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Reports on Cutting-Edge Research in  Business, Finance & Economics
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Report 232 - July 6, 2011

How Markets React to Election Results

Competing political parties often declare that their economic policies are best, and try to convince voters that the winner will be able to influence the economy. One should ask, however, do markets really care about election outcomes? Are there differences in market reactions to Presidential versus Congressional elections? Can one say which branch of government is more influential for economic policy-making?
Report 231 - March 14, 2011

Does the Internet Help Find Jobs?

The Internet has dramatically increased the amount of information available to both job seekers and employers. Economists and labor market experts have predicted that this would change the way people find jobs. It is now time to compare these predictions with people’s actual behavior. Has the matching between workers and employers become easier? And does the Internet facilitate the transition out of unemployment in the same way as it facilitates the move to a new job by the currently employed?
Report 230 - March 7, 2011

Markets for Political Talent

Career politicians are among society’s most important people, as their job is crucial for ensuring social cohesion and economic prosperity. Yet, they are rarely a generation’s most talented individuals. More often, instead, they are mediocre people. Where does such mediocrity come from? Is the initial recruitment of politicians important for determining the decision to enter this profession?
Report 229 - February 28, 2011

Is Transparency Always Beneficial to Shareholders?

The recent wave of corporate governance reforms has focused on transparency as a key requisite to provide investors with enough information to assess managers’ performance. Regulators also consider transparency effective for avoiding future frauds, like those of Enron or Tyco. But are there costs to transparency, beyond its clear benefits? How should firms and regulators balance such costs and benefits?
Report 228 - February 27, 2011

Does US Visa Policy Affect Visitor Inflows?

The stark change in US immigration policy following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 has resulted in a sizeable decrease of business and tourist arrivals from abroad, which still have to regain pre-9/11 levels. Several foreign governments have complained about the burden of the new visa rules, which has also stirred debate within the United States. But should the reduction in arrivals be attributed to changes in visa policy or other factors?
Report 227 - February 21, 2011

Double Taxation and International M&As

A growing number of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) involves firms from different countries. In these international deals, the locations of the acquiring and target companies determine the extent to which their profits are double taxed. How important is the double taxation of corporate profits for choosing the location of the merged entity? Does the effect of taxation have any sizeable effect on national economies?
Report 226 - February 20, 2011

Reforming the Legal Profession

The market for legal services is crucial for the efficient functioning of any economy. This market is also typically one of the least competitive and most protected, especially in advanced economies. Several reform proposals have been advanced in recent years, with the goal of modernizing the profession and making the legal market more competitive. Would market-oriented reforms of the legal profession be beneficial to lawyers, their clients, and the economy?
Report 225 - February 14, 2011

Why Do So Many Consumers Go Bankrupt?

The number of consumer bankruptcy filings in the United States has increased sharply in the last 30 years, from 1.4 to 8.5 per thousand working-age adults. Where do these dramatic changes come from? Are they explained by the deregulation of the consumer credit market? Do they result from increased information-sharing among lenders made possible by technological progress? Or do more bankruptcies come from the sharp increase in earnings volatility?
Report 224 - February 13, 2011

Environmental Policy Design

Environmental policy has become a major issue in most countries. The public is highly concerned about the long-term effects of global warming, the dangers of nuclear waste disposal, and the consequences of acid rains and of the emission of ozone-depleting gases. Estimating the costs and benefits of alternative policies is very hard: is there a rational policy approach to such challenges?
Report 223 - February 7, 2011

How Small Investors Affect Stock Returns

How important are retail investors for the determination of stock returns? Institutional investors now account for most of the trading in stocks, and many economists expect retail investors to hold little sway in stock price formation. However, it is also reasonable to expect that small investors might have different views on the market which might lead them to influence price. Which view is correct?