Paper #2

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Fall 2018 Econ 274. Due in class Thur 25 Oct

Overview: You need to grapple with reading empirical papers in economics; to draw a close to this section of the course, reading about migration pulls pieces together. How does growth in the “core” interact with that in the periphery? Here dual models suggest an excess supply of rural labor. If growth is successful – China’s has been – then the countryside will empty out and eventually wages will equilibrate across the economy. Then there are the questions of who migrates where and why. Yes, money is the goal, but what leads a peasant to pick (say) Shanghai over Shenzhen? – wage differentials, networks, distance, urban amenities – all factor in. How about the hukou system? Who leaves villages, and who returns? When parents are away in the city earning money, do their children do better and advance further in their schooling? How about the grandmas back home – do migrants visit and send money? What of the health of migrants, their children, and those left behind in the village?

Prompt: The bibliography on the website offers many options. From those, you are to pick two empiricals papers to compare and contrast. The total length should be 3-5 pages of text; figures and tables you’ve cut-and-pasted into an appendix don’t count, but scattered quotes likely push you towards 5 pages. It should be concisely written, using in-line quotes and a bibliography at the end. Do not quote the paper title itself in the paper! Note you may organize topic-by-topic, or discuss Paper A and then Paper B. The latter is easier, the former adds more value.

Introduction: what is the big issue your two papers are examining? what are the narrower issues that frame these specific pieces of research?
Methodology: what are the dependent variables on which the papers focus, and the independent variables that they hope explain their main papers?
Data: How big a dataset do the authors have, collected when and where, and with what limitations (key variables missing, limited to one age group and so on). Do we expect the same results If the data are from widely separated years, are they comparable?
Results: the formal analysis frequently involves arcane statistical procedures. Count the asterisks – do the authors ignore some “significant” variables in their discussion, or dwell on insignicant ones?
Conclusion: do the authors produce a meaningful analysis? [There’s a bias that papers with negative results tend not to get published. What surprises them? what do they miss? what will they do next?

Bibliography: see that on migration on the web site. Almost all items are available online through EconLit or EconPapers. If you know the journal title, you can use the library journal title list to find and download it. Let me know if you encounter problems.