2018 Robert Day School Publications and Grants

*Indicates student co-author

Antecol, Heather, Kelly Bedard, and Jenna Stearns. “Equal but Inequitable: Who Benefits from Gender-Neutral Tenure Clock Stopping Policies?” American Economic Review, vol. 108, no. 9, 2018, pp. 2420-41.

Abstract: Many skilled professional occupations are characterized by an early period of intensive skill accumulation and career establishment. Examples include law firm associates, surgical residents, and untenured faculty at research-intensive universities. High female exit rates are sometimes blamed on the inability of new mothers to survive the sustained negative productivity shock associated with childbearing and early childrearing in these environments. Gender-neutral family policies have been adopted in some professions in an attempt to "level the playing field." The gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies adopted by the majority of research-intensive universities in the United States in recent decades are an excellent example. But to date, there is no empirical evidence showing that these policies help women. Using a unique data set on the universe of assistant professor hires at top-50 economics departments from 1980-2005, we show that the adoption of gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies substantially reduced female tenure rates while substantially increasing male tenure rates. However, these policies do not reduce the probability that either men or women eventually earn tenure in the profession.

Bjerk, David and Serkan Ozbeklik. “Using Samples-of-Opportunity to Assess Gender Bias in Principal Evaluations of Teaches: A Cautionary Tale.” Journal of Labor Research, vol. 39, issue 3, 2018, pp. 235-258.

Abstract: This paper uses two “samples-of-opportunity” datasets to examine whether principal evaluations of teachers differ systematically across genders after controlling for arguably gender unbiased measures of teacher productivity---namely value-added student test scores calculated relative to other teachers in the same grade/school (where teachers are randomly allocated to classrooms within the same grade/school). While the two datasets appear to be quite similar in nature, both were samples-of-opportunity in that they were not representative of any particular population. Our findings differ substantially across datasets. This exercise reveals how results in the education and discrimination literature may be sensitive to the sample used.

Burdekin, Richard C.K. “Deflations in History.” Handbook of the History of Money and Currency, edited by Stefano Battilossi, Youssef Cassis, and Kazuhiko Yago. Springer, 2018, pp. 1-24.

Abstract: Even though experiences with falling prices have been rare during the postwar period, deflation was widespread during the 1930s, and recorded historical episodes extend back to ancient and medieval times. With deflation having resurfaced as a major policy concern in the years following the global financial crisis, this chapter compares the properties of the earlier deflations with more recent episodes in both Europe and Asia. In focusing upon the determinants of deflation, its impact upon the economy as a whole, and the role of monetary policy, we see that even though deflation remains, in essence, a monetary phenomenon, combatting its effects remains far from straightforward. A striking feature of the twenty-first century deflations, for example, has been the discrepancy between consumer and producer price movements seen after 2008 that occurred in conjunction with sharp declines in commodity prices. Policymakers both past and present have had to contend with a variety of downward pressures on the money supply as well as complications arising from supply shocks and other negative forces.


Burdekin, Richard C.K., Eric Hughson, and Jinlin Gu*. "A First Look at Brexit and Global Equity Markets.” Applied Economics Letters, vol. 25, issue 2, 2018, pp. 136-140.

Abstract: Global equity markets fell by nearly 5% overall on 24 June 2016 following news of the Brexit referendum result. Although nearly all EU stock market indices experienced additional significantly negative abnormal returns, especially poor performance was registered by the debt-ridden PIIGS group (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain). In this article, we identify a systematic tendency for more severe stock market responses to be concentrated amongst countries with higher debt to GDP ratios. This effect endures even after controlling for the degree of openness, EU membership and for being part of the PIIGS group.


Burdekin, Richard C.K. and Pierre L. Siklos. “Quantifying the Impact of the November 2014 Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect.” International Review of Economics & Finance, vol. 57, 2018, pp. 156-163.

Abstract: The November 2014 Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect represented an important step in China's capital account liberalization, allowing relatively free movement of investor funds between the two markets for the first time. We offer a quantification of the effects of the new program, examining Northbound and Southbound flows of funds over the first two years of the Stock Connect. While controlling for other sentiment and liquidity effects, we test how these flows may have affected the extent of the premium seen for local A-share listings in Shanghai relative to the prices accruing to the same companies in Hong Kong market trading.


