New NBER Research
23 September 2014
Jonathan Gruber and Robin McKnight study the effect of a reform in the health insurance plan for Massachusetts state employees that introduced a major financial incentive for one group of employees, but not others, to choose limited network plans. They find that those who switched to these plans spent considerably less on medical care, reducing both the quantity of services used and the prices paid per service. Spending on primary care actually rose for those who switched to these plans; the reduction in spending came entirely from spending on specialists and on hospital care.
22 September 2014
David Card and Laura Giuliano analyze data from a large urban school district to study how assignment to separate gifted classrooms affected fourth grade students. They find that a separate classroom environment has little impact on the performance of students who were selected based on IQ test results, but that it raises performance for students selected on past achievement on subject matter tests, particularly for disadvantaged students who are often excluded from gifted and talented programs.
19 September 2014
Jenna Nobles, Elizabeth Frankenberg, and Duncan Thomas study the fertility response to an unanticipated mortality shock that resulted from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed large shares of the residents of some Indonesian communities but caused no deaths in neighboring communities. They find that mothers who lost one or more children in the disaster were significantly more likely to bear additional children after the tsunami and that women without children before the tsunami initiated family-building earlier in communities where tsunami-related mortality rates were higher.
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18 September 2014
Marianne Bitler, Hilary Hoynes, and Thurston Domina analyze data from the Head Start Impact Study, the first national randomized experiment designed to evaluate this program. They find large gains in cognitive achievement during the pre-school period, with the largest gains at the bottom of the distribution.
17 September 2014
Using high-frequency bond data from the periods around the 1992 and 2000 presidential elections, Lorenz Kueng finds that financial markets are remarkably successful in forecasting future tax rate changes in both the short and the long term.
16 September 2014
Philip Oreopoulos, Robert Brown, and Adam Lavecchia study the effects of Toronto's Pathways to Education program, a comprehensive youth support program designed to improve academic outcomes for high school students from poor socio-economic backgrounds. They find sharp increases in high school graduation and post-secondary enrollment rates, sometimes as large as 50 percent.
15 September 2014
Erling Barth, Alex Bryson, James Davis, and Richard Freeman find that much of the increase in earnings inequality between 1970 and 2010 was due to increased dispersion of the earnings among the establishments where individuals work, not between different workers within each establishment.
12 September 2014
Lucia Foster, Cheryl Grim, and John Haltiwanger report that recent economic downturns prior to the Great Recession were periods of accelerated reallocation across firms, relative to "normal times," and that this reallocation was more productivity enhancing than normal reallocation. During the Great Recession, however, reallocation declined and the reallocation that did occur was less productivity enhancing than that in prior recessions.
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