Professor Zhao was a panelist at The 9th Annual Conference on China’s Economic Development and the U.S.-China Relationship, held at The George Washington University. The panel was on China’s Macroeconomy, Urban Growth and Policy Analysis.
In it, Professor Zhao discussed his recent research on the Chinese Saving Rate.
The full schedule of the conference can be found online at:
Professor Kai (Jackie) Zhao has had his paper “Social Security and the Rise in Health Spending” accepted for publication in the Journal of Monetary Economics.
Abstract: In a quantitative model of Social Security with endogenous health, I argue that Social Security increases the aggregate health spending of the economy because it redistributes resources to the elderly whose marginal propensity to spend on health is high. I show by using computational experiments that the expansion of US Social Security can account for over a third of the dramatic rise in US health spending from 1950 to 2000. In addition, Social Security has a spill-over effect on Medicare. As Social Security increases health spending, it also increases the payments from Medicare, thus raising its financial burden.
In this paper, I extend the Barro-Becker model of endogenous fertility to incorporate specific fiscal policies and use it to study the effects of the fiscal policy changes following WWII on fertility in the United States. The US government went through large changes in fiscal policy after the beginning of WWII. The marginal income tax rate for an average American jumped from 4% on average before 1940 to approximately 25% during the war and stayed around 20% afterwards. The government debt-GDP ratio jumped from approximately 30% on average before WWII to 108% in 1946 and then dropped gradually in the following two decades to about 30% again at the end of 1960s. I find that the dramatic increase in the marginal income tax rate was an important cause of the postwar baby boom in the US because it lowered the after-tax wage and thus the opportunity cost of child-rearing. I also find that the differential change in taxes by income was an important reason why the baby boom was more pronounced among richer households (as documented by Jones and Tertilt (2008)). Furthermore, I argue that the government’s debt policy may also matter for understanding fertility choices because government debt implies a tax burden on children in the future and thus affects their utility, which is a key determinant of current fertility choice in the Barro-Becker model. The results of a computational experiment show that the US government’s postwar debt policy also contributed to the baby boom, but its quantitative importance is relatively small.
Jackie Zhao will be joining the department this Fall as an assistant professor. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Western Ontario in 2010, and has taught in the Management Program at Western Ontario since that time. He is a macroeconomist who specializes in examining the linkages between the health care market and the macroeconomy. Professor Zhao has published articles in the BE Journal of Macroeconomics and Applied Economic Letters and has several papers under re-submission in the Review of Economic Dynamics and the Journal of Monetary Economics. He won the T. Merritt Brown Thesis Prize for best doctoral dissertation in Economics at Western Ontario and was a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in December of 2012.