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Mortgage Shoppers: Beware of High-Cost Options

Mortgage Shoppers: Beware of High-Cost Options

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There is surprisingly little empirical evidence on how households choose among complex financial products such as mortgages. A key reason is the difficulty in determining the choice sets that borrowers face when selecting among potential loans. Usually, researchers see only the mortgage that the borrower ultimately chooses.

In Price Discrimination and Mortgage Choice (NBER Working Paper 31652), Jamie CoenAnil K Kashyap, and May Rostom assemble a unique dataset that contains information on the…

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

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From Cash to Central Bank Digital Currency

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Central banks of many countries are seriously considering replacing cash with some form of central bank digital currency — often referred to as CBDC. This will be a large change, perhaps second only in importance to the widespread adoption of fiat currency during the twentieth century. As with any new, untried system, evaluation of it has to rely both on theoretical ideas and on empirical studies that quantify the effects of past reforms that most resemble the proposed change. In this piece I summarize some of the empirical work that various colleagues and I have done to shed light on the potential effects of adopting a CBDC. Most of the work uses either natural or field experiments we thought could help evaluate the cost and benefit of replacing cash with a nationwide, centralized digital...

From the NBER Bulletin on Health

 Drinking Water Contamination, Even at Low Levels, Affects Birth Outcomes

Drinking Water Contamination, Even at Low Levels, Affects Birth Outcomes

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The Safe Drinking Water Act regulates over 90 contaminants — such as lead and arsenic — in community water systems. These regulations establish maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for each contaminant; levels that exceed MCLs are considered violations. However, even among water systems that meet regulatory standards, the levels of contaminants can vary. In Drinking Water Contaminant Concentrations and Birth Outcomes (NBER Working Paper 31567), researchers Richard DiSalvo and Elaine L. Hill show that elevated levels of contaminants — even in communities where the concentrations are compliant with regulations — adversely affect birth…

From the NBER Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

Inter-state Variation in Disability Applications during the Pandemic figure

Inter-state Variation in Disability Applications during the Pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated health and economic burdens have unfolded quite differently across states in the US. These differences are due to a variety of factors, including population density, socioeconomic status, health, and state policies. Variation across states in the timing and magnitude of the pandemic as well as in state characteristics and policies may have affected the dynamics of federal disability applications during this period.

In Inter-State Variation in Disability Applications During the COVID-19 Pandemic (NBER RDRC Working Paper 22-02), researchers Pinka Chatterji, Yiran Han, Kajal Lahiri, Jinman Pang, and Yimeng Yin examine inter-state differences in the monthly dynamics of disability applications after the onset...

From the NBER Bulletin on Entrepreneurship

Striking a Balance between Entrepreneurs and Investors figure

Striking a Balance between Entrepreneurs and Investors

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In Do Entrepreneurs Want Control? And Should They Get What They Want? A Historical and Theoretical Exploration (NBER Working Paper 31106), Naomi R. Lamoreaux and Jean-Laurent Rosenthal develop a model of startup financing in which founders and outside investors compete for control of the firm. They apply their framework to study how companies’ outcomes, in particular subsequent innovations, are influenced by which group has the upper hand.

The researchers find that no simple corporate governance rule fits all circumstances. Entrepreneurs want a company to fund their vision of continued technological development. Investors want to earn favorable returns on the funds they invest in an entrepreneur’s project. Because entrepreneurs can personally gain...

Featured Working Papers

After Canadian mergers and acquisitions, the average earnings of workers at the target firms at the time of acquisition decline, largely as a result of an earnings fall for workers who leave the target firm and take a position at another firm where there skills are a less-good match, David ArnoldKevin S. MilliganTerry Moon, and Amirhossein Tavakoli find.

A windfall gain of $100,000 in Swedish lotteries leads to a 5 percentage point decrease in the share of the winners’ portfolios that is invested in risky assets, according to a study by Joseph S. BriggsDavid CesariniSean Chanwook LeeErik Lindqvist, and Robert Östling.

The convenience yield of US Treasuries exhibits properties that are consistent with a hedging perspective of safe assets, Viral V. Acharya, and Toomas Laarits find. The yield is low when the covariance of Treasury returns with aggregate stock market returns is high, and declines when rising inflation expectations erode Treasuries’ hedging properties. 

Variation in aggregate cash flow, along with news about the discount rate and volatility, can together explain a large fraction of quarterly value returns over the last 60 years, according to research by John Y. CampbellStefano Giglio, and Christopher Polk.

A study by Tatyana Deryugina and Julian Reif finds that 90 percent of the survival benefits of the 1970 Clean Air Act accrue after age 50, implying that most of the health benefits for those born after the act’s passage have yet to emerge.

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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
An investigation of the role of anonymity in online communication and social media posting.    ...
Research Spotlight
In recognition of Black History Month, Research Associate Conrad Miller of the University of California, Berkeley,...
Research Spotlight
In recognition of Black History Month, Research Associate Trevon Logan of The Ohio State University, who directs the...
Research Spotlight
A growing fraction of US medical care is delivered through integrated healthcare systems that include many medical...
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