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

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Working Paper

Frank Wolak
Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, 2020

The basic features of an efficient short-term wholesale market design do not need to change to accommodate a significantly larger share of zero marginal cost intermittent renewable energy from wind and solar resources. A large share of controllable zero marginal cost generation does not create any additional market design challenge relative to a market with a large share of controllable positive marginal cost generation. In both instances, generation unit owners must recover their fixed costs from sales of energy, ancillary services, and long-term resource adequacy products.

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Working Paper

Ran Abramitzky, Leah Platt Boustan, James J. Feigenbaum, Santiago Pérez
NBER, 2020

The recent digitization of complete count census data is an extraordinary opportunity for social scientists to create large longitudinal datasets by linking individuals from one census to another or from other sources to the census. We evaluate different automated methods for record linkage, performing a series of comparisons across methods and against hand linking. We have three main findings that lead us to conclude that automated methods perform well. First, a number of automated methods generate very low (less than 5%) false positive rates.

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Working Paper

Marshall Burke, Anne Driscoll, Jennifer Burney, Sam Heft-Neal, Jenny Xue, Michael Wara
The National Bureau of Economic Research, 2020

Recent dramatic and deadly increases in global wildfire activity have increased attention on the causes of wildfires, their consequences, and how risk from fire might be mitigated. Here we bring together data on the changing risk and societal burden of wildfire in the US. We estimate that nearly 50 million homes are currently in the wildland-urban interface in the US, a number increasing by 1 million houses every 3 years.

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Working Paper

Arvind Krishnamurthy, Wenhao Li
SSRN, 2020

We develop a model of financial crises with both a financial amplification mechanism, via frictional intermediation, and a role for sentiment, via time-varying beliefs about an illiquidity state. We confront the model with data on credit spreads, equity prices, credit, and output across the financial crisis cycle. In particular, we ask the model to match data on the frothy pre-crisis behavior of asset markets and credit, the sharp transition to a crisis where asset values fall, disintermediation occurs and output falls, and the post-crisis period characterized by a slow recovery in output.

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Working Paper

Ran Abramitzky, Leah Platt Boustan, Dylan Connor
NBER, 2020

We study a program that funded 39,000 Jewish households in New York City to leave enclave neighborhoods circa 1910. Compared to their neighbors with the same occupation and income score at baseline, program participants earned 4 percent more ten years after removal, and these gains persisted to the next generation. Men who left enclaves also married spouses with less Jewish names, but they did not choose less Jewish names for their children. Gains were largest for men who spent more years outside of an enclave.

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Journal Article

Emm Lightfoot, Saša Čaval, Diego Calaon, Jo Appleby, Jonathan Santana, Alessandra Cianciosi, Rosa Fregel, Krish Seetah
Journal of Archaeological Science, 2020

Slavery, colonialism and emancipation are important aspects of archaeological research in the Atlantic region, but the lifeways of colonial populations remain understudied in the Indian Ocean World. Here, we help to redress this imbalance by undertaking stable isotope analysis (C, N and O) on human remains from Mauritius, a location which played an important role in the movement of people across the Indian Ocean and beyond.

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Working Paper

Ran Abramitzky, Leah Platt Boustan, Dylan Connor
NBER, 2020

We study a program that funded 39,000 Jewish households in New York City to leave enclave neighborhoods circa 1910. Compared to their neighbors with the same occupation and income score at baseline, program participants earned 4 percent more ten years after removal, and these gains persisted to the next generation. Men who left enclaves also married spouses with less Jewish names, but they did not choose less Jewish names for their children. Gains were largest for men who spent more years outside of an enclave.

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Working Paper

Sungchul Park, Hansoo Ko
Asia Health Policy Program working paper # 59, 2020

Effective as of July 1, 2018, South Korea set a new cap on employees’ weekly working hours, decreasing the maximum number from 68 to 52. In this study, we comprehensively analyze the effectiveness of the law’s implementation by observing changes in work time, health status, health care utilization, health behavior, monthly expenses, and satisfaction between pre- and post-implementation periods (2014–2017 vs. 2019). We find evidence of both intended and unintended consequences—and, in this last category, some are beneficial and some not.

