Category: Faculty Press Interviews

BU Economics Professor Claudia Olivetti on how mothers affect their daughters’ work choices

February 25th, 2014 in Faculty Press Interviews

BU Economics Professor Claudia Olivetti was recently interviewed by BU Today about her work “exploring how the work practices of a teenager’s mother and that of her friends’ mothers affects her work decisions in adulthood”.

What could companies and the government do to further support working mothers?

There are two things that are really important. One is the way jobs are organized. Company policies that are aimed at allowing more flexibility would help tremendously. We see in some occupations, like medicine, these policies are working. You have more women staying in the workforce when they have children.

More public policy could help in the provision of programs for early child care. It’s very expensive to find good quality child care when your kid is two to five years old.

If you think about our school system and the way it’s structured, it’s designed for one of the two parents being home.

See for the complete article.

Like Mother, Like Daughter; CAS prof: daughters often mirror their mother’s work practices, by Leslie Friday

Published by BU Today, 2/24/14.

BU Economics Professor Simon Gilchrist’s research on Fed policy

February 11th, 2014 in Faculty Press Interviews

BU Economics Professor Simon Gilchrist’s research was recently featured in the WSJ.

In a new working paper… from the Fed, three economists examined two-year Treasury yields on days the central bank announced policy changes and related effects on 10-year Treasury yields, a benchmark for mortgage rates and other loans, as well as corporate bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

Their conclusion: “unconventional policy — through a combination of forward guidance and asset purchases — is very effective in influencing longer-term interest rates,” and “the effects of both types of monetary policy actions are transmitted fully to real business borrowing costs.”

The two types of policy work in different ways, they wrote, but “we find no meaningful difference in the efficacy of conventional and unconventional policy measures, as measured by the impact of monetary policy on real borrowing costs.”

The abstract of the paper, Monetary Policy and Real Borrowing Costs at the Zero Lower Bound (joint with David López-Salido and Egon Zakrajšek), is below

This paper compares the effects of conventional monetary policy on real borrowing costs with those of the unconventional measures employed after the target federal funds rate hit the zero lower bound (ZLB). For the ZLB period, we identify two policy surprises: changes in the 2-year Treasury yield around policy announcements and changes in the 10-year Treasury yield that are orthogonal to those in the 2-year yield. The efficacy of unconventional policy in lowering real borrowing costs is comparable to that of conventional policy, in that it implies a complete pass-through of policy-induced movements in Treasury yields to comparable-maturity private yields.

See the complete article at

Fed’s New Tools Also Work by Adjusting Rates, by Ben Leubsdorf

Published by The Wall Street Journal, 01/16/14.

BU Economics Professor Kevin Lang on the minimum wage debate

February 11th, 2014 in Faculty Press Interviews

BU Economics Professor Kevin Lang recently weighed in on the minimum wage debate on New England Cable News.

During his State of the Union speech, President Obama called on Congress to give America a raise. Dozens of states across the nation are already considering doing just that.

To talk about the economics of a minimum wage hike, we were joined by Kevin Lang, economics professor at Boston University.

He said that the Conservative argument for a minimum wage increase is that it decreases employment. Lang said the Liberal argument is that the jobs tend to go to people who are below the median income and that it weighs in favor of reducing income inequality. He also said there is an argument that people who work full-time should make a wage that can support a family.

See the complete interview at

The minimum wage debate: Should it be raised?

Published by New England Cable News, 01/29/14

BU Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff on the corporate income tax

February 6th, 2014 in Faculty Press Interviews

BU Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff recently published an op-ed piece in The New York Times titled “Abolish the Corporate Income Tax”.

Jobs don’t grow out of thin air, especially well-paying ones. They require, among other things, companies that are willing to operate where you live. Just ask the Seattle-based District 751 of the machinists’ union, which was worried that Boeing will build its new 777X airliner someplace far away where it is cheaper to produce. Last month the union offered contract concessions, as its president explained, to ensure “the long-term success” of Boeing in Washington State. And on Friday, Boeing machinists approved a contract with concessions to keep assembly of the plane in the area.

