Frontiers of economic research

Claudia Biancotti, Riccardo Cristadoro, Sabina Di Giuliomaria, Antonino Fazio, Giovanna Partipilo, 23 June 2017

Cybersecurity is becoming a vital concern for the functioning of a modern economy. This column argues that the threat of cyber attacks should be tackled economy-wide, with economic policies aimed at overcoming the externalities and information asymmetries that lead to suboptimal protection choices on the part of private agents. There is an urgent need for an improved understanding of microeconomic mechanisms in the cybersecurity market, and for reliable data upon which policy design can be based.

The Editors, 22 June 2017

VoxEU is pleased to announce the launch of its new sister site – VoxDev.org. VoxDEV will focus on development issues, posting research-based analysis and commentary by leading economists. The Editor-in-Chief is Tavneet Suri, Professor of Economics at MIT.

James Hamilton, 22 June 2017

In economic research, the Hodrick-Prescott filter is a widely used tool for removing cyclical components from time-series data. This column argues that, despite its popularity, the HP filter has serious drawbacks that should severely restrict its application. It involves several levels of differencing, so that for random walk series, subsequently observed patterns are likely to be artefacts of having applied the filter, rather than due to the underlying data-generating process. The column goes on to suggest an alternative to the HP filter that avoids these pitfalls. 

Alberto Alesina, Stefanie Stantcheva, Edoardo Teso, 21 June 2017

Americans are generally thought to view the economic system as fair and see wealth as a reward for ability and effort, while Europeans tend to believe that the economic system is unfair, and that wealth is the result of circumstances. This column tests this using new evidence on beliefs about intergenerational mobility in four European countries and the US, and confirms that Europeans do indeed tend to be overly pessimistic about moving up the social ladder compared to reality, while Americans are overly optimistic. These perceptions have important implications for how redistribution and equal opportunity policies will be received.

Sebastian Galiani, Ramiro Gálvez, 10 June 2017

Researchers are evaluated using citation counts, often with a cut-off date. But this column shows that the lifecycle of citations differs between disciplines, with some subjects having earlier peaks or steeper declines in annual citations than others. These differences should be taken into account when evaluating researchers or institutions.

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