My name is Nicholas Reynolds. 

I'm a Lecturer (~Assistant Professor) in Economics at the University of Essex.

I'm a labor and health economist, with a particular focus on the health and human capital of Americans.


The Paper Trail of Knowledge Spillovers: Evidence from Patent Interferences 

with Ina Ganguli (UMass Amherst) and Jeffrey Lin (Philadelphia Fed)

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2020.

Working paper version.

Working papers

Declining Health and Human Capital of Americans Born after 1947   


March 2023

I present evidence of a decline in the health and human capital of Americans beginning with cohorts born after 1947 and continuing until at least mid-1960s cohorts. Age-adjusted educational attainment, earnings, maternal health (proxied by the birthweight of infants), and mortality all exhibit trend breaks near the 1947 cohort, such that each outcome worsens for subsequent cohorts relative to the prior trend. Evidence of these sharp breaks remain when I control for year and age effects or smooth age-by-year interactions, or use a novel nonparametric test. The same cohorts had lower scores on standardized tests as teenagers and their physical growth and development was delayed — suggesting a broad decline in the health and human capital of these cohorts, originating early-in-life and manifesting in poor outcomes throughout their lives.

The cohort decline is large enough to drive aggregate: i) educational declines in the 1960s, ii) increases in the low birthweight rate in the 1980s, iii) mortality increases since 1999, and to contribute substantially to iv) wage stagnation since the 1970s. My theory therefore partially unifies the disparate searches for the causes of each of these four declines into  a single search for what went wrong early in life for Americans born after 1947. I begin this search: presenting evidence against a number of plausible hypotheses and showing that the decline is remarkably widespread across geography and race, for those born in the US.

Increased Mortality of White Americans and a Decline in the Health of Cohorts Born after World War II 

(NEW VERSION: February 2023)

Revised and resubmitted (2nd Round) at the Journal of Human Resources