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Measuring Market Expectations
NBER Working Paper,
Asset prices are a valuable source of information about financial market participants' expectations about key macroeconomic variables. However, the presence of time-varying risk premia requires an adjustment of market prices to obtain the market's rational assessment of future price and policy developments. This paper reviews empirical approaches for recovering market-based expectations. It starts by laying out the two canonical modeling frameworks that form the backbone for estimating risk premia and highlights the proliferation of risk pricing factors that result in a wide range of different asset-price-based expectation measures. It then describes a key methodological innovation to evaluate the empirical plausibility of risk premium estimates and to identify the most accurate market-based expectation measure. The usefulness of this general approach is illustrated for price expectations in the global oil market. Then, the paper provides an overview of the body of empirical evidence for monetary policy and inflation expectations with a special emphasis on market-specific characteristics that complicate the quest for the best possible market-based expectation measure. Finally, it discusses a number of economic applications where market expectations play a key role for evaluating economic models, guiding policy analysis, and deriving shock measures.
O Brother, Where Start Thou? Sibling Spillovers on College and Major Choice in Four Countries
Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Family and social networks are widely believed to influence important life decisions, but causal identification of those effects is notoriously challenging. Using data from Chile, Croatia, Sweden, and the United States, we study within-family spillovers in college and major choice across a variety of national contexts. Exploiting college-specific admissions thresholds that directly affect older but not younger siblings’ college options, we show that in all four countries a meaningful portion of younger siblings follow their older sibling to the same college or college-major combination. Older siblings are followed regardless of whether their target and counterfactual options have large, small, or even negative differences in quality. Spillover effects disappear, however, if the older sibling drops out of college, suggesting that older siblings’ college experiences matter. That siblings influence important human capital investment decisions across such varied contexts suggests that our findings are not an artifact of particular institutional detail but a more generalizable description of human behavior. Causal links between the postsecondary paths of close peers may partly explain persistent college enrollment inequalities between social groups, and this suggests that interventions to improve college access may have multiplier effects.