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New Working Papers Explore
Long- and Short-Run COVID-19 Impacts


Nine NBER working papers distributed this week explore long- and short-run economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The studies explore evidence that the infection-rate curve in New York City is flattening, the possibilities for countering a demand-deficient recession, the impact of widespread business closures on women in the workforce, and the fraction of US jobs that can be done from home.

Other papers find that the 1918 influenza pandemic as well as other pandemics in past centuries have had effects that persisted over several decades.

In terms of market effects, researchers investigate why no previous infectious disease episode led to large daily stock price swings like those of the past month, why the volatility of returns may decline as the trajectory of the pandemic becomes clearer, and how patterns of household spending have varied with the rigor of containment efforts.

Other recent NBER studies of the impact of coronavirus containment efforts, as well as earlier studies of economic and other consequences of previous epidemics, are available here.



The NBER Digest

Advance Market Commitment Supported New Vaccine
Development and Saved an Estimated 700,000 Lives




Five nations and the Gates Foundation committed $1.5 billion to support development of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine that is estimated to have saved 700,000 lives in low-income countries, according to research featured in the April edition of The NBER Digest. Also in this issue of the free monthly Digest are summaries of studies examining H-1B visa allocation methods, the sleep-productivity, the effect of prize structure on an innovation competition, and consumer valuation of product licensing, and reasons the euro has not gone international.
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Bulletin on Health

Medicare Eligibility Reduces Cancer Mortality for Women




The spring issue of the Bulletin on Health features a study examining the impact of Medicare eligibility at age 65 on cancer detection and outcomes. The researchers show that cancer detection shifts sharply upward at the age of Medicare eligibility, while cancer mortality shifts downward with Medicare eligibility. The effects are concentrated among women, especially among racial minorities. Also featured in this issue of the free Bulletin on Health are: a study of how a diabetes diagnosis affects subsequent health care and health outcomes, a study of how an informational letter about the tax penalty for lacking health insurance affected insurance coverage and mortality, and a profile of NBER research associate Adriana Lleras-Muney.
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New NBER Research

8 April 2020

Effects of the Minimum Wage on Child Health

For children in families headed by individuals with less than a high school education, an increase in the minimum wage during the time from a child’s birth through age 5 is associated with a large improvement in child health, George Wehby, Robert Kaestner, Wei Lyu, and Dhaval M. Dave find.

7 April 2020

Declining Arbitrage Opportunities in Foreign Exchange

After algorithmic computers were connect to the EBS transaction platform in the mid-2000s, the frequency of exploitable and executable arbitrage opportunities declined,, according to a study by Takatoshi Ito, Kenta Yamada, Misako Takayasu, and Hideki Takayasu.

6 April 2020

The Aggregate Consequences of Default Risk

Credit frictions in the UK, which are more pronounced for small firms, cause an output loss of around 28 percent per year on average, overwhelmingly due to a lower overall capital stock rather than to capital misallocation across firms with heterogeneous productivity, Timothy J. Besley, Isabelle A. Roland, and John Van Reenen find.
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Due to the coronavirus situation, all in-person NBER meetings scheduled for April and May 2020 have been canceled.

The NBER Reporter

Public Economics Program Report Focuses
on Take-Up and Impacts of Government Interventions




Public economics is the study of government intervention in the market economy, designed to move outcomes away from the market equilibrium. In the new issue of the NBER Reporter, the directors of the NBER’s Public Economics Program describe efforts by the program’s affiliated researchers to identify factors that determine take-up of government initiatives and the impacts of those initiatives on behavior and economic outcomes. Recent work has uncovered evidence of the importance of barriers to take-up in general and how those barriers may vary. Also in this edition of the free, quarterly Reporter, NBER researchers write about their investigations of the profound effects of rare events like pandemics, the impact of land systems and misallocation on agricultural productivity, the role of the firm in explaining the structure and evolution of wages and worker risk, and the benefits of rehabilitative incarceration of criminals.
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NBER in the News




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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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