18 May 2015

Recent European, U.S. Financial Crises Were at Base
Very Different, Macroeconomic Conferees Are Told

Mark L.J. Wright (above) of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and his colleagues looked into the financial crises of 2009 in research for the NBER’s 30th Annual Conference on Macroeconomics. They found that the EU had an external debt crisis, the U.S. a public debt crisis, and Canada no crisis at all. They presented their findings at the conference, which was held in Cambridge April 17-18.

Full texts, videos of presentations and brief interviews with researchers are posted.

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22 May 2015

Productivity, Safety, and Regulation in Coal Mining

Coal mining is a dangerous occupation where the level of resources devoted to mine safety may affect both output and fatalities. Gautam Gowrisankaran, Charles He, Eric A. Lutz, and Jefferey L. Burgess explore the tradeoffs between mineral output and safety; they find that government inspections and penalties increase after mine fatalities, causing accident rates and productivity both to decline.

21 May 2015

Retail Access and Food Purchases Across the Socioeconomic Spectrum

Socioeconomic disparities in nutrition will largely remain intact even if access to healthy foods is improved in underserved areas, according to an analysis by Jessie Handbury, Ilya Rahkovsky, and Molly Schnell. They find that the nutritional quality of purchases by low-income, low-education households change very little when new stores enter or when existing stores change product offerings. Even in the same store, more-educated households purchase more healthful foods.
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Bulletin on Aging and Health: 2015, No.1

Why is Infant Mortality Higher
in the U.S. than in Other Developed Countries?

There are numerous theories as to why the infant mortality rate is higher in the United States than in other countries, ranging from reporting differences for infants born near the threshold of viability to higher death rates in the first year of life. To quantify the importance of these potential sources of higher mortality, Alice Chen, Emily Oster, and Heidi Williams combine natality microdata from the U.S. with similar data from Finland, which has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world, and Austria, where the rate is similar to much of the rest of continental Europe. Their working paper is featured in the latest edition of the NBER's Bulletin on Aging and Health.

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New in the NBER Digest

Rising Macroeconomic Volatility Associated
with Increases in Foreign Assets Holdings

The more volatile a nation's economy relative to its partners, the more resources its residents choose to hold in foreign assets, according to research reported in The NBER Digest. The May issue also features studies of the dynamics of momentum trading, the outcomes of childhood Medicaid eligibility, the results of NIH funding of biomedical research, the employment effects of recession, and the spread of residential segregation in the U.S.

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or Read online

The Economics of African-American
Well-Being in the 19th-Century South

 In The Color Factor, Howard Bodenhorn has written the first full-length study of how color intersected with polity, society and economy in the 19th-century South. His NBER monograph, just published by Oxford University Press, compiles empirical economic research on plantation life, and pulls together and expands on previous research on the connection between color, wealth, and health. Publication date is June 1, but copies are now available here  
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