CEMFI publishes two series of research papers: Working Papers and Master Theses. The Working Papers series contains research work from full-time professors and PhD students.
Juan-José Ganuza, Gerard Llobet
This paper shows that the concession model discourages firms from acquiring information about the future profitability of a project. Uniformed contractors carry out good and bad projects because they are profitable in expected terms even though it would have been optimal to invest in screening them out according to their value. White elephants are identified as avoidable negative net present-value projects that are nevertheless undertaken. Institutional arrangements that limit the losses that firms can bear exacerbate this distortion. We characterize the optimal concession contract which fosters the acquisition of information and achieves the first best by conditioning the duration of the concession to the realization of the demand and includes payments for not carrying out some projects.
Manuel Arellano, Stéphane Bonhomme
Nonrandom sample selection is a pervasive issue in applied work. In additive models, a number of techniques are available for consistent selection correction. However, progress in the development of non-additive selection corrections has been slower. In this survey we review recent proposals dealing with sample selection in quantile models.
Manuel Arellano, Stéphane Bonhomme
Recent developments in nonlinear panel data analysis allow identifying and estimating general dynamic systems. In this review we describe some results and techniques for nonparametric identification and flexible estimation in the presence of time-invariant and time-varying latent variables. This opens the possibility to estimate nonlinear reduced forms in a large class of structural dynamic models with heterogeneous agents. We show how such reduced forms may be used to document policy-relevant derivative effects, and to improve the understanding and facilitate the implementation of structural models.
Caterina Calsamiglia, Annalisa Loviglio
Student access to education levels, tracks or majors is usually determined by their previous performance, measured either by internal exams, designed and graded by teachers in school, or external exams, designed and graded by central authorities. We say teachers grade on a curve whenever having better peers harms the evaluation obtained by a given student. We use rich administrative records from public schools in Catalonia to provide evidence that teachers indeed grade on a curve, leading to negative peer effects. We find suggestive evidence that school choice is impacted only the year when internal grades matter for future prospects.
Jan Eeckhout, Nezih Guner
We analyze the role of optimal income taxation across different local labor markets. Should labor in large cities be taxed differently than in small cities? We find that a planner who needs to raise a given level of revenue and is constrained by free mobility of labor across cities does not choose equal taxes for cities of different sizes. The optimal tax schedule is location specific and tax differences between large and small cities depends on the level of government spending, the concentration of housing wealth and the strength of agglomeration economies. Our estimates for the US imply higher optimal marginal rates in big cities than in small cities. Under the current Federal Income tax code with progressive taxes, marginal rates are already higher in big cities which have higher wages, but the optimal difference we estimate is lower than what is currently observed. Simulating the US economy under the optimal tax schedule, there are large effects on population mobility: the fraction of population in the 5 largest cities grows by 7.6% with 3.4% of the country-wide population moving to bigger cities. The welfare gains however are smaller. This is due to the fact that much of the output gains are spent on the increased costs of housing construction in bigger cities. Aggregate goods consumption goes up by 1.51% while aggregate housing consumption goes down by 1.70%.
Jeremy Greenwood, Nezin Guner, Guillaume Vandenbroucke
Powerful currents have reshaped the structure of families over the last century. There has been (i) a dramatic drop in fertility and greater parental investment in children; (ii) a rise in married female labor-force participation; (iii) a significant decline in marriage and a rise in divorce; (iv) a higher degree of positive assortative mating; (v) more children living with a single mother; (vi) shifts in social norms governing premarital sex and married women's roles in the workplace. Macroeconomic models explaining these aggregate trends are surveyed. The relentless flow of technological progress and its role in shaping family life are stressed.
Samuel Bentolila, J. Ignacio García-Pérez, Marcel Jansen
Long-term unemployment reached unprecedented levels in Spain in the wake of the Great Recession and it still affects around 57% of the unemployed. We document the sources that contributed to the rise in long-term unemployment and analyze its persistence using state-of-the-art duration models. We find pervasive evidence of negative duration dependence, while personal characteristics such as mature age, lack of experience, and entitlement to unemployment benefits are key to understand the cross-sectional differences in the incidence of long-term unemployment. The negative impact of low levels of skill and education is muted by the large share of temporary contracts, but once we restrict attention to employment spells lasting at least one month these factors also contribute to a higher risk of long-term unemployment. Surprisingly, workers from the construction sector do not fare worse than similar workers from other sectors. Finally, self-reported reservation wages are found to respond strongly to the cycle, but much less to individual unemployment duration. In view of these findings, we argue that active labour market policies should play a more prominent role in the fight against long-term unemployment while early activation should be used to curb inflows.