Monday, September 26, 2016

My Newest Publication: Using Experimental Auctions to Examine Demand for E-cigarettes

Here is the link to my newest publication, "Using Experimental Auctions to Examine Demand for E-cigarettes", in Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Background: E-cigarettes are the latest in a line of potentially reduced exposure products that have garnered interest among smokers.
Methods: In this paper, we use experimental auctions to estimate smokers’ demand for e-cigarettes and to assess the impact of advertisements on willingness-to-pay. These are actual auctions, with winners and losers, which means hypothetical biases often seen in surveys are minimized.
Implications: Given these reduced harm products are appealing, if smokers are able to switch completely to e-cigarettes, there is a good chance for accrual of significant harm reduction.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Upside of Inequality

The Upside of Inequality is the title of Ed Conard's newest book, which was released today.

Disclaimer: I had the pleasure of helping Ed by doing a bit of background research for him.  

I am certainly a bit biased, as I helped on the book, but I think this is one of the best books of 2016.  And I don't think my bias is coloring my view too much, as before I helped on this book I was a big fan of his previous book, Unintended Consequences, and had even assigned it in my Political Economic Thought class.  

Some of my favorite parts of this book are:

* The section asking if the middle class really is being hollowed out.  The answer is a convincing no - comparisons that show median incomes are falling are skewed by lower paying jobs acquired by immigrants.  
* The section examining how much money a poor person receives in government benefits.  It is a surprisingly difficult question to answer, but this book gives a good estimate with a defensible methodology.
* The discussion of income mobility - which is alive and well in the USA.

The entire book is thought provoking, and I highly recommend it.