Best of #econtwitter - Week of August 28, 2022 [4/4]
Welcome readers old and new to this week’s edition of Best of Econtwitter. Please submit suggestions — very much including your own work! — over email or on Twitter @just_economics.
This is part four of four.
Anthropologists have long argued that kinship represents the oldest and most fundamental of human institutions. Does kinship--the organization of families--impact global economic outcomes in the modern world?
Of course, we only compare populations within the same countries, so national-level characteristics are held constant. The KII is our measure of kinship intensity. Populations with MORE intensive kinship were less light-up at night.
To explore this further, we examined whether kinship intensity could predict what happens at the borders between cultural groups. If the theory is true, when we move from a low kinship intensity group to a high-intensity group, nighttime luminosity should decline. Bingo.
We now flesh out the connection of our contamination bias paper to the new diff-in-diff lit. The two issues flagged by the metrics lit: a) negative weights b) contamination across periods are consequences of broader issues in linear regression! arxiv.org/pdf/2106.05024… 🧵
Economists love using linear regression to estimate treatment effects — it turns out that there are perils to this method, but also amazing perks Come with me in this 🧵 if you want to learn… https://t.co/eDsRLkZFZe
Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham @paulgp
This paper connects two key facts: First, the trend break in deaths of despair starts around 1990 – before OxyContin hit the market in 1996:
And second, that religious attendance decreases over the same time period, for the same groups (middle aged white folks who did not attend college)
But how do we know if these are causally related? We find an exogenous shock of course! This paper focuses on the repeal of Blue laws, which restrict activities like labor and public selling on the Sabbath. A 1961 supreme court ruling lead to repeals of many of these laws.
The results show the repeal of Blue Laws lead to a decline in religiosity, and an increase in deaths of despair. This effect corresponds to about 40% of departure from expected deaths of despair in the mid-1990s. OxyContin likely still played a role, but religiosity did too!
The results are in: moving from a low-cancer area to a high-cancer area (in which marketing Oxy was prioritized by Purdue) leads to an increase in opioid mortality and SNAP claims, and worse infant health.
A "shout it from the mountaintops" thread! "Rising Home Prices Are Mostly from Rising Rents" See the full paper at Mercatus. This is the first of 4 papers coming out soon, so there is much more to come. 1/
Go to conferences. Read the introductions of papers published in the journals you want to publish in. Coauthor with people good at coming up with ideas.
Q for #EconTwitter: “I’m having trouble coming up with a research idea that’s novel. What should I do?”
Todd Jones 🦊 @toddrjones
A valuable thing I learned in college was a sense of how physicists use math, and how not to get distracted by the parts of math not good for modeling. You could get a great education in many things at Caltech, but physics was the center, culturally. 1/