NBER News and Research Archive

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.

27 August 2014

Chinese Import Competition and U.S. Employment Growth

Daron Acemoglu, David Autor, David Dorn, Gordon Hanson, and Brendan Price estimate that rising import competition from China reduced U.S. employment growth by between 2.0 and 2.4 million jobs between 1999 and 2011.

26 August 2014

How Access to Manufacturing Jobs Affects Bangladeshi Women

Rachel Heath and A. Mushfiq Mobarak analyze how the opening of ready-made garment factories in Bangladesh affects the behavior of young women in nearby villages. They find that these women delay marriage and childbirth. They also find an increase in school enrollment among young girls in proximate villages, potentially in response to the value of both literacy and numeracy in performing factory jobs.

25 August 2014

Active Decision Frames and Organ Donor Registration

Judd Kessler and Alvin Roth study the impact of a 2011 policy change in California that shifted from an opt-in organ donor registration system, in which applicants for driver's licenses could register as organ donors but were not required to answer any questions about this subject, to an "active choice frame," in which license applicants were required to indicate whether they did or did not want to be organ donors. They find that the switch did not increase organ donor registration rates, and that it in other states.

22 August 2014

Causes and Consequences of Patent Litigation

Lauren Cohen, Umit Gurun, and Scott Duke Kominers study the determinants of, and consequences of, lawsuits by non-practicing entities (NPEs) alleging that operating firms have infringed on the NPEs' patents. They find that NPEs are more likely to sue firms that have high levels of cash on hand, as well as firms that are busy with other non-patent litigation. They also report a negative effect of NPE litigation on the target firm's subsequent innovative activity.

21 August 2014

Skill Shortages and Mismatches?

Peter Cappelli finds little evidence of an under-supply of skilled workers in the U.S. labor market, and concludes that over-education of workers is a persistent situation in the U.S. labor market.

20 August 2014

Patient Behavior Following Treatment for Heart Disease

Jesse Margolis, Jason Hockenberry, Michael Grossman, and Shin-Yi Chou find that heart disease patients who receive Coronary Artery Bypass Graft, an invasive procedure, are 12 percentage points more likely to quit smoking in the next year than ex ante similar patients who received Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, a less invasive procedure. This difference in post-procedure behavior helps to explain the difference in long-term outcomes for the two procedures.

19 August 2014

Corporate Taxes and Firm Borrowing

Francis Longstaff and Ilya Strebulaev study corporate income tax returns from 1926 through 2009 and find that changes in corporate leverage are directly related to changes in corporate tax rates for all but the smallest firms. Small firms facing financial constraints adapt more slowly than other firms to changes in tax incentives for leverage.
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