Study for a Club Scene


Supply chains and geographical dispersion

At present it’s difficult to think of much else beyond the fragility of our global economic infrastructure. A 2012 discussion paper by RICHARD BALDWIN looks at global supply chains: their history, future, and policy implications.

From the paper:

“Globalization’s second unbundling and the global supply chains it spawned have produced and continue to produce changes that alter all aspects of international relations: economic, political and even military. Supply chain fractionalization—the functional unbundling of production processes—is governed by a fundamental trade-off between specialization and coordination costs. Supply chain dispersion—the geographical unbundling of stages of production—is governed by a balance between dispersion forces and agglomeration forces.

The future of global supply chains will be influenced by four key determinants: 1) improvements in coordination technology that lowers the cost of functional and geographical unbundling, 2) improvements in computer integrated manufacturing that lowers the benefits of specialization and shifts stages toward greater skill-, capital, and technology-intensity, 3) narrowing of wage gaps that reduces the benefit of North-South offshoring to nations like China, and 4) the price of oil that raises the cost of unbundling.”

Link to the paper.

  • “If the virus continues to spread at the same rate, supply chains will inevitably break apart and factories will start to close.” From February, the FT editorial board on the “decoupling of global trade.” Link.
  • A paper from the Institute for Global Law and Policy “asserts the centrality of legal regimes and private ordering mechanisms to the creation, structure, geography, distributive effects and governance of global value chains.” Link. See also: a LPE Blog symposium based on the paper. Link.
  • “Capital is thoroughly globalized. Could it now be labor’s turn?” Peter Evans on a global strategy for organized labor. Link. And a new paper by Adrien Thomas “looks at strategies adopted by trade unions to unionize migrant workers, and discusses tensions related to the diversification of trade union policies and organizational structures in response to labor migration.” Link.

h/t the one and only Francis Tseng for many of these links.


Hospital Closures, medicare revenues, and rural mortality rates

Recently appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health CAITLIN CARROLL studies variations in healthcare provider markets. Her job market paper analyzes Medicare claims to assess the impact of hospital closures on quality of healthcare in rural markets.

From the abstract:

“I compare enrollees who lost their closest hospital as a result of closure to enrollees who lost their second closest hospital, as a result of the same closure. I show that rural hospital closure led to both a decrease in Medicare spending and an increase in mortality among enrollees with time-sensitive health conditions. I study implications of forestalling hospital closure in the context of the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) program, a large-scale payment reform that increased Medicare revenues for nearly half of all rural hospitals. I show that the CAH program led to a reduction in hospital closures and an improvement in mortality, but the program’s expenditures were substantial relative to these effects.”

Link to the paper, and to Carroll’s website.

Each week we highlight great work from a graduate student, postdoc, or early-career professor. Have you read any excellent research recently that you’d like to see shared here? Send it our way:

+ + +

  • We hosted a Twitter discussion on Wednesday in response to our recent interview with historian Kim Phillips-Fein, with Marshal Steinbaum, Erik Loomis, Anastasia Wilson, David Walsh, Daniel Kuehn, and Laura Beamer. Link to a thread discussing the public/private good debate in higher ed; link to three threads on financial and fiscal crises and fear; and link to several threads on the influential ideological movements that emerged in opposition to the New Deal. (Search #JFIChat on Twitter to find more.)
  • Emanuele Arcà, Francesco Principe, and Eddy van Doorslaer study the effects of an austerity program imposed on the Italian health sector in 2019. The findings: “The Piano di Rientro alleviated deficits by reducing expenditure, mainly in the southern regions, but also resulted in a 3% rise in avoidable deaths among both men and women, a reduction in hospital capacity and a rise in south-to-north patient migration.” Link.
  • Philip G. Curtis et. al draw on satellite imagery to develop a new classification for forest loss, finding that “27% of global forest loss can be attributed to deforestation through permanent land use change for commodity production.” Link.
  • “Over the past 30 years, a broad reconstruction of the market order has gone hand in hand with a more active state.” A new piece by Chris Howell challenges predominant narratives which associate market liberalization with weakening the state, arguing that the transition away from wage-led growth necessitated powerful state intervention. Link. (And for the earliest iteration of this argument: Andrew Gambles 1988 book, The Free Economy and the Strong State. Link.)
  • Laura Bucci and Joshua Jansa “question the conventional wisdom that unified Republican states, with help from conservative political networks, are more likely to adopt restrictive labor policy” using “new estimates of state-level public support for unions by income thirds” across the US. Link.
  • In the Chinese Journal of Sociology, James Raymo and Hao Dong consider how regional differences, non-monetary resources, shadow education, gender differences, and the proximity of grandparents impact child wellbeing in China, Japan, and Korea. Link.
  • From 2018, Kieran Healy uses “average monthly birth rates between 1938 and 1991 for the United States, England and Wales” to “Visualize the Baby Boom.” Link.
  • In a brief video, Trevon Logan traces the legacy of an 1869 study which “found that black Union soldiers had lower lung capacity than white soldiers.” Link.
  • “Between 1993 and 2015 the land planted to oil palm in Colombia increased fourfold. This rapid growth coincided with a period of extreme armed conflict and displacement, with inequality in land distribution reaching the highest levels in Latin America.” Lesley Potter analyzes the political and economic forces behind the expansion of Colombian oil palm production. Link.
  • In the International Review of Social History, a special issue on “urban slavery in the Atlantic world during the age of abolition (c.1770s–c.1880s).” Link.
  • “Credit cooperatives were first introduced in Germany during the 1850s. By 1914 they were, collectively, a major financial force: the 19,000 credit cooperatives existing in that year had issued some 7 percent of all German banking liabilities. This is surprising given the country’s highly developed banking system. One general explanation for the success of credit cooperatives emphasizes their ability to capitalize on superior information and to impose inexpensive but effective sanctions on defaulters. These features supposedly permit cooperatives to lend to individuals whom banks would spurn, and to tailor loan terms more closely to borrowers’ needs. I use the manuscript business records of several German credit cooperatives in the period 1880-1914 to test this claim. The results show that real efficiency advantages are at least part of the explanation for their success.” Timothy W. Guinnane, “Cooperatives as Information Machines: German Rural Credit Cooperatives, 1883-1914.” Link.

Each week we highlight research from a graduate student, postdoc, or early-career professor. Send us recommendations:

Subscribe to Phenomenal World Sources, a weekly digest of recommended readings across the social sciences. See the full Sources archive.