Let’s stop poisoning ourselves

A horrifying working paper looks at the impact of traffic pollution on students in schools downwind of a major US highway: We find that attending school where prevailing winds place it downwind of a nearby highway more than 60% of the time is associated with 0.040 of a standard deviation lower test scores, a 4.1 […]

Working with diverse teams

The notion that diverse teams come up with more creative solutions (or at least ones that better reflect a diverse audience/customer base) seems to be pretty widespread. But how does it work in practice? Some interesting research out of America suggests that “political correctness” may be necessary to make it work: Our research shows that […]

Gender inequality and linguistic determinism

Our preferred specification suggests that grammatical gender is associated with a 12 percentage point reduction in women’s labor force participation and an almost 15 percentage point increase in the gender gap in labor force participation. These associations are robust to the inclusion of a wide range of geo-graphic controls (including suitability for the plough) that […]

How should we frame foreign aid?

I’ve always been inclined to frame foreign aid in purely self interest terms – helping others makes us all safer, preventing disease etc. But if we want our governments to increase foreign aid is that the best argument? Terence Wood and Chris Hoy from the Australian National University have done an interesting study on precisely […]

Oligopoly harms housing affordability

Interesting paper from Jacob Cosman and Luis Quintero that finds the concentration of house builders has a significant impact on construction, and therefore availability and prices. The research is from the US. But it is particularly concerning in Australia, where builders appear to be dropping like flies in the face of the downturn and investor […]


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