Predictable country-level bias in the reporting of COVID-19 deaths




We examine whether a country’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic relate to the downward biasing of the number of reported deaths from COVID-19. Using deviations from historical averages of the total number of monthly deaths within a country, we find that the probability of underreporting of COVID-related deaths for countries with the most stringent policies was 58.6%, compared to a 28.2% for countries with the least stringent policies. Countries with the lowest¬†ex ante¬†healthcare capacity in terms of number of available beds underreport deaths by 52.5% on average, compared to 23.1% for countries with the greatest capacity.

Author(s): Botir Kobilov, Ethan Rouen, George Serafeim

Publication Date: Summer 2021

Publication Site: Journal of Government and Economics

Incentivizing Financial Regulators



I study how promotion incentives within the public sector affect financial regulation. I assemble individual data for all SEC enforcement attorneys between 2002 and 2017, including enforcement cases, salaries, and ranks. Consistent with tournament model, attorneys with stronger promotion incentives are involved in more enforcement, especially against severe financial misconduct, and in tougher settlement terms. For identification, I rely on cross-sectional tests within offices and ranks and on exogenous variation in salaries resulting from a rule-based conversion to a new pay system. The findings highlight a novel link between incentives and regulation and show that the regulator’s organizational design affects securities markets.

Author: Joseph Kalmenovitz

Publication Date: 28 March 2019

Date Accessed: 30 January 2021

Publication Site: SSRN