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Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

What Drives Prescription Opioid Abuse?




While the magnitude of the US opioid crisis is fairly well understood, its causes are less well established. This issue is the topic of study of a paper summarized in the current issue of the free Bulletin on Retirement and Disability. The research finds that opioid abuse jumps shortly after a move and remains at the new higher level for up to five years after the move, suggesting that place-specific factors may explain about one-fourth of opioid abuse. Also featured in this issue: a summary of research on how perception of pain differs by education level, an exploration of trends in work and disability application among people with mental illness, and a joint Q&A with NBER research associates Richard Frank and Ellen Meara, both of Harvard University.
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Environmental and Energy Policy
and the Economy, volume 1


Matthew J. Kotchen, James H. Stock,
and Catherine D. Wolfram, editors

New papers on environmental and energy economics and policy evaluate carbon taxes versus a cap-and-trade mechanism for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, identify the conditions under which exemption of electric vehicles from the gasoline tax is likely to be efficient, analyze the rapidly growing market for green bonds, develop a general framework for evaluating fuel economy standards, present a measure of US output over the last 60 years that accounts for air pollution damages, and illustrate methods of accounting for employment effects of environmental regulations.

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New NBER Research

26 February 2020

The Old Boys' Club: Schmoozing and the Gender Gap

A study by Zoë B. Cullen and Ricardo Perez-Truglia finds that male employees assigned to male managers are promoted faster. This may be due to greater socialization between male employees and male managers.

25 February 2020

IRS Nudges and Health Insurance Take-up

In early 2017, the IRS sent informational letters to 3.9 million taxpayers who paid a tax penalty for lacking health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Subsequently, coverage increased and mortality among middle-aged adults in this group declined, Jacob Goldin, Ithai Z. Lurie, and Janet McCubbin report.

24 February 2020

The Federal Minimum Wage and Small Business

In states where the federal minimum wage is binding, increase in that wage are associated with a decline in bank credit, a rise in loan defaults, a drop in the number of employees, and lower net entry rates for small businesses, according to Sudheer Chava, Alexander Oettl, and Manpreet Singh.
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Bulletin on Health

Length of Life for Older Americans: Location Matters




The most recent issue of the Bulletin on Health features a study that examines the longevity of Medicare beneficiaries who move from one location to another.Using a panel of Medicare data, the researchers estimate that remaining life expectancy at age 65 increases by 1.1 years for a person moving from an area in the lowest 10 percent in terms of life expectancy impact to one in the highest 10 percent. Equalizing the effects of location would eliminate 15 percent of the variation in life expectancy across areas. Also featured in this issue of the Bulletin on Health are studies of birth outcomes at hospitals with relatively high C-section rates, and the effects of increased Medicaid reimbursement rates on patient access to care.
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The NBER Digest

German Firms with Work Representation on Boards
Have Greater Capital Stock and Slightly Higher Wages




A study featured in the current edition of The NBER Digest finds that shared representation of management and labor on boards of German corporations does not lower shareholder profits or adversely impact investment. Also featured in the February issue of the free, monthly Digest are summaries of studies of youths’ antidepressant use after school shootings, immigrants' sons' income mobility, influence of climate concerns on oil firms' value, effects of private equity buyouts, and the impact of air pollution information in China

NBER in the News




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How the Notion of Human Capital, Once Scorned
by Economists, Was Nurtured and Expanded at the NBER

Marking the 100th anniversary of the NBER’s founding, affiliated researchers chronicled major chapters in the organization’s evolution at this year’s annual meeting of the American Economic Association. Research Associate Claudia Goldin of Harvard University described how the NBER became an incubator of the notion that investment in the capacities of human beings played a significant role in capital formation, and now is understood to play a role in many sub-fields of economics.
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The NBER Reporter

How Do Financial Markets Amplify Asset Price Shocks?
History Offers Clues to the Dynamics among Institutions




Today, information about a bank's relationships with other lenders is often closely held and, because many banks have international branches and engage in a wide variety of off-balance-sheet activities, it is difficult to distinguish the effect of a single shock or policy from other factors. But analyzing data from when financial markets were less complex and more transparent offers insights into the dynamics of the most recent crisis, according to research featured in the current issue of the NBER Reporter. Also in this edition of the free, quarterly Reporter, in which NBER affiliates summarize work in sub-fields of economics, are articles on behavioral health, household expectations, costs of health care, and market concentration.
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