Adapting to flood risk: Evidence from global cities

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of disasters, but the ability to cope varies widely across the globe. This column examines how city death tolls and economic activity are affected by flooding. Richer places with the resources and infrastructure to cope with disasters tend to be more resilient. Compared to cities in low-income countries, those in high-income countries suffered fewer deaths per disaster, adapted over the years to better mitigate the effects of flooding, and recovered faster from economic damage.

Mainstream media and electoral outcomes

Citizens often seem to choose which political party to support by seeking out information based on their party affiliation, rather than based on informed opinion. Along with the explosion in new media in the US, trust in mainstream media has been decreasing, particularly amongst Republicans. This column presents a framework to analyse how beliefs regarding the mainstream media impact individual media choice and thereby influence electoral outcomes. A substantial political advantage accrues to the side with less exposure to or trust in mainstream media.

Yellow vests and carbon taxes

Opposition to a carbon tax was at the root of the gilets jaunes protests in France. Did the protestors think the tax wouldn’t work, or that it wasn’t fair, or that they would personally lose out? Adrien Fabre talks to Tim Phillips about the link between tax and trust in government.

The Russia-Ukraine war, European financial integration, and crises

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine added another one to a series of crises affecting Europe over the last decade and a half. This column finds that fragmentation of euro area financial markets has been relatively limited, as policymakers have benefitted from reforms after and experiences with past crises, European countries and authorities reacted with quite some unity, and direct financial exposures to Russia and Ukraine are relatively small.

River pollution: Combating cross-border externalities

In order to improve the water quality of the downstream stretch of the Xin’an River, in 2011 China implemented the Ecological Compensation Initiative, a pioneering policy establishing side payments between upstream and downstream provinces. This column shows that the initiative mitigates cross-border externalities by sharply reducing water pollutant emissions by upstream firms and also induces firms to relocate to neighbouring cities. The findings highlight the potential for bilateral compensation for ecosystem services to reduce pollution.

Variability in the impacts of COVID-19 on student achievement

There is robust evidence that children lost ground academically as a consequence of the pandemic, but less research into how the effects varied by school district and household demographics. Using test data from 2.1 million students across the US, this column finds that remote instruction was a primary driver of widening achievement gaps by race and poverty. The authors argue that low-income districts that taught remotely in 2020-21 will need to spend nearly all of their federal aid on academic recovery to help students recover from pandemic-related achievement losses.

Neighbourhoods won’t be improved by banning the unemployed

Recently, a range of countries have introduced laws prohibiting disadvantaged individuals from moving into public housing in specific areas, for example because they are unemployed or have too low an income, in an attempt to avoid the formation of ghettos and unwanted spatial disparities in the standards of living. This column studies one such law in the Netherlands and finds that it has not been effective in attracting households with higher income levels to targeted neighbourhoods.


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