Burdekin, Richard C.K. and Ran Tao. “London Calling: The Shanghai-London Stock Connect.” China-US Focus, May 30, 2018,

Abstract: A pending link up between the London and Shanghai stock markets promises to greatly enhance investment opportunities between them. The new Shanghai-London Stock Connect will also make China access more readily available to other European investors.

Filson, Darren and James H. Havlicek*. “The Performance of Global Film Franchises: Installment Effects and Extension Decisions.” Journal of Cultural Economics, vol. 42, issue 3, 2018, pp. 447-467.

Abstract: An empirical exploration of global film franchises provides insights for managers of film franchises, investors in franchisable products, and scholars interested in motion picture performance. Performance tends to deteriorate as extensions are introduced: production budgets rise, advertising expenditures remain similar, and the number of opening-weekend theaters experiences a jump with the first sequel and then remains similar in subsequent installments. However, revenue, return-on-investment (ROI), and audience and critical reviews fall, and foreign performance becomes increasingly important. Offsetting deteriorating performances, risk falls: revenue and ROI become more predictable. An early change in the lead actor causes reduced performance, but changes in key product characteristics and inputs in later installments help prolong the franchise. ROI of the current installment is the most critical financial determinant of whether a further extension will occur, but high-budget films and those with higher domestic share of revenue are also more likely to yield further extensions.

Flory, Jeffrey A. “Formal Finance and Informal Safety Nets of the Poor: Evidence from a Savings Field Experiment.” Journal of Development Economics, vol. 135, 2018, pp. 517-533.

Abstract: Using a field experiment on financial service information delivery in over 320 villages in Malawi, I find that formal savings increases agricultural investments and crop income, and raises private transfers to other households during the hungry season. Households with higher education adopt accounts and experience rises in savings and income, while low education households do not. However, the benefits to adopters are used to help insure the rest of the village – in contrast to suggestions elsewhere in the literature that savings may negatively impact sharing through networks. Non-savers experience large rises in transfer receipts, improved food consumption, and better health. The worst-off households experience particularly strong increases in informal aid. Findings show financial markets expansion has immediate effects beyond service-users, with large and surprising impacts on informal support systems. Results also support the effectiveness of a novel method to spur service uptake and accelerate financial deepening.


Flory, Jeffrey A., Uri Gneezy, Kenneth L. Leonard, and John A. List. “Gender, Age, and Competition: A Disappearing Gap?” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, vol. 150, 2018, pp. 256-276.

Abstract: Research on competitiveness at the individual level has emphasized sex as a physiological determinant, focusing on the gap in preference for competitive environments between men and women. This study presents evidence that women's preferences over competition change with age such that the gender gap, while large for young adults, disappears in older populations due to the fact that older women are much more competitive. Our finding that tastes for competition appear just as strong among older women as they are among men suggests a simple gender-based view of competitiveness is misleading; age seems just as important as sex.

Garín, Julio, Robert Lester, and Eric Sims. “Raise Rates to Raise Inflation? Neo-Fisherianism in the New Keynesian Model.” Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, vol. 50, issue 1, 2018, pp. 243-259.

Abstract: Increasing the inflation target in a New Keynesian (NK) model may require increasing, rather than decreasing, the nominal interest rate in the short run. We refer to this positive short‐run comovement between the nominal rates and inflation conditional on a nominal shock as Neo‐Fisherianism. We show that the NK model is more likely to be Neo‐Fisherian the more persistent is the change in the inflation target and the more flexible are prices. Neo‐Fisherianism is driven by the forward‐looking nature of the model. Modifications that make the framework less forward‐looking make it less likely for the model to exhibit Neo‐Fisherianism.


Garín, Julio, Michael J. Pries, and Eric R. Sims. “The Relative Importance of Aggregate and Sectoral Shocks and the Changing Nature of Economic Fluctuations.” American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, vol. 10, no. 1, 2018, pp. 119-48.

