Frontiers of economic research

Richard Baldwin, 03 May 2016

The video revolution is coming to economics. This column introduces a new feature on – Video Vox. These short videos (under five minutes) are something like a video version of Vox columns, namely, research-based policy analysis and commentary by leading economists. Many are produced in cooperation with organisations such as the European Economic Association, the Royal Economic Society, and the like.

Andrew E. Clark, Elena Stancanelli, 26 April 2016

Terrorism wreaks a terrible cost on societies. This column quantifies some of the effects by employing daily data on individual, self-reported emotional feelings combined with time allocation data from the American Time Use Survey. The focus is on the days before and after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The data show a significant drop in well-being, driven by the responses of women and Massachusetts residents. Hours worked were not affected.

Alberto Cavallo, Roberto Rigobon, 24 April 2016

Big Data is changing the world, even economics. This column describes MIT’s Billion Prices Project and discusses key lessons for both inflation measurement and some fundamental research questions in macro and international economics. Online prices can be used to construct daily price indexes in multiple countries and to help avoid measurement biases. 

Stefan Trautmann, Gijs van de Kuilen, 24 April 2016

Expectations about uncertain events play an important role in both science and policy, so it is important to be able to elicit people’s expectations in surveys. This column discusses the use of more complex approaches to revelation of expectations than the widely used ‘just ask’ approach. Though complex methods have clear benefits, the costs are not negligible and should be taken into account.

Luca Fumarco, Giambattista Rossi, 23 April 2016

A vast cross-discipline literature provides evidence that — in both education and sports — the youngest children in their age group are usually at a disadvantage because of within-group-age maturity differences, known as the ‘relative age effect’. This column asks whether this effect could last into adulthood. Looking at Italian professional footballers’ wages, the evidence suggests that the relative age effect is inescapable.

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