Understanding the U.S. International Balance Sheet:
High Risk, High Returns for Insurer of Last Resort

NBER SUMMER FEY INTERVIEW 1- 10.18.16 Sequence.01

Hélène Rey of the London Business School discusses her research with Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas of the University of California, Berkeley, into unique aspects of the U.S. international balance sheet that profoundly influence both emerging and developed economies around the world. Studies by these and other NBER-affiliated economists are part of the new NBER theme page on international capital flows.

New NBER Research

6 December 2016

Effects of E-Cigarette Minimum Legal Sale Age Laws
on Cigarette Use and Birth Outcomes among Teenagers

E-cigarette minimum legal sale age laws may have reduced e-cigarette use, but may have also increased cigarette use during pregnancy by making it more difficult to use e-cigarettes to reduce or quit smoking. Michael F. Pesko and Janet M. Currie find that the laws increase underage pregnant teenagers’ smoking by 2.1 percentage points.

    5 December 2016

Structural Change, Economic Rank, and the Evolution
of Black-White Earnings Differences, 1940-2014

After closing substantially from 1940 to the mid-1970s, the median black-white earnings gap has since returned to its 1950 level, a study by Patrick Bayer and Kerwin Kofi Charles shows. By contrast, higher quantile black men have experienced substantial gains in both relative earnings levels and their positional rank in the white earnings distribution — gains driven primarily by improved access to quality schools and declining occupational exclusion.

    2 December 2016

Fighting Crises

In fighting a financial crisis, opacity (keeping the names of banks borrowing at emergency lending facilities secret) and stigma (the cost of having a bank’s name revealed) are desirable to restore confidence, according to research by Gary Gorton and Guillermo Ordoñez. Opacity creates an information externality that prevents runs even on banks not participating in lending facilities. Stigma keeps banks from revealing their participation and helps to sustain opacity.
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NBER in the News

How to Boost Your Social Security Check by 85 Percent
November 30, 2016
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Here's Why the Next Apple Might Not Be a Public Company
November 30, 2016
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Black-white earnings gap returns to 1950 levels in US
India Today
November 25, 2016
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Many still making this bad credit card move
Chicago Tribune
November 23, 2016
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Project that Originated in the Early 2000s Yields
Four Volumes of Research on African Successes

The NBER Africa Project, a multi-year initiative supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, explored key economic issues in African development and created partnerships among leading American economists, experts on Africa, and researchers in the field. Together they have produced in-depth examinations of the state of modernization, the challenges to human capital, the contributions of government, and the prospects for sustainable growth.

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This Week's Working Papers

The Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs

Few government programs in the United States are as controversial as those designed to help the poor. From tax credits to medical assistance, the size and structure of the American safety net is an issue of constant debate.

These two NBER volumes just published by The University of Chicago Press, update the earlier Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States with a discussion of the many changes in means-tested government programs and the results of new research over the past decade. While some programs that experienced falling outlays in the years prior to the previous volume have remained at low levels of expenditure, many others have grown, including Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and subsidized housing programs. For each program, the contributors describe its origins and goals, summarize its history and current rules, and discuss recipients' characteristics and the types of benefits they receive.

This valuable reference for researchers and policy makers features detailed analyses of many of the most important transfer programs in the United States.

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New in the NBER Digest

Publicly Insured Children Are Less Likely to Be
Hospitalized, but It Does Not Affect Their Health

Children covered by private health insurance are more likely to be admitted to the hospital after a visit to the emergency room than children covered by a public health plan, according to a study featured in the current edition of The NBER Digest, but there is no discernable difference in health outcomes between the two groups. Also featured in this Digest is research documenting the role of immigrants in STEM fields in the U.S., comparing Federal Reserve strategy in the Great Depression and Great Recession, analyzing the reporting of private equity fund returns, exploring the consequences of parental involvement in matchmaking in China, and examining Chicago's attempt to achieve diversity in elite exam schools without making race a factor in admissions.

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New in the NBER Reporter

How Labor Demand Affects Health Behaviors

Assumptions abound — and there is little consensus — regarding the impacts of the business cycle on health and health behaviors. In the latest issue of The NBER Reporter, Bentley University Professor Dhaval Dave reports on a variety of studies he and his colleagues have undertaken in an effort to clear the murky waters. Also featured in this edition are reports by NBER researchers on how trade arrangements currently under discussion could affect China and its trading partners, the impacts of globalization on foreign investment and business structures, the increasing use of cross-region variation by macroeconomists, and the dynamics of the U.S. market in higher education.

Read or download a pdf of the full edition

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