Frontiers of economic research

Alison Booth, Xin Meng, 25 March 2019

The literature examining the effect of conflict on trust and trustworthiness has reached contradictory conclusions. This column studies the long-term behavioural impact of the Cultural Revolution in China, which was a major in-group conflict. It finds that the children and grandchildren of those who were mentally or physically abused during the Revolution are less trusting, less trustworthy, and less likely to be competitively inclined relative to peers whose parents/grandparents experienced the Cultural Revolution but were not directly mistreated. 

Le-Yu Chen, Ekaterina Oparina, Nattavudh Powdthavee, Sorawoot Srisuma, 18 March 2019

Recent critiques of wellbeing research have shown that mean comparisons of reported and latent happiness across groups are valid only under strong assumptions that are usually rejected by the data. This leads to scepticism over whether econometric analysis of wellbeing data can be used to inform policy. This column suggests using the median rather than the mean, because the median ranking is stable across all increasing transformations. When focusing on the median of wellbeing data, the Easterlin Paradox still holds.

Chiara Franzoni, Henry Sauermann, Kourosh Shafi, 14 February 2019

Digital crowdfunding platforms that raise money directly from citizens have created an alternative source of research funding. This column analyses data from the largest science crowdfunding platform, It finds that women and young researchers are particularly successful in attracting funding in this way, and that risky projects are not disadvantaged as they are with traditional granting agencies. However, the amounts currently raised through crowdfunding are small, so for now it is only a complementary source of funding for most traditional research projects.

Filippo di Mauro, Paloma Lopez-Garcia, Marta Colombo, 11 February 2019

There is growing demand from academia and policymakers for cross-country comparable firm data. CompNet aims to provide such data and to improve understanding of the drivers of competitiveness. Among the findings in the latest cross-country report are that healthy firms are more likely to be credit constrained in the presence of a high share of distressed firms; that the disconnection between real wages and productivity growth in the post-crisis period has been rather heterogeneous across EU firms; and that exporting firms are more productive, larger, pay higher wages, and employ more qualified personnel.

Jonathan Ashworth, 08 February 2019

On 17 October 2018, Canada legalised recreational cannabis use, with an immediate effect on how Canadian people use cash. Jonathan Ashworth explains to Tim Phillips how legalisation crimps the black economy.

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