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From the NBER Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

Work and Benefit Applications through the Second Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic


During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, workers ages 50 to 70 were about 10 percent less likely to be working relative to pre-pandemic levels. Unlike in previous recessions, when older workers turned to Social Security disability insurance or retirement benefits, the drop in employment in the pandemic’s first year was accompanied by a decline in applications for disability insurance and no significant change in retirement applications.

As the pandemic continued into a second year, older individuals may have readjusted their work or benefit claiming behavior in response to changing circumstances. The public programs enacted in the pandemic’s early days wound down, with the final round of economic impact payments being made in March 2021 and expanded federal unemployment insurance (UI) benefits ending…

A research summary from the monthly NBER Digest

Urbanizing the US: From Agriculture to Manufacturing to Services


Between 1880 and 1940, the United States experienced two profound changes: a wave of industrialization that reallocated employment away from agriculture and toward manufacturing, and a wave of urbanization. These transformations were closely intertwined: because rural dwellers had high agricultural employment shares and urban dwellers had high manufacturing employment shares during this period, population flows from rural to urban areas accounted for much of the change in employment structure.

How were these changes connected? Were workers leaving rural counties and migrating long distances to superstar industrial cities like Chicago and New York, or were rural counties becoming more urbanized and industrialized internally? In Sprouting Cities: How Rural America Industrialized (NBER Working Paper 30874), Fabian EckertJohn Juneau, and Michael Peters analyze publicly available...

From the NBER Bulletin on Health

Costs and Consequences of COVID’s Impact on Non-Urgent Care shocks - figure

Costs and Consequences of COVID’s Impact on Nonurgent Care


A new study of COVID-19-related disruptions in health care sheds light on the value of nonurgent medical care. In Mortality Effects of Healthcare Supply Shocks: Evidence Using Linked Deaths and Electronic Health Records (NBER Working Paper 30553), Engy Ziedan, Kosali I. Simon, and Coady Wing compare people who had outpatient appointments scheduled in the 30 days immediately before the March 13, 2020, pandemic declaration with those who had appointments scheduled in the 30 days afterward.

Fellowships in Economic Measurement Honor Robert Summers

news article

To advance research on economic measurement and better connect academics and practitioners in this field, the Conference on Research on Income and Wealth (CRIW) has launched the Robert Summers Fellowship Program. Named for a long-time CRIW member, University of Pennsylvania professor, and leading contributor in the field of international comparisons research, the program will sponsor five economic statisticians working in government agencies or international organizations to attend the NBER Summer Institute. The application deadline is April 5, 2023.

Details of the Fellowship and the application process

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

Figure 1 2022number4 Phillips

Using Computational Linguistics to Identify Competitors and Competitive Interactions


Gordon M. Phillips

Identifying competitors and analyzing competitive interactions is difficult in many markets. For well-defined markets with well-defined products, many examinations of competitors and markets can be done with traditional methods. However, firms increasingly operate in multiple markets. A given firm’s products may also differ sharply, both in their attributes and consumers, within markets. In addition, some firms may offer customized products or offer services along with physical products, increasing complexity. A firm’s product choice thus can involve multiple dimensions such as product differentiation and product quality. For all these reasons, identification of any given firm’s competitors and markets has become increasingly difficult.

Gerard Hoberg and I take a nonconventional approach to identifying and examining firm competitors and firm organization. We use natural language processing (NLP) of text to calculate firm pair-by-pair product similarity...

From the NBER Bulletin on Entrepreneurship

Track Record of Startups’ Investors Draws Potential Workers


Job seekers are more interested in working for startups funded by successful venture capitalists than for those whose investors lack positive track records, holding startup quality constant, Shai Bernstein, Kunal Mehta, Richard R. Townsend, and Ting Xu find in Do Startups Benefit from Their Investors’ Reputation? (NBER Working Paper 29847).

If a highly successful investor had a stake in a startup that was posting a job on the AngelList Talent job search platform, job seekers were 26 percent more likely to click for further information…

Featured Working Papers

3% of the US voter population is registered to vote in two states. Which state double-registrants choose to vote in depends positively on the tightness of a state’s election contests, and is higher in states that automatically send out mail-in ballots, according to Gordon B. DahlJoseph EngelbergRunjing Lu, and William Mullins.

A large Finnish dataset provides evidence that the positive association between parental income and their offspring’s probability of inventing declines sharply after controlling for parental education, according to Philippe AghionUfuk AkcigitAri Hyytinen, and Otto Toivanen.

Increased immigration significantly raises the staffing levels of nursing homes in the US and is associated with a positive effect on patient outcomes, according to David C. Grabowski, Jonathan Gruber, and Brian McGarry.

Historical data show that accommodative monetary policy over an extended period raises the likelihood of financial turmoil, with credit creation and asset-price overheating acting as important intermediating channels, according to Maximilian Grimm, Òscar Jordà, Moritz Schularick, and Alan M. Taylor.

During Kenyan electrification, bundled contracts used on African Development Bank projects accelerated completion times by 16 months relative to unbundled contracts used on World Bank projects, but also lowered construction quality by 0.6 standard deviations, according to Catherine Wolfram, Edward Miguel, Eric Hsu, and Susanna B. Berkouwer.

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Books & Chapters

Through a partnership with the University of Chicago Press, the NBER publishes the proceedings of four annual conferences as well as other research studies associated with NBER-based research projects.

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
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...
Research Spotlight
Research Spotlight
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