New NBER Research

5 February 2016

The Gender Wage Gap:
Extent, Trends, and Explanations

Francine D. Blau and Lawrence M. Kahn find that women’s work force interruptions and shorter hours are significant explanators of the gender pay gap, while differences in noncognitive skills between men and women play only a small to moderate role. They also discover that between 1980 and 2010, the gender pay gap declined much more slowly at the top of the wage distribution that at the middle or bottom.

4 February 2016

Is California the Most Energy-Efficient State?

California’s per capita electricity consumption is only half the nation average, but this could be due to many factors. In a study of properties operated across the U.S. by a major hotel chain, Matthew E. Kahn, Nils Kok, and Peng Liu find that after controlling for climate conditions and geographic location, the hotels operated in California are the most energy efficient, but only by a small margin.

3 February 2016

Collateral Laws Shape Lending and Sectoral Activity

Loan-to-value ratios of bank loans collateralized with movable assets are lower, relative to loans collateralized with immovable assets, in countries with weak collateral laws, research by Charles W. Calomiris, Mauricio Larrain, José M. Liberti, and Jason D. Sturgess shows. This limited access to credit tends to shrink the share of production of firms that rely more on moveable assets in the production process.
More Research

Call for Papers

39th Annual NBER Summer Institute

NBER in the News

Wide Variety of Analyses, Multiple Perspectives

... in Tax Policy and the Economy, Vol. 29

From an estimate of how much the federal government could raise by limiting tax expenditures, to an analysis of whether tax credits have a significant causal effect on college attendance and related outcomes, to the impact of the Affordable Care Act on taxes on income and on full-time employment, the 29th volume of Tax Policy and the Economy illustrates the depth and breadth of taxation-related research by NBER associates. The book, edited by Jeffrey R. Brown, is just out from The University of Chicago Press.

Details and ordering information

This Week's Working Papers

New in the NBER Reporter

Fiscal Policy in Emerging Markets:
Procyclicality and Graduation

Why do so many emerging-market countries pursue procyclical fiscal policies when almost all developed countries have countercyclical policies? Carlos A. Vegh, a professor of international economics at Johns Hopkins University, analyzes this question in the latest edition of the quarterly NBER Reporter. He also explores factors that influence the size of fiscal multipliers – such as exchange-rate structure, debt levels, and the stage of the business cycle – and finds that multipliers are highest in recessions when government spending is trending upward. Read his analysis or download a pdf of the 2015:4 Reporter.

New in the NBER Digest

Whether Exchange Rate Movements Affect Inflation
Depends upon Currency Used to Price Imports

If most of a country's trade is denominated in its own currency, as is the case for the United States, the rate of inflation is relatively well insulated from the monetary policies and associated exchange rate movements of other countries, according to an analysis by Gita Gopinath, a professor of international studies and economics at Harvard. Her research is featured in the January edition of the monthly NBER Digest, as are studies of the taxation of U.S. business, the dynamics of market booms, the forces behind urban gentrification, the parental trend toward making unequal bequests, and the relationship between household debt and the business cycle.

Download the PDF
or Read online

Bulletin on Aging and Health

What Is the Value of Medicaid?

While Medicaid is the largest means-tested program in the United States, it has not been clear how to assess its value: How do Medicaid’s welfare benefits compare to its costs? How do its benefits compare to the benefits of other cash-based transfer programs? NBER research associates develop two analytical frameworks in research presented in the latest Bulletin on Aging and Health.

Download the PDF

Disability Insurance Programs and Retirement

Vol. 6 in Series on Social Security Around World

Disability insurance programs can play a significant role in the departure of older workers; in some countries, many individuals rely on disability insurance until they are able to enter into full retirement. The sixth stage of an ongoing research project studying the relationship between social security programs and labor force participation, this volume draws on the work of an eminent group of international economists to consider the extent to which differences in labor force participation across countries are determined by the provisions of disability insurance programs. Edited by David A. Wise; published by The University of Chicago Press.

Details and ordering information

NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us