Econometrica May 2019 is now online

Volume 87, Issue 3 (May 2019) has just been published. 

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Frontmatter of Econometrica Vol. 87 Iss. 3

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A Distributional Framework for Matched Employer Employee Data
Stéphane Bonhomme, Thibaut Lamadon, Elena Manresa

We propose a framework to identify and estimate earnings distributions and worker composition on matched panel data, allowing for two‐sided worker‐firm unobserved heterogeneity and complementarities in earnings. We introduce two models: a static model that allows for nonlinear interactions between workers and firms, and a dynamic model that allows, in addition, for Markovian earnings dynamics and endogenous mobility. We show that this framework nests a number of structural models of wages and worker mobility. We establish identification in short panels, and develop tractable two‐step estimators where firms are classified in a first step. Applying our method to Swedish administrative data, we find that log‐earnings are approximately additive in worker and firm heterogeneity. Our estimates imply the presence of strong sorting patterns between workers and firms, and a small contribution of firms—net of worker composition—to earnings dispersion. In addition, we document that wages have a direct effect on mobility, and that, beyond their dependence on the current firm, earnings after a job move also depend on the previous employer.
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Trade and Labor Market Dynamics: General Equilibrium Analysis of the China Trade Shock
Lorenzo Caliendo, Maximiliano Dvorkin, Fernando Parro

We develop a dynamic trade model with spatially distinct labor markets facing varying exposure to international trade. The model captures the role of labor mobility frictions, goods mobility frictions, geographic factors, and input‐output linkages in determining equilibrium allocations. We show how to solve the equilibrium of the model and take the model to the data without assuming that the economy is at a steady state and without estimating productivities, migration frictions, or trade costs, which can be difficult to identify. We calibrate the model to 22 sectors, 38 countries, and 50 U.S. states. We study how the rise in China's trade for the period 2000 to 2007 impacted U.S. households across more than a thousand U.S. labor markets distinguished by sector and state. We find that the China trade shock resulted in a reduction of about 0.55 million U.S. manufacturing jobs, about 16% of the observed decline in manufacturing employment from 2000 to 2007. The U.S. gains in the aggregate, but due to trade and migration frictions, the welfare and employment effects vary across U.S. labor markets. Estimated transition costs to the new long‐run equilibrium are also heterogeneous and reflect the importance of accounting for labor dynamics.
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The Probability to Reach an Agreement as a Foundation for Axiomatic Bargaining
Lorenzo Bastianello, Marco LiCalzi

We revisit the Nash bargaining model and axiomatize a procedural solution that maximizes the probability of successful bargaining. Our characterization spans several known solution concepts, including the special cases of the Nash, egalitarian, and utilitarian solutions. Using a probability‐based language, we offer a natural interpretation for the product operator underlying the Nash solution: when the bargainers' individual acceptance probabilities are independent, their product recovers the joint acceptance probability.
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Understanding Preferences: “Demand Types”, and the Existence of Equilibrium with Indivisibilities
Elizabeth Baldwin, Paul Klemperer

An Equivalence Theorem between geometric structures and utility functions allows new methods for understanding preferences. Our classification of valuations into “Demand Types” incorporates existing definitions (substitutes, complements, “strong substitutes,” etc.) and permits new ones. Our Unimodularity Theorem generalizes previous results about when competitive equilibrium exists for any set of agents whose valuations are all of a “demand type.” Contrary to popular belief, equilibrium is guaranteed for more classes of purely‐complements than of purely‐substitutes, preferences. Our Intersection Count Theorem checks equilibrium existence for combinations of agents with specific valuations by counting the intersection points of geometric objects. Applications include matching and coalition‐formation, and the “Product‐Mix Auction” introduced by the Bank of England in response to the financial crisis.
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Coalitional Expected Multi-Utility Theory
Kazuhiro Hara, Efe A. Ok, Gil Riella

