More than Words: Leaders' Speech and Risky Behavior During a Pandemic

This paper investigates whether the anti-scientific rhetoric of modern populists can induce followers to engage in risky behavior. We gather electoral information, credit card expenses, and geo-localized mobile phone data for approximately 60 million devices in Brazil. After the president publicly dismissed the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic and challenged scientific recommendations, social distancing in pro-government localities declined. Consistently, credit card expenses increased immediately.

Juan Rubio-Ramirez

Host: 

Florin Bilbiie

Visiting from: 

5th June - 9th June 2023

transmission

Green Transmission: Monetary Policy in the Age of ESG

In this paper, I investigate how the Net-Zero transition affects the transmission of monetary policy. I first document an upward trend in environmental performance among US publicly listed companies over the last decade. Second, I evaluate the implications of firms becoming ‘greener’ for the transmission of monetary policy on asset prices, credit risk and firm-level investment. In response to a shock to monetary policy, ‘green’ firms (with high environmental scores) are significantly less impacted than their ‘brown’ counterparts (with lower environmental scores).

The Risk-Premium Channel of Uncertainty: Implications for Unemployment and Inflation

This paper studies the role of macroeconomic uncertainty in a search-and-matching framework with risk-averse households. Heightened uncertainty about future productivity reduces current economic activity even in the absence of nominal rigidities. A risk-premium mechanism accounts for this result. As future asset prices become more volatile and covary more positively with aggregate consumption, the risk premium rises in the present. The associated downward pressure on current asset values lowers firm entry, making it harder for workers to find jobs and reducing the supply of goods.

Air Pollution and Firm-Level Human Capital, Knowledge and Innovation

This paper investigates the long-run effects of prolonged air pollution on firmlevel human capital, knowledge and innovation composition. Using a novel firm-level dataset covering almost all industrial firms engaged in science and technology activities in China, and employing a regression discontinuity design, we show that prolonged pollution significantly diminishes both the quantity and the quality of human capital at the firm level.

Superstar Teams: The Micro Origins and Macro Implications of Coworker Complementarities

Modern production frequently involves teamwork among employees specialized in different tasks. I develop a model of teams in which firms assign tasks to workers who are heterogeneous in their overall quality and whose efficiency varies across different tasks. In addition to productivity gains, the division of labor generates coworker complementarities: the marginal productivity of one employee’s quality is increasing in other team members’ quality. This interdependence is stronger when variation in worker-task specific efficiencies is high.

Inequality and Business Cycles

We quantify the connection between inequality and business cycles in a medium-scale New Keynesian model with tractable household heterogeneity, estimated with aggregate and cross-sectional data. We find that inequality substantially amplifies cyclical fluctuations. The primary source of this amplification is cyclical precautionary saving behavior. Savers reduce their consumption to insure themselves against the idiosyncratic risk of large income drops, which rises in recessions.

Beliefs About Maternal Labor Supply

This paper provides representative evidence on the perceived returns to maternal labor supply. We design a novel survey to elicit subjective expectations, and show that a mother’s decision to work is perceived to have sizable impacts on child skills, family outcomes, and the future labor market outcomes of the mother. Examining the channels through which the impacts are perceived to operate, we document that beliefs about the impact of additional household income can account for some, but not all, of the perceived positive effects.

The Impact of Fear of Automation

In this paper, we establish a causal effect of workers’ perceived probability of losing one’s job due to automation on preferences for redistribution and intentions to join a union. In a representative sample of the US workforce, we elicit the perceived fear of losing one’s job to robots or artificial intelligence. We document a strong relationship between fear of automation and intentions to join a union, retrain and switch occupations, preferences for higher taxation, higher government handouts, populist attitudes, and voting intentions.

Subscribe to transmission