Hutchins Roundup: Global financial integration, ex-offenders, and more

Studies in this week’s Hutchins Roundup find that global financial integration stopped after the financial crisis, ex-offenders hired for low-skill white-collar jobs generally perform better than other workers, and more.

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Global financial integration came to a halt after the financial crisis

Using data on over 200 economies during 1970-2015, Philip Lane of the Central Bank of Ireland and Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti of the IMF find that after the global financial crisis, growth in cross-border holdings of financial assets and liabilities relative to global GDP came to a standstill. The primary reasons include a retrenchment in cross-border banking and an increase in the world GDP share of emerging economies, which have a lower level of cross-border assets and liabilities compared to advanced economies. Nevertheless, foreign direct investment flows continued to grow.

Ex-offenders perform better than other workers in some jobs and worse in others

With data on job applicants and employees in low-skill white-collar jobs from a hiring consultancy, Dylan Minor, Nicola Persico, and Deborah Weiss of Northwestern conclude that ex-offenders have significantly longer tenure, are less likely to quit, and are no more likely to be fired for reasons of misconduct than other workers in most jobs. The one exception is sales, where they find that about 6 percent of workers with a criminal record are fired for misconduct compared with about 3 percent of non-offenders. The authors warn against generalizing from these results to all ex-offenders because those who are hired are likely to be more qualified than the average ex-offender.

Income increases among less-educated males lead to more births but not more marriages

History suggests that when men without college degrees do better economically, rates of marriage and births to married couples increase and non-marital births decline. Using the fracking boom to isolate the effect of improved economic opportunities for less-educated men, Melissa Kearney and Riley Wilson of the University of Maryland find that fracking raised incomes of non-college educated men but did not lead to an increase in marriage rates. However, births – both marital and non-marital – increased. They suggest that the changing relationship between the income of less-educated men and marriage rates and non-marital births is attributable to changes in social norms.

Chart of the week: The median time homeowners remain in their homes has doubled over the past 10 years


Quote of the week: “[M]ost forecasters are expecting growth above potential and unemployment below the full-employment level,” says Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren.

“This would represent an unsustainable, ‘overshooting’ pace … My view is that such conditions justify continuing a gradual increase in the federal funds rate and also beginning to reduce gradually the level of the assets on the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet. As long as the balance sheet reduction is not steep, it should have only modest effects on credit markets – in other words it can be gradually reduced ‘in the background.’ That will allow Fed policymakers to focus primarily on gradual normalization of the federal funds rate, using it as the primary vehicle for attaining sustainable growth, full employment, and price stability at 2 percent inflation.”