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Category: Economics

Pricing carbon, valuing people
January 12, 2022

In November, inflation hit a 39-year high in the United States. The consumer price index was up 6.8 percent from the previous year due to major increases in the cost of rent, food, motor vehicles, gasoline, and other common household expenses. While inflation impacts the entire country, its effects are not felt equally. At greatest risk are low- and middle-income Americans who may lack sufficient financial reserves to absorb such economic...

A “big push” to lift people out of poverty | MIT News
December 22, 2021

A field experiment in India led by MIT antipoverty researchers has produced a striking result: A one-time boost of capital improves the condition of the very poor even a decade later. The experiment, based on a “Targeting the Ultra-Poor” (TUP) program that aids people living in extreme poverty, generated positive effects on consumption, food security, income, and health, which grew fairly steadily for seven years...

J-PAL North America announces five new partnerships with state and local governments | MIT News
December 17, 2021

J-PAL North America, a research center in MIT’s Department of Economics, has announced five new partnerships with state and local governments across the United States after a call for proposals in early February. Over the next year, these partners will work with J-PAL North America’s State and Local Innovation Initiative to evaluate policy-relevant questions critical to alleviating poverty in the United States. J-PAL...

The power of economics to explain and shape the world | MIT News
December 17, 2021

Nobel Prize-winning economist Esther Duflo sympathizes with students who have no interest in her field. She was such a student herself — until an undergraduate research post gave her the chance to learn first-hand that economists address many of the major issues facing human and planetary well-being.“Most people have a wrong view of what economics is. They just see economists on television discussing what’s going to...

Q&A: David Autor on the long afterlife of the “China shock” | MIT News
December 6, 2021

In 2001, the U.S. normalized long-term trade relations with China, and China joined the World Trade Organization — moves many expected to help both economies. Instead, over the next several years, inexpensive imports from China significantly undercut U.S. manufacturing, especially in industries such as textiles and furniture-making. By 2011, this “China shock” from trade was responsible for the loss of 1 million U.S....

Popular new major blends technical skills and human-centered applications | MIT News
December 1, 2021

Annie Snyder wasn’t sure what she wanted to major in when she arrived on campus. She drifted toward MIT’s most popular major, electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), also known as Course 6, but it didn’t feel like quite the right fit. She was interested in computer science but more passionate about understanding how technology affects people’s everyday lives. Snyder, now a junior, found a compelling...

Report: Economics drives migration from Central America to the U.S. | MIT News
November 23, 2021

A new report about migration, co-authored by MIT scholars, shows that economic distress is the main factor pushing migrants from Central America to the U.S. — and highlights the personal costs borne by people as they seek to move abroad. “The core issue is economics, at the end of the day, and this is where policymakers need to be focusing their energy,” says Sarah Williams, an MIT professor who helped produce the...

The reasons behind lithium-ion batteries’ rapid cost decline | MIT News
November 22, 2021

Lithium-ion batteries, those marvels of lightweight power that have made possible today’s age of handheld electronics and electric vehicles, have plunged in cost since their introduction three decades ago at a rate similar to the drop in solar panel prices, as documented by a study published last March. But what brought about such an astonishing cost decline, of about 97 percent? Some of the researchers behind that...

Cures for the health insurance enrollment blues | MIT News
November 20, 2021

Some countries with national health insurance plans face a basic problem: Not enough people sign up for those programs, and the ones who do tend to have worse-than-average health. That is a public health matter, but also a fiscal issue. When more healthy people enroll in health care plans, and thus pay premiums, those plans gain a better fiscal footing. What’s a good way to address this challenge? A recently published...

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