Paper of the week (POW) this week definitely goes to N. Gregory Mankiw for firing totally reasonable and called for shots at "modern monetary theory".
The paper can be found at this link and is also reproduced below.
"In the end, my study of MMT led me to find some common ground with its proponents without drawing all the radical inferences they do. I agree that the government can always print money to pay its bills. But that fact does not free the government from its intertemporal budget constraint. I agree that the economy normally operates with excess capacity, in the sense that the economy’s output often falls short of its optimum. But that conclusion does not mean that policymakers only rarely need to worry about inflationary pressures. I agree that, in a world of pervasive market power, government price setting might improve private price setting as a matter of economic theory. But that deduction does not imply that actual governments in actual economies can increase welfare by inserting themselves extensively in the price-setting process. "
Paper of the week (POW) this week goes to "Designing Difference in Difference Studies: Best Practices for Public Health Policy Research" by Coady Wing and coauthors published in the Annual Review of Public Health.
It contains a lot of useful reminders on best practices for empirical strategies that rely on difference-in-difference estimators.
Very helpful! Used it this morning in exploring some preliminary results.
"Persistent Political Engagement: Social Interactions and the Dynamics of Protest Movements " by Leonardo Brusztyn and numerous coauthors came up while doing some research this week, and is certainly now the paper of the week (POW).
A copy of the abstract, the thrilling bits of which are in bold:
"We test whether participation in one protest within a political movement increases subsequent protest attendance, and why. To identify an effect of protest participation, we randomly, indirectly incentivize Hong Kong university students into participation in an antiauthoritarian protest. To identify the effects of social interactions, we randomize the intensity of this treatment across major-cohort cells. We find that experimentally-induced protest participation is significantly associated with protest attendance one year later, though political beliefs and preferences are unaffected. Persistent political engagement is greatest among individuals in the cells with highest treatment intensity, suggesting that social interactions sustained persistent political engagement."
A working paper version that is publicly available through Google may be found below.
EDITING a journal
In 2017 I was elected Editor for the New York State Economics Association. (NYSEA)
I did this because it represented a tremendous opportunity, and being elected also felt like an honor, despite the fact that I believe I ran uncontested.
It's hard to say no to things as a junior faculty member. The nature of junior faculty life is also such that you get ample time to scheme, and this can lead you down all sorts of rabbit holes.
The previous Editor, Bill O'Dea @ Oneonta, provided big shoes to fill.
That said, there were numerous opportunities to improve the visibility of the journal.
So far, I have done the following:
The Fall 2019 issue of the New York Economic Review is available by clicking here!
A few colleagues and I have interests in pedagogy research, and started to explore open educational resources. To dip our toes in the water, we wrote a brief survey about students perception of open educational resources as it pertains to their educational experience. You can find a copy of the survey in the box below.
In the spirit of open access, the survey data from Qualtrics (with all identifiers removed) is available in the file below.
I may write further about this project here on the blog in the future.
UNDERGRADUATE ECONOMICS RESEARCH
Related to the following post on reddit.com/r/academiceconomics
Q: I'm a freshman at a not so great school for economics (didn't get into the big name schools and this was cheapest option), but I really like economics. In high school I won a bunch of awards in economic competitions. Not trying to brag, just to prove that I'm interested and have some aptitude.I've reached out to my current professor and other professors in the department but none of them are really doing any research. The few that are just want upperclassmen to do data entry work for a long term project. Most people at my school just take economics to work in business. I was recommended to do the MA in four years but that seems like a long term thing.
My perspective as a tenure-track faculty member doing empirical research at a small public 4 year degree granting school:
You are a freshmen, so unless you are a significant outlier, you've not been exposed to econometrics.
Many faculty may hesitate to have you do anything other than data entry if you haven't taken econometrics. Why? Econometrics is a language that you need to learn to speak fluently before you can really add value beyond simple tasks like data entry and literature reviews. Don't forget, having you involved isn't costless, many of us are quicker at these tasks on our own or with colleagues, rather than having a student involved.
So given I have to invest time in the relationship, I need to invest that time in an optimal way. What is not optimal is for me to attempt to teach you econometrics just for the sake of having you as an RA. You'll take the class, it's a requirement, so this just wouldn't make sense. This is absolutely nothing personal, it's just prudent time management.
I poach the top 2-3 econometrics students as research assistants and co-authors on wild ideas we have a common interest in, but wouldn't really consider students early in their career because they need to develop their intuition more through exposure to the coursework. If you think you can add value beyond just data entry tasks, then signal it, show them you can add value. It would definitely shut up my concerns if you walked in with some code and preliminary attempts at addressing an interesting question.
You shouldn't discount the experience of doing simple tasks like data entry at the very start of your career. You signal your interest in the field and that you are serious about the profession, you may form great bonds with professors or other RAs, you will do a lot of reading that will help you write better, you will learn nuances of cleaning data, etc etc etc.
My guess is the regional Fed would send you info about one of their public outreach programs, the Fed challenge, etc, as ways of being exposed to economics and research. It's not reckless to reach out, but I wouldn't hold your breath.
I'm super pleased to announce that my article with a dear friend and colleague Alex McQuoid has been published in Applied Economics!
We have a few free copies that can be accessed if you click here. At some point this link will no longer provide free copies, a pre-print version can be found here on ResearchGate and embedded in the post below.
This blog is a therapeutic outlet for me to write about life on the tenure track in economics.