Frontiers of economic research

Stefano DellaVigna, Eliana La Ferrara, 28 July 2015

Every day, we are all exposed to all sorts of emotive and exhilarating media entertainment. But what, if any, are the measurable impacts? Are newspapers and periodicals, for instance, more important than soap operas? This column introduces a survey of the wide-ranging literature from the Handbook of Media Economics, presenting a number of surprising findings.

Hans Fricke, Jeffrey Grogger, Andreas Steinmayr, 23 July 2015

The field that a college student majors in can affect labour market outcomes. But we know little of how exposure affects a student’s choice of major. This column shows that exposure to economics increases the probability to major in economics by 2.6 percentage points. This finding is driven by choices of male students. Exposure to the field then does not explain why relatively few women major in economics.

Eleonora Patacchini, Pierre M. Picard, Yves Zenou, 20 July 2015

Little is known about how social interactions are affected by geographical distance. This column argues that students tend to interact more with those who are highly central in the network of social contacts, and who are geographically closer. Geographical distance is then a hinder to social interactions. 

Jeff Cisyk, Pascal Courty, 15 July 2015

Performance-enhancing drugs have been a controversial issue since competitive sports first began. This column argues that of the three major rationales for regulation – athletes’ health, fairness, and audience losses – the damage to audiences is the most convincing rationale for regulation. Evidence shows that doping causes measurable economic damage. Teams and leagues competing for audience attention may not internalise all externalities associated with doping, and they face a time-inconsistency problem when they discover it.

Marc Ivaldi, 30 June 2015

Economics in Europe has seen impressive growth in recent years. But European economic research still lags behind the US in terms of productivity. This column discusses a new research project, ‘COEURE’, that will study the state of economic research in Europe and the mechanisms by which it is funded.

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