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1331 - Risk Exposure and Acquisition of Macroeconomic InformationChristopher Roth, Sonja Settele & Johannes Wohlfart
We conduct an experiment with a representative sample from the US to study households’ demand for macroeconomic information. Respondents who learn of a higher personal exposure to unemployment risk during recessions increase their demand for an expert forecast about the likelihood of a recession. This finding is consistent with macroeconomic models of endogenous information acquisition, according to which the demand for information depends on its expected benefits. Moreover, respondents’ updating about their personal unemployment risk suggests that households are imperfectly informed about their exposure to aggregate fluctuations, which may distort their beliefs about the benefits of acquiring macroeconomic information.
1330 - Persecution and Escape : Professional Networks and High-Skilled Emigration from Nazi GermanySascha O Becker, Volker Lindenthal, Sharun Mukand & Fabian Waldinger
We study the role of professional networks in facilitating the escape of persecuted academics from Nazi Germany. From 1933, the Nazi regime started to dismiss academics of Jewish origin from their positions. The timing of dismissals created individual-level exogenous variation in the timing of emigration from Nazi Germany, allowing us to estimate the causal effect of networks for emigration decisions. Academics with ties to more colleagues who had emigrated in 1933 or 1934 (early émigrés) were more likely to emigrate. The early émigrés functioned as “bridging nodes” that helped other academics cross over to their destination. Furthermore, we provide some of the first empirical evidence of decay in social ties over time. The strength of ties also decays across space, even within cities. Finally, for high-skilled migrants, professional networks are more important than community networks.
1329 - Separating equilibria, under-pricing and security designDan Bernhardt, Kostas Koufopoulos and Giulio Trigilia
Classical security design papers equate competitive capital markets to securities being fairly priced in expectation. We revisit Nachman and Noe (1994)'s adverse selection setting, modeling capital-market competition as free entry of investors, and allowing firms to propose prices of securities, as happens in private securities placements and bank lending. We show that separating equilibria exist in which high types issue under-priced debt, while low types issue more informationally-sensitive securities (e.g., equity). We also uncover pooling equilibria in which firms issue under-priced debt. These results provide foundations for the pecking-order theory of external finance, and positive profits for uninformed lenders.
1328 - Profiting from the poor in competitive lending markets with adverse selectionDan Bernhardt, Kostas Koufopoulos and Giulio Trigilia
We provide theoretical foundations for positive lender profits in competitive credit markets with asymmetric information, where potential borrowers have scarce collateralizable assets. Strikingly, when some borrowers have negative net present value projects, an equilibrium always exists in which lenders make positive profits, despite their lack of `soft' information and free entry of competitors. We then establish that greater access to collateral for borrowers reduces lender profits, and we relate our findings to the empirical evidence on micro-credit, payday lending, and, more broadly, retail and small business financing.
1327 - The pitfalls of pledgeable cash flows : soft budget constraints, zombie lending and under-investmentDan Bernhardt , Kostas Koufopoulos and Giulio Trigilia
We show that when borrowers are privately informed about their creditworthiness and lenders have a soft budget constraint, efficient investment requires a limit on the fraction of a firm's cash flows that can be pledged to outsiders. That is, pledgeability should neither be too low nor too high. An increase in pledgeability, or, more broadly, creditor rights, can either promote re-investment in zombie firms, which increases other firms' cost of capital, or it can lead to insufficient underinvestment, depending on the composition of equilibrium credit demand. Thus, greater pledgeability can reduce net social surplus, and even trigger a Pareto loss.
1326 - Measuring national happiness with musicEmmanouil Benetos, Alessandro Ragano, Daniel Sgroi & Anthony Tuckwell
We propose a new measure for national happiness based on the emotional content of a country’s most popular songs. Using machine learning to detect the valence of the UK’s chart-topping song of each year since the 1970s, we find that it reliably predicts the leading survey-based measure of life satisfaction. Moreover, we find that music valence is better able to predict life satisfaction than a recently-proposed measure of happiness based on the valence of words in books (Hills et al., 2019). Our results have implications for the role of music in society, and at the same time validate a new use of music as a measure of public sentiment.
1325 - Online Salience and Charitable Giving : Evidence from SMS DonationsCarlo Perroni, Kimberley Scharf, Oleksandr Talavera & Linh Vi
We explore the link between online attention and charitable donations. Using a unique dataset on phone text donations that includes detailed information on the timing of cash gifts to charities, we link donations to time variation online searches for words that appear in those charities’ mission statements. The results suggest that an increase in the online salience to donors of the activities pursued by different charities affects the number and volume of donations made to those charities and to charities that pursue different goals. We uncover evidence of positive own salience effects and negative cross salience effects on donations.
1324 - Choosing the narrative : the shadow banking crisis in the light of CovidMarcus Miller
Could experiencing a health pandemic aid in understanding the nature of financial crisis? It might, for example, help to discriminate between different narratives that claim to do so. In this spirit, two influential accounts of the near-collapse of shadow banking in the US financial crisis of 2008 are analysed: one developed by Mark Gertler and Nobuhiro Kiyotaki and the other presented by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission of the US Congress. Using a common two-sector framework, key features of these contrasting accounts of the market for banking services are presented, along with their corresponding diagnoses of what precipitated financial crisis. To see what the experience of Covid might imply about their relative credibility, four aspects of the current pandemic are considered: how it began from a small biological shock; how it gets spread by contagion; the significance of externalities; and how it may end with a vaccine. But the reader is left to form his or her own judgement
1323 - Supply shocks in China hit the world economy via global supply chainsQianxue Zhang
Global supply chains have become increasingly important in international trade over the past decade. Nevertheless, it remains di cult to quantify the role of supply-chain trade in transmitting and amplifying shocks, given the challenge of identifying and tracing the exogenous shocks across economies. This paper argues that the lockdown of Hubei province in China due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak provides a natural experiment to study the importance of China's role in global value chains. Since the lockdown started during the Lunar New Year, Hubei's migrant workers who went home could not return to workplaces in other provinces, resulting in a massive labor supply shock. I feed the supply shock through a Ricardian model with intermediate goods and sectoral linkages to study trade and welfare effects across several economies. While welfare in China is the most strongly affected, the shock also has sizeable implications for the US and the UK. However, close neighbours such as South Korea and Japan gain from the shock. There are large variations regarding the sectoral contributions to the aggregate welfare changes. The model also performs well in predicting bilateral export changes.
1322 - Jesus speaks Korean : Christianity and literacy in colonial KoreaSascha O. Becker & Cheongyeon Won
In the mid 19th century, pre-colonial Korea under the Joseon dynasty was increasingly isolated and lagging behind in its economic development. Joseon Korea was forced to sign unequal treaties with foreign powers as a result of which Christian missionaries entered the country and contributed to the establishment of private schools. We show that areas with a larger presence of Christians have higher literacy rates in 1930, during the Japanese colonial period. We also show that a higher number of Protestants is associated with higher female literacy, consistent with a stronger emphasis on female education in Protestant denominations.