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National Bureau of Economic Research

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New COVID-19 Working Papers: November 21, 2022

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Four new working papers distributed in the last two weeks report on the economic, health, and related consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and public policies that respond to it. Two focus on labor market issues, one documenting the pandemic's impact on employment of disabled individuals (30640), the other projecting the pandemic's potential effect on the future earnings of women without college degrees (30647).  One study explores how the 1918 influenza epidemic affected investments in health care infrastructure (30643), while another describes the heterogeneous impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on both employment and mortality (30658).

More than 610 NBER working papers have addressed various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These papers are open access and have been collected for easy reference. Like all NBER papers, they are circulated for discussion and comment, and have not been peer-reviewed. View the papers in reverse chronological order or filter by topic area

A research summary from the monthly NBER Digest

The figure is a bar chart titled, "Age-Friendliness of Jobs by Industry."  The y-axis, which ranges from 0.2 to 0.32, plots the average 2020 age-friendliness index by sector.   The following lists the industries from the least to most job-friendly: construction, agricultural, manufacturing, personal services, mining, business and repair services, public administration, transportation, entertainment and recreational services, wholesale, professional and related services, retail, and finance/insurance/real es

Age-Friendly Jobs on the Rise, and Not Just for Older Workers


As the US population grows older, supporting employment at older ages can be an important contributor to economic growth. In The Rise of Age-Friendly Jobs (NBER Working Paper 30463), Daron Acemoglu, Nicolaj Søndergaard Mühlbach, and Andrew J. Scott build an index to assess whether occupations in the US economy have become more accommodating to older workers. Their resulting Age-Friendliness Index (AFI), aggregated across all jobs, increased by 8 percent…

From the NBER Reporter: Research, program, and conference summaries

Crisis Innovation: Historical Evidence, Insights, and Open Questions


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus the potential value of innovation in a crisis: big, new, urgent problems may demand novel solutions. Early on in the pandemic, there were calls from both scientists and policymakers for a focused R&D effort to combat the disease, many invoking past R&D efforts like the Manhattan Project as strategic metaphors for a wartime approach to the pandemic response.

Over the past several years, we have been immersed in studying crisis innovation, primarily through the lens of World War II, when the United States mobilized the country’s fledgling innovation system to tackle dozens of urgent wartime R&D needs, resulting in outputs as varied as radar, mass-produced penicillin, malaria treatments, and atomic fission. This effort was…

From the NBER Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

The 24th Annual Meeting of the Retirement and Disability Research Consortium


The Social Security Administration (SSA) convened its 2022 Retirement and Disability Research Consortium (RDRC) Meeting virtually on August 4–5. The meeting was organized by the NBER RDRC and featured research funded through the NBER RDRC as well as through other RDRC centers based at Boston College, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin.

Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of SSA, provided welcoming remarks. She pronounced, “the SSA is initiating a systems approach to research. … A systems approach examines the effects of structural barriers on economic and social well-being. These barriers include policies, programs, and institutional practices that facilitate the security and mobility of some groups while impeding that of others.” She added, “research plays an…

From the NBER Bulletin on Health

Prenatal Insurance Coverage for Undocumented Immigrants Improves Birth Outcomes


Medicaid coverage for prenatal care has expanded considerably in recent decades. But in many states, undocumented immigrants remain ineligible for this coverage. This exclusion is consequential because one in thirteen births in the United States is to an undocumented immigrant. In Covering Undocumented Immigrants: The Effects of a Large-Scale Prenatal Care Intervention (NBER Working Paper 30299), researchers Sarah Miller and Laura Wherry evaluate the effects of California’s decision to expand prenatal Medicaid coverage to undocumented immigrants in...

From the NBER Bulletin on Entrepreneurship

The graph is a bar chart titled "Spillovers to Neighboring Startups by Proximity and Access to Common Areas."    It shows the percentage point increase in the probability of startups adopting peer web technology by physical proximity to neighboring startups and whether startups have access to a common area shared with another startup.  For startups within 20 meters of each other, and for those both with and without a common area, the increase in probability is between around 3 and 3.5 percentage points. How

Startup Chemistry and the Coworking Environment


Startups located in coworking hubs can benefit from knowledge spillovers from their startup neighbors.  In (Co-)Working in Close Proximity: Knowledge Spillovers and Social Interactions (NBER Working Paper 30120), Maria P. Roche, Alexander Oettl,  and Christian Catalini find that knowledge spillovers are greatest among startup workers who socialize but are in moderately dissimilar enterprises.

The researchers studied one of the five largest technological coworking hubs in the nation, where 251 startups were randomly assigned office space in a five…

Featured Working Papers

Indicators of firms’ environmental, social, and governance performance are noisy, which confounds estimates of the link between ESG measures and stock returns.  Correcting for measurement error more than doubles the positive effect of ESG indicators, according to Florian BergJulian F. KoelbelAnna Pavlova, and Roberto Rigobon.

Tim SchittekatteDharik S. MallapragadaPaul L. Joskow, and Richard Schmalensee find that time-of-use electricity rates, especially when complemented with critical-peak pricing, can achieve roughly two thirds of the potential gains of fully efficient electricity pricing.

Pennsylvania and West Virginia were governed by investment-return disclosure polices of complete secrecy and full disclosure, respectively, during the shale boom. Thomas R. Covert and Richard L. Sweeney find that full disclosure, by enabling other drillers to benefit from information in the wells drilled by each driller, increased the total value of shale development.

Returns on homes vary directly with their owners’ wealth level and are considerably higher for the very wealthy compared to the middle class and lower wealth households, according to Edward N. Wolff.

The pandemic reduced office demand and raised the risk premium for real estate investments, resulting in a 45% decline in New York City office values in 2020 and a 39% decline in the longer-run, the latter representing a loss of $453 billion in value, Arpit GuptaVrinda Mittal, and Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh report.

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Through a partnership with the University of Chicago Press, the NBER publishes the proceedings of four annual conferences as well as other research studies associated with NBER-based research projects.

Research Spotlights

NBER researchers discuss their work on subjects of wide interest to economists, policymakers, and the general public. Recordings of more-detailed presentations, keynote addresses, and panel discussions at NBER conferences are available on the Lectures page.
Research Spotlight
Research Spotlight
Research Spotlight
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected different subgroups of the population, based on race, ethnicity, and income, in...
Research Spotlight
The COVID-19 pandemic affected businesses in different industries in disparate ways.  Those in customer contact...
Research Spotlight
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was one of the central elements of the pandemic stimulus program. It was designed...
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