HCEO Research Spotlight on Racial Profiling Research

Professor Stephen Ross and his coauthors, Jesse Kalinowski at Quinnipiac University and Matthew Ross at Ohio State University (both former Ph.D. students at UConn), have recently released on new working paper on racial discrimination in police traffic stops in Connecticut.

This research was selected by the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group at the University of Chicago to be featured in their research spotlight series. The spotlight article can be found at:


Professor Prakash publishes in Social Science & Medicine

Professor Nishith Prakash and his co-author Professor Kumar (Sam Houston State University) have had their paper titled “Effect of political decentralization and female leadership on institutional births and child mortality in Bihar” accepted for publication at Social Science & Medicine.

In this paper, they investigate the impacts of political decentralization and women reservation in rural local governance on institutional births and child mortality in the state of Bihar in India. Using difference-in-differences methodology, they find a significant positive association between political decentralization and institutional births. They also find that the increased participation of women at local governance led to increased survival rate of children belonging to richer households. They argue that their results are consistent with female leaders having policy preference for women and child well-being.

This project was funded by International Growth Center at London School of Economics (http://www.theigc.org).

Professor Agüero publishes in the Journal of Health Economics

Professor Jorge Agüero and his coauthor Trinidad Beleche have had their paper “Health Shocks and their Long-Lasting Impact on Health Behaviors: Evidence from the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic in Mexico” accepted for publication in the Journal of Health Economics.

Abstract: Worldwide, the leading causes of death could be avoided with health behaviors that are low-cost but also difficult to adopt. We show that exogenous health shocks could facilitate the adoption of these behaviors and provide long-lasting effects on health outcomes.

Specifically, we exploit the spatial and temporal variation of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in Mexico and show that areas with a higher incidence of H1N1 experienced larger reductions in diarrhea-related cases among young children. These reductions continue even three years after the shock ended. Changes in hand washing behaviors are behind these health improvements. Several robustness checks validate our findings and mechanism.


Professor Naknoi publishes in Canadian Journal of Economics

Canadian Journal of EconomicsProfessor Kanda Naknoi published a sole-authored article in the February 2017 issue of the Canadian Journal of Economics.

The title of her article is “Real Exchange Rate Fluctuations, Wage Stickiness and Tradability

Abstract: When we classify factors of production by their tradability, the relative wage of nontraded labour influences the real exchange rate through the relative cost of distribution services. We confirm this prediction using monthly data on the sector-level US–Canada real exchange rate and the relative wage of service-producing labour. The relative wage accounts for 40% of the variability of the real exchange rate at a one-month horizon. Furthermore, when we use the effective nontraded labour content to classify goods into nontraded and traded ones, the variability of the price of the nontraded-goods basket accounts for more than half of the variability of the real exchange rate.

Professor Steve Ross talks about School Quality and Housing Prices

ross[1]The National Real Estate Forum recently interviewed Professor Ross on his work on the relationship between housing prices and school quality.  This interview has been produced as a podcast at:


In this work, Professor Ross discusses the surprising findings that school quality has only a quite modest effect on property values, and that much of the early work on this question confounded the effects of neighborhood quality with the effects of school quality.  He also discusses the contradiction between these findings and evidence that school choice actually has substantial effects on school quality, suggesting that the reason for the large effects is because school choice affects where people live and so change neighborhood quality, which as noted has large effects on housing prices.

Professor Zhao publishes his research in JEDC and JEoA

Kai ZhaoProfessor Kai Zhao has had his paper titled “Social Insurance, Private Health Insurance and Individual Welfare” accepted for publication in the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control. In this paper, he develops a quantitative dynamic general equilibrium model to evaluate social insurance policies. The main findings of the paper are that means tested social insurance does not only distort saving and labor supply decisions, but also has a large crowding out effect on the demand for private health insurance. However, despite the distorting effects, the net welfare consequence of eliminating social insurance is still negative. In addition, this paper finds that the existence of social insurance as a last resort is a quantitatively important reason why many Americans choose to be uninsured.

Professor Zhao and his coauthor Ayse Imrohoroglu (USC Marshall) have their paper titled “Intergenerational Transfers and China’s Social Security Reform” accepted for publication in the Journal of the Economics of Ageing. This paper grew out of their research agenda on the Chinese economy and its implications for the rest of the world. In it, they find that a model with two-sided altruism is preferred to a standard pure life-cycle model for studying social security reforms in China due to the prevalence of intergenerational links. They show that the implications of several reforms are quantitatively different from what have been found in existing studies using pure life-cycle models.

Professor Zhao’s research can be found at his personal webpage: https://sites.google.com/site/kaijackiezhao/research

Professors Minkler and Prakash publish in the Journal of Comparative Economics

Professor Minkler and Professor Prakash’s paper titled “The Role of Constitutions on Poverty: A Cross-National Investigation” has been accepted by the Journal of Comparative Economics. In this paper, they construct and use a new historical data set on economics and social rights from the constitutions of 195 countries and an instrument variable strategy to answer two important questions.

First, do economic and social rights provisions in constitutions reduce poverty, measured as headcount income and health outcomes? Second, does the strength of constitutional language of the economic and social rights matter? Constitutional provisions can be framed either more weakly as directive principles or more strongly as enforceable law.

The results suggest three findings. First, they do not find an association between constitutional rights generally framed and poverty. Second, they do not find an association between economic and social rights framed as directive principles and poverty. Third, they do find a strong negative association between economic and social rights framed as enforceable law and poverty when we use legal origins as our IV. These results persist for indices of constitutional rights and also when they restrict the sample to non-OECD countries. The policy implication is that constitutional provisions framed as enforceable law provide effective meta-rules with incentives for policymakers to initiate, fund, monitor and enforce poverty reduction policies.