Abstract: A principal components decomposition of sectoral IP data reveals that the contribution of aggregate shocks to the variance of aggregate output declined from about 70 percent in the period 1967–1983 to about 30 percent after 1983. We develop an "islands" model with two sectors and costly labor reallocation to investigate how this change in the relative importance of shocks alters business cycle moments. A version of the model with relatively more important sectoral shocks results in a sizeable decline in the cyclicality of labor productivity and is consistent with changes in several other business cycle moments observed in the data.

Court, David, Benjamin Gillen, Jordi McKenzie, and Charles R. Plott. “Two Information Aggregation Mechanisms for Predicting the Opening Weekend Box Office Revenues of Films: Boxoffice Prophecy and Guess of Guesses.” Economic Theory, vol. 65, issue 1, 2018, pp. 25-54.

Abstract: Field tests were conducted on two new Information Aggregation Mechanism (IAM) designs. The mechanisms were designed to collect information held as intuitions about opening weekend box office revenues for movies in Australia. The principles on which the mechanisms operate and their capacity to collect information are explored. A pari-mutuel mechanism produces a predicted probability distribution over box office amounts that is, with the exception of very small films, indistinguishable from the actual revenues. The second mechanism is based on guessing the guesses of others and, applied under conditions incentives for accuracy are unavailable, still performs well against data.

Courser, Zachary, Eric Helland, and Kenneth P. Miller, eds. Parchment Barriers: Political Polarization and the Limits of Constitutional Order. University Press of Kansas, 2018.

Abstract: The United States has become ever more deeply entrenched in powerful, rival, partisan camps, and its citizens more sharply separated along ideological lines. The authors of this volume, scholars of political science, economics, and law, examine the relation between our present-day polarization and the design of the nation’s Constitution. The provisions of our Constitution are like “parchment barriers”—fragile bulwarks intended to preserve liberty and promote self-government. To be effective, these barriers need to be respected and reinforced by government officials and ordinary citizens, both in law and in custom. This book asks whether today’s partisan polarization is threatening these constitutional provisions and thus our constitutional order. The nation's founders, clearly concerned about political division, designed the Constitution with numerous means for controlling factions, restraining majority rule, and preventing concentrations of power. In chapters that span the major institutions of American government, the authors of Parchment Barriers explore how partisans are pushing the limits of these constitutional restraints to achieve their policy goals and how the forces of majority faction are testing the boundaries the Constitution draws around democratic power. What, for instance, are the dangers of power being concentrated in the executive branch, displaced to the judiciary, or assumed by majority party leaders in Congress? How has partisan polarization affected the nature, size, and power of the administrative state? And why do political parties, rather than working to facilitate the constitutional order as envisioned by James Madison, now chafe against its limits on majority rule? Parchment Barriers considers the implications of polarization for policy, governance, and the health of American democracy.


Helland, Eric. The Role of Health Care Liens in Litigation and Recovery. Research Report. RAND Corporation, 2018.

Abstract: Third-party liens have increasingly become an issue in resolving mass litigation events. Traditionally, liens in the civil justice system represent a claim by a creditor against a plaintiff's (the debtor's) cause of action. In recent years, Medicare and increasingly other forms of health insurance have been given far more extensive lien rights, particularly with regard to the obligations they are owed by defendants' insurers. Because these rights extend beyond the plaintiff to the plaintiff's lawyer and the defendant, these rights have made resolving these liens a requirement of settlement. Not surprisingly, anecdotal evidence suggests that liens are becoming more frequent. This is potentially problematic if liens become sufficiently burdensome or costly that potential litigants do not pursue cases. In this paper the author examines the different types of health care liens and trends in prevalence, as well as how liens have changed the landscape of claim resolution. The author uses a unique dataset on the resolution of a number of mass compensation events, as well as smaller claims. He finds that health care liens are relatively common in his dataset of mass compensation events. Moreover, he finds some evidence that smaller-value liens are more prevalent among Medicare liens, which is consistent with the hypothesis that Medicare liens' more extensive rights relative to other lien types lead the Center for Medicare Services to pursue more and smaller liens than private lien holders.


Helland, Eric, Daniel Klerman, and Alex Yoon-Ho Lee. “Maybe There is No Bias in the Selection of Disputes for Litigation.” Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, vol. 174, no. 1, 2018, pp. 143-170.

