• Featured Chart
  • December 20, 2022

2022 in Featured Charts

Economists tackled inequality, political turnover, air pollution, and more.

The top ten Featured Charts of 2022 covered a wide variety of topics.

Tyler Smith

The Featured Chart series provides snapshots of charts or figures from the latest published articles and includes some context of how the chart relates to the authors' findings. The top ten charts of 2022 cover inequality, political turnover, air pollution, and more. You can view the most popular charts from 2022 below. The rankings are based on overall page views. Check out more on our website.   


1. Childcare and inequality

Economists Sarah Flood, Joel McMurry, Aaron Sojourner, and Matthew Wiswall examine inequality in the care experienced by American children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Disparities in both parental and nonparental care contribute to overall inequality and the authors document changes since the early 2000s. The findings counter mistaken assumptions that more educated parents spend more total time with their children. Read more.

Figure 1 from Flood et al. (2022)


2. Inflation expectations and economic outcomes

How did inflation and inflation expectations change during the COVID-19 pandemic? Carola Binder and Rupal Kamdar explore the relationship between realized and expected inflation during the pandemic, as well as key historic periods of inflation in the United States. Read more.

Figure 4 from Binder and Kamdar (2022)


3. The income gap in China

China has undergone a dramatic transformation since economic reforms in 1978 moved it away from a centrally planned economy toward a more market-oriented system. Junsen Zhang explores how income inequality has evolved in China. He documents how disparity between rich and poor has grown with economic output, and he finds that the divide between urban and rural areas has become more pronounced. Read more.

Figure 3 from Zhang (2022)


4. Predistribution vs redistribution

Economists Thomas Blanchet, Lucas Chancel, and Amory Gethin find—contrary to widespread belief—that Europe’s lower inequality levels cannot be explained by differences in income redistribution policies. Rather, they conclude that Europe has been much more successful than the United States at ensuring that low-income groups benefit from relatively good-paying jobs. Read more.

Figure 8 from Blanchet et al. (2022)


5. Higher pay, fewer hours

How do increases in the minimum wage affect demand for low-wage workers? Ekaterina Jardim, Mark C. Long, Robert Plotnick, Emma van Inwegen, Jacob Vigdor, and Hilary Wething examine the impact of two minimum wage hikes by the city of Seattle in 2015 and 2016. Read more.

Figure 5 from Jardim et al. (2022)


6. Political turnover and education quality in Brazil

Researchers Mitra Akhtari, Diana Moreira, and Laura Trucco investigated the scope and consequences of politically motivated replacements in Brazil’s municipal governments. They found that political party turnover in mayoral elections widely reshapes the local bureaucracy. As a result, the disruption harms the quality of public education, one of the primary responsibilities of Brazil's local governments. Read more.

Figure 4 from Akhtari (2022)


7. The far-reaching legacy of lynchings

Political participation among Blacks remains lower than that of Whites in many US elections. Jhacova Williams shows that historical racial animus is partly to blame. She found that Blacks who live in counties that were exposed to a relatively higher number of lynchings a century ago have lower voter registration rates today. Read more.

Right panel of Figure 5 from Williams (2022)


8. China’s Grand Canal

The historic closure of China's Grand Canal sheds light on the intersection between trade and social unrest, according to Yiming Cao and Shuo Chen. They found that counties along the canal experienced more than twice as much rebelliousness after the canal’s abandonment than regions without direct access. Read more.

Figure 3 from Cao and Chen (2022)


9. Monopsony trends

How much market power do US employers have? Economists Chen Yeh, Claudia Macaluso, and Brad Hershbein estimated markdowns in the US manufacturing sector and found that most manufacturing plants do in fact operate in a monopsonistic environment. Read more.

Figure 4 from Yeh et al. (2022)


10. Testing the pollution-haven hypothesis

Researchers Shinsuke Tanaka, Kensuke Teshima, and Eric Verhoogen say that higher standards in the United States resulted in some of the lead-acid battery recycling industry relocating to Mexico, taking their pollution with them. The results provide direct evidence that tightening environmental regulations can displace polluting activities, through trade, from richer countries to poorer countries with weaker regulations—a phenomenon known as the “pollution-haven effects.” Read more.

Figure 2 from Tanaka et al. (2022)



You can check out the rest of the Featured Chart series on the AEA website. Stay up-to-date with the latest economics research by following @AEAjournals on Facebook and Twitter and by subscribing to our monthly Research Highlights Digest.