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Mortgage Shoppers: Beware of High-Cost Options

Mortgage Shoppers: Beware of High-Cost Options


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

The Role of Women’s Employment in Recent Recessions Figure

The Role of Women’s Employment in Recent Recessions


The pandemic recession of 2020 was unusual not only for its cause and severity, but also for the disproportional impact that it had on women’s employment.

Figure 1 displays the difference between the increases in women’s and men’s unemployment for all US recessions since 1949. In most recessions, this difference is either close to zero or negative, indicating that men experienced a sharper rise in unemployment than women. In the Great Recession of 2007–09, for example, men’s unemployment increased by about 2 percentage points more than women’s. In contrast, in the pandemic recession of 2020 women experienced a sharper rise in unemployment. The gap between the increase in women’s and men’s unemployment is almost 3 percentage points, which is larger in absolute value…

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


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


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


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

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.

Cryptocurrency investors span all income levels in the US population, but as with corporate stock, most dollars come from high-income individuals, according to Darren AielloScott R. BakerTetyana BalyukMarco Di MaggioMark J. Johnson, and Jason D. Kotter.

A year-long program in Nigeria contrasting single-skill math sessions with sessions alternating among various skills produced short-term gains for the alternating-skills approach but no evidence of improved long-term retention, Lotte van der HaarGuthrie Gray-LobeMichael Kremer, and Joost de Laat report.

In contrast to prevailing wisdom, Robert E. Hall and Marianna Kudlyak argue that the natural rate of unemployment varies over the business cycle.  They further suggest that the flat Phillips curve is an illusion, a result of assuming that the natural rate of unemployment has little or no movement during recoveries.

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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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