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Promoting Vaccine Take-up among Minority Populations

Widespread vaccination is a critical tool in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Achieving this goal requires not just vaccine availability, but high rates of voluntary take-up, including in sub-groups of the population whose members have limited confidence in, and connection to, the healthcare system. In a recent study (28593), NBER Research Associate Marcella Alsan of Harvard University and Sarah Eichmeyer of the University of Munich analyze various messaging strategies that target members of minority groups. They find that increasing the congruence between the messenger and the recipient, and acknowledging past shortcomings in the delivery of medical care to minority groups, can boost vaccine demand. Alsan summarizes these findings in the video below. An archive of NBER videos on pandemic-related research may be found here.  An archive of NBER videos on pandemic-related research may be found here.


Two NBER working papers distributed this week report on economic, health, and related consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, or on the impact of public policies that respond to it. One studies the coping strategies of college students during the pandemic, as well as the relationship between different strategies and student outcomes (28803). The other analyzes the public health and economic impact of Texas’ repeal, in March 2021, of its mask-wearing mandate as well as capacity limits on businesses (28804).

More than 400 NBER working papers have addressed various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These papers are open access and have been collected for easy reference. Like all NBER papers, they are circulated for discussion and comment, and have not been peer-reviewed. View them in reverse chronological order or by topic area.

From the NBER Digest

...a free monthly publication of non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest

Awarding tax credits based on a combination of formal and discretionary criteria, and strictly monitoring grantee compliance, generated new jobs both at firms receiving credits and at other firms. Many states and localities offer local subsidies to firms in an effort to create jobs. Whether such local development programs are a cost-effective way of raising employment is a controversial issue, and can result in significant swings in the nature and extent of such...

Trebbi and Washington to Codirect Political Economy Program

​​Francesco Trebbi of the University of California, Berkeley and Ebonya L. Washington of Yale University

Francesco Trebbi of the University of California, Berkeley and Ebonya L. Washington of Yale University are the new codirectors of the NBER’s Political Economy Program, succeeding the late Alberto Alesina of Harvard University, who launched the program in 2006.

The new codirectors have studied a wide range of issues that span the field of political economy.

Trebbi is the Bernard T. Rocca Jr. Professor of Business and Public Policy at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. His research focuses on the determinants of polarization, lobbying and its effects, the design of political institutions, and the political economy of financial regulation. He has been an NBER affiliate since 2007.

Washington, an NBER affiliate since 2004, is the Samuel C. Park Jr. Professor of Economics at Yale. Her research examines the links between economic circumstances and political preferences, how candidate attributes affect voter turnout, the determinants of legislators' voting behavior, and the impact of the US Voting Rights Act of 1965. She currently chairs the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession.

From the Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

...a free quarterly summarizing research in the NBER's Retirement and Disability Research Center

Individuals with a disabling health condition often experience lower income and higher medical expenses in the wake of disability onset, leading to reduced consumption and well-being. If these individuals are cash-constrained, the value of benefits may be particularly high at the beginning of benefit receipt. In this case, receiving a lump sum could improve beneficiary outcomes more than receiving smaller monthly payments. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)...

From the Bulletin on Health

...a free summary of recent NBER Working Papers on health topics, distributed three times a year

Do treatment guidelines encourage use of effective treatment or impede provision of personalized health care? In Rules vs. Discretion: Treatment of Mental Illness in US Adolescents (NBER Working Paper 27890), researchers Emily Cuddy and Janet Currie address this important issue in the context of mental illness among adolescents. They use claims data from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Alliance for Health Research to evaluate the effect of the initial treatment choice on...

From the NBER Reporter

...a free quarterly featuring affiliates writing about their research, program updates, and NBER news

In recent decades, global flows of assets and goods have grown rapidly relative to GDP and have shifted aggressively during crises such as the global financial crisis and the current pandