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2009 Working Papers

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923 - Did Children’s Education Matter? Family Migration as a Mechanism of Human Capital Investment. Evidence From Nineteenth Century Bohemia

Alexander Klein

This paper analyzes the rural-urban migration of families in the Bohemian region of Pilsen in 1900. Using a new 1300-family dataset from the 1900 population census I examine the role of children‘s education in rural-urban migration. I find that families migrated to the city such that the educational attainment of their children would be maximized and that there is a positive correlation between family migration and children being apprentices in urban areas. The results suggest that rural-urban migration was powered not only by the exploitation of rural-urban wage gaps but also by aspirations to engage in human capital investment.

922 - A Nonparametric Analysis of the Cournot Model

Andres Carvajal and John K H Quah

An observer makes a number of observations of an industry producing a homogeneous good. Each observation consists of the market price, the output of individual firms and perhaps information on each firm's production cost. We provide various tests (typically, linear programs) with which the observer can determine if the data set is consistent with the hypothesis that firms in this industry are playing a Cournot game at each observation. When cost information is wholly or partially unavailable, these tests could potentially be used to derive cost information on the firms. This paper is a contribution to the literature that aims to characterize (in various contexts) the restrictions that a data set must satisfy for it to be consistent with Nash outcomes in a game. It is also inspired by the seminal result of Afriat (and the subsequent literature) which addresses similar issues in the context of consumer demand, though one important technical dierence from most of these results is that the objective functions of firms in a Cournot game are not necessarily quasiconcave.

921 - Consumption Dynamics in General Equilibrium : A Characterisation when Markets are Incomplete

Pablo Beker and Subir Chattopadhyay

We introduce a methodology for analysing infinite horizon economies with two agents, one good, and incomplete markets. We provide an example in which an agent’s equilibrium consumption is zero eventually with probability one even if she has correct beliefs and is marginally more patient. We then prove the following general result: if markets are effectively incomplete forever then on any equilibrium path on which some agent’s consumption is bounded away from zero eventually, the other agent’s consumption is zero eventually–so either some agent vanishes, in that she consumes zero eventually, or the consumption of both agents is arbitrarily close to zero infinitely often. Later we show that (a) for most economies in which individual endowments are finite state time homogeneous Markov processes, the consumption of an agent who has a uniformly positive endowment cannot converge to zero and (b) the possibility that an agent vanishes is a robust outcome since for a wide class of economies with incomplete markets, there are equilibria in which an agent’s consumption is zero eventually with probability one even though she has correct beliefs as in the example. In sharp contrast to the results in the case studied by Sandroni (2000) and Blume and Easley (2006) where markets are complete, our results show that when markets are incomplete not only can the more patient agent (or the one with more accurate beliefs) be eliminated but there are situations in which neither agent is eliminated.

920 - Nash Implementation with Partially Honest Individuals

Bhaskar Dutta and Arunava Sen

We investigate the problem of Nash implementation in the presence of "partially honest" individuals. A partially honest player is one who has a strict preference for revealing the true state over lying when truthtelling does not lead to a worse outcome (according to preferences in the true state) than that which obtains when lying. We show that when there are at least three individuals, the presence of even a single partially honest individual (whose identity is not known to the planner) can lead to a dramatic increase in the class of Nash implementable social choice correspondences. In particular, all social choice correspondences satisfying No Veto Power can be implemented. We also provide necessary and sufficient conditions for implementation in the two-person case when there is exactly one partially honest individual and when both individuals are partially honest. We describe some implications of the characterization conditions for the two-person case. Finally, we extend our three or more individual result to the case where there is an individual with an arbitrary small but strictly positive probability of being partially honest.

919 - Tear Down this Wall : On the Persistence of Borders in Trade

Volker Nitsch and Nikolaus Wolf

Why do borders still matter for economic activity? The reunification of Germany in 1990 provides a unique natural experiment for examining the effect of political borders on trade both in the cross-section and over time. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rapid formation of a political and economic union, strong and strictly enforced administrative barriers to trade between East Germany and West Germany were eliminated completely within a very short period of time. The evolution of intra-German trade flows after reunification then provides new insights for both the globalization and border effects literatures. Our estimation results show a remarkable persistence in intra-German trade patterns along the former East-West border; political integration is not rapidly followed by economic integration. Instead, we estimate that it takes at least one generation (between 33 and 40 years or more) to remove the impact of political borders on trade. This finding strongly suggests that border effects are neither statistical artefacts nor mainly driven by administrative or “red tape” barriers to trade, but arise from economic fundamentals.

917 - An Economic Model of Strategic Electoral Rule Choice Under Uncertainty (updated March 2011)

Dimitrios Xefteris and Kostas Matakos

We study electoral rule choice in a multi-party model where parties are office-motivated and uncertainty over the electoral outcome is present. We show that when all dominant parties (parties with positive probability of winning the elections) have sufficiently good chances of winning, then they agree to change the PR with a more majoritarian rule. We identify the exact degree of disproportionality of the new rule and we prove that it is increasing in the expected vote share of the minority parties (parties with zero probability of winning). The necessary and sufficient conditions for such collusion in favour of a majoritarian rule are: a) the high rents from a single-party government, b) sufficient uncertainty over the electoral outcome and c) ideological proximity of the dominant parties.

916 - Personal Income of U.S. States : Estimates for the Period 1880–1910

Alexander Klein

This paper constructs an estimate of the total personal income for every U.S state in 1880, 1890, 1900, and 1910. The series includes new figures for 1890 and 1910, and updated figures for 1880 and 1900, which were originally estimated by Richard Easterlin more than fifty years ago. The estimation follows the methodology developed by Easterlin. The paper presents a comparison of the original with the updated 1880 and 1900 figures, a formalization of Easterlin’s methodology, the details of the data sources and the calculation of the new 1890 and 1910 U.S. states’ total personal income estimates.

915 - Unilateral measures and global emissions mitigation

Shurojit Chatterji, Sayantan Ghosal, Sean Walsh and John Whalley

In this paper we discuss global climate change mitigation that builds on existing unilateral actions to deliver ever deepening emission cuts over time. A wide array of unilateral environmental measures have been documented. We discuss the rationale for suchmeasures and argue that unilateral initiatives have the potential to generate positive spillover effects both within and across countries. Using a simple dynamic model of learning, we show how global negotiations can accelerate convergence to a global low emissions regime by building on and strengthening the positive spillovers inherent in unilateral initiatives.

914 - Reforming IMF and World Bank governance : in search of simplicity, transparency and democratic legitimacy in the voting rules

Dennis Leech and Robert Leech

We discuss the reform of the voting rules at the heart of the governance of the IMF and World Bank (the BWIs) in terms of three principles that we suggest ought to be fundamental: simplicity, transparency and democratic legitimacy. By simplicity we mean that the rules should make sense in terms of the purposes of the BWI and be easy to understand. By transparency we mean that the rules mean what they appear to mean in the sense of leading to the same distribution of voting power as the institution's designers intended. We show using voting power analysis that the inequality in the distribution of voting power among countries is greater than that of their voting weight. By democratic legitimacy, we consider whether we can reconcile weighted voting with democracy. Our conclusion is that the voting rules as they currently exist are far from satisfying any of these criteria and that recent reform proposals do not lead us to change this conclusion.

913 - Price transmission in the UK electricity market : was NETA beneficial?

Monica Giuletti, Luigi Grossi and Michael Waterson

This paper explores the relationship between domestic retail electricity prices in Great Britain and their determinants in the particular context of the New Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA) introduced in 2001. The analysis requires a consistent comparison of wholesale power price series before and after NETA, which we investigate using a range of wholesale future price series. Despite its stated intention of reducing prices, we conclude that the net effect of NETA alongside other developments instead merely rearranged where money was made in the system.

912 - Topology of utility possibility frontiers of economies with Ramsey taxation (revised)

Sushama Murty

We explore the scope of employing standard assumptions and replicating standard (Kuhn-Tucker-type) techniques that are used to study the rst-best Pareto frontier to the study of Pareto frontiers of second-best economies. In the context of a simple second-best situation created by the inability of the government to implement personalized lump-sum transfers and where the government takes recourse to linear (Ramsey) commodity taxes as alternative redistributive devices, we identify at least three potential problems that second-best situations create for obtaining well-behaved Pareto frontiers. We show that additional conditions are required to ensure that the second-best Pareto frontier of an economy with H consumers will have the expected structure of a H -1-dimensional manifold. Second-best Pareto optima, as is well-known, are characterized by consumption and/ or production inefficiencies. In a class of private-ownership economies with Ramsey taxation, we show that, generically, while the jointly production and consumption inefficient component of the second-best Pareto manifold is a submanifold that also has a dimension equal to H 1, the production efficient but consumption inefficient, consumption efficient but production inefficient, and the first-best components are lower dimensional, and hence negligible in size, submanifolds. Thus, we formally demonstrate that, generically, in second-best economies, joint production and consumption ineciencies are prevalent and, hence, neither producer nor consumer prices reveal the true social shadow prices of resources. The recovery of unobservable shadow prices from observable data is crucial for cost-benet analysis of competing public sector projects. Our results demonstrate the important need for further research for recovering the true social shadow prices from observable data in second-best economies.

911 - Russia’s Real National Income: The Great War, Civil War, and Recovery, 1913 to 1928

Andrei Markevich and Mark Harrison

We are working towards filling the last remaining gap in the historical national accounts of Russia and the USSR in the twentieth century. The gap includes the GreatWar (1914 to 1917), the Bolshevik Revolution, the Civil War and War Communism (1918 to 1921), and postwar recovery under the New Economic Policy of a mixed economy (1921 to 1928). Our work builds on our predecessors and also returns to a number of original sources. We find that the economic performance of the Russian Empire in wartime was somewhat better than previously thought; that of War Communism was correspondingly worse. We confirm the persistence of losses associated with the Civil War into the postwar period, or the failure of the New Economic Policy to achieve full recovery, or some mixture of both.We conclude that the GreatWar and CivilWar produced the deepest economic trauma of Russia’s troubled twentieth century.

910 - Inflation and welfare in long-run equilibrium with firm dynamics

Alexandre Janiak and Paulo Santos Monteiro

We analyze the welfare cost of inflation in a model with cash-in-advance constraints and an endogenous distribution of establishments' productivities. Inflation distorts aggregate productivity through firm entry dynamics. The model is calibrated to the United States economy and the long-run equilibrium properties are compared at low and high inflation. We find that increasing the annual inflation rate by 10 percentage points above the average rate in the U.S. would result in a fall in average productivity of roughly 1.3 percent. This decrease in productivity is not innocuous : it is responsible for about one half of the welfare cost of inflation.

909 - Forging Success : Soviet Managers and False Accounting, 1943 to 1962

Mark Harrison

Attempting to satisfy their political masters in a target-driven culture, Soviet managers had to optimize on many margins simultaneously. One of these was the margin of truthfulness. False accounting for the value of production appears to have been widespread in some branches of the economy and some periods of time. A feature of cases of false accounting was that they commonly involved the aggravating element of conspiracy. The paper provides new evidence on the nature and extent of false accounting; the scale and optimal size of underlying conspiracies; the authorities’ difficulty in committing to penalize it and the importance of political connections in securing leniency; and the importance of herd effects, leading to correlated risk taking and periodic asset price bubbles in the socialist market where interpersonal trust was traded.

