SSRN - CFDP Series

Estimating the Production Function for Human Capital: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Colombia

April 27, 2017 - 12:56pm
Orazio Attanasio, Sarah Cattan, Emla Fitzsimons, Costas Meghir and Marta Rubio-Codina
We examine the channels through which a randomized early childhood intervention in Colombia led to significant gains in cognitive and socio-emotional skills among a sample of disadvantaged children aged 12 to 24 months at baseline. We estimate the determinants of material and time investments in these children and evaluate the impact of the treatment on such investments. We then estimate the production functions for cognitive and socio-emotional skills. The effects of the program can be explained by increases in parental investments, which have strong effects on outcomes and are complementary to both maternal skills and child’s baseline skills.
Categories: Publications

The Incidence of Carbon Taxes in U.S. Manufacturing: Lessons from Energy Cost Pass-Through

April 17, 2017 - 3:24pm
Sharat Ganapati, Joseph S. Shapiro and Reed Walker
This paper studies how changes in energy input costs for U.S. manufacturers affect the relative welfare of manufacturing producers and consumers (i.e. incidence). In doing so, we develop a partial equilibrium methodology to estimate the incidence of input taxes that can simultaneously account for three determinants of incidence that are typically studied in isolation: incomplete pass-through of input costs, differences in industry competitiveness, and factor substitution amongst inputs used for production. We apply this methodology to a set of U.S. manufacturing industries for which we observe plant-level unit prices and input choices. We find that about 70 percent of energy price-driven changes in input costs are passed through to consumers. We combine industry-specific pass-through rates with estimates of industry competitiveness to show that the share of welfare cost borne by consumers is 25-75 percent smaller (and the share borne by producers is correspondingly larger) than models featuring complete pass-through and perfect competition would suggest.
Categories: Publications

Defensive Investments and the Demand for Air Quality: Evidence from the NOx Budget Program

April 9, 2017 - 10:12am
Olivier Deschenes, Michael Greenstone and Joseph S. Shapiro
The demand for air quality depends on health impacts and defensive investments, but little research assesses the empirical importance of defenses. A rich quasi-experiment suggests that the Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) Budget Program (NBP), a cap-and-trade market, decreased NOx emissions, ambient ozone concentrations, pharmaceutical expenditures, and mortality rates. The annual reductions in pharmaceutical purchases, a key defensive investment, and mortality are valued at about $800 million and $1.1 billion, respectively, suggesting that defenses are over one-third of willingness-to-pay for reductions in NOx emissions. Further, estimates indicate that the NBP’s benefits easily exceed its costs and that NOx reductions have substantial benefits.
Categories: Publications