Series of Unsurprising Results in Economics: Journal Articles

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The Series of Unsurprising Results in Economics (SURE) is an e-journal of high-quality research with “unsurprising” findings. We publish interesting and carefully-executed studies with statistically insignificant or otherwise unsurprising results. Studies from all fields of Economics will be considered. SURE is an open-access journal and there are no submission charges.


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Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
  • ItemOpen Access
    Cigarette Smoking, Physical Activity and Time Use
    (2021) Colman, Gregory; Conway, Karen Smith; Dave, Dhaval
    This study adds to the limited, existing research on the relationship between cigarette costs, smoking and physical activity by considering more comprehensive physical activity measures, including non-work activities beyond recreational exercise. To better understand the relationship between smoking and our broader measures of physical activity, we provide a conceptual framework in which smoking takes time and is often a secondary activity that is easier to undertake during some activities (e.g., watching television, walking) than others (running). These measures come from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), linked with the Current Population Survey’s Tobacco Use Supplement (CPS-TUS), for 2003-2012, a period of increasing cigarette costs yet predating the emergence of e-cigarettes. Our empirical results suggest that the relationships between cigarette costs, smoking and physical activity are different between men and women and that focusing only on ‘exercise,’ rather than all forms of non-work, physical activity may yield misleading conclusions. Smoking cessation is associated with increased ‘exercise’ for both men and women, but only men’s smoking and exercise are significantly affected by cigarette prices. However, redefining physical activity to include other non-work activities eliminates these relationships, suggesting few spillovers between smoking and physical activity, once broadly defined. Even if cigarette costs induce an increase in exercise – as they appear to do for males – this increase comes at the expense of other activities, thereby diminishing the overall impact on physical activity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Impact of the 2008 Youth Minimum Wage Reform in New Zealand
    (2021) Hyslop, Dean; Stillman, Steven
    We examine the impact of a policy reform in New Zealand that abolished the youth minimum wage for 16-17 year-old workers and resulted in a 28% increase in the real value of the minimum wage for this group using a difference-in-differences analysis where we compare changes in outcomes over time for 16-17 year-olds relative to 20-21 year-olds allowing for potential spillovers to 18-19 year-olds. We first show that, at the time of the reform, minimum wages were substantially binding for 16-17 year-olds. We find no evidence of adverse employment effects immediately following the policy change in 2008, but conclude that it lowered the employment rate of 16-17 year-olds by 3-6 percentage points in the subsequent two years, and resulted in substitution towards 18-19 year-olds. These effects were mostly borne by students: in fact, the employment rate among non-students increased; in addition, there was no increase in 16-17 year-olds’ unemployment, and their overall inactivity rate decreased following 2008. Overall, we find that this large minimum wage increase had fairly small adverse effects and primarily impacted marginally attached workers suggesting that increasing minimum wages are unlikely to cause large employment losses in most circumstances
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Impact of Uber on Drunk Driving in New Zealand
    (University of Canterbury, 2021) Henderson, Jono; Coupe, Tom
    In May 2014, the global ridesharing service, Uber, began operations in Auckland, New Zealand and by March 2019, Uber was available in seven cities across the country. As in other countries, Uber New Zealand‘s press releases claim that the presence of Uber reduces the incidence of drunk driving. Using monthly data on drunk driving crashes and alcohol-related driving offences in the various regions of New Zealand, we find that the presence of Uber in a city is often associated with small decreases in these indicators of drunk driving, but these results consistently lack statistical significance.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Are Happy Marriages Faithful Marriages? Addressing the Endogeneity Problem
    (University of Canterbury, 2021) Tebaldi, Edinaldo; Elmslie, Bruce
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Effect of Outside Temperature on Criminal Court Sentencing Decisions
    (University of Canterbury, 2021) Evans, Sally; Siminski, Peter
  • ItemOpen Access
    An Informational Intervention to Increase Semester Credits in College
    (2019) Huntington-Klein, Nick; Gill, Andrew M.
    Increased time to college degree completion increases tuition and foregone earnings costs. Encouraging college students to take more semester credits is a low-cost way to reduce time to completion. We implemented an experimental informational intervention to increase student course loads by varying the intensity of information about the benefits of taking 15 credits per semester. We find no effect of our treatment on students’ course loads. Our null finding is of interest because of the increasing popularity of low-cost informational interventions. Uncovering null results like these is important for the design of future interventions.