908 - Constraints on Income Distribution and Production Efficiency In Economies with Ramsey Taxation

Charles Blackorby and Sushama Murty

We study the link between second-best production efficiency and the constraints on income distribution imposed by private ownership of firms in economies with Ramsey taxation. We review the result of Dasgupta and Stiglitz [1972], Mirrlees [1972], Hahn [1973], and Sadka [1977] about firm-specific profit taxation leading to second-best production efficiency. Problems in the proofs of this result in these papers have been identified by Reinhorn [2005]. We provide an alternative, and with some hope a more intuitive, proof of this result. The mechanism employed in our proof is also used to show second-best production efficiency under some configuarations of private ownership without any (or at best, uniform) profit taxation. The results obtained raise questions about the genericity of the phenomenon of second-best production inefficiency and about recovering social shadow prices in such economies.

907 - Ability Bias, Skewness and the College Wage Premium

Robin A. Naylor and Jeremy Smith

Changes in educational participation rates across cohorts are likely to imply changes in the ability-education relationship and thereby to impact on estimated returns to education. We show that skewness in the underlying ability distribution is a key determinant of the impact of graduate expansion on the college wage premium. Calibrating the model against the increased proportion of university students in Britain, we find that changes in the average ability gap between university students and others are likely to have mitigated demand-side forces.

906 - Educational Returns, ability composition and cohort effects : theory and evidence for cohorts of early-career UK graduates

Norman Ireland, Robin A. Naylor, Jeremy Smith and Shqiponja Telhaj

An increase over time in the proportion of young people obtaining a degree is likely to impact on the relative ability compositions (i) of graduates and non-graduates and (ii) across graduates with different classes of degree award. In a signalling framework, we examine the implications of this on biases across cohorts in estimates of educational returns. In an empirical analysis, we exploit administrative data on whole populations of UK university students for ten graduate cohorts to investigate the extent to which early labour market outcomes vary with class of degree awarded. Consistent with our theoretical model, we find that returns by degree class increased across cohorts during a period of substantial graduate expansion. We also corroborate the empirical findings with evidence from complementary data on graduate sample surveys

905 - Emerging Floaters : Pass-Throughs and (Some) New Commodity Currencies

Emanuel Kohlscheen

In spite of early skepticism on the merits of floating exchange rate regimes in emerging markets, 8 of the 25 largest countries in this group have now had a floating exchange rate regime for more than a decade. Using parsimonious VAR specifications covering the period of floating exchange rates, this study computes the dynamics of exchange rate pass-throughs to consumer price indices. We find that pass-throughs have typically been moderate even though emerging floaters have seen considerable nominal and real exchange rate volatilities. Previous studies that set out to estimate exchange rate pass-throughs ignored changes in policy regimes, making them vulnerable to the Lucas critique. We find that, within the group of emerging floaters, estimated pass-throughs are higher for countries with greater nominal exchange rate volatilities and that trade more homogeneous goods. These findings are consistent with the pass-through model of Floden and Wilander (2006) and earlier findings by Campa and Goldberg (2005), respectively. Furthermore, we find that the Indonesian Rupiah, the Thai Baht and possibly the Mexican Peso are commodity currencies, in the sense that their real exchange rates are cointegrated with international commodity prices.

904 - Domestic vs. External Sovereign Debt Servicing : An Empirical Analysis

Emanuel Kohlscheen

This paper analyzes the incidence of domestic and external debt crises for a sample of 53 emerging economies between 1980 and 2005. Even though there is substantial time variation in the default rates during the period, sovereign default rates for domestic debts are typically lower than those for external debts. The incidence of both types of defaults is explained by means of the estimation of independent and simultaneous limited-dependent variable models. The results show that while there is considerable evidence that external defaults trigger domestic defaults, evidence for the reverse link disappears when default propensities are estimated in a simultaneous equation model

903 - Hydrogen Transport and the Spatial Requirements of Renewable Energy

Andrew J. Oswald, James I. Oswald and Hezlin Ashraf-Ball

Unlike oil and coal, which are compressed forms of energy, renewable energy requires unusually large land areas. This article calculates the consequences of a switch to hydrogen-cell vehicles powered by electricity from wind turbines. It then re-does the calculation for three other green energy sources: wave power; biofuels; solar energy. We argue that policy-makers and social scientists need to understand the significant spatial demands of a move to a carbon-free society.