This paper begins by observing that any reflexive binary (preference) relation (over risky prospects) that satisfies the independence axiom admits a form of expected utility representation. We refer to this representation notion as the coalitional minmax expected utility representation. By adding the remaining properties of the expected utility theorem, namely, continuity, completeness, and transitivity, one by one, we find how this representation gets sharper and sharper, thereby deducing the versions of this classical theorem in which any combination of these properties is dropped from its statement. This approach also allows us to weaken transitivity in this theorem, rather than eliminate it entirely, say, to quasitransitivity or acyclicity. Apart from providing a unified dissection of the expected utility theorem, these results are relevant for the growing literature on boundedly rational choice in which revealed preference relations often lack the properties of completeness and/or transitivity (but often satisfy the independence axiom). They are also especially suitable for the (yet overlooked) case in which the decision‐maker is made up of distinct individuals and, consequently, transitivity is routinely violated. Finally, and perhaps more importantly, we show that our representation theorems allow us to answer many economic questions that are posed in terms of nontransitive/incomplete preferences, say, about the maximization of preferences, the existence of Nash equilibrium, the preference for portfolio diversification, and the possibility of the preference reversal phenomenon.
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Old, frail, and uninsured: Accounting for features of the U.S. long-term care insurance market
R. Anton Braun, Karen A. Kopecky, Tatyana Koreshkova

Half of U.S. 50‐year‐olds will experience a nursing home stay before they die, and one in ten will incur out‐of‐pocket long‐term care expenses in excess of $200,000. Surprisingly, only about 10% of individuals over age 62 have private long‐term care insurance (LTCI) and LTCI takeup rates are low at all wealth levels. We analyze the contributions of Medicaid, administrative costs, and asymmetric information about nursing home entry risk to low LTCI takeup rates in a quantitative equilibrium contracting model. As in practice, the insurer in the model assigns individuals to risk groups based on noisy indicators of their nursing home entry risk. All individuals in frail and/or low‐income risk groups are denied coverage because the cost of insuring any individual in these groups exceeds that individual's willingness‐to‐pay. Individuals in insurable risk groups are offered a menu of contracts whose terms vary across risk groups. We find that Medicaid accounts for low LTCI takeup rates of poorer individuals. However, administrative costs and adverse selection are responsible for low takeup rates of the rich. The model reproduces other empirical features of the LTCI market including the fact that owners of LTCI have about the same nursing home entry rates as non‐owners.
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Identification with Additively Separable Heterogeneity
Roy Allen, John Rehbeck

This paper provides nonparametric identification results for a class of latent utility models with additively separable unobservable heterogeneity. These results apply to existing models of discrete choice, bundles, decisions under uncertainty, and matching. Under an independence assumption, such models admit a representative agent. As a result, we can identify how regressors alter the desirability of goods using only average demands. Moreover, average indirect utility (“welfare”) is identified without needing to specify or identify the distribution of unobservable heterogeneity.
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Power in High-Dimensional Testing Problems
Anders Bredahl Kock, David Preinerstorfer

Fan, Liao, and Yao (2015) recently introduced a remarkable method for increasing the asymptotic power of tests in high‐dimensional testing problems. If applicable to a given test, their power enhancement principle leads to an improved test that has the same asymptotic size, has uniformly non‐inferior asymptotic power, and is consistent against a strictly broader range of alternatives than the initially given test. We study under which conditions this method can be applied and show the following: In asymptotic regimes where the dimensionality of the parameter space is fixed as sample size increases, there often exist tests that cannot be further improved with the power enhancement principle. However, when the dimensionality of the parameter space increases sufficiently slowly with sample size and a marginal local asymptotic normality (LAN) condition is satisfied, every test with asymptotic size smaller than 1 can be improved with the power enhancement principle. While the marginal LAN condition alone does not allow one to extend the latter statement to all rates at which the dimensionality increases with sample size, we give sufficient conditions under which this is the case.
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Forthcoming Papers

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2018 Election of Fellows to the Econometric Society

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Backmatter of Econometrica Vol. 87 Iss. 3

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Publication Date: 
Thursday, May 30, 2019