The Tobin Center supports policy-relevant research across Yale and beyond through the Pre-Doctoral Fellows Program, seed funding, and various forms of in-kind support. Tobin-supported research spans all of our main initiatives, from Health Policy to Climate, and also includes exploratory economics research projects with potential policy applications.
We study a generalization of the classical monopoly insurance problem under adverse selection (see Stiglitz 1977) where we allow for a random distribution of losses, possibly correlated with the agent's risk parameter that is private information. Our model explains patterns of observed customer behavior and predicts insurance contracts most often observed in practice: these consist of menus of several deductible-premium pairs or menus of insurance with coverage limits–premium pairs. A main departure from the classical insurance literature is obtained here by endowing the agents with risk-averse preferences that can be represented by a dual utility functional (Yaari 1987).
More than two million U.S. households have an eviction case filed against them each year. Policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels are increasingly pursuing policies to reduce the number of evictions, citing harm to tenants and high public expenditures related to homelessness. We study the consequences of eviction for tenants using newly linked administrative data from two major urban areas: Cook County (which includes Chicago) and New York City. We document that prior to housing court, tenants experience declines in earnings and employment and increases in financial distress and hospital visits. These pre-trends pose a challenge for disentangling correlation and causation. To address this problem, we use an instrumental variables approach based on cases randomly assigned to judges of varying leniency. We find that an eviction order increases homelessness and hospital visits and reduces earnings, durable goods consumption, and access to credit in the first two years. Effects on housing and labor market outcomes are driven by impacts for female and Black tenants. In the longer run, eviction increases indebtedness and reduces credit scores.
We analyze the consequences of noisy information aggregation for investment. Market imperfections create endogenous rents that cause overinvestment in upside risks and underinvestment in downside risks. In partial equilibrium, these inefficiencies are particularly severe if upside risks are coupled with easy scalability of investment. In general equilibrium, the shareholders' collective attempts to boost value of individual firms leads to a novel externality operating through price that amplifies investment distortions with downside risks but offsets distortions with upside risks.
This paper identifies a set of possible regulations that could be used both to make the search market more competitive and simultaneously ameliorate the harms flowing from Google’s current monopoly position. The purpose of this paper is to identify conceptual problems and solutions based on sound economic principles and to begin a discussion from which robust and specific policy recommendations can be drafted.
We quantify the effects of the political development cycle – the fluctuations between the left (Maoist) and the right (pragmatist) development policies – on growth and structural transformation of China in 1953-1978. The left policies prioritized structural transformation towards non-agricultural production and consumption at the cost of agricultural development. The right policies prioritized agricultural consumption through slower structural transformation. The imperfect implementation of these policies led to large welfare costs of the political development cycle in a distorted economy undergoing a structural change.