Book Review for The Bank Did It: An Anatomy of the Financial Crisis, by Neil Fligstein
The financial crisis of 2007–2008 was the most serious since the Great Depression and severely impacted the global economy. Yet more than 10 years after the crisis, we still lack clear understanding of its cause. Accounts point to some elements of fact but tend to be fragmented and sometimes contradictory. More than ever, we need an account that can put the puzzle pieces together and help us understand how to prevent a crisis like this from happening again.
Fiscal Rules and Discretion under Limited Enforcement
We study a fiscal policy model in which the government is present-biased towards public spending. Society chooses a fiscal rule to trade off the benefit of committing the government to not overspend against the benefit of granting it flexibility to react to privately observed shocks to the value of spending. Unlike prior work, we examine rules under limited enforcement: the government has full policy discretion and can only be incentivized to comply with a rule via the use of penalties which are joint and bounded. We show that optimal incentives must be bang-bang.
What Does ESG Need to Work?
High returns for investors. Our author argues that a different approach to ESG can strike a better balance between environmental and social goals and profits.
Formalizing the Informal: Adopting a Formal Culture-fit Measurement System in the Employee Selection Process
Many organizations rely on formal management control systems that align employee values with organizational values (i.e., culture-fit) to shape organizational culture. Using proprietary data from a highly-decentralized organization, I examine the employee performance consequences of adopting a formal culture-fit measurement system in employee selection. I exploit the staggered feature of the adoption of the system, and find that employees selected with the system perform significantly better than those without the system.
Does ESG Negative Screening Work?
We revisit the firm value and pricing implications of the negative screening of sin stocks. Unlike prior work, we find that institutional ownership and valuations related to sin stocks are not different from those of other stocks after controlling for differences in fundamentals between sin and non-sin stocks. Sin stocks do not differ in the likelihood of exiting the public market, the cost of raising new equity, and in the announcement returns around negative ESG news relative to non-sin stocks, casting further doubt on whether negative screening hurts sin stocks.
Utilizing Partial Flexibility to Improve Emergency Department Flow: Theory and Implementation
Emergency Departments (EDs) typically have multiple areas where patients of different acuity levels receive treatments. In practice, different areas often operate with fixed nurse staffing levels. When there are substantial imbalances in congestion among different areas, it could be beneficial to deviate from the original assignment and reassign nurses. However, reassignments typically are only feasible at the beginning of 8-12-hour shifts, providing partial flexibility in adjusting staffing levels.
Aggregate Lapsation Risk
An Accounting-based Asset Pricing Model and a Fundamental Factor
This paper recasts the consumption asset pricing model in terms of observable accounting outcomes by recognizing accounting principles that connect those outcomes to consumption and the risk to consumption. The model prompts the construction of a pricing factor from observed accounting information. The factor performs well relative to extant factors in explaining cross-sectional returns. Further, it delivers out-of-sample expected returns that forecast the actual returns and the forward betas that investors actually experience.
Issues Revisited from Rumelt’s (1974) “Diversification, Strategy & Performance”
Performance expectations are revisited pertaining to particular corporate strategies that were highlighted by Rumelt (1974). In particular, suggestions regarding expectations about conglomerate enterprises, vertical integration, and mature- or declining-demand businesses are offered in light of additional information about research findings and observed industry phenomena that are at odds with information available when Rumelt's (1974) study of diversification was performed.
Does Growing up in Hard Economic Times Increase Compassion? The Case of Attitudes towards Immigration
Recent evidence shows that people who grew up in economic hard times more strongly favor government redistribution and are more compassionate towards the poor. We investigate how inclusive this increase in compassion is by studying how macroeconomic conditions experienced during young adulthood affect immigration attitudes. Using US and global data, we show that experiencing bad macroeconomic circumstances strengthen anti-immigration attitudes for life. Moreover, we find that people become generally more outgroup hostile.
The End of Tourist Traps: A Natural Experiment on the Impact of Tripadvisor on Quality Upgrading
Asymmetric information can distort market outcomes. I study how the online disclosure of information affects consumers’ behavior and firms’ incentives to upgrade product quality in markets where information is traditionally limited. I first build a model of consumer search with firms’ endogenous quality decisions. In this model, lower search costs reallocate demand toward higher-quality producers, raising firms’ incentives to upgrade quality, and more so for firms selling ex-ante lower-quality products.