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Journal Article

Marshall Burke, Sam Heft-Neal
Nature Sustainability, 2020

Estimation of pollution impacts on health is critical for guiding policy to improve health outcomes. Estimation is challenging, however, because economic activity can worsen pollution but also independently improve health outcomes, confounding pollution–health estimates. We leverage variation in exposure to local particulate matter of diameter <2.5 μm (PM2.5) across Sub-Saharan Africa driven by distant dust export from the Sahara, a source uncorrelated with local economic activity.

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Journal Article

Michelle Mello, Ross D. Silverman, Saad B. Omer
New England Journal of Medicine, 2020

As Covid-19 continues to exact a heavy toll, development of a vaccine appears the most promising means of restoring normalcy to civil life. Perhaps no scientific breakthrough is more eagerly anticipated. But bringing a vaccine to market is only half the challenge; also critical is ensuring a high enough vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity. Concerningly, a recent poll found that only 49% of Americans planned to get vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.

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Commentary

Benoît Pelopidas, Stephen Herzog, Fabrício Fialho
2020

Polls in the United States and nine allied countries in Europe and Asia show that public support for a nuclear test is very low. If the Trump administration conducts a test, then it shouldn’t expect backing from Americans or its closest U.S. partners.

Read more at The National Interest

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Journal Article

Eric Lambin
Nature Sustainability, 2020

In response to the important benefits forests provide, there is a growing effort to reforest the world. Past policies and current commitments indicate that many of these forests will be plantations. Since plantations often replace more carbon-rich or biodiverse land covers, this approach to forest expansion may undermine objectives of increased carbon storage and biodiversity. We use an econometric land use change model to simulate the carbon and biodiversity impacts of subsidy driven plantation expansion in Chile between 1986 and 2011.

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Working Paper

Marjorie Pajaron
Asia Health Policy Program working paper # 58, 2020

COVID-19 presents humanity with not just a health crisis but also a governance crisis as leaders around the globe confront the challenges of stemming the spread of the virus. Various governments have responded in various ways to slow the transmission of the virus. Ideally, the leaders of a country should approach the crisis with a two-pronged attack. The first is to flatten the epidemic curve (epi curve), which is simply a graphical representation of the number of cases and date of onset of the illness, and the second is to raise or strengthen the capacity of the health system. 

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Journal Article

Huan Wang, Hongyu Guan, Hongmei Yi, Emma Seevak, Reid Manheim, Matthew Boswell, Scott Rozelle, Sarah Kotb
International Journal of Educational Development, 2020
Abstract: Independent reading—unassigned reading for personal pleasure—has been shown to be an important driver of reading skills and academic success. Children that commonly read for pleasure exhibit higher academic performance. However, little research has been done on independent reading in rural China, where the education system is charged with schooling tens of millions of students. Many rural students fall behind their urban counterparts in school, with potentially troubling implications for China’s ongoing development. This article explores the prevalence of independent reading and its associations with reading ability and academic performance among rural students. Using a mixed methods approach, we analyze quantitative data from a survey of 13,232 students from 134 rural schools and interviews with students, teachers, principals, and caregivers. We find that independent reading is positively and significantly correlated with reading ability as well as standardized math and Chinese tests scores. Despite such correlations, only 17 percent of students report reading for pleasure for an hour a day. Interview findings suggest that inaccessible bookstores, curriculum constraints, unsupportive home environments, low availability of appealing and level-appropriate books, and insufficient school investment in reading resources may explain the low prevalence of independent reading.
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Journal Article

Abe de Jong, Tim Kooijmans, Peter Koudijs
SSRN, 2020

Dutch-Caribbean plantations attracted substantial outside funding in the 1760s. This came to an abrupt end after the 1773 credit crisis. We use one banker’s detailed archives to analyze how bankers and investors were initially able to overcome asymmetric information problems, and why the system eventually broke down. Bankers oversaw plantations’ cash flows and placed debt with investors in the form of mortgage-backed securities. Strong growth led to lax screening and an oversupply of credit. After a fall in commodity prices, plantation debts were unsustainable.

