Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 09 April 2019

Tax records became easily accessible online in Norway in 2001, allowing everyone in the country to observe the incomes of everyone else. This column offers evidence that people primarily went online to snoop on the incomes of friends, relatives, and other contacts. This game of income comparisons negatively affected the wellbeing of poorer Norwegians while at the same time boosting the self-esteem of the rich.

Manudeep Bhuller, Gordon Dahl, Katrine V. Løken, Magne Mogstad, 24 March 2019

Incarceration rates have tripled in the US and almost doubled in Western Europe over the past 50 years. This column uses data on the criminal behaviour and labour market outcomes of every Norwegian to show that in contrast to the US, where incarceration appears to encourage reoffending and damages labour prospects, the Norwegian prison system is successful in increasing participation in job training programmes, encouraging employment, and discouraging crime. It argues that Norway’s high rehabilitation expenditures are more than offset by the corresponding benefits to society.

Simon Wren-Lewis, 16 January 2019

Anna Aizer, Paul Devereux, Kjell G. Salvanes, 22 December 2018

It is well documented that children who are born to teenage mothers have worse outcomes in terms of health, education, and earnings. This column compares the outcomes for children of sisters in Norway to investigate the drivers of this. The results suggest that the ‘quality’ of the fathers explains as much of the difference in child outcomes as economic resources. Policies that consider the role that fathers play in teenage childbearing and its consequences may be more effective than those that consider mothers only.

Øystein Foros, Mai Nguyen-Ones, Frode Steen, 11 October 2018

Many markets exhibit saw-tooth pricing, with retailers regularly cutting and restoring prices. The column uses the discounting pattern of Norwegian gas stations, which uniformly raise prices on two days a week, to show the effect on consumer behaviour and firm profits. When more consumers spend effort on when to buy rather than where to buy, competition softens.

Jin Cao, Valeriya Dinger, 03 May 2018

The effectiveness of monetary policy in dictating banking activities is one of the keys to understanding how efficient monetary policy is in tuning the real economy. This column uses data on Norwegian banks to show that efficiency may be eroded by international financial flows in a small open economy. This raises several challenges for central banks and financial regulatory agencies in such economies.

Hans Hvide, Paul Oyer, 22 March 2018

The majority of male entrepreneurs in Norway start a firm in an industry closely related to the one in which their father is employed. These entrepreneurs outperform others in the same industry. This column uses longitudinal data to argue that 'dinner table human capital' – that is, industry knowledge learned through their parents – is an important factor. This form of capital also has effect on employee performance in the wider labour market.

Francesco Furlanetto, Ørjan Robstad, 10 December 2016

The macroeconomic effects of immigration are a hot topic, particularly during elections. Using immigration records from Norway, this column argues that an increase in immigration lowers unemployment (even for native workers) and has no negative effects on public finances. However, it identifies a negative effect on productivity that may be a worry for long-term growth.

Espen Henriksen, Knut Anton Mork, 18 October 2016

The ‘Oil Fund’, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, is the world’s largest at more than $850 billion. The economic gains from the establishment of the fund have come from applying core insights to improve the risk-return trade-off for the nation’s total wealth. This column presents the recommendations of a government-appointed committee for the strategy of the fund going forward that build on the same core principles.

Rune Fitjar, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 11 April 2016

Geographic proximity between innovating actors has been shown to facilitate knowledge transfers and spillovers. However, the degree to which these effects are driven by serendipitous encounters has yet to be examined. This column explores this issue for a sample of Norwegian firms. Of the relationships that help firms innovate, fewer than 10% are formed in purely casual circumstances. The results imply that knowledge isn’t so much ‘in the air’; transfers usually result from purposeful search.

Swati Dhingra, Thomas Sampson, 04 March 2016

In June, UK voters will decide whether to remain part of the EU. This column explores the UK’s options if a majority votes in favour of Brexit. One possibility is for the UK, like Norway, to join the European Economic Area and thereby retain access to the European Single Market. An alternative would be to negotiate bilateral treaties with the EU, as Switzerland has done. All options, however, involve a trade-off between political sovereignty and economic benefits.

Nauro Campos, Fabrizio Coricelli, Luigi Moretti, 19 June 2015

The imminence of the British referendum lays the European integration project at a crossroads. One tabled policy proposal is to offer different membership options – shallow integration (economic only) and deep integration (economic and political). This column presents new evidence comparing these two options. Focusing on Norway, a country that is economically but not politically associated with the EU, deep integration is estimated to bring a 6% productivity gain in the first five years, compared with shallow integration. These findings bring new economic arguments to debates about EU integration and membership.

Samuel Wills, Rick van der Ploeg, Ton van den Bremer, 10 October 2014

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is the largest in the world. As such, it has prompted discussions about its design. This column argues that one flaw in the fund is that it doesn’t consider oil reserves beneath the ground. Changing the equity/bond mix and the spending rule could lead to significant welfare improvements.

Manudeep Bhuller, Magne Mogstad, Kjell G. Salvanes, 22 September 2014

The impact of education on earnings over the life cycle is a critical factor for policy decisions ranging from education to taxation and pensions. This column exploits a unique Norwegian population panel data set to estimate an internal rate of return to additional schooling of about 10%. The standard Mincer-regression approach is also shown to substantially underestimate schooling’s rate of return.

Andrew Bernard, Andreas Moxnes, Karen-Helene Ulltveit-Moe, 15 November 2013

Discussions of international trade often focus on aggregate trade flows, but it is firms that trade, not countries. This column presents evidence from Norwegian export data showing that larger exporters have more customers and greater dispersion in customer size. Moreover, exporters with many customers tend to sell to importers with few suppliers. These stylised facts are captured by a model in which finding a buyer is costly. The model’s prediction that export responses are amplified in destinations with less buyer dispersion is confirmed in the data.

Katherine Eriksson, Leah Boustan, Ran Abramitzky, 18 February 2010

The Age of Mass Migration (1850-1913) was one of the largest migration episodes in history. Unlike today, during this era the US maintained an open border. This column suggests that, unhindered by entry restrictions, Europeans migrants to the US during this period were more likely to be workers with lower-productivity and poorer economic prospects.

Karolina Ekholm, Andreas Moxnes, Karen-Helene Ulltveit-Moe, 30 August 2008

Exporting industries loathe real exchange rate appreciations that hurt their ability to sell abroad. But this column says that such shocks are also good news, as they may trigger industry restructuring and spur productivity growth.

Thorvaldur Gylfason, 06 June 2008

Norwegians enjoy a very high standard of living. Is it due to their oil? This column describes the country’s impressive economic development during the twentieth century and highlights lessons from Norway’s management of its oil wealth.


CEPR Policy Research