902 - Implementation in Mixed Nash Equilibrium

Claudio Mezzetti and Ludovic Renou

A mechanism implements a social choice correspondence f in mixed Nash equilibrium if at any preference profile, the set of all pure and mixed Nash equilibrium outcomes coincides with the set of f-optimal alternatives at that preference profile. This definition generalizes Maskin’s definition of Nash implementation in that it does not require each optimal alternative to be the outcome of a pure Nash equilibrium. We show that the condition of weak set-monotonicity, a weakening of Maskin’s monotonicity, is necessary for implementation. We provide sufficient conditions for implementation and show that important social choice correspondences that are not Maskin monotonic can be implemented in mixed Nash equilibrium.

901 - Sovereign Debt Default : The Impact of Creditor Composition

Amrita Dhillon, Javier García-Fronti and Lei Zhang

The main motivation of this paper is to study the impact of the composition of creditors on the probability of default and the risk premium on sovereign bonds, when there is debtor moral hazard. In the absence of any legal enforcement, relational contracts work only when there are creditors who have a repeated relationship with the borrower. We show that ownership structures with a larger fraction of long term lenders are associated with a lower default probability and lower risk premia. Moreover, competitive markets structures lead to loss in efficiency as well when there is moral hazard, in contrast to the case with perfect enforceability and information

900 - Non-Existence of Competitive Equilibria with Dynamically Inconsistent Preferences

Tommaso Gabrieli and Sayantan Ghosal

This paper shows the robust non existence of competitive equilibria even in a simple three period representative agent economy with dynamically inconsistent preferences. We distinguish between a sophisticated and naive representative agent. Even when underlying preferences are monotone and convex, we show by example that the induced preferences, at given prices, of the sophisticated representative agent over choices in first period markets are both non convex and satiated. Therefore, even allowing for negative prices, the market clearing allocation is not contained in the convex hull of demand. Finally, with a naive representative agent, we show that perfect foresight is incompatible with market clearing and individual optimization at given prices.

899 - Parametric inference for functional information mapping (revised 2010 - 938)

Dennis Leech, Robert Leech and Anna Simmonds

An increasing trend in functional MRI experiments involves discriminating between experimental conditions on the basis of fine-grained spatial patterns extending across many voxels. Typically, these approaches have used randomized resampling to derive inferences.

898 - Power indices taking into account agents' preferences

Fuad Aleskerov

A set of new power indices is introduced extending Banzhaf power index and allowing to take into account agents’ preferences to coalesce. An axiomatic characterization of intensity functions representing a desire of agents to coalesce is given. A set of axioms for new power indices is presented and discussed. An example of use of these indices for Russian parliament is given.

897 - Modelling Stochastic Volatility with Leverage and Jumps: A Simulated Maximum Likelihood Approach via Particle Filtering

Sheheryar Malik and Michael K Pitt

In this paper we provide a unified methodology in order to conduct likelihood-based inference on the unknown parameters of a general class of discrete-time stochastic volatility models, characterized by both a leverage effect and jumps in returns. Given the non-linear/non-Gaussian state-space form, approximating the likelihood for the parameters is conducted with output generated by the particle filter. Methods are employed to ensure that the approximating likelihood is continuous as a function of the unknown parameters thus enabling the use of Newton-Raphson type maximization algorithms. Our approach is robust and efficient relative to alternative Markov Chain Monte Carlo schemes employed in such contexts. In addition it provides a feasible basis for undertaking the non-trivial task of model comparison. The technique is applied to daily returns data for various stock price indices. We find strong evidence in favour of a leverage effect in all cases. Jumps are an important component in two out of the four series we consider.

