistent expected returns become relatively more important than shocks to growth rates.

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Book

Andray Abrahamian
2020

**See our dedicated book page for more information about the book, including praise, reviews, and author commentary.**

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Journal Article

Kyle Bagwell, Robert W. Staiger, Ali Yurukoglu
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics , 2020

This paper empirically examines recently declassified tariff bargaining data from the GATT/WTO. Focusing on the Torquay Round (1950–1951), we document stylized facts about these interconnected high-stakes international negotiations that suggest a lack of strategic behavior among the participating governments and an important multilateral element to the bilateral bargains.

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Working Paper

Adrien Auclert, Bence Bardóczy, Matthew Rognlie
NBER, 2020

We establish an impossibility result for New Keynesian models with a frictionless labor market: these models cannot simultaneously match plausible estimates of marginal propensities to consume (MPCs), marginal propensities to earn (MPEs), and fiscal multipliers. A HANK model with sticky wages provides a solution to this trilemma.

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Working Paper

Asaf Bernstein, Peter Koudijs
SSRN, 2020

Standard mortgage contracts include periodic debt repayment plans (amortization schedules) designed to build-up illiquid savings in the form of home equity, which can be substantial even from a macroeconomic standpoint. For example, U.S. households invest hundreds of ($) billions each year in mortgage amortization plans – comparable in size to pension program contributions. We provide the first empirical evidence on the causal effects of mortgage amortization on wealth accumulation. Ex-ante, effects are unclear.

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Journal Article

Mark A. Hall, Michelle Mello, David Studdert
New England Journal of Medicine , 2020

In March 2020, when many U.S. states and localities issued their first emergency orders to address Covid-19, there was widespread acceptance of the government’s legal authority to respond quickly and aggressively to this unprecedented crisis. Today, that acceptance is fraying. As initial orders expire and states move to extend or modify them, legal challenges have sprouted. The next phase of the pandemic response will see restrictions dialed up and down as threat levels change.  As public and political resistance grows, further legal challenges are inevitable.

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