Cormac Ó Gráda, 02 September 2019

Of WWII’s warring powers only the Soviet Union suffered mass starvation, but as this column, part of a Vox debate on the economics of WWII, describes, it is a measure of the war’s global reach that 20 to 25 million civilians died of hunger or hunger-related diseases outside Europe. In Britain effective rationing ensured a ‘fair’ distribution of food supplies throughout the war and in Germany the famine conditions experienced in 1918-19 were not replicated, but Japan was facing semi-starvation at war’s end. In Europe, apart from Greece and the Soviet Union, famine mortality was modest, but 3-5% of the populations of faraway Bengal, Henan, and Java perished. 

Nina Boberg-Fazlic, Paul Sharp, 01 September 2019

Can immigration point systems identify desirable immigrants? This column investigates the lessons of 19th-century migration from then-poor Denmark to the US. By 1890, Denmark had developed into a world-leading dairy producer. It finds that areas in the US with many Danes before the transformation of Danish agriculture benefited from significant knowledge transfers thereafter, and specialised in high-tech dairying. This provides a cautionary tale for those arguing that desirable migrants can be identified ex ante.

Simone Moriconi, Giovanni Peri, Dario Pozzoli, 24 February 2019

Firms’ offshoring decisions depend on the size of entry costs in target countries. But the institutional and policy determinants of these costs have received little empirical attention. This column uses data on 2,000 Danish manufacturing firms to explore how costs of entry affect offshoring decisions. Higher levels of labour market rigidity, credit risk, and corruption all lower the probability of offshoring to a given country, while immigrant networks within the firm increase the likelihood of offshoring to their home countries. 

Alexis Antoniades, Sofronis Clerides, 16 December 2018

Understanding how firms respond to demand shocks has important insights on firm and consumer behaviour. To date, firm responses have been mostly been examined in isolation. This column uses scanner data to explore how Danish firms and their competitors responded to a boycott in ten Arab states in 2006. Results show that Danish firms responded on the intensive margin by lowering prices, while their competitors responded on the extensive margin by introducing new products.

Hâle Utar, 06 December 2018

The impact of trade shocks on labour market shifts is usually studied in the context of re-training and social welfare frictions. Using evidence from Denmark, this column shows how workers can experience long-run reductions in earnings no matter how easy it is to change sector. A sudden and obligatory shift toward a new sector may, by its nature, generate some worker dissatisfaction.

Henrik Kleven, Camille Landais, Jakob Egholt Søgaard, 12 July 2018

Despite considerable convergence over time, substantial gender inequality persists in all countries. Using Danish data, this column argues that this gap persists because the effects of having children on the careers of women relative to men are large and have not fallen over time. Additional findings suggest this effect may be related to inherited gender identity norms.

Peter Jensen, Markus Lampe, Paul Sharp, Christian Skovsgaard, 08 June 2018

Denmark is a paragon of economic development because it rapidly modernised its agriculture 150 years ago by using technology and cooperatives. This column argues that Denmark's development story has in fact been misrepresented. Rapid agricultural development was the end of a process begun by landed elites in the 18th century. It may be a mistake to cite the case of Denmark to argue that a country with a lot of peasants and cows can cooperate its way out of underdevelopment.

Christian Dustmann, Rasmus Landersø, 18 May 2018

Does a person’s criminal behaviour induce others to commit crime? This column exploits the fact that young fathers in Denmark are less likely to continue their criminal careers if their new-born child is a boy rather than a girl to identify spillovers in criminal behaviour. The analysis shows that neighbourhood peers of new fathers of boys become less likely to commit crime themselves than neighbourhood peers of new fathers of girls. The findings suggest that the benefits of programmes that reduce crime at a younger age are far larger than suggested by the primary effects alone. 

Vera Rocha, Mirjam van Praag, 10 March 2018

Women are substantially underrepresented in the areas of new venture creation and entrepreneurship. Using Danish data, this column examines an important social interaction that has been relatively overlooked as a possible influence on entrepreneurship choices – the relationship between bosses and employees in start-up firms. Working for a female founder has a strong positive effect on female employees’ likelihood of going on to found their own venture, pointing to the benefits of improving representation at the top.

