Paul Walker

Dr Paul Walker is an economist at University of Canterbury. He has expertise in microeconomics, institutional economics and industrial Organization. He blogs for The Dismal Science.

The 10-Year baby window that is the key to the women’s pay gap - The Dismal Science

Apr 11, 2018

An interesting new twist on the effects of children on the pay gap between men and women. It has long been argued that having kids is one reason for the gap in pay between men and women but now a new study suggests that women who have their first child before 25 or after 35 eventually close the salary divide with their husbands. It’s the years in between that are most problematic. Claire Cain Miller discusses the new research at the Upshot blog at the New York Times. Millar writes, Today, married couples in the United States are likely to have similar educational and career backgrounds. So while the typical husband still earns more than his wife, spouses have increasingly similar incomes. But that changes once their first child arrives. Immediately … Read More

Early gender gaps among university graduates - The Dismal Science

Apr 10, 2018

In a recent article at Marco Francesconi and Matthias Parey write on Early gender gaps among university graduates. A summary of their column reads Women earning substantially less than men in all advanced economies, despite the considerable progress women have made in labour markets worldwide. This column explores the recent experience of university graduates in Germany soon after their graduation. Men and women enter college in roughly equal numbers, but more women complete their degrees. Women enter university with slightly better high school grades but leave with slightly lower marks. Immediately after university completion, male and female full-timers work very similar number of hours, but men earn more across the pay distribution. The single most important proximate factor that explains the gap is field of study at university (Emphasis added). Francesconi and Parey … Read More

Competition and search in internet markets for used books - The Dismal Science

Mar 02, 2018

A couple of years back in an email about my book The Theory of the Firm: An overview of the economic mainstream I wrote: The other thing I don’t get is the price dispersion. $180 at the book depository but $355 at the NZ based Mighty Ape website. Isn’t this internet thingy supposed to do away with price dispersion by making information more available? Well it appears, for one market at least, I’m wrong about the effects of the internet on price dispersion. The advent of the online market for used books has increased price dispersion in online relative to offline sales. It has also raised prices but improved welfare for both sellers and buyers, especially where unusual titles are concerned. The following is by Morgan Foy and comes from the March … Read More

On the link between US pay and productivity - The Dismal Science

Feb 26, 2018

From comes a column by Anna Stansbury and Lawrence Summers on the relationship between pay and productivity in the US. Since 1973, there has been divergence between labour productivity and the typical worker’s pay in the US as productivity has continued to grow strongly and growth in average compensation has slowed substantially. This column explores the causes and implications of this trend. Productivity growth appears to have continued to push workers’ wages up, with other factors to blame for the divergence. The evidence casts doubt on the idea that rapid technological progress is the primary driver here, suggesting rather that institutional and structural factors are to blame. Stansbury and Summers writes, Our contribution to these debates is, we believe, to demonstrate that productivity growth still matters substantially for middle income Americans. If productivity … Read More

Luigi Zingales on Oliver Hart, co-winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for economics - The Dismal Science

Feb 05, 2018

At the 2018 ASSA meeting Luigi Zingales delivered a lecture honouring Oliver Hart, co-winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for economics. In part Zingales said, In the 1970s, this question [the make-or-buy dLuigi Zingaleecision] started to receive attention in the so-called transaction-cost literature. The key contributions during that period were Alchian and Demsetz (1972), Williamson (1971 and 1975) and Klein, Crawford, and Alchian (1978). Alchian and Demsetz identified the unique nature of the firm in the team production and the associated cost of metering individual contributions to the collective output. This is the line of research the other Nobelist we are celebrating today, Bengt Holmstrhom, pursued. By contrast, Williamson and Klein, Crawford, and Alchian focused on the role of the firm in mitigating the cost of opportunism. Imagine a printing press owned and operated by someone different … Read More

