Frontiers of economic research

Ejaz Ghani, William Kerr, Stephen D O'Connell, 02 October 2014

Numerous countries have implemented seat reservations for women in politics over the past decades. Starting in the early 1990s, India’s flagship decentralisation reform instituted one-third seat reservations for women in local governance bodies. This column suggests that this political empowerment increased women’s economic empowerment through at least one channel, i.e. small-scale entrepreneurship. These findings suggest that political empowerment policies for women may additionally have beneficial economic effects in the longer-run.

Matias Cortes, Nir Jaimovich, Christopher J. Nekarda, Henry Siu, 02 October 2014

As routine tasks are increasingly automated, middle-wage jobs are becoming rarer. This column documents the changes in labour-market dynamics behind polarisation, and investigates which workers are affected by it. Flows into middle-wage routine jobs are declining (rather than flows out increasing). Interestingly, routine cognitive workers – who tend to be educated women – are benefiting from this hollowing-out by moving up the occupational ladder.

László Andor, 01 October 2014

Negative real interest rates imply redistribution from savers to debtors. This column, by the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, argues that such redistribution would benefit the whole economy. It would strengthen aggregate demand – including investment demand – at a time when such a boost is clearly needed.

Charles F Manski, 01 October 2014

Clinical practice guidelines recommend treating all patients with similar attributes the same way. This column argues that, under conditions of uncertainty or ambiguity, this may be bad advice. Treating similar patients differently provides two benefits. The first is diversification – assigning similar patients to different treatments limits the consequences of choosing an inappropriate treatment. The second benefit is that randomly assigning treatments helps clinicians learn which ones are most effective.

Ryohei Nakamura, 01 October 2014

Many Japanese municipalities found recent population predictions for the next 30 years rather alarming. Unfortunately, most of them do not have an effective solution to the declining population problem. This column discusses different strategies that could ignite innovation and stimulate the growth of the population. Bringing in new business, identifying their comparative advantage, and stimulating community innovation could make municipalities attractive places to settle down.

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