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Regular version of the site
Of all publications in the section: 3
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Working paper
Best M. C., Hjort J., Szakonyi D. S. NBER Working Paper. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2017
How much of the variation in state effectiveness is due to the individuals and organizations responsible for implementing policy? We investigate this question and its implications for policy design in the context of public procurement, using a text-based product classification method to measure bureaucratic output. We show that effective procurers lower bid preparation/submission costs, and that 60% of within-product purchase-price variation across 16 million purchases in Russia in 2011-2015 is due to the bureaucrats and organizations administering procurement processes. This has dramatic policy consequences. To illustrate these, we study a ubiquitous procurement policy: bid preferences for favored firms (here domestic manufacturers). The policy decreases overall entry and increases prices when procurers are effective, but has the opposite impact with ineffective procurers, as predicted by a simple endogenous-entry model of procurement. Our results imply that the state’s often overlooked bureaucratic tier is critical for effectiveness and the make-up of optimal policies.
Added: May 29, 2017
Working paper
Gimpelson V. E., Treisman D. NBER Working Paper. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2015. No. 21174.
Since Aristotle, a vast literature has suggested that economic inequality has important political consequences. Higher inequality is thought to increase demand for government income redistribution in democracies and to discourage democratization and promote class conflict and revolution in dictatorships. Most such arguments crucially assume that ordinary people know how high inequality is, how it has been changing, and where they fit in the income distribution. Using a variety of large, cross-national surveys, we show that, in recent years, ordinary people have had little idea about such things. What they think they know is often wrong. Widespread ignorance and misperceptions of inequality emerge robustly, regardless of the data source, operationalization, and method of measurement. Moreover, we show that the perceived level of inequality—and not the actual level—correlates strongly with demand for redistribution and reported conflict between rich and poor. We suggest that most theories about political effects of inequality need to be either abandoned or reframed as theories about the effects of perceived inequality.
Added: May 20, 2015
Working paper
Bhattarai S., Eggertsson G., Gafarov B. NBER Working Paper. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2015. No. 21336.
We present a signalling theory of Quantitative Easing (QE) at the zero lower bound on the short term nominal interest rate. QE is effective because it generates a credible signal of low future real interest rates in a time consistent equilibrium. We show these results in two models. One has coordinated monetary and fiscal policy. The other an independent central bank with balance sheet concerns. Numerical experiments show that the signalling effect can be substantial in both models.
Added: Oct 19, 2015