Working Paper
Michael Kremer, Jack Willis, and Yang You. Working Paper. “Converging to Convergence.” Accepted NBER Macro Annual 2021.Abstract
Neoclassical theory predicts convergence towards steady-state income, determined by policies, institutions, and culture. Empirical tests of convergence in the 1990s found that conditioning on institutions mattered: \textit{unconditionally}, the norm was divergence, if anything. We revisit these tests with 20 years of additional data. While the literature on institutions emphasizes their historical origins and persistence, we find substantial changes. First, there has been a trend towards unconditional convergence since the 1960s, leading to convergence since the early 2000s. Second, policies and institutions have converged substantially, towards development-favored institutions - those associated, across countries, with higher levels of income. Third, the institutional changes are larger, on average, than those predicted by the cross-sectional income-institution slope; while the slope itself has remained stable. Fourth, the growth-institution slope - the coefficients of growth regressions - has decreased substantially, resulting in a shrinking in the gap between conditional and unconditional convergence. We discuss the implications of these new patterns for models of growth.   
Working Paper. “Language Unification, Labor and Ideology”.Abstract

By exploring an instance of nationwide language education reform—the Chinese Pinyin Act of 1958-1960—we estimate the effects of language unification using a difference-in-difference approach by interacting a birth cohort exposure dummy with the linguistic distances between local languages and Putonghua—modern standardized Mandarin. This paper presents five main findings: (1) learning Putonghua results in modest short-term negative effects, but long-term positive effects on educational attainment; (2) learning Putonghua increases rural households’ non-agricultural employment; (3) sharing a common language empowers workers to migrate across provinces and language regions; and (4) using a unified language fosters patriotism, a stronger national identity, a more positive subjective evaluation of China, and even more distrust in people of another nationality. One plausible channel is that the common language builds national identity by expanding exposure to audio-based media (e.g., radio, cell phone, and the internet); and (5) the post-reform population shows more skepticism about democracy, a better subjective evaluation of governance, and greater support for government intervention over economic liberalism. These changes in ideology and social preferences are consistent with the political doctrine of the Communist Party of China.

language_labor_ideology20180327.pdf online_appendix20180201.pdf
Alberto Alesina, Marlon Seror, David Yang, and Weihong Zong. Working Paper. “Persistence through Revolutions.” Submitted.Abstract

Can efforts to eradicate inequality in wealth and education eliminate intergenerational persis- tence of socioeconomic status? The Chinese Communist Revolution in the 1950s and Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976 aimed to do exactly that. Using newly digitized archival records and contemporary census and household survey data, we show that the revolutions were ef- fective in homogenizing the population economically in the short run. However, the pattern of inequality that characterized the pre-revolution generation re-emerges today. Almost half a century after the revolutions, individuals whose grandparents belonged to the pre-revolution elite earn 16 percent more and have completed more than 11 percent additional years of school- ing than those from non-elite households. In addition, individuals with pre-revolution elite grandparents hold different values: they are less averse to inequality, more individualistic, more pro-market, and more likely to see hard work as critical to success. Through intergenera- tional transmission of values, socioeconomic conditions thus survived one of the most aggres- sive attempts to eliminate differences in the population and to foster mobility.

Yang You and Kenneth Rogoff. Working Paper. “Redeemable Platform Currencies.” R&R Review of Economic Studies. nber26464_redeemable_platform_currencies_2.pdf
Robin Greenwood, Andrei Shleifer, and Yang You. 1/2019. “Bubble for Fama.” Journal of Financial Economics.Abstract


We evaluate Eugene Fama’s claim that stock prices do not exhibit price bubbles. Based on US industry returns 1926-2014 and international sector returns 1985-2014, we present four findings: (1) Fama is correct in that a sharp price increase of an industry portfolio does not, on average, predict unusually low returns going forward; (2) such sharp price increases predict a substantially heightened probability of a crash but not of a further price boom; (3) attributes of the price run-up, including volatility, turnover, issuance, and the price path of the run-up can all help forecast an eventual crash; (4) these attributes also help forecast future returns. Results hold similarly in US and international samples. 



2017-0899_main_text.pdf Internet_appendix20170906.pdf
2018. “Educated Youth Should go to the Rural Areas: A Tale of Education, Employment and Social Values.” (See Chen, Fan, Gu, and Zhou (2020) for extensive analysis on the same theme).Abstract

I use a quasi-random urban-dweller allocation in rural areas during Mao’s Mass Rustication Movement to identify human capital externalities in education, employment, and social values. First, rural residents acquired an additional 0.1-0.2 years of education from a 1% increase in the density of sent-down youth measured by the number of sent-down youth in 1969 over the population size in 1982. Second, as economic outcomes, people educated during the rustication period suffered from less non-agricultural employment in 1990. Conversely, in 2000, they enjoyed increased hiring in all non-agricultural occupations and lower unemployment. Third, sent-down youth changed the social values of rural residents who reported higher levels of trust, enhanced subjective well-being, altered trust from traditional Chinese medicine to Western medicine, and shifted job attitudes from objective cognitive assessments to affective job satisfaction. To explore the mechanism, I document that sent-down youth served as rural teachers with two new county-level datasets.