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Author:Burke, Mary A. 

Working Paper
Household Inflation Expectations and Consumer Spending: Evidence from Panel Data

Recent research offers mixed results concerning the relationship between inflation expectations and consumption, using qualitative measures of readiness to spend. We revisit this question using survey panel data of actual spending from the U.S. between 2009 and 2012 that also allows us to control for household heterogeneity. We find that durables spending increases with expected inflation only for selected types of households while nondurables spending does not respond to expected inflation. Moreover, spending decreases with expected unemployment. These results imply a limited stimulating ...
Working Papers , Paper 2110

Report
Can Treatment with Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Improve Employment Prospects? Evidence from Rhode Island Medicaid Enrollees

The nation’s long-standing crisis of opioid abuse intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, with opioid-related deaths rising to nearly 81,000 in 2021, an increase of more than 60 percent from just two years earlier. Also during the pandemic, the labor force participation rate in the United States fell precipitously, and as of September 2022 it remained depressed by more than a full percentage point relative to its February 2020 level despite record numbers of job openings in 2021 and 2022. The unfortunate confluence of labor shortages and record-setting opioid mortality highlights the need ...
New England Public Policy Center Research Report , Paper 22-3

Working Paper
Has overweight become the new normal?: evidence of a generational shift in body weight norms

We test for differences across the two most recent NHANES survey periods (1988?1994 and 1999?2004) in self-perception of weight status. We find that the probability of self-classifying as overweight is significantly lower on average in the more recent survey, for both men and women, controlling for objective weight status and other factors. Among women, the decline in the tendency to self-classify as overweight is concentrated in the 17?35 age range, and, within this range, is more pronounced among women with normal BMI than among those with overweight BMI. Among men, the shift away from ...
Working Papers , Paper 09-3

Working Paper
Household Inflation Expectations and Consumer Spending: Evidence from Panel Data

Recent research offers mixed results concerning the relationship between inflation expectations and consumption, using qualitative measures of readiness to spend. We revisit this question using survey panel data from the United States of actual spending from 2009 through 2012 that also allow us to control for household heterogeneity. We find that durables spending increases with inflation expectations only for certain types of households, while nondurables spending does not respond to inflation expectations. Moreover, spending decreases with an expected increase in unemployment. These results ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-15

Working Paper
Employment Trajectories among Individuals with Opioid Use Disorder: Can Evidence-Based Treatment Improve Outcomes?

Using administrative records of Medicaid enrollees in Rhode Island that link their health-care information with their payroll employment records, this paper produces new stylized facts concerning the association between opioid use disorder (OUD) and employment and inquires as to whether treatment with FDA-approved medications might boost the job-finding rates of OUD patients. We find that individuals diagnosed with OUD are less likely to be employed compared with other Medicaid enrollees, that their employment tends to be more intermittent, and that they face increased job-separation risk ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-25

Working Paper
Geographic variations in a model of physician treatment choice with social interactions

Location-specific norms of behavior are a widespread phenomenon. In the case of medical practice, numerous studies have found that geographic location exerts a strong influence on the choice of treatments and procedures. This paper shows how the presence of social influence on treatment decisions can help to explain this phenomenon. We construct a theoretical model in which physicians' treatment choices depend on patients' characteristics and on the recent choices of nearby peers - either because there are local knowledge spillovers or because physicians want to conform to local practice ...
Working Papers , Paper 09-5

Discussion Paper
Classroom peer effects and student achievement

In this paper we analyze the impact of classroom peers' ability on individual student achievement with a unique longitudinal data set covering all Florida public school students in grades 3-10 over a five-year period. Unlike many data sets used to study peer effects in education, ours identifies each member of a student's classroom peer group in elementary, middle, and high school as well as the classroom teacher responsible for instruction. As a result, we can control for student fixed effects simultaneously with teacher fixed effects, thereby alleviating biases due to endogenous assignment ...
Public Policy Discussion Paper , Paper 11-5

Working Paper
Explaining gender-specific racial differences in obesity using biased self-reports of food intake

Policymakers have an interest in identifying the differences in behavior patterns - namely, habitual caloric intake and physical activity levels - that contribute to demographic variation in body mass index (BMI) and obesity risk. While disparities in mean BMI and obesity rates between whites (non-Hispanic) and African-Americans (non-Hispanic) are well-documented, the behavioral differences that underlie these gaps have not been carefully identified. Moreover, the female-specificity of the black-white obesity gap has received relatively little attention. In the National Health and Nutrition ...
Working Papers , Paper 11-2

Working Paper
You can be too thin (but not too tall): social desirability bias in self-reports of weight and height

Previous studies of survey data for the United States and other countries find that on average women tend to understate their body weight, while on average both men and women overstate their height. Social norms have been posited as a potential explanation for misreporting of weight and height, but researchers disagree on the validity of that explanation. This paper is the first to present a theoretical model of self-reporting behavior for weight and height that explicitly incorporates social desirability bias. The model generates testable implications that can be contrasted with predictions ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-15

Report
The Rhode Island labor market in recovery: where is the skills gap?

There has been much anecdotal evidence claiming that Rhode Island's labor force is unable to supply the skills that the state's employers seek. The anecdotal evidence has given rise to the concern that labor market mismatch is holding back the state's economic recovery. Such a concern comes with particularly high stakes in the case of Rhode Island, which suffered the most severe drop in employment in New England during the Great Recession and has endured the region's highest unemployment rate during the recovery. This paper conducts a data-driven analysis of several indicators of potential ...
Current Policy Perspectives , Paper 15-7

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