Abstract: New York closing-statement data provide unique insight into settlement and selection. The distributions of settlements and adjudicated damages are remarkably similar, and the average settlement is very close to the average judgment. One interpretation is that selection effects may be small or nonexistent. Because existing litigation models all predict selection bias, we develop a simple, no-selection-bias model that is consistent with the data. Nevertheless, we show that the data can also be explained by generalized versions of screening, signaling, and Priest–Klein models.


Helland, Eric and Jonathan Klick. “Medicare Secondary Payer and Settlement Delay.” Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, vol. 15, issue 2, 2018, pp. 356-377.

Abstract: The Medicare Secondary Payer Act of 1980 and its subsequent amendments require that insurers and self‐insured companies report settlements, awards, and judgments that involve a Medicare beneficiary to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The parties then may be required to compensate CMS for its conditional payments. In a simple settlement model, this makes settlement less likely. Also, the reporting delays and uncertainty regarding the size of these conditional payments are likely to further frustrate the settlement process. We provide results, using data from a large insurer, showing that, on average, implementation of the MSP reporting amendments led to a delay in the resolution of disputes involving auto accidents of about six months.


Helland, Eric, and Kenneth P. Miller. “Polarization and the Administrative State.” Parchment Barriers: Political Polarization and the Limits of Constitutional Order, edited by Zachary Courser, Eric Helland, and Kenneth P. Miller. University Press of Kansas, 2018, pp. 97-118.


Helland, Eric and Jungmo Yoon. “Multilevel Selection in Litigation Data: A Bounds Approach.” Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, vol. 174, no. 1, 2018, pp. 115-130.

Abstract: The selection effects in litigation data are one of the most daunting problems facing legal researchers. We develop a bounds approach to dealing with multiple levels of selection. We build on work by Helland and Yoon on the English rule's effect on litigation outcomes. The English rule prescribes that the loser of a lawsuit pays the winner's litigation costs. When we take selection due to settlement and to drops into account, the bounds analysis suggests that some conclusions in the works of Hughes and Snyder (1990 and 1995)) may not be robust to the most extreme forms of selection.


Mungan, Murat C., Eric Helland, and Jonathan Klick, editors. Supreme Court Economic Review, Volume 24. The University of Chicago Press, 2018.

Abstract: The Supreme Court Economic Review is a faculty-edited, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary law and economics series with a particular focus on economic and social science analysis of judicial decision making, institutional analysis of law and legal structures, political economy and public choice issues regarding courts and other decision-makers, and the relationship between legal and political institutions and the institutions of a free society governed by constitutions and the rule of law. Contributors include renowned legal scholars, economists, and policy-makers, and consistently ranks among the most influential journals of law and economics.

Burdekin, Richard C.K., Eric Hughson, and Jinlin Gu*. "A First Look at Brexit and Global Equity Markets.” Applied Economics Letters, vol. 25, issue 2, 2018, pp. 136-140.

Abstract: Global equity markets fell by nearly 5% overall on 24 June 2016 following news of the Brexit referendum result. Although nearly all EU stock market indices experienced additional significantly negative abnormal returns, especially poor performance was registered by the debt-ridden PIIGS group (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain). In this article, we identify a systematic tendency for more severe stock market responses to be concentrated amongst countries with higher debt to GDP ratios. This effect endures even after controlling for the degree of openness, EU membership and for being part of the PIIGS group.

Keil, Manfred W. “Don’t Panic: The ‘R’ Word Angst.” 2018 Greater Palm Springs Economic Report, 2018, pp. 10-20.

Abstract: There is a lot of talk going around about the "Recession of 2020" or the "Recession of 2021." Given the severity of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and its devastating effect on California, and especially the Inland Empire including the Coachella Valley, we spend some time analyzing a variety of popular leading economic indicators for the next economic downturn. The analysis concludes that currently there is still too little evidence of an imminent economic downturn.


Keil, Manfred. “Mr. T as Captain of the US Economy: Any Icebergs in the Fog Bank Ahead?” Inland Empire Economic Forecast and Analysis 2018, March 2018, pp. 4-39.

