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Housing Booms and Shirking

Quanlin Gu, Jia He, Wenlan Qian, Oct 03, 2018

Our research studies the incentive costs of China’s housing booms . We use the type and actual time stamps of 9.3 million credit card transactions by over 200,000 cardholders to detect non-work-related behavior during work hours. Employees respond to positive house price shocks with an immediate and permanent increase in their propensity to use work hours to attend to personal needs. Our estimate implies an elasticity of shirking propensity with respect to house price of 1.6. The effect is driven by homeowners, especially among owners with higher housing wealth. Further analyses point to negative productivity implications of the increased shirking.

Who Captures the Power of Pen?

Jiaxing You, Bohui Zhang, Le Zhang, Oct 17, 2018

We study how government control affects the roles of the media as an information intermediary and a corporate monitor. Comparing a large sample of news articles written by state-controlled and market-oriented Chinese media, we find that articles by the market-oriented media are more critical, more accurate, more comprehensive, and timelier than those by the state-controlled media. Moreover, only articles by the market-oriented media have a significant corporate governance impact. Subsample analyses, interviews with journalists, and a survey of university students suggest that the market-oriented media’s superior effects are explained by their operating efficiency and independence.

Human-Capital Externalities in China

Edward L. Glaeser, Ming Lu, Oct 10, 2018

This paper provides evidence of heterogeneous human-capital externality using CHIP 2002, 2007, and 2013 data from urban China. After instrumenting city-level education using the number of relocated university departments across cities in the 1950s, one additional year of city-level education increases individual hourly wages by 22.0 percent, more than twice the OLS estimate. Human-capital externality is greater for all groups of urban residents in the instrumental variables estimation.