New NBER Working Papers

Measuring the Sensitivity of Parameter Estimates to Sample Statistics
by Matthew Gentzkow, Jesse M. Shapiro #20673
Abstract; PDF

Subjective Beliefs, Deterrence, and the Propensity to Drive While Intoxicated
by Yiqun Chen, Frank Sloan #20680
Abstract; PDF

New Linked Data on Research Investments: Scientific Workforce, Productivity, and Public Value
by Julia Lane, Jason Owen-Smith, Rebecca Rosen, Bruce Weinberg #20683
Abstract; PDF

Empirical Linkages between Good Government and National Well-being
by John F. Helliwell, Haifang Huang, Shawn Grover, Shun Wang #20686
Abstract; PDF

Does Reading During the Summer Build Reading Skills? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in 463 Classrooms
by Jonathan Guryan, James S. Kim, David M. Quinn #20689
Abstract; PDF

Are Public Sector Jobs Recession-Proof? Were They Ever?
by Jason L. Kopelman, Harvey S. Rosen #20692
Abstract; PDF

Unemployment in the Great Recession: A Comparison of Germany, Canada and the United States
by Florian Hoffmann, Thomas Lemieux #20694
Abstract; PDF

Toward an Understanding of Reference-Dependent Labor Supply: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment
by Steffen Andersen, Uri Gneezy, Alec Brandon, John A. List #20695
Abstract; PDF

The Emotional Consequences of Donation Opportunities
by Lara B. Aknin, Guy Mayraz, John F. Helliwell #20696
Abstract; PDF

Farms, Families, and Markets: New Evidence on Agricultural Labor Markets
by Daniel LaFave, Duncan Thomas #20699
Abstract; PDF

Public School Choice: An Economic Analysis
by Levon Barseghyan, Damon Clark, Stephen Coate #20701
Abstract; PDF

Extended Families and Child Well-being
by Daniel LaFave, Duncan Thomas #20702
Abstract; PDF

The Impact of Health Insurance Expansion on Physician Treatment Choice: Medicare Part D and Physician Prescribing
by Tianyan Hu, Sandra L. Decker, Shin-Yi Chou #20708
Abstract; PDF

House Prices, Local Demand, and Retail Prices
by Johannes Stroebel, Joseph Vavra #20710
Abstract; PDF

How Does Peer Pressure Affect Educational Investments?
by Leonardo Bursztyn, Robert Jensen #20714
Abstract; PDF

Climate Change Adaptation: Lessons from Urban Economics
by Matthew E. Kahn #20716
Abstract; PDF

Can Unemployment Insurance Spur Entrepreneurial Activity?
by David Sraer, David Thesmar, Antoinette Schoar, Johan Hombert #20717
Abstract; PDF

Pareto and Piketty: The Macroeconomics of Top Income and Wealth Inequality
by Charles I. Jones #20742
Abstract; PDF

Unemployment and Health Behaviors Over the Business Cycle: a Longitudinal View
by Gregory Colman, Dhaval Dave #20748
Abstract; PDF

Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success
by Tim Kautz, James J. Heckman, Ron Diris, Bas ter Weel, Lex Borghans #20749
Abstract; PDF

Effects of Economically Mixed Neighborhoods

Emily Badger of Wonkblog writes about the surprisingly negative effects on boys growing up with wealthy neighbors. The research draws on a longitudinal study of low-income boy in the UK.

Read the article at Wonkblog here. And the abstract and full article from The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry is here.

City Limits and City Growth

Kirk Goldsberry from the FiveThirtyEight blog responses to an op-ed in the Washington Post about the changing demographics of U.S. cities.

The Washington Post argues that the growth of cities results in a loss of African-Americans. FiveThirtyEight argues that spatial growth and demographic growth are different and the way city limits are defined complicates the definition of a city’s population.

Read the Washington Post op-ed here. And the FiveThirtyEight piece here.

Mapping Social Security Benefits

Wonkblog highlights four maps created by Seth Kadish of Vizual Statistix.

The maps show … the percentage of a county’s population that receives OASDI benefits; the percentage of OASDI beneficiaries who are retired, rather than disabled; the areas where payments to men most greatly outweigh those given to women; and the average monthly OASDI payment, in hundreds of dollars.

Japan’s Fertility Is Worse than Predicted

Via Wonkblog

Japan population shrank by 268,000 in 2014, the largest reduction on record, and the government has done a terrible job at predicting it’s fertility rate.

Wonkblog post
The article is based on a WINPEC Working Paper, “Aging and Deation from a Fiscal Perspective” (PDF).

Not any more: NY vs FL


The above cartoon is from the Florida Sun Sentinal back in early 2014 as New York just held on to its ranking as the third largest state. With the release of the most recent population estimates, Florida has now edged out New York.

Florida Passes New York to Become the Nation’s Third Most Populous State, Census Bureau Reports
December 23, 2014

We’ve updated our Apportionment Calculator. See which states are projected to lose/gain seats in 2020 based on the 2014 results.

And, no. North Dakota is not gaining a seat, even as it is the fastest growing state.

Tools: Data as Text

Most of the familiar statistical packages social scientists work with are not well-equipped for analysis of text. Python is one tool often used with text data.

Here is a series of Python tutorials posted on Neal Caren’s Github site. Notice the wide-prevalence of code sharing. That is a feature of much of the folks who work in this field.

You can follow his tutorials on Python or take a Coursera course by a UM professor in February. Another option is the Coursera Data Science specialization offered via Johns Hopkins. This set of courses skips Python but includes a snapshot of the variety of concentrations in this field.

Learning Python for Social Scientists [list curated by Neal Caren]
Programming for Everybody (Python) [University of Michigan via Coursera]
Data Science Specialization [Johns Hopkins via Coursera]

Here’s a rendering of that specialization from a student in the Data Toolbox course:

data science dependencies
Source: Uri Grodzinski

More fun with names

Who knew that the name Violet was such a good example of a bi-modal distribution?


This was drawn from a very fun post:

How to Tell Someone’s Age When All You Know is Her Name
Nate Silver and Allison McCann | FiveThirtyEight blog
May 29, 2014

We had a previous post on fun with the Social Security names database.

This age of names example is a great applied demography exercise – calculating the median age of names. For that you’ll need a link to the full names database and cohort life tables:

Beyond the Top 1000 Names
Cohort Life Tables for the Social Security Areas by Calendar Year

Here’s also a nice link to some Big Data exercises via Python. There is a lot of code sharing in this GitHub repository.

Age Gaps for Second Marriages

The Pew Research Center analyzed data from the 2013 American Community Survey and discovered the cliche is true: a man is more likely to marry much a younger woman the second time around.

Read the full article

Chicago’s Summer Jobs Program Lowers Violent Crime Rate

By: Emily Badger
Via: Wonkblog

A couple of years ago, the city of Chicago started a summer jobs program for teenagers attending high schools in some of the city’s high-crime, low-income neighborhoods. The program was meant, of course, to connect students to work. But officials also hoped that it might curb the kinds of problems — like higher crime — that arise when there’s no work to be found.

Read the rest of the article
Research on the program was conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and published in the journal Science.