Abstract: The paper looks at the current economic expansion which started in July 2009 and is 105 months old, or has lasted 8 years and 9 months. In April 2018 it will become the second longest economic upswing in the post World War II era, surpassing the March 1961 - November 1972 episode. If the current period of uninterrupted growth lasts beyond August 2019, as many forecasters, including us, project, then it will surpass the 120 month Clinton period from March 1991 to February 2001. The paper finds that good times eventually end, there is no relationship between the length of an expansion and the likelihood that it will end in the next year. Expansions do not die of old age. The paper finds little evidence of a downturn in the near future.

Lincoln, William and Andrew H. McCallum. “The Rise of Exporting by US Firms.” European Economic Review, vol. 102, 2018, pp. 280-297.

Abstract: Although a great deal of ink has been spilled over the consequences of globalization, we do not yet fully understand the causes of increased worldwide trade. Using confidential microdata from the U.S. Census, we document widespread entry into countries abroad by U.S. firms from 1987 to 2006. We show that this extensive margin growth is unlikely to have been due to significant declines in entry costs. We instead find evidence of large roles for telecommunications advances, trade agreements, and foreign income growth in driving these trends.

Bjerk, David and Serkan Ozbeklik. “Using Samples-of-Opportunity to Assess Gender Bias in Principal Evaluations of Teaches: A Cautionary Tale.” Journal of Labor Research, vol. 39, issue 3, 2018, pp. 235-258.

Abstract: This paper uses two “samples-of-opportunity” datasets to examine whether principal evaluations of teachers differ systematically across genders after controlling for arguably gender unbiased measures of teacher productivity – namely value-added student test scores calculated relative to other teachers in the same grade/school (where teachers are randomly allocated to classrooms within the same grade/school). While the two datasets appear to be quite similar in nature, both were samples-of-opportunity in that they were not representative of any particular population. Our findings differ substantially across datasets. This exercise reveals how results in the education and discrimination literature may be sensitive to the sample used.

Falk, Nathan and Cameron A. Shelton. “Fleeing a Lame Duck: Policy Uncertainty and Manufacturing Investment in US States.” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, vol. 10, no. 4, 2018, pp. 135-152.

Abstract: It is found that electorally-induced policy uncertainty decreases manufacturing investment in US states. In a state with average partisan polarization, the elasticity of election-year investment to a specific measure of policy uncertainty is -0.027. When the incumbent governor is term-limited, there is greater uncertainty over the outcome, providing an instrument to demonstrate this effect is causal, not simply coincidental. Moreover, manufacturing investment does not rebound following the election. Rather, own-state uncertainty is associated with a large and significant coincident rise in neighboring states' investment. These findings suggest that policy uncertainty at the sub-national level drives investment to alternate sites.

Jeliazkov, Ivan and Angela Vossmeyer. “The Impact of Estimation Uncertainty on Covariate Effects in Nonlinear Models.” Statistical Papers, vol. 59, issue 3, 2018, pp. 1031-1042.

Abstract: Covariate effects are a key consideration in model evaluation, forecasting, and policy analysis, yet their dependence on estimation uncertainty has been largely overlooked in previous work. We discuss several approaches to covariate effect evaluation in nonlinear models, examine computational and reporting issues, and illustrate the practical implications of ignoring estimation uncertainty in a simulation study and applications to educational attainment and crime. The evidence reveals that failing to consider estimation variability and relying solely on parameter point estimates may lead to nontrivial biases in covariate effects that can be exacerbated in certain settings, underscoring the pivotal role that estimation uncertainty can play in this context.

Almahmood, Hassan, Munif Al Munyif, and Thomas D. Willett. “Most Speculative Attacks Do Not Succeed: Currency Crises and Currency Crashes.” Journal of International Commerce, Economics, and Policy, vol. 9, nos. 1&2, 2018, 1850001.

Abstract: While there has been considerable research on currency crises, relatively little attention has been given to whether they are successful or not. We investigate this question for a set of 32 emerging market economies for the period 1980 to 2014. In the literature many different measures of currency crises have been used, but almost all use some variant of exchange market pressure indices that look at changes in exchange rates, international reserves, and often also interest rates. These vary mainly in their specific specifications such as how to weight the different variables. To check the robustness of our results we use six different specifications. We also consider different degrees of currency depreciation as indicators of success of speculative attacks. We find that contrary to conventional wisdom, across all combinations of measures a majority of attacks fail to succeed.