See for the complete article.

Abolish the Corporate Income Tax, Laurence J. Kotlikoff

Published by The New York Times, 1/5/14

BU Economics Professor Randall Ellis on

December 5th, 2013 in Faculty Press Interviews

BU Economics Professor Randall Ellis recently commented on

The turnaround is telling, said Randall Ellis, a professor of economics at Boston University.

The site is now “greatly improved,” Ellis told TechNewsWorld. “It is now much easier to use and to navigate, with relatively few glitches.”

There was little media coverage of the significant improvement that happened in late October that enabled people to do some shopping in most of November — “particularly to get a list of available options in their county,” he explained. “It was a button on the home page, which did not require any security to view options.”

It was this option that made it easier for people to enroll in November and plan for their enrollment last month and this one, Ellis said.

See for the complete article.

The Healing Begins for, Erika Morphy

Published by TechNewsWorld, 12/4/13

BU Economics Professor Claudia Olivetti on “Why Some Women Try to Have It All”

November 22nd, 2013 in Faculty Press Interviews

BU Economics Professor Claudia Olivetti recently weighed in “Why Some Women Try to Have It All”:

Consider two women. Eleonora Patacchini is an economics professor at Syracuse University. Back in Italy, where she grew up, her mother was a professor. Claudia Olivetti, an economics professor at Boston University, also grew up in Italy; her mother was a housewife.

Both women clearly remember their friends’ mothers. Seeing the range of lifestyles of her friends’ moms — some were home cooking, some were out working — reinforced Patacchini’s identification with her mother, the professor. But Olivetti was fascinated by the working moms of her friends and knew she wanted to be like them instead of a housewife like her mom.

In a recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, Olivetti and Patacchini examine how early gender identity formation influences work decisions in adulthood. They assess “work decisions” by looking at the number of hours worked (controlled for education, family wealth and location).

See for the complete article.

Why Some Women Try to Have It All: New Research on ‘Like Mother, Like Daughter’, Simone Pathe

Published by in “The Business Desk”, 11/20/13

BU Economics Professor Pierre Perron and global warming

November 10th, 2013 in Departmental News, Faculty Press Interviews

In the last couple of hours, BU Economics Professor Pierre Perron has generated a few more cites, this time in different outlets than usual — National Geographic, Mother Jones, Climate News Network, and the BBC to name a few. His paper, Statistically derived contributions of diverse human influences to twentieth-century temperature changes, coauthored with Francisco Estrada and Benjamin Martinez-Lopez was published earlier today in Nature Geoscience. The abstract of the paper will give you some idea why it has attracted so much attention so quickly:

The warming of the climate system is unequivocal as evidenced by an increase in global temperatures by 0.8 °C over the past century. However, the attribution of the observed warming to human activities remains less clear, particularly because of the apparent slow-down in warming since the late 1990s. Here we analyse radiative forcing and temperature time series with state-of-the-art statistical methods to address this question without climate model simulations. We show that long-term trends in total radiative forcing and temperatures have largely been determined by atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, and modulated by other radiative factors. We identify a pronounced increase in the growth rates of both temperatures and radiative forcing around 1960, which marks the onset of sustained global warming. Our analyses also reveal a contribution of human interventions to two periods when global warming slowed down. Our statistical analysis suggests that the reduction in the emissions of ozone-depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol, as well as a reduction in methane emissions, contributed to the lower rate of warming since the 1990s. Furthermore, we identify a contribution from the two world wars and the Great Depression to the documented cooling in the mid-twentieth century, through lower carbon dioxide emissions. We conclude that reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are effective in slowing the rate of warming in the short term.

In short, time series econometrics shows that human activity in the form of reducing greenhouse gas emissions affects global temperatures. You can find the full article at