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Journal Article

Kirk Bansak, Jens Hainmueller, Daniel J. Hopkins, Teppei Yamamoto
SSRN, 2020

Political scientists have increasingly deployed conjoint survey experiments to understand multi-dimensional choices in various settings. We begin with a general framework for analyzing voter preferences in multi-attribute elections using conjoints. With this framework, we demonstrate that the Average Marginal Component Effect (AMCE) is well-defined in terms of individual preferences and represents a central quantity of interest to empirical scholars of elections: the effect of a change in an attribute on a candidate or party's expected vote share.

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Commentary

David Studdert, Matthew Miller, Garen Wintemute
The New York Times , 2020

Millions of Americans have experienced the coronavirus pandemic directly, as they or their loved ones suffered through infection. But for most of us, the experience is defined by weeks and months on end stuck at home. The shut-ins are testing the safety of our home environments.

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White Paper

Shelby Grossman, Fazil Alp Akis, Ayça Alemdaroğlu, Josh A. Goldstein, Katie Jonsson, Isabella García-Camargo, David Thiel, Alex Zaheer
2020
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White Paper

Carly Miller, Vanessa Molter, Isabella García-Camargo, Renee DiResta, David Thiel, Alex Zaheer
2020
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Journal Article

Johanna Kalb, Didi Kuo
Michigan Law Review Online, 2020

American democracy is in trouble. Since the 2016 election, a sizable literature has developed that focuses on diagnosing and assessing the state of American democracy, most of which concludes that our system of government is in decline.[2] These authors point to the rise in party polarization, the increasingly bipartisan abandonment of the norms of the democratic process, the rise of populism, the degradation of the public sphere, and the proliferation of gerrymandered districts and voting restrictions to illustrate the breakdown.

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Commentary

Anja Manuel, Anja Manuel
2020

A new shadow war is underway within the International Telecommunication Union, one of the obscure organizations that sets global technical standards.

International standard-setting is a morass of positive intentions and poor execution. When the process works well, it selects the best technologies based on merit and, for example, allows people to use their personal cellphone numbers anywhere on Earth. When the system fails, we end up with different electrical outlets in each country and scramble for adapters.

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Journal Article

Xiaobing Wang, Zhouhang Yuan, Shi Min, Scott Rozelle
The Journal of Development Studies, 2020
In China, parents have a choice to either send their children to private migrant schools in urban areas or to keep them in their own county. It is unclear whether the academic differences of students in rural schools and those in private migrant schools is due to the quality of schools, the quality of students/peers, or the ways that peer effects interact with the quality of the school. Using survey data from students with rural residency who attended either migrant schools or rural public schools, we measure how differences in the quality of the types of schools and how the effect of peers differs in high- versus low-quality schools. An instrumental variable approach is used to identify the causality of a student’s peers on his or her academic outcomes and within the context of each of the school venues. The gap in student academic performance is explained by the differences in each student’s peers as and in how peers interact in the schooling environments. The analysis also demonstrates that there is a significant interaction effect between one’s peers and the quality of a student’s school environment. We found that school quality has a complementary effect with peers on student academic performance.
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Journal Article

David M. Studdert, Yifan Zhang, Sonja A. Swanson, Lea Prince, Jonathan Rodden, Erin E. Holsinger, Matthew J. Spittal, Garen J. Wintemute, Matthew Miller
The New England Journal of Medicine, 2020

Research has consistently identified firearm availability as a risk factor for suicide. However, existing studies are relatively small in scale, estimates vary widely, and no study appears to have tracked risks from commencement of firearm ownership.

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Journal Article

David M. Studdert, Yifan Zhang, Sonja A. Swanson, Lea Prince, Jonathan Rodden, Erin E. Holsinger, Matthew J. Spittal, Garen J. Wintemute, Matthew Miller
The New England Journal of Medicine, 2020

Research has consistently identified firearm availability as a risk factor for suicide. However, existing studies are relatively small in scale, estimates vary widely, and no study appears to have tracked risks from commencement of firearm ownership.

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