Challenges and Opportunities in Applying Big Data
and High-Performance Computing in Financial Economics

Researchers studying the applicability of big data and high-performance computing in financial economics exchanged ideas and discussed work in progress at the NBER Summer Institute. Featured speakers at the conference, which was supported by the National Science Foundation, were S. P. Kothari (above), chief economist of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Bill Gropp, director and chief scientist of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

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New NBER Research

23 August 2019

Information Affects Student Borrowing Choices

When students who have received information about financial aid but have not made a borrowing decision receive information about borrowing by recent graduates, some shift from borrowing the maximum allowable amount to not borrowing, Benjamin M. Marx and Lesley J. Turner find.

22 August 2019

Fathers' Workplace Flexibility and Maternal Health

Increasing a new father's temporal flexibility reduces the risk of the mother experiencing physical postpartum health complications and improves her mental health, according to a study by Petra Persson and Maya Rossin-Slater.

21 August 2019

Factions, Accountability, and Long-Term Development

Chinese counties where leaders were affiliated with nationally weak factions and had local accountability experienced stronger local growth, faster private-sector development, higher education levels from the 1950s to the 1990s, and better survival rates during the famine of 1959-61, Hanming Fang, Linke Hou, Mingxing Liu, Lixin Colin Xu, and Pengfei Zhang find.
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The NBER Reporter

Testing the Viability of a Sustainable Investing Strategy:
Challenges May Resolve as the Environment Evolves

Studies find mixed results on whether picking stocks with better environmental, social, and good-governance criteria have higher, comparable, or lower returns than asset allocations which ignore these considerations. A researcher discusses challenges to the Sustainable Investing Proposition, and the differences climate change and new regulation might make, in the current issue of the free, quarterly NBER Reporter. This issue of The Reporter also includes articles by NBER researchers about their work on the economics of Fair Trade, the work of NBER Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program affiliates, the labor market effects of the business cycle, and the challenges posed by China's aging population.

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Latest Volumes of NBER's Macroeconomics Annual
and Tax Policy and the Economy Are Now Available

In the NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2018, researchers examine the relative safety of the U.S. financial sector today and before the last financial crisis; effects of the crisis on the perceived risk, and possible propagation of large, rare shocks; finite-horizon forward planning compared with rational expectations; changes in the manufacturing sector and employment among prime-aged Americans; "factorless income"; and the effects of border adjustment taxes.

In Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 33, the researchers use asset pricing to value implicit fiscal debts and account for risk properties; study the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on the behavior of corporations; investigate whether pre-announced consumption tax changes affect the timing of durable goods purchases; and examine "tax equivalences" and return-free tax filing.

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The NBER Digest

Perry Preschool Project Shows Substantial Benefits
for the Children and Siblings of Original Participants

Children of the low-income African Americans who participated in the high-quality Perry Preschool Project in the 1960s reached adulthood less likely to have been suspended from school or arrested and more likely to have a high school diploma and be employed, according to a study featured in the August edition of the free, monthly NBER Digest. Also in this month's Digest are summaries of studies analyzing the stock market wealth effect, tracking the rise of the $500 million bond issuance in the private sector of emerging markets, gauging the impact of workers' wage demands when employees understand a company is highly leveraged, investigating inflation of China's GDP growth statistics, and examining the high percentage of veterans in public service.

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Bulletin on Health

Penicillin’s Introduction in Post-World War II Italy
Greatly Reduced Mortality and Regional Disparities

The summer issue of the Bulletin on Health features a study of the distributional impact of penicillin’s introduction on mortality in Italy following World War II. Researchers find that mortality rates for penicillin-sensitive causes of death fell by 58 percent, relative to the mean in earlier years. Furthermore, penicillin’s introduction reduced the dispersion of penicillin-sensitive mortality rates across regions by 68 percent, explaining 40 percent of all-cause convergence over this period. Also featured in the summer issue of the Bulletin on Health are studies of the effects of heating costs on winter deaths, and the effects of California’s change in vaccine laws on vaccination and medical exemption rates.
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Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

The Insurance and Liquidity Value
of Social Security Survivors Benefits?

In 2015, the Social Security program paid over $95 billion in survivors benefits to 4.2 million surviving spouses. Research that is the first to explore the protective role of survivors benefit receipt against the short-run financial consequences of a spousal death finds that attaining benefit eligibility is associated with a 34-percentage point increase in Social Security receipt and a 3.1-percentage point decline in labor force participation. Also summarized in this first issue of the free Bulletin on Retirement and Disability: research that estimates the total value of Great Recession-induced disability insurance (DI) awards and a study of the effects of DI awards on the financial outcomes of applicants.
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In 11th Annual Feldstein Lecture, Katherine Baicker
Underscores Need for Specifics in Health Care Debate

Recent research harnesses large datasets containing information on the presenting conditions, insurance status, treatment, and health outcomes of patients to offer insights on the productivity of the health care system. Katherine Baicker, dean of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, described some of the lessons of this research as well as the challenges of using this research to inform policy when she presented the 11th Annual Martin Feldstein Lecture at the 2019 NBER Summer Institute. Her remarks followed a program of reminiscences of NBER President Emeritus Feldstein, who died June 11th.

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Martin Feldstein

NBER President Emeritus

Memorial Service
Harvard Memorial Church
September 14, 2019, 1 pm


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