896 - The U-Shape without Controls

David G. Blanchflower and Andrew J. Oswald

This paper is a continuation of results in Blanchflower and Oswald (2008). It provides new evidence that well-being follows a curve through life. We use data on half a million randomly sampled individuals across eight major European nations. Importantly, we show that in this set of countries there is a U-shape even in unadjusted data, that is, without the inclusion of control variables. But we also advise against a focus on elementary bivariate associations

895 - Does strengthening Collective Action Clauses (CACs) help?

Sayantan Ghosal and KannikaThampanishvong

In a model with both issues of sovereign debtor moral hazard and creditor coordination under incomplete information, we show that the resulting con‡ict between ex ante and interim efficiency limits the welfare impact of strengthening CACs. Conditional on default, we show that an interim efficient CAC threshold exists and improving creditor coordination results in welfare gains. However, when ex ante efficiency requires the sovereign debtor to choose actions that reduce the probability of default, improved creditor coordination reduces ex ante efficiency and the interim efficient CAC threshold is higher than the ex ante efficient CAC threshold.

894 - Inflation Targeting as a Means of Achieving Disinflation

Christian Saborowski

In this paper, we take an analytical approach to examine possible adverse effects of the use of inflation targeting as a disinflation regime. The idea is that a strict interpretation of an inflation target may preserve inflationary distortions after price stability is attained. We show that such a policy not only creates a slump in output but may increase macroeconomic volatility substantially in a model in which wages are subject to a Taylor staggering structure.

893 - The estimation of pensioner equivalence scales using subjective data

Mark B Stewart

This paper uses panel data on pensioners’ subjective evaluations of their financial positions to construct equivalence scales for pensioners. A pensioner couple is estimated to require an income 44% higher than a comparable single pensioner to reach the same standard of living. This is significantly less than the equivalence scale value implied by the ratio of state pension rates, the McClements equivalence scale value and the scale value derived from Engel curve estimation for food expenditure using the same data source. The estimated equivalence scale value is robust to variations in the definition of the pensioner sample, the measurement of income and the econometric model used.

892 - Rien Ne Va Plus - The 2007/2008 Credit Crunch and What Gambling Bankers Had to Do With It

Anett Hofmann

The paper argues that the incidence of moral hazard played a significant role in the 2007/2008 credit crunch. In particular, bank traders subjected to asymmetric compensation structures have an incentive to take excessive risks even when the bank's shareholders would prefer prudent investment. Traders' incentives are shown to be unaffected by capital regulations, with the associated financial burden falling upon the taxpayer through deposit insurance or government bail-outs. Selected case studies further indicate that the phenomenon of “gambling traders” was widespread during the credit crunch, when high bonuses tempted bank employees to invest in risky subprime-backed securities. The intransparency of structured products and the inaccuracy of credit ratings contributed to the employees' ability to conceal the underlying risk from the banks' shareholders. The analysis points to an urgent need to reform compensation practices in the financial sector.

891 - Corporate Control and Multiple Large Shareholders

Amrita Dhillon and Silvia Rossetto

Many rms have more than one blockholder, but nance theory suggests that one blockholder should be sufficient to bestow all benefits on a firm that arise from concentrated ownership. This paper identifies a reason why more blockholders may arise endogenously. We consider a setting where multiple shareholders have endogenous conflicts of interest depending on the size of their stake. Such conflicts arise because larger shareholders tend to be less well diversified and would therefore prefer the firm to pursue more conservative investment policies. When the investment policy is determined by a shareholder vote, a single blockholder may be able to choose an investment policy that is far away from the dispersed shareholders' preferred policy. Anticipating this outcome reduces the price at which shares trade. A second blockholder (or more) can mitigate the conflict by shifting the voting outcome more towards the dispersed shareholders' preferred investment policy and this raises the share price. The paper derives conditions under which there are blockholder equilibria.The model shows how different ownership structures aeffect firm value and the degree of underpricing in an IPO.

