Friday, September 2, 2022

China after half a century: Individuals whose grandparents belonged to the pre-revolution elite earn 16 pct more income and have completed more than 11 pct additional years of schooling than those from non-elite households

Persistence Despite Revolutions. Alberto F. Alesina, Marlon Seror, David Y. Yang, Yang You & Weihong Zeng. NBER Working Paper 27053. Mar 2021. DOI 10.3386/w27053

Abstract: Can efforts to eradicate inequality in wealth and education eliminate intergenerational persistence of socioeconomic status? The Chinese Communist Revolution and Cultural Revolution aimed to do exactly that. Using newly digitized archival records and contemporary census and household survey data, we show that the revolutions were effective in homogenizing the population economically in the short run. However, the pattern of inequality that characterized the pre-revolution generation re-emerges today. Almost half a century after the revolutions, individuals whose grandparents belonged to the pre-revolution elite earn 16 percent more income and have completed more than 11 percent additional years of schooling than those from non-elite households. We find evidence that human capital (such as knowledge, skills, and values) has been transmitted within the families, and the social capital embodied in kinship networks has survived the revolutions. These channels allow the pre-revolution elite to rebound after the revolutions, and their socioeconomic status persists despite one of the most aggressive attempts to eliminate differences in the population.

The Economist The grandchildren of China’s pre-revolutionary elite are unusually rich:

Selection through violence targeting the pre-revolution elite

One may speculate that the pattern of persistence among the pre-revolution elite is driven by selective violence against the elite during the Communist and Cultural Revolutions. If killing and violence were more intense in historically less unequal places and more successful among individuals with fewer resources and a lower capacity to resist, or among those unable to ensure that their descendants perform well, then such a selection could generate a pattern of persistence and upwardly bias the estimates on intergenerational persistence.

We examine the relationship between pre-revolution local inequality (such as the landlord share of the population or land ownership Gini coefficients) and the intensity of violence (both cases of killings and cases of persecutions) reported in the corresponding counties.26 We find that violence was not associated with regional inequality prior to the revolutions: this is the case for the violence both during the Communist Revolution (see Appendix Table A.11), and during the Cultural Revolution (see Appendix Table A.12). More importantly, the systematic killing of landlords and rich peasants was limited in scale as most of the pre-revolution elite survived the revolutions. The observed overall level of violence, albeit not zero, was too low to drive the persistence pattern that we document.

6 Conclusion

This paper investigates the extent to which efforts to eradicate inequality in wealth and education can shut off intergenerational persistence of socioeconomic status. We find that the Communist and Cultural Revolutions in China — among the most radical social transformations in recent human history — prevented the elite from transmitting to their children physical capital and human capital acquired from formal schooling. Nonetheless, the grandchildren of the pre-revolution elite, growing up after the revolution ended, systematically bounce back and earn substantially higher income than their peers. We show that two channels — the transmission of human capital through families, and the survival of social capital manifested in kinship-based networks — contribute to the pre-revolution elite’s persistence despite the revolutions. These channels, both centered around families, have been extraordinarily resilient despite such broad and deep institutional and political changes as the Chinese revolutions brought about. Thus, these channels may be largely and generally immune to policy interventions that aim to level the playing field, making them powerful sources of persistence across generations. One may only speculate that had the Chinese revolutions involved mass killing of the elites themselves, lasted for more than one generation, or directly targeted transmission within the family sphere, the younger generation would be prevented from co-residing or exchanging with those who grew up prior to the revolutions. As a result, human capital transmission within families as well as family-based social capital among the elite may become severely undermined. Since policies targeting intergenerational mobility as extreme as the Chinese revolutions — let alone those more extreme — are exceptionally rare, intergenerational persistence would likely endure.

The % of blacks who believe “racial discrimination is the main reason why many blacks can’t get ahead today” more than doubled from 30% in 2012 to 68% in 2021 while the % who believe “blacks who can’t get ahead are responsible for their own condition” dropped from 54% to 25%

Black Americans Have a Clear Vision for Reducing Racism but Little Hope It Will Happen. Many say key U.S. institutions should be rebuilt to ensure fair treatment. Pew Research Center, Aug 30, 2022.

According to the new survey, Black Democrats (73%) are far more likely than Black Republicans (44%) to say racial discrimination is the main reason Black people in the U.S. can’t get ahead. Notably, Black Republicans (45%) are more likely than most other demographic subgroups to say Black people who can’t get ahead in the U.S. are mostly responsible for their own condition. Just 21% of Black Democrats hold the same view.

Roughly three-quarters (76%) of Black liberals say racial discrimination is the main reason Black people can’t get ahead, compared with 69% of Black moderates and 56% of Black conservatives. While nearly four-in-ten Black conservatives (39%) say Black people who can’t get ahead are mostly responsible for their own condition, smaller shares of Black moderates (25%) and Black liberals (17%) say the same.

About seven-in-ten Black registered voters (71%) say discrimination is the primary obstacle for Black people in the U.S., while roughly two-in-ten (23%) say Black people who can’t get ahead are mostly responsible for their own condition. Black adults who are not registered to vote are similarly divided on this measure, with roughly six-in-ten (62%) saying discrimination is the main  reason Black people can’t get ahead and about three-in-ten (29%) saying those who can’t get ahead are responsible for their own condition.

