Judging under public pressure

In many settings, independent decision makers employed to make determinations in disputes or contests between parties can be subject to public pressure  This column examines the extent to which crowd pressure affects referees’ decisions in Germany’s top football division, exploiting the introduction of video technology as well as the absence of crowds during the Covic-19 pandemic. It finds no evidence of bias in awarding goals or penalties, but a tendency for bias towards the home team when deciding whether or not to issue a yellow card, which disappears in the absence of a crowd. 

Natural experimenters: Nobel laureates David Card, Joshua Angrist, and Guido Imbens

The 2021 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences has been awarded to David Card of the University of California, Berkeley, “for his empirical contributions to labour economics”, and to Joshua Angrist of MIT and Guido Imbens of Stanford University “for their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships”. This column explains how the use of natural experiments in empirical economics has ushered in much progress in the analysis of causal relationships.

Inequality is an urban affair, and it’s due to new tech

The adoption of information technology can cause polarisation in the labour market via the displacement of routine cognitive jobs. This column uses data on over 200,000 firms in the US from 1990 to 2015 to show that the labour savings from IT are largest in big cities and metropolitan areas, where wages are higher, so urban firms have the biggest incentives to invest in these technologies. This in turn leads to the polarisation of occupations across geography and accounts for the rise in wage inequality within cities.

FEDS 2021-066: Bill of Lading Data in International Trade Research with an Application to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Aaron Flaaen, Flora Haberkorn, Logan Lewis, Anderson Monken, Justin Pierce, Rosemary Rhodes, and Madeleine Yi | We evaluate high-frequency bill of lading data for its suitability in international trade research. These data offer many advantages over both other publicly accessible official trade data and confidential datasets, but they also have clear drawbacks.


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