Thijs van Rens

Thijs van Rens
The University of Warwick · Department of Economics

Ph.D. Princeton 2005

About

31
Publications
2,117
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483
Citations
Introduction
Skills and Expertise
Additional affiliations
September 2005 - August 2012
University Pompeu Fabra
Position
  • Researcher
September 2005 - August 2012
Barcelona Graduate School of Economics
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (31)
Article
Public policy making for the prevention of diet-related disease is impeded by a lack of evidence on whether poor diets are a matter of personal responsibility or a choice set narrowed by environmental conditions. An important element of the environment is market imperfections in food retail that distort prices. We use a rich dataset on quantities a...
Article
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The World Health Organisation has urged all governments to address rising rates of obesity by implementing population-based interventions, such as restrictions on the marketing to children of unhealthy food and beverage items. However, the relationship between unhealthy food advertisements and childhood obesity is disputed by industry-sponsored rep...
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Purpose of Review Globally, minority ethnic groups have been at higher risk of COVID-19 mortality and morbidity than majority populations. This review outlines factors that may interact to create these inequalities and explores the hypothesis that differing levels of cardio-metabolic risk, according to ethnic group, play a role. Recent Findings Tw...
Preprint
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Background: "Lockdowns" to control the spread of COVID-19 in the UK have affected many aspects of life, with concerns that they may have adversely affected diets. We aimed to examine (i) the effect of living in lockdown on fruit and vegetable consumption; (ii) whether any population subgroup was particularly adversely affected; (iii) the barriers a...
Preprint
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Are general lockdowns an appropriate response to the threat of Covid-19? Recent cost-benefit studies do not favour the case for them. Instead, since the virus practises a form of age discrimination (approximately 90% of coronavirus deaths are older than 65), some analysts have suggested an alternative. It is that younger citizens-the generation wor...
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We document two changes in postwar US macroeconomic dynamics: the procyclicality of labour productivity vanished, and the relative volatility of employment rose. We propose an explanation for these changes that is based on reduced hiring frictions due to improvements in information about the quality of job matches and the resulting decline in turno...
Preprint
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We study productivity and welfare provision in three megacities, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in China. We developed an economic model, which regards individuals as both consumers of private and public goods and suppliers of labor in the production process, operating within the Hukou system which constrains entitlement to public goods and servic...
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We investigate unemployment due to mismatch in the United States over the past three and a half decades. We propose an accounting framework that allows us to estimate the contribution of each of the frictions that generated labor market mismatch. Barriers to job mobility account for the largest part of mismatch unemployment, with a smaller role for...
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Firms select not only how many, but also which workers to hire. Yet, in standard search models of the labor market, all workers have the same probability of being hired. We argue that selective hiring crucially affects welfare analysis. Our model is isomorphic to a search model under random hiring but allows for selective hiring. With selective hir...
Article
Using new quarterly data for hours worked in OECD countries, Ohanian and Raffo (2011) argue that in many OECD countries, particularly in Europe, hours per worker are quantitatively important as an intensive margin of labor adjustment, possibly because labor market frictions are higher than in the US. I argue that this conclusion is not supported by...
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Over the past two decades, technological progress in the United States has been biased towards skilled labor. What does this imply for business cycles? We construct a quarterly skill premium from the CPS and use it to identify skill-biased technology shocks in a VAR with long-run restrictions. Hours fall in response to skill-biased technology shock...
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Full-text available
We document three changes in postwar US macroeconomic dynamics: (i) the procyclicality of labor productivity has vanished, (ii) the relative volatility of employment has risen, and (iii) the relative (and absolute) volatility of the real wage has risen. We propose an explanation for all three changes that is based on a common source: a decline in l...
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Was the increase in income inequality in the US due to permanent shocks or merely to an increase in the variance of transitory shocks? The implications for consumption and welfare depend crucially on the answer to this question. We use Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX) repeated cross-section data on consumption and income to decompose idiosyncratic...
Article
Standard macroeconomic models underpredict the volatility of unemployment fluctuations. A common solution is to assume wages are rigid. We explore whether this explanation is consistent with the data. We show that the wage of newly hired workers, unlike the aggregate wage, is volatile and responds one-to-one to changes in labor productivity. In ord...
Article
Over the past two decades, technological progress has been biased towards making skilled labor more productive. The evidence for this finding is based on the persistent parallel increase in the skill premium and the supply of skilled workers. What are the implications of skill-biased technological change for the business cycle? To answer this quest...
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Estimates of the effect of education on GDP (the social return) have been hard to reconcile with micro evidence on the private return to schooling. We present a simple explanation combining two ideas: imperfect substitution and endogenous skill-biased technological progress and use cross-country panel data on inequality and GDP to test these ideas....
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Full-text available
Was the increase in income inequality in the US due to permanent shocks or merely to an increase in the variance of transitory shocks? The implications for consumption and welfare depend crucially on the answer to this question. We use CEX repeated cross-section data on consumption and income to decompose idiosyncratic changes in income into predic...
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In this paper I present a model in which production requires two types of labor inputs: regular productive tasks and organizational capital, which is accumulated by workers performing organizational tasks. By allocating more workers from organizational to productive tasks, firms can temporarily increase production without hiring. The availability o...
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In many countries, student grants, tuition fees, and subsidized loans depend on parental income. This paper examines the efficiency and distributional effects of such conditioning, and assesses whether it is optimal practice when the government wants to reduce after-tax income inequality in the most efficient manner. Increasing the mean level of ed...
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We use CEX repeated cross-section data on consumption and income, to evaluate the nature of increased income inequality in the 1980s and 90s. We decompose unexpected changes in family income into transitory and permanent, and idiosyncratic and aggregate components, and estimate the contribution of each component to total inequality. The model we us...
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This discussion paper has resulted in a publication in Review of Economics and Statistics , 90(1), 89-104.
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The asymptotic distributions of cointegration tests are approximated using the Gamma distribution. The tests considered are for the I(1), the conditional I(1), as well as the I(2) model. Formulae for the parameters of the Gamma distributions are derived from response surfaces. The resulting approximation is flexible, easy to implement and more accu...

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