Black women are more likely (72%) than Black men (63%) to cite racial discrimination as the primary obstacle to getting ahead. Meanwhile, Black men (29%) are more likely than Black women (22%) to say Black people who can’t get ahead are mostly responsible for their own condition.

When it comes to education, about six-in-ten (62%) Black adults with a high school education or less say racial discrimination is the main reason many Black people can’t get ahead. By comparison, 71% of those with some college but no bachelor’s degree and 74% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree say the same. Likewise, Black adults with middle and upper incomes (71% and 74%, respectively) are more likely than Black adults with lower incomes (66%) to point to racial discrimination as the main reason many Black people can’t get ahead these days.


From The Missing Data Depot: The % of blacks who believe “racial discrimination is the main reason why many blacks can’t get ahead today” more than doubled from 30% in 2012 to 68% in 2021 while the % who believe “blacks who can’t get ahead are responsible for their own condition” dropped from 54% to 25%.

Adolescents in Nine European Countries: The Role of Individual Factors and Social Characteristics in Feelings after Exposure to Sexually Explicit Materials — Exposure may not be as distressing to youth as prevalent risk-focused narratives have suggested

Exposure to Sexually Explicit Materials and Feelings after Exposure among Adolescents in Nine European Countries: The Role of Individual Factors and Social Characteristics. Michaela Lebedíková, Vojtěch Mýlek, Kaveri Subrahmanyam & David Šmahel. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Aug 29 2022.

Abstract: Research on adolescents’ sexual exposure has mostly focused on negcative outcomes using a risk-based lens, and there is little work on the factors that may predict exposure, as well as youths’ emotional responses to sexual content. Using a cross-national sample, the present study examined the associations of individual (sensation seeking and emotional problems) and social characteristics (the quality of family environment, including active and restrictive parental mediation) with adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit materials and their feelings after exposure. The survey included 8,820 11- to 16-year-olds (Mage = 13.36 years, SD = 1.62, 48.0% male) from nine European countries (Czech Republic, Finland, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland). The results revealed that although there were differences in the prevalence of youths’ sexual exposure by country, there were also similarities in the characteristics underlying exposure and subsequent feelings across different country contexts. No significant relationship was found between active parental mediation and exposure in most countries, and the findings regarding restrictive parental mediation were mixed. Although the majority of the participants reported neutral feelings, there were gender differences in feeling happy and upset after exposure. Overall, the results suggest that exposure may not be as distressing to youth as prevalent risk-focused narratives have suggested.

Economics of Ideas, Science and Innovation Syllabus (PhD course) — Readings

Economics of Ideas, Science and Innovation Syllabus (PhD course). Aug 2022.


Class 1 Course Overview and Macroeconomic Foundations

Arrow, Kenneth. 1962. “Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention.” In The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pp. 609-625. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Jones, Charles I. 2001. Chapter 4 and 5, pp. 78-86 and 96-122 in Introduction to Economic Growth. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Jones, Benjamin F. and Lawrence H. Summers. 2021. “A Calculation of the Social Returns to Innovation.” In Innovation and Public Policy, University of Chicago Press.

Bloom, Nicholas, Mark Schankerman, and John Van Reenen. 2013. “Identifying Technology Spillovers and Product Market Rivalry.” Econometrica 81(4): 1347-1393.

Jones, Benjamin F. 2009. “The Burden of Knowledge and the ‛Death of the Renaissance Man’: Is Innovation Getting Harder?” Review of Economic Studies 76(1): 283-317.

Class 2 Open Science as an Economic Institution

Aghion, Philippe, Mathias Dewatripont, and Jeremy C. Stein. 2008. “Academic Freedom, Private Sector Focus, and the Process of Innovation.” RAND Journal of Economics 39(3): 617-635.

Ahmadpoor, Mohammad, and Benjamin F. Jones. 2017. “The Dual Frontier: Patented Inventions and Prior Scientific Advance.” Science 357(6531): 583-587.

Azoulay, Pierre, Christian Fons-Rosen, and Joshua S. Graff Zivin. 2019. “Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?” American Economic Review 109(8): 2889-2920.

Dasgupta, Partha, and Paul David. 1994. “Towards a New Economics of Science.” Research Policy 23(5): 487-521.

Myers, Kyle. 2020. “The Elasticity of Science.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 12(4): 103-134.

Class 3 Innovation Policies, including the US Patent System

Bloom, Nicholas, John Van Reenen and Heidi Williams. 2019. “A Toolkit of Policies to promote Innovation” Journal of Economic Perspectives 33(3) 163–184

Budish, Eric, Benjamin Roin, and Heidi Williams. 2015. “Do firms underinvest in long-term research? Evidence from cancer clinical trials,” American Economic Review 105(7): 2044-2085.

Galasso, Alberto and Mark Schankerman. 2015. “Patents and Cumulative Innovation: Causal Evidence from the Courts,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 130(1): 317–69.

