Nishant Yonzan, Branko Milanovic, Salvatore Morelli, Janet Gornick, 05 November 2021

Household survey data and tax data both suffer from measurement concerns at the top of the income distribution. This column analyses data from the US to investigate when and why the two data sources diverge. The authors conclude that the source of the divergence lies in the measurement of non-labour income as tax rules change over time.

James Choi, Adriana Z. Robertson, 21 October 2018

Economists typically try to infer investors’ motives and beliefs by observing prices, quantities, and choices, but the lack of randomised experiments makes drawing convincing conclusions difficult. This column presents the findings from a different approach – directly asking investors about their motives and beliefs. Rather than a small number of dominant factors, it finds substantial support for many of the leading theories of what drives portfolio equity shares.

Rüdiger Bachmann, Peter Zorn, 02 March 2018

A long-standing question in macroeconomic research pertains to the causes of business cycle fluctuations in macroeconomic variables like output and investment. This column uses survey data from the German manufacturing sector to show that aggregate variations in investment and output are mainly due to aggregate demand shocks. These shocks resemble swings in business and consumer sentiment but, for the most part, have no obvious relation to macroeconomic policy.

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