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North America

Backlash: The Unintended Effects of Language Prohibition in U.S. Schools after World War I

Can forced assimilation policies successfully integrate immigrant groups? This paper examines how a specific assimilation policy – language restrictions in elementary school – affects integration and identification with the host country later in life. After World War I, several U.S. states barred the German language from their schools. I find that affected individuals were less likely to volunteer in WWII and more likely to marry within their ethnic group and to choose decidedly German names for their offspring.

Multilateral Trade Bargaining: A First Look at the GATT Bargaining Records

This paper empirically examines recently declassi…ed data from the GATT/WTO on tariff bargaining. Focusing on the Torquay Round (1950-51), we document six stylized facts about these interconnected high-stakes international negotiations. Several of these stylized facts lend support to two features that are seen by GATT practitioners and legal scholars as hallmarks of the tari¤ bargaining that occurred in the early GATT rounds, namely, a surprising lack of strategic behavior among the participating governments and an important multilateral element to the bilateral bargains.

How Destructive is Innovation?

Entering and incumbent plants can create new products and displace existing products. Incumbents can also improve their existing products. How much of aggregate growth occurs through each of these channels? Using U.S. Census data on manufacturing plants from 1992, 1997 and 2002, we arrive at three main conclusions: First, most growth appears to come from incumbents. We infer this from the modest employment share of entering plants. Second, most growth seems occur through improvements of existing varieties rather than creation of brand new varieties.

Do Government Guaranteed Small Business Loans Promote Economic Growth and Entrepreneurship?

This paper examines the impact of government guaranteed small business loans on urban economic growth, and compares the growth impacts of government versus market financed entrepreneurship. OLS estimates indicate a significant and positive relation between the Small Business Administration’s guaranteed loans and metropolitan growth between 1993 and 2002. However, first-difference and instrumental variable regressions show no growth impact from government guaranteed loans. In contrast, market entrepreneurship significantly and positively contributes to local economic growth.

Watersheds in Infant Mortality: The Role of Effective Water and Sewerage Infrastructure, 1880 to 1915

We explore the first period of sustained decline in child mortality in the U.S. and provide estimates of the independent and combined effects of clean water and effective sewerage systems on under-five mortality. Our case is Massachusetts, 1880 to 1920, when authorities developed a sewerage and water district in the Boston area. We find the two interventions were complementary and together account for approximately one-third of the decline in log child mortality during the 41 years.

The Impact of State Tax Subsidies for Private Long-Term Care Insurance on Coverage and Medicaid Expenditures

In spite of the large expected costs of needing long-term care, only 10-12 percent of the elderly population has private insurance coverage. Medicaid, which provides means-tested public assistance and pays for almost half of long-term care costs, spends more than $100 billion annually on long-term care. In this paper, I exploit variation in the adoption and generosity of state tax subsidies for private long-term care insurance to determine whether tax subsidies increase private coverage and reduce Medicaid's costs for long-term care.

The Role of School Improvement in Economic Development

The role of improved schooling, a central part of most development strategies, has become controversial because expansion of school attainment has not guaranteed improved economic conditions. This paper reviews the role of education in promoting economic well-being, with a particular focus on the role of educational quality. It concludes that there is strong evidence that the cognitive skills of the population—rather than mere school attainment—are powerfully related to individual earnings, to the distribution of income, and to economic growth.

Quality-Consistent Estimates of International Returns to Skill

Returns to education are traditionally estimated in a Mincer wage equation from the variation in schooling for a cross-section of individuals of different ages. Because individuals receive education at different time periods, when the quality of their education may not be identical, this method leads to an over- or under-estimation of the return to education of a given quality depending on how education quality evolves over time.

Managing Demand-side Economic and Political Restrains on Electricity Industry Re-structuring Processes

This paper identifies the major political and economic constraints that impact the demand-side of electricity industry re-structuring processes. It then describes how these constraints have been addressed and how this has harmed market efficiency and system reliability. Finally, the paper proposes demand-side regulatory interventions to manage these constraints in a manner that limits the harm to wholesale market efficiency.

Legalization and Immigrants in U.S. Agriculture

The article hypothesizes how a new program granting amnesty to undocumented immigrant farm workers already present in the U.S. would affect agricultural labor market characteristics. Earnings differentials between undocumented and documented agricultural workers, decomposed by hourly-equivalent wages and hours worked per week, as well as public aid program participation decisions, are studied both nationally and restricting to the California labor market.

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