Patrick Gaulé, 14 December 2010

Brain drain can be a good thing for the source country; one benefit is that some skilled workers eventually return. Unfortunately, there is little evidence on the incidence and nature of such return migration. This column presents new data on the return-migration decisions of foreign faculty based in US chemistry departments.

Federico Etro, 04 November 2010

Looking at the contracts for large oil paintings in Italy (1550-1750), this column finds evidence of strong competition between painters. Contracts were structured to address moral hazard problems, and prices closely reflected demand and supply conditions in an integrated market.

Francesco D'Amuri, Giovanni Peri, 31 October 2010

Several studies find that immigrants do not harm the wages and job prospects of native workers. This column seeks to explain these somewhat counterintuitive findings by emphasizing the scope for complementarities between foreign-born and native workers. Examining 14 European countries from 1996 to 2007, it finds that immigrants often supply manual skills, leaving native workers to take up jobs that require more complex skills – even boosting demand for them. Immigrants replace “tasks”, not workers.

Christopher Cotton, Frank McIntyre, Joseph Price, 21 October 2010

Around the world, the pay and achievement gap between men and women remains significant, as shown by last week’s Global Gender Gap Report. This column explores whether this gap can be explained by attitudes towards competition. Using experimental evidence from math quiz competitions in primary schools, it finds that while males respond better to competition initially, this advantage is short-lived, as females are just as responsive over time.

Goran Mišković, Raphael Auer, Jason Wildhagen, 15 October 2010

Whether you are in academia, government, or private business, the hiring of PhD economists is very different from standard recruiting. This column documents the peculiarities of the job market for junior economists and describes how the job market boards of walras.org and VoxEU.org can be used to disseminate information about job openings and receive online applications.

Barbara Petrongolo, 15 October 2010

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics has been awarded to Peter Diamond, Dale Mortensen, and Christopher Pissarides "for their analysis of markets with search frictions". This column explains how their research relates to fundamental economic issues that are both at the core of the wellbeing of society at large and now near the top of many policymakers’ agendas.

Bas ter Weel, Albert van der Horst, George Gelauff, 11 October 2010

How will we earn our money in 2040? This column develops four scenarios for how the Dutch economy may evolve. It argues that the future depends on the development of technology – the fundamental driver of future economic development. Many of the lessons and analysis apply equally to the rest of Europe.

Leo Abruzzese, 26 September 2010

Women’s economic empowerment has been a defining feature of the last century. Yet while women today comprise more than half of the global workforce, their wages and economic opportunities still lag behind those of men. This column takes a closer look at the economic landscape for women and how it compares across countries, using the Economist Intelligence Unit’s new Women’s Economic Opportunity Index as a guide.

Juan Dolado, 24 September 2010

Juan Dolado of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about why unemployment in Spain has risen so much higher than elsewhere in Europe during the Great Recession. He discusses the pressing need to address the great divide in the Spanish labour market between permanent and temporary employment contracts. The interview was recorded at the annual congress of the European Economic Association in Glasgow in August 2010.

Lant Pritchett, Martina Viarengo, 20 August 2010

In the World Cup, countries rely not on the average quality of their footballers, but on the quality of their best footballers. Could superstars also be crucial in economic competition? This column reveals that each year Mexico produces fewer than 6,000 world class mathematicians at age 15. If superstars do play any role in economic performance then this is particularly problematic, especially since the dominant policy attention is focused elsewhere.

Michael Ferrantino, Danielle Trachtenberg, Alison Weingarden, 05 August 2010

Can increasing US exports create US jobs? Manufactures dominate US exports, but US manufacturing employment is declining. This column suggests that increased US exports are unlikely to lead to dramatic manufacturing employment gains, but employment in related services sectors may improve.

Alex Bryson, Babatunde Buraimo , Rob Simmons, 22 July 2010

After losing the football world cup final in South Africa, the Dutch press blamed the “chump” of a referee from England for losing control of the game. Yet this column presents evidence that, as one of the few countries where referees are paid a salary, English referees have the incentives to be among the best.

William Kerr, William Lincoln, 15 July 2010

How does high-skilled immigration affect innovation in receiving countries? This column examines how large fluctuations in the admissions levels of H-1B visa holders between 1995 and 2008 influenced US patenting. It suggests higher H-1B admissions increased US innovation through the direct contributions of the immigrants without crowding out those of natives.

David Autor, 30 October 2008

The labour market suffers from asymmetric information, coordination, and collective action failures. This column explains how labour market intermediaries, such as online job boards and centralised job-matching institutions, work to improve labour market outcomes. These intermediaries will perform important coordinating functions even as information costs fall.

Michael Burda, 12 September 2008

Supply side reforms have had a positive impact on the labour market in Germany, raising job creation and reducing the unemployment rate. At the European Economic Association meetings in Milan in August 2008, Michael Burda of Humboldt University in Berlin discussed these achievements and future prospects for the German economy with Romesh Vaitilingam.

Frank Levy, Peter Temin, 15 June 2007

Rising American inequality stems from efficiency-enhancing policy changes in the 1970s and 1980s. There is growing recognition that the current free-market income distribution – the combination of large inequalities and stagnant wages for many workers – creates its own “soft” inefficiencies as people become disenchanted with existing economic arrangements.

Juan Dolado, 12 June 2007

Gender equality policies seek to shift market outcomes. Economic logic and empirical research suggest that such policies can help if they are applied consistently for a long period.

Tito Boeri, Lans Bovenberg, 16 May 2007

Pension Funds are by now the largest institutional investors in international financial markets. Better regulations are needed to guarantee a growth enhancing development of the pension fund industry. They concern both accounting and disclosure requirements, default options as well as the internal structure of pension funds. These regulations are more effective when accompanied with reforms of public pensions and labour markets.

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