890 - Whistleblower or Troublemaker? How One Man Took on the Soviet Mafia

Mark Harrison

The paper tells the story of a pensioner’s fight against a local mafia of Soviet party and government officials and farm managers in a remote rural locality in the 1950s. To Moscow, he was a whistleblower. To the leaders of his local community, he was a troublemaker. Working together, the local people went to extraordinary lengths to suppress his criticisms. Eventually, Moscow intervened to vindicate him. The story illustrates vividly the political and economic issues that arose when a centralized dictatorship that relied on mass mobilization over a vast territory with sometimes poor communications tried to contain local rent seeking while moving away from mass terror as its chief instrument of control.

889 - Minimum Cost Arborescences

Bhaskar Dutta and Debasis Mishra

In this paper, we analyze the cost allocation problem when a group of agents or nodes have to be connected to a source, and where the cost matrix describing the cost of connecting each pair of agents is not necessarily symmetric, thus extending the well-studied problem of minimum cost spanning tree games, where the costs are assumed to be symmetric. The focus is on rules which satisfy axioms representing incentive and fairness properties. We show that while some results are similar, there are also significant differences between the frameworks corresponding to symmetric and asymmetric cost matrices.

888 - Child Labor and Household Wealth: Theory and Empirical Evidence of an Inverted U

Kaushik Basu, Sanghamitra Das and Bhaskar Dutta

Some studies on child labor have shown that, at the level of the household, greater land wealth leads to higher child labor, thereby casting doubt on the hypothesis that child labor is caused by poverty. This paper argues that the missing ingredient may be an explicit modeling of the labor market. We develop a simple model which suggests the possibility of an inverted-U relationship between land holdings and child labor. Using a unique data set that has child labor hours it is found that, controlling for child, household and village characteristics, the turning point beyond which more land leads to a decline in child labor occurs around 4 acres of land per household.

887 - World-Leading Research and its Measurement

Andrew J. Oswald

Journalists and others have asked me whether the favourable RAE 2008 results for UK economics are believable. This is a fair question. It also opens up a broader and more important one: how can we design a bibliometric method to assess the quality (rather than merely quantity) of a nation’s science? To try to address this, I examine objective data on the world’s most influential economics articles. I find that the United Kingdom performed reasonably well over the 2001-2008 period. Of 450 genuinely world-leading journal articles, the UK produced 10% of them -- and was the source of the most-cited article in each of the Journal of Econometrics, the International Economic Review, the Journal of Public Economics, and the Rand Journal of Economics, and of the second most-cited article in the Journal of Health Economics. Interestingly, more than a quarter of these world-leading UK articles came from outside the best-known half-dozen departments. Thus the modern emphasis on ‘top’ departments and the idea that funding should be concentrated in a few places may be mistaken. Pluralism may help to foster iconoclastic ideas.

886 - Leader Reputation and Default in Sovereign Debt

Amrita Dhillon and Tomas Sjostrom

This paper compares default incentives in competitive sovereign debt markets when leaders can be either democratically elected or dictators. When leaders can be replaced as in democracies, the incentives for repayment are mainly the ego rents from office and the possibility of getting a corrupt leader from replacement. In a dictatorship, on the other hand, the cost of not repaying loans is the permanent loss of reputation and the loss of future access to credit. There is a trade off between repayment and risk sharing. We show, counter-intuitively, that when ego rents are low, and value of reputation to dictators is high, then democracies repay more often and have lower risk premia than dictatorships.

885 - First Announcements and Real Economic Activity

Michael P. Clements and Ana Beatriz Galvão

The recent literature suggests that first announcements of real output growth in the US have predictive power for the future course of the economy. We show that this need not point to a behavioural relationship, whereby agents respond to the announcement, but may instead simply be a by-product of the data revision process. Initial estimates are subsequently subject to a number of rounds of revisions: the nature of these revisions is shown to be key in determining any apparent relationship between first announcements and the future course of the economy.