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The Global Financial Crisis at 10:
What Led Up to It? What Lessons Were Learned?


The global financial crisis a decade ago had a profound impact on the fields in which economists work. Studies of beliefs that led to the crisis, weaknesses of the pre-crisis financial system, the lessons learned, and the possibility that it could have been prevented were considered at the NBER’s 2018 Summer Institute.
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New NBER Research

19 September 2018

The Impact of Unequal Raises on Quit Behavior

In an analysis of job-leaving decisions at a large U.S. retailer that workers say were wage-based, Arindrajit Dube, Laura Giuliano, and Jonathan Leonard find that decisions to quit are driven by comparisons with higher-paid peers, suggesting concerns about fairness.

18 September 2018

The Impact of Caloric Information on Consumer Behavior

In a randomized controlled experiment in two full-service restaurants, customers given menus with calorie counts ordered 3 percent fewer calories than customers using menus without the counts, John Cawley, Alex Susskind, and Barton Willage report. Exposure to the information increased consumers’ support for requiring calorie labels by 9.6 percent.

17 September 2018

The Rich Get Richer in India's Stock Market

Return heterogeneity increases equity wealth inequality among Indian investor, according to a study by John Y. Campbell, Tarun Ramadorai, and Benjamin Ranish. This occurs both because there are many undiversified accounts, some of which experience outsize and some of which experience poor returns, and because on average large accounts are better diversified.
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2018 NBER Summer Institute Methods Lectures:
Dealing with the ‘Weak Instruments’ Problem



The technique of instrumental variables is one of the most widely used tools in empirical economic research. When the source of exogenous variation in the explanatory variables accounts for only a small share of the variation in these variables — the so-called "weak instruments" problem — standard IV methods can yield biased results in small samples and can result in incorrect inferences about underlying parameter values. Isaiah Andrews (left, above) and James Stock of Harvard University and the NBER explain how to diagnose the weak instruments problem, and how to conduct inference in this setting.

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The NBER Digest

Weeks before Supposedly Unexpected Expansionary
FOMC Announcements, Stock Returns Trend Positive




In a study featured in the current edition of The NBER Digest, researchers found positive returns as much as 25 days before the announcement of expansionary monetary policy “shocks” by the Federal Open Market Committee. Drift around supposedly surprise announcements — both positive and negative — affected firms in almost all industries and extended to many equity markets outside the United States. Also featured in the September issue of the Digest: an examination of the effect of more affordable travel on scientific collaborations, an investigation of the relationship between car prices and financing terms, a measure of gains from a localized spurt in productivity, a look at union membership, wages, and income inequality, and an analysis of debt markets’ bias toward home country currencies.

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The NBER Reporter

Mergers and the Rising Importance of Intangible Assets
Contributing to Decline in the Number of Listed Firms




Investment by U.S. firms has changed, with spending for intangible assets rising and expenditures on capital goods decreasing, and this has impacted newer firms’ views on the desirability of being listed. A research summary in the current issue of The NBER Reporter explains that this shift and a surge in mergers have contributed to a sharp decline in listings. Also in the quarterly Reporter: A report on the effects of gender imbalance on saving behaviors within families and in the broader economy, an analysis of firm behaviors in reaction to changes in the competitive environment, a summary of asset pricing research in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and an examination of large implicit taxes on work at older ages.

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The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health

Regulation of Emergency Department Wait Times
Benefits Patients’ Short- and Long-Term Outcomes




Growing emergency department (ED) wait times are increasingly a focus of public concern. Research summarized in the current edition of the NBER's Bulletin on Aging and Health studies the effects of a policy in England requiring that 95 percent of ED patients be discharged, admitted as an inpatient, or transferred to another hospital within four hours of arrival. The study finds a modest increase in ED costs due to the policy, and a reduction in the 30-day patient mortality rate of an estimated 14 percent.

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