Friday, August 12, 2016

Working Papers of the Week: August 12, 2016

By Jessica McCann

Welcome to Working Papers of the Week! Our goal is to highlight the valuable and interesting research Kennedy School faculty members are doing here and abroad by featuring new working papers recently uploaded to the site.

We've had a number of summer 2016 working papers posted to our site this week. See the abstracts and links to the full texts below.

Confronting Deep and Persistent Climate Uncertainty
Wagner, Gernot, and Richard J. Zeckhauser, August 2016

Abstract: Deep-seated, persistent uncertainty is a pernicious feature of climate change. One key parameter, equilibrium climate sensitivity, has eluded almost all attempts at pinning it down more precisely than a ‘likely’ range that has stalled at 1.5–4.5°C for over thirty-five years. The marginal damages due to temperature increase rise rapidly. Thus, uncertainty in climate sensitivity significantly raises the expected costs of climate change above what they would be if the temperature increases were known to be close to a mean value 3.0°C. The costs of this uncertainty are compounded given that the distribution of possible temperature changes is strongly skewed toward higher values.

Read the full working paper here.

The Causes of Peer Effects in Production: Evidence from a Series of Field Experiments

Horton, John J., and Richard J. Zeckhauser, June 2016 

Abstract: Workers respond to the output choices of their peers. What explains this well documented phenomenon of peer effects? Do workers value equity, fear punishment from equity-minded peers, or does output from peers teach them about employers’ expectations? We test these alternative explanations in a series of field experiments. We find clear evidence of peer effects, as have others. Workers raise their own output when exposed to high-output peers. They also punish low-output peers, even when that low output has no effect on them. They may be embracing and enforcing the employer’s expectations. (Exposure to employer-provided work samples influences output much the same as exposure to peer-provided work.) However, even when employer expectations are clearly stated, workers increase output beyond those expectations when exposed to workers producing above expectations. Overall, the evidence is strongly consistent with the notion that peer effects are mediated by workers’ sense of fairness related to relative effort.

Read the full working paper here.

Classifying Exchange Rate Regimes: 15 Years Later

Levy Yeyati, Eduardo, and Federico Sturzenegger, June 2016

Abstract: Levy Yeyati and Sturzenegger (2001, 2003, 2005) proposed an exchange rate regime classification based on cluster analysis to group countries according to the relative volatility of exchange rates and reserves, thereby shifting the focus from a de jure to de facto approach in the empirical analysis of exchange rate policy. This note extends the classification through 2014 and broadens the country sample, increasing the number of classified country-year observations from 3335 to 5616. Based on this extension, the note documents the main stylized facts in the 2000s, including the behavior of exchange rate policy around the global financial crisis, and the prevalence of floating regimes.

Read the full working paper here.

Globalization and Chinese Growth: Ends of Trends?
Frankel, Jeffrey A., July 2016

Abstract: Two big questions look somewhat different than they did 10 or 20 years ago. First: would the long-term trend of globalization continue? Contrary to all predictions, trade growth has slowed markedly since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09. But the feared increase in protectionism did not materialize, so one must look elsewhere for explanations. Two likely factors behind the slowdown in trade are a maturing of global supply chains and a slowdown in trade-intensive physical investment. Second, would the rapid growth of emerging market economies (EMEs) continue, and which ones? Most EMEs recovered strongly in 2010-11, but now seem to be slowing down in a more long-lasting way. For both these issues the role of China is crucial, since it now carries so much weight in the global economy. Breathless reports in 2014 that the Chinese economy had overtaken the US economy as the world’s largest (measured by Purchasing Power Parity) were followed rapidly in 2015 by breathless reports that its economy was failing. That China has slowed down from past growth rates of 10% to a more moderate rate of 7% or lower should not have come as a surprise. It is part of a natural process of long-term convergence and involves a “rebalancing” of the economy from manufacturing into services that is desirable, even if it means a loss of export markets for some others. The open question is whether the Chinese transition to a more moderate and sustainable growth path will take the form of a hard landing or a soft landing.

Read the full working paper here.

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