Look for the next GCER Newsletter in June. Past Newsletters can be found here.
News Archive - Page 7
May 16, 2015
Jason Albert, winner of the eighteenth annual Razin Prize, is shown being congratulated by George Akerlof, who delivered the Razin Policy Lecture on April 27, 2015. Jason received the prize for his dissertation paper titled "Strategic Dynamics of Antibiotic Use and the Evolution of Antibiotic-Resistant Infections".
The Razin Prize was established by the Razin family in 1997 to honor the memory of Ofair Razin (1966 - 1996; PhD, Georgetown University, 1996). The prize is accompanied by the Razin Lecture on economic policy by a distinguished economist.
May 14, 2015
Featured Research Profile: Spring/Summer 2015
Leaning in,... sort of: Georgetown economist Mary Ann Bronson explores reasons why men and women make different post-secondary educational investments.
Women's rise in college graduation rates in the last 40 years is spectacular by historical standards. For much of the twentieth century, rates of college enrollment for women were much lower than those for men. Starting in the 1970s, the differences in enrollment rates declined rapidly, to the extent that enrollment differentials were reversed: women now make up around 57% of graduating college students in the U.S. Around the same time, U.S. women began converging with men along another dimension of educational investment: the choice of college major. In contrast to graduation rates, however, gender convergence in choice of major virtually ceased after the early 1980s. In 1985, women were awarded nearly 80% of education degrees and about 85% of degrees in nursing and health support fields, but less than 30% of hard science and engineering fields. The same is still true today.
The question of why women graduate from college at much higher rates than men, but with very different (and far lower-paying) majors has important implications for both individual and aggregate outcomesin the labor market. In her study, "Degrees are Forever: Marriage, Educational Investment, and Lifecycle Labor Decisions of Men and Women," GCER Fellow Mary Ann Bronson shows that two facts help explain these observed gender differences in educational choices. First, a college degree provides insurance against very low income for women, especially after divorce or household separation. Low-educated women not only draw from a substantially lower wage distribution than men, but are also more likely to have custody and financial responsibility for children. A college degree, regardless of major, allows access to higher paid jobs, providing insurance for women outside a two-earner household. Bronson estimates that the insurance value of a college degree in case of household dissolution is equivalent to about 31% of the overall return to college for women.
Secondly, Bronson shows that college majors differ substantially in the degree of 'work-family flexibility' they offer. Wage penalties for working part time or taking time out of the labor force are up to four times higher in science/business fields, as compared to other fields such as education, nursing, or the humanities. Because college women reduce their labor supply substantially during their prime child-bearing years - at age 35, only around 60% of college-educated women work full-time, compared to around 90% of college-educated men. Such flexibility appears to be particularly important for women. The data indicates that women tend to choose more flexible majors than men and are more likely to utilize the flexibility associated with these majors.
Based on these patterns, Bronson develops and estimates a structural model that simulates men's and women's lifetime choices concerning education, labor supply, marriage, and divorce. Bronson then uses the model to simulate the effects of different work-family flexibility policies on these choices. The results show that the most effective policies for increasing women's participation in business and STEM fields are non-discriminatory part-time work policies, in which employees with children below a certain age are entitled to work part-time. Policies that provide this kind of benefit to employees with children have been passed in a number of countries, including Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. Bronson finds that such policies could increase the share of women choosing a science/business major from 34% to 45%.
On the other hand, Bronson finds that policies such as subsidized child care have relatively little effect, while extended maternity leaves (of more than one year) can in fact reduce the share of women choosing a science or business major, by significantly reducing the amount of experience women accumulate over the lifecycle. Because returns to experience are much higher in science/business fields, policies that allow women to remain in the workforce at temporarily reduced hours are much more effective at shifting women towards science and business fields than extended leave policies.
May 8, 2015
For the fourth straight year, The Economic Club of Washington presents its prestigious Vernon E. Jordan Jr Fellowship Award to a GU Economics PhD student. This year's recipients are Caitlin Brown and Andrew Whitten. Caitlin and Andrew are the fifth and sixth GU students to receive the award, joining past recipients Jacob Mortenson, Alison Weingarten, Claire Brunel, and Mauricio Villamizar. As this year's winners, Caitlin and Andrew were presented with their awards by The Economic Club of Washington in the Spring of 2015.
Mar 29, 2015
George Akerlof, University Professor and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 will deliver the 2015 Razin Policy Lecture on April 27. The Lecture, entitled "Phishing for Phools," will take place on Monday, April 27, 2015 from 3:30 to 5:00 in the McShain Large Lounge on the GU campus. A reception will follow.
Professor Akerlof is a renowned economist whose innovative work on markets with asymmetric information explains why such markets often break down. This work, culminating in his famous paper, “The Market for ‘Lemons'” earned Professor Akerlof the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, a prize he shared with Michael Spence.
The Razin Lecture is accompanied by the awarding of the Razin Prize for best research paper by an advanced graduate student. This year's recipient, Jason Albert, will receive the award for his dissertation paper titled "Strategic Dynamics of Antibiotic Use and the Evolution of Antibiotic-Resistant Infections". The event was established by the Razin family in 1997 to honor the memory of Ofair Razin (1966 - 1996; PhD, Georgetown University, 1996). More on the background and history of the Razin Prize and Policy Lecture can be found here.
Mar 29, 2015
New research by GCER Fellow Laurent Bouton on voting abstention was recently published in the March 2015 issue of VOX. The article features new research by Bouton and his co-authors Aniol Llorente-Saguer and Frédéric Malherbe on the role of "constructive abstention rules," i.e., rules that treat abstentions as "no" votes if they are sufficient in number.
As distinct from the silent consent of traditional abstention rules, Bouton et. al. show that constructive abstention effectively combines the information aggregation aspects of majority rule while still allowing for veto power. The full VOX article can be found here.