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22 October 2014

Energy Efficiency Subsidies Had Little Impact

The “Cash for Appliances” program, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, delivered $300 million to state governments to fund rebates to purchasers of energy-efficient appliances. Sébastien Houde and Joseph Aldy find the program did not have a meaningful impact on aggregate electricity consumption. They also find evidence the rebates may have induced some consumers to purchase larger appliances.

21 October 2014

Measuring the Effects of Consumer Bankruptcy Protection

Consumer bankruptcy is one of the largest social insurance programs in the United States. Will Dobbie and Jae Song analyze its impact on debtors using 500,000 bankruptcy filings matched to administrative tax and foreclosure data. They find that Chapter 13 protection increases annual earnings by $5,562, decreases five-year mortality by 1.2 percentage points, and decreases five-year foreclosure rates by 19.1 percentage points.

20 October 2014

Why Infant Mortality Is Higher in the U.S. than in Europe

The U.S. has substantially higher infant mortality than peer countries. Using data from the U.S., Austria, and Finland, Alice Chen, Emily Oster, and Heidi Williams find similar mortality in the first month after birth but a substantial US disadvantage thereafter. This postneonatal mortality disadvantage is driven almost exclusively by inequality in the U.S. Infants born to white, college-educated, married U.S. mothers have similar mortality to advantaged infants in Europe.

17 October 2014

The Value of Postsecondary Credentials in the Labor Market

In an experimental study of employers’ perceptions of postsecondary degrees, David Deming, Noam Yuchtman, Amira Abulafi, Claudia Goldin, and Lawrence Katz send fictitious resumes to real vacancy postings on a large online job board. Callbacks in response to the “applications” suggest that employers value college quality and the likelihood of a successful match when contacting applicants.
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