Border Adjustment Tax Would Strengthen the Dollar,
Reduce U.S. Trade, and Possibly Trigger Counter Moves

Advocates of implementing a border adjustment tax to reduce the United States’ trade deficit argue that such a measure would not be protectionist because such a tax would strengthen the dollar, and this would offset the impact of import duties. But a study presented recently at the NBER's 33rd Annual Conference on Macroeconomics contradicted a central assumption of this argument — that the stronger dollar’s effect on import prices and the impact of the tax on import prices would be symmetric. The researchers found that the tax would raise the cost of imports and have a negative effect on U.S. exports.
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New NBER Research

21 May 2018

Immigrant Entrepreneurship in America: Evidence
from the Survey of Business Owners in 2007 and 2012

First-generation immigrants create about 25 percent of new firms in the United States, and over 40 percent in some states, Sari Pekkala Kerr and William R. Kerr find.

18 May 2018

Adoption and Learning Across Hospitals:
The Case of a Revenue-Generating Practice

After 2008, hospitals could raise their Medicare revenue by over 2 percent by specifying a patient’s type of heart failure. Many hospitals have not taken advantage of this opportunity. Adam Sacarny finds this mostly reflects differences in hospitals’ ability to extract documentation from physicians.

17 May 2018

How Reformulation of OxyContin Ignited Heroin Epidemic

Reformulation of the oft-abused prescription opioid OxyContin in 2010 led many consumers of the drug to turn to heroin as an inexpensive alternative, research by William N. Evans, Ethan Lieber, and Patrick Power shows. The reformulation did not reduce combined heroin and opioid mortality.
More Research

New from the Studies in Income and Wealth Series:
Measuring and Modeling Health Care Costs

Health care costs represent a nearly 18 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and 20 percent of government spending. While there is detailed information on where these health care dollars are spent, there is much less evidence on how this spending affects health.

The research in Measuring and Modeling Health Care Costs seeks to connect what is known about expenditures with measurable results to probe questions of methodology, changes in the pharmaceutical industry, and the shifting landscape of physician practice. Studies in this volume investigate, for example, obesity's effect on health care spending, the effect of generic pharmaceutical releases on the market, and the disparity between disease-based and population-based spending. Researchers apply a range of economic tools to the analysis of health care and health outcomes.

Practical and descriptive, this latest volume in the Studies in Income and Wealth series is full of insights relevant to health policy students and specialists alike.

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The NBER Digest

Demand for Railcars Spiked Due to the Fracking Boom,
and Consumers of Midwest Grain Bore the Consequences

While total shipments of North Dakotan grain were relatively constant in the period 2010-14, shipments of oil rose from 26,000 to 343,000 railcar loads annually. A study featured in the current issue of The NBER Digest finds that consumers, rather than farmers, bore the cost of the resulting rail network congestion, shipping delays, and spoilage. Other studies summarized in the May Digest examine the financial benefit to older workers of staying on the job and delaying Social Security benefits, the effect of employer concentration on wages and the labor share, the effectiveness of U.S. government efforts to curb the use of offshore accounts to evade taxes, and the validity of the Peter Principle.

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The NBER Reporter

A Deep Look into the Segregation of Urban America
Shows Pre-WWI White Flight and Zoning Were Keys

Research into the evolution of black ghettos in urban areas of the American North finds that localized white flight and racist zoning ordinances led to a high degree of racial segregation in the early decades of the 20th century, well before the institution of the federal mortgage lending policies of the 1930s that have led some to believe that the federal government was uniquely responsible for segregating America. Findings are detailed in the latest issue of The NBER Reporter. Also in this edition of the quarterly Reporter, economists write about their work on digital currency and blockchains, motives for charitable giving to higher education, advantages of using consumption rather than income levels to measure inequality, and approaches to helping the world’s poorest people out of poverty.

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The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health

Social Security Provides an Ideal Scenario
to Study the Mortality Effects of Retirement

It can be difficult to isolate the health effects of retirement, as individuals often retire because of poor health or other confounding factors. The sudden swell of retirees at the age of 62, spurred by Social Security benefits kicking in, provides a large dataset from which to inspect retirement's causal effects. Research summarized in the current edition of the NBER's Bulletin on Aging and Health finds that male mortality rates jump by about 2 percent after the 62nd birthday, coinciding with the Social Security retirement age; the effects for women are less pronounced.

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