New NBER Research

3 September 2014

Failure to Refinance

Benjamin Keys, Devin Pope, and Jaren Pope analyze data on outstanding mortgages in December 2010 and find that approximately twenty percent of homeowners had not taken advantage of apparently attractive opportunities to refinance. They estimate that the median present-discounted value of the foregone interest savings from a potential refinancing was approximately $11,500.

2 September 2014

New Estimates of How the WIC Program Affects Birth Outcomes

Janet Currie and Ishita Rajani use birth records from New York City to study the effects of the Women, Infant, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC) on birth outcomes. They compare birth outcomes for mothers who have given birth more than once during their sample period, and who participated in WIC for at least one but not all of their pregnancies. The authors find that receiving WIC is associated with reductions in low birth weight, even among full term infants, and with reductions in the probability that a child is "small for dates."

29 August 2014

Explaining the Decline in Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing Plants

Between 1990 and 2008, the real value of U.S. manufacturing output grew by one-third while the pollution emitted from U.S. factories fell by two-thirds. Arik Levinson analyzes data from the National Emissions Inventories and finds that over 90 percent of this clean-up is explained by a combination of input substitution, process changes, and end-of-pipe controls. Change in the composition of output within manufacturing, toward cleaner industries, is relatively unimportant.

28 August 2014

Does Affirmative Action Motivate Favored Students?

Christopher Cotton, Brent Hickman, and Joseph Price carry out a field experiment in which they provide prizes for exam performance to 5th through 8th grade mathematics students. For one group of students, prizes are based only on absolute performance. For another, some prizes are reserved for the best-performing younger students. Younger students in the second group invested more time in preparing for the test, and had higher subsequent mathematics achievement, than younger students in the first group. There was no difference between the behavior of the older students in the first and second groups.
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