Research in Brief

Winners and Losers in the Shale Gas Boom

Society is accruing a large economic benefit from the shale gas boom. While more evidence is needed to calculate the costs of the externalities associated with techniques such as fracking, those costs would need to be very large to justify preventing this new technique.

Hacking Back against Cyber Attacks

Active defense against cyber crimes falls into a grey area between what is legal and what is not. Without a sound regulatory framework for cyber security practices, back hacking actions are both challenging and risky.

With Energy Labels, One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Research shows that minor, individual energy savings can lead to a significant aggregate decrease in energy consumption. The challenge is informing consumers in a way that changes their behavior.

Technical Education at a Community College Improves Graduates’ Future Earnings

A new NBER working paper shows how many Career Technical Education programs in California’s community college system increase earnings by larger amounts.

Can Behavioral Economists Nudge Young Hands Out of the Cookie Jar?

Using incentives to influence children’s food choices may have an impact that extends beyond a one-time choice. Leveraging behavioral economic techniques, like incentives, could help encourage children to choose and consume healthier foods.

The Unintended Consequences of Subsidized Irrigation Conservation

Government-led, cost share programs enabling US farmers to adopt water-saving irrigation systems may actually be increasing water use. Changing the way water rights are defined might help.

The Unintended Consequence of Mandatory Child Care in Chile

A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research estimates the impact of mandatory childcare on the wages of women in Chile.

Philosophy vs. Science in New York Vaccine Debate

New York State has a substantial and diverse population with diverse reasons for objecting to compulsory vaccination. A recent article discusses the options available to the state in dealing with philosophical objectors when public health and safety are on the line.

Economic Elites in the Driver’s Seat

Based on a new dataset of policy changes, Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page bring new evidence to cross-examine American politics: how democratic is American democracy?

Occupational Licenses: Reason for Caution or Celebration?

A new study finds occupational licenses increase wages, employment, and benefits of those with licenses. While good for entrenched workers, these licenses could be problematic for consumers and non-licensed workers.