Simon Boserup, Wojciech Kopczuk, Claus Thustrup Kreiner, 04 November 2016

Economists normally study wealth formation and inequality among the adult population, but some people already possess economic resources in early childhood. This column uses data from Denmark to examine childhood wealth and the role of wealth transfers early in life. A main result is that wealth inequality starts as early as childhood. Although overall wealth levels in childhood are low, they are better predictors of wealth in adulthood than parental wealth.

Patrick Bennett, Amine Ouazad, 29 October 2016

A substantial body of literature finds significant effects of unemployment rates on crime rates. However, relatively little is known about the direct impact of individual unemployment on individual crime. This column examines the effect of job displacement on crime using 15 years of Danish administrative data. Being subject to a sudden and unexpected mass-layoff is found to increase the probability that an individual commits a crime. However, the findings stress the importance of policies targeting education and income inequality in mitigating crime.

Rasmus Landersø, James Heckman, 12 September 2016

The Scandinavian model of social welfare is often contrasted favourably with the US model in terms of promoting social mobility across generations. This column investigates the accuracy of these claims, focusing on the case of Denmark. Denmark invests heavily in child development, but then undoes the beneficial effects by providing weak labour market incentives for its children to attend school compared to the US. This helps explain why the influence of family background on educational attainment is similar in the two countries.

Wolfgang Keller, Hâle Utar, 05 July 2016

Recent shifts in political sentiment regarding EU membership have been caused in part by a growing hostility towards globalisation. This column uses Danish evidence to analyse whether globalisation causes a polarisation of jobs in developed countries, and in particular whether it causes a loss of middle-income jobs. Rising import competition can increase income inequality, but it also accounts for a substantial part of all high-wage employment gains. The task for policymakers is to make these gains felt by the majority of citizens.

Andrew Bernard, Valerie Smeets, Frederic Warzynski, 22 June 2016

Deindustrialisation is a major policy concern in high-income countries not only because of resulting unemployment, but also because of the long-run implications for growth. This column uses evidence from Denmark to analyse whether it is being measured in the right way. A substantial fraction of the decline in manufacturing actually reflects the changing nature of production. Service sector firms that still perform many of the value-adding activities of traditional manufacturing firms should not be overlooked by policymakers.

Simon Boserup, Wojciech Kopczuk, Claus Thustrup Kreiner, 11 March 2016

It is often suggested that intergenerational bequests such as inheritances create and perpetuate wealth inequality. This column uses Danish data to explore the effects of bequests on the wealth distribution. While bequests are found to increase the dispersion of absolute wealth inequality, relative inequality declines. These findings suggest that inheritance alone need not increase wealth inequality.

Mette Foged, Giovanni Peri, 19 April 2015

The inflow of low-skilled migrants may encourage natives to upgrade their skills, taking advantage of immigrant-native complementarity. This column uses exogenous dispersion of refugees in Denmark to investigate this issue. The findings confirm that for low-skilled native workers, the presence of refugee-country immigrants spurred mobility and increased specialisation into complex jobs.

Pieter Gautier, Paul Muller, Bas van der Klaauw, 21 September 2012

One recent trend in economics has been the use of randomised control trials, where policies are trialled on a sample of the population and the effects compared with a control group. But this column look at a policy in Denmark aimed at helping people find jobs and argues that success on a small scale doesn’t necessarily transfer once the policy is rolled out – especially when there are spillover effects.

Torben M Andersen, Nicole Bosch, Anja Deelen, Rob Euwals, 08 April 2011

Before the Great Recession, Denmark’s “flexicurity” model had been lauded as an example of how to achieve outstanding labour-market performance. This column takes a closer look at Denmark’s labour-market response during the recent global crisis. Although it is too early to draw ultimate conclusions, it says some challenges are already visible.

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