School Smoking Bans Effectively Reduce Smoking Behavior

lit cigarette

Half of all smokers in Germany report that they started using tobacco at the age of 15 or younger, which makes teenagers one of the most important target groups for anti-smoking campaigns and policies. During the last decade, all 16 German federal states have introduced smoking bans at schools. But do they work? According to researchers Gregor Pfeifer, Mirjam Reutter, and Kristina Strohmaier, we know little about the real effectiveness of anti-smoking interventions specifically aimed at school children, so they studied a large data set to compare populations who had experienced smoking bans with those who had not.
Continue reading “School Smoking Bans Effectively Reduce Smoking Behavior”

What Happens to Jobs When Minimum Wage Increases Are Tied to Inflation?

store clerk

Economists have been studying how minimum wage increases affect employment for a long time, but indexing the minimum wage to inflation is a relatively new, less understood policy. Peter Brummund and Michael Strain wanted to learn whether indexing the minimum wage to inflation leads to different employment effects. Specifically, they asked whether the employment response to a minimum wage increase is different in states that index their minimum wages to inflation compared to those that don’t.
Continue reading “What Happens to Jobs When Minimum Wage Increases Are Tied to Inflation?”

Political Mismanagement of Indian Primary Schools Yields Worse Test Scores

graph of 4th grade reading scores in public vs. private schools 2 years before through two years after an election, showing elections are followed by drop in scores

Teachers and their working patterns are known to be important determinants of learning outcomes of pupils, as well as key to understanding the large gaps in skills across different school systems. Sonja Fagernäs and Panu Pelkonen examined how the management of teachers in Indian primary schools, when intermingled with political processes, can disrupt teachers’ work and eventually harm learning.
Continue reading “Political Mismanagement of Indian Primary Schools Yields Worse Test Scores”

Concealed Carry—Why Do We Apply?

concealed carry applications increase after a crime

Every U.S. state has a permit process to allow citizens to legally carry a concealed firearm in public. The implications of these laws have generated considerable interest from researchers and policymakers alike, but the underlying determinants of why people decide to legally carry a concealed gun have not been rigorously evaluated until now. Briggs Depew and Isaac Swensen wanted to know whether individuals respond to crime by applying for permits to legally carry a concealed firearm.
Continue reading “Concealed Carry—Why Do We Apply?”

Female Middle School Math Teachers Mean Better Grades for Girls Now, More STEM Participation Later

girl studying

Studies have found that female students perform better when taught by female teachers. But, there is little evidence on whether these effects persistent beyond that school year. We also don’t understand exactly why female student–teacher gender matching improves performance. Jaegeum Lim (Korean National Assembly) and Jonathan Meer (Texas A&M) asked these questions in the context of longer-run data on students from 74 middle schools in Seoul, South Korea.
Continue reading “Female Middle School Math Teachers Mean Better Grades for Girls Now, More STEM Participation Later”

Are Professors Worth It? Who Should Teach College Students in Their Small Group Classes?

discussion

Many universities offer tutorials, also called teaching-assistant sessions, discussion sections, or lab sessions, depending on where you live. These small group instructions complement course lectures. Tutorials are often taught by instructors of different academic ranks, ranging from undergraduate students to full professors. Higher ranked instructors are more qualified and more expensive, so Jan Feld, Nicolás Salamanca, and Ulf Zölitz wanted to answer the obvious question: Are higher ranked instructors worth the extra investment by their institutions?
Continue reading “Are Professors Worth It? Who Should Teach College Students in Their Small Group Classes?”

When There Aren’t Jobs Close to Home—Do Low-Wage Employers Discriminate Based on Commute Distance?

Everything else equal, employers might respond differently to a person based on where they live, avoiding people from a neighborhood with a particular reputation or worrying whether an employee from a distant, poor neighborhood will be able to commute reliably. In a new study, David Phillips (Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, University of Notre Dame) measures how employers respond to fictional applicants who live in distant, poor neighborhoods.
Continue reading “When There Aren’t Jobs Close to Home—Do Low-Wage Employers Discriminate Based on Commute Distance?”

Jobs for Young, Attractive Women and Older Male Managers? The “Age Twist” in Employers’ Gender Requests

Thousands of articles have been written on gender differentials in labor markets, but almost none have studied employers’ explicit requests for male and female candidates in job advertisements. Such requests are widely used in developing-economy labor markets, including India, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, and Nigeria. In a new study, Miguel Delgado Helleseter, Peter Kuhn, and Kailing Shen show that employers’ gender requests on four job boards—three in China and one in Mexico—shift dramatically with age. Firms prefer women when they are seeking younger workers, and prefer men when they seeking older workers.
Continue reading “Jobs for Young, Attractive Women and Older Male Managers? The “Age Twist” in Employers’ Gender Requests”

Cutting Benefits by 50% to Combat Youth Unemployment—Do Young People Get Back to Work Sooner?

comparison of unemployment duration before and after benefit reduction

Policies aimed at tackling youth unemployment are a key priority for policymakers because unemployment when young is known to have adverse long-term effects. One proposed measure is to make unemployment benefits for young people less generous. However, opportunities to study the effects of benefit cuts on the young are rare. A sharp cut to benefits in response to the Great Recession allowed Aedín Doris, Donal O’Neill, and Olive Sweetman (Maynooth University) to examine the effects on youth unemployment in Ireland.
Continue reading “Cutting Benefits by 50% to Combat Youth Unemployment—Do Young People Get Back to Work Sooner?”