The case for ‘touting’ tickets - The Dismal Science

Feb 05, 2018

From the IEA comes this audio on scalping and the value of it. The resale of tickets has been around for as long as humans have charged entry to events. Evidence of ticket ‘touting’ goes all the way back to Ancient Rome. In the 21st century though, it’s becoming an increasingly controversial practice. Companies like Viagogo, Seatwave and Stubhub now offer tickets to otherwise hard-to-reach events – but, often, at a hefty price. Today on our podcast, IEA News Editor Kate Andrews interviews Dr Steve Davies, the IEA’s Head of Education and author of new report ‘Digital Resellers: The case for Secondary Ticket Markets’. Steve believes that ticket resale is simply one aspect of the ‘Sharing Economy’ which enables voluntary transactions to take place between willing buyers and sellers. Those who aim to resell … Read More

No Ordinary Woman: The Life of Edith Penrose - The Dismal Science

Jan 22, 2018

At the Marginal Revolution blog Tyler Cowen writes on the new biography of economist Edith Penrose, No Ordinary Woman: The Life of Edith Penrose, by Angela Penrose. Cowen writes, What a dramatic and eventful book. Edith Penrose (1914-1996) is a not so well-known but highly underrated economist, with her major contributions coming in the theory of the firm and industrial organization. As a girl, she survived only because her father shot a rattlesnake about to kill her. Later, her first husband was murdered, right before their first child was born. She and her second husband, working in Switzerland, helped Jews escape from Germany, and she later did food planning during the war in England. In 1948 the couple lost one of their three children, right before his third birthday. Read More

The Sugar Levy: a Briefing - The Dismal Science

Jan 15, 2018

In March 2016, Chancellor George Osborne announced a ‘sugar levy’ on manufacturers of soft drinks. Intended to begin in April 2018, the plan is for a two-tier tax with one rate set for drinks containing more The IEA in London has released a short paper, The Sugar Levy: A Briefing, on the ‘sugar levy’ that was announced in March 2016 by the then Chancellor, George Osborne, in the UK. A summary of the paper’s conclusion reads: In March 2016, George Osborne announced a ‘sugar levy’ on soft drink companies to start in April 2018. Under this policy, companies will be taxed on sales of medium and high sugar drinks (excluding fruit juice and milk-based drinks). As an anti-obesity policy, the sugar levy seems arbitrary. Consumption of both sugar and sugary drinks … Read More

“The Second World Wars” with Victor Davis Hanson - The Dismal Science

Jan 08, 2018

These videos come from Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson at the Hoover Institution. Robinson interviews Victor Davis Hanson about Hanson’s new book, “The Second World Wars“. How were the Axis powers able to instigate the most lethal conflict in human history? Find out in this two part episode of Uncommon Knowledge as military historian, editor of Strategika, and Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow, Victor Davis Hanson, joins Peter Robinson to discuss his latest book, The Second World Wars. Victor Davis Hanson explains how World War II initially began in 1939 as a multitude of isolated border blitzkriegs that Germany continued to win. In 1941, everything changed when Germany invaded their ally, the Soviet Union, and brought Japan into the war. He argues that because of the disparate nature of World … Read More

Are male-dominated tenure committees holding women back in academia? - The Dismal Science

Apr 07, 2017

No. At the AEA website Tim Hyde discusses a paper in the American Economic Review (2017, 107(4): 1207–1238) which asks the question “Does the Gender Composition of Scientific Committees Matter?” The paper is by Manuel Bagues, Mauro Sylos-Labini, and Natalia Zinovyeva. In many countries there are concerns that male-dominated tenure committees that are convened to decide whether young professors should be promoted up the ranks are holding female academics back. These committees are composed of full professors in the top roles and tend to be mostly or exclusively male. Does this put young female professors at a competitive disadvantage at a make-or-break moment in their careers? Hyde writes, Bagues and Zinovyeva were curious how these policies [gender quotas for hiring/tenure committees] – which had clear costs for senior female researchers – would actually affect hiring and … Read More