Gallini, Nancy and Suzanne Scotchmer. 2001. “Intellectual Property: When is it the Best Incentive System?” Innovation Policy and the Economy Volume 2, Adam Jaffe, Josh Lerner and Scott Stern, (editors), Cambridge Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Lisa L. Ouellette. 2012. “Do Patents Disclose Useful Information?” Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 25(2): 531-593.

Class 4 Contracting and Control Rights for Innovation

Aghion, Philippe, and Jean Tirole. 1994. “The Management of Innovation.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 109(4): 1185-1209.

Azoulay, Pierre, Joshua Graff Zivin, and Gustavo Manso. 2011. “Incentives and Creativity: Evidence from the Academic Life Sciences.” RAND Journal of Economics 42(3): 527-554.

Lerner, Joshua, and Ulrike Malmendier. 2010. “Contractibility and the Design of Research Agreements.” American Economic Review 100(1): 214-246.

Manso, Gustavo. 2011. “Motivating Innovation.” Journal of Finance 66(5): 1823-1860

Class 5 Labor Markets and the Supply of Innovators

Bell, Alexander M., Raj Chetty, Xavier Jaravel, Neviana Petkova, and John Van Reenen. 2019. “Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 134(2): 647-713.

Biasi, Barbara, David J. Deming, and Petra Moser. 2021. “Education and Innovation.” NBER Working Paper #28544.

Doran, K., Gelber, A. and Isen, A., 2022. The effects of high-skilled immigration policy on firms: Evidence from visa lotteries. Journal of Political Economy.

Marx, Matt, Deborah Strumsky, and Lee Fleming. 2009. “Mobility, Skills, and the Michigan Non-Compete Experiment.” Management Science 55 (6): 875–889.

Waldinger, Fabian, 2016. “Bombs, Brains, and Science: The Role of Human and Physical Capital for the Production of Scientific Knowledge,” The Review of Economics and Statistics, vol. 98, no. 5, pp. 811-831, 2016.

Decades of research suggest a correlation between belief in a dangerous world and political conservatism, but new research thinks this is wrong

Belief in a Dangerous World Does Not Explain Substantial Variance in Political Attitudes, But Other World Beliefs Do. Jeremy D. W. Clifton, Nicholas Kerry. Social Psychological and Personality Science, September 1, 2022.

Abstract: Decades of research suggest a correlation between belief in a dangerous world and political conservatism. However, research relied on a scale that may overemphasize certain types of dangers. Furthermore, few other world beliefs have been investigated, such that fundamental worldview differences between liberals and conservatives remain largely unknown. A preregistered study of nine samples (N = 5,461; mostly US Americans) found a negligible association between a newly improved measure of generalized dangerous world belief and conservatism, and that the original scale emphasized certain dangers more salient to conservatives (e.g., societal decline) over others most salient for liberals (e.g., injustice). Across many measures of political attitudes, other world beliefs—such as beliefs that the world is Hierarchical, Intentional, Just, and Worth Exploring—each explained several times more variance than dangerous world belief. This suggests the relevance of dangerous world belief to political attitudes has been overstated, and examining other world beliefs may yield insights.

Keywords: political psychology, conservatism, primal world beliefs, belief in a dangerous world, political attitudes

No social media for six hours? Facebook/Meta outage stressed users but they felt better once they realized the others users were also locked out of the network

No social media for six hours? The emotional experience of Meta's global outage according to FoMO, JoMO and internet intensity. Tal Eitan, Tali Gazit. Computers in Human Behavior, September 1 2022, 107474.


• This study tested stress caused by the social networks' October 4 2021 outage.

• We used both quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the emotional experience.

• Content analysis revealed 4 types of reactions, including joy of missing out (JoMO).

• FoMO, Internet intensity, age, and marital status were found as predictors of stress.

• A significant interaction was found between gender and employment regarding stress.

Abstract: On October 4, 2021, a severe technical service failure of Meta (previously Facebook) caused a worldwide “outage” for six hours. Billions of people, not able to access their social media accounts, experienced different levels of stress. This study took advantage of these unique circumstances to test the stress caused by sudden lack of online access using three main factors: the fear of missing out (FoMO) effect, social media intensity, and demographic factors. In the two days immediately following this event, we conducted an online survey, with 571 adults responding. Using both quantitative and qualitative analyses, data were collected to explore the emotional experiences and predictors of the stress adults underwent during the social media outage. The content analysis revealed four types of reactions: (1) feeling anxious at first, but then feeling better after realizing the outage was global; (2) having only negative feelings; (3) having only positive feelings and even experiencing a version of the joy of missing out (JoMO); and (4) feeling indifferent. A hierarchical regression indicated that stress can be significantly predicted by FoMO, social media intensity, emotional experience, age, and marital status. In addition, FoMO and intensity were found to be mediators between age and stress. Finally, we found associations between stress and gender and employment, with self-employed women experiencing less stress than men and not self-employed women experiencing more stress than men. The findings are discussed in light of the FoMO vs. JoMO effects, the social comparison theory, and the role of demographic factors in reducing or increasing stress when social media is not available.

Keywords: Social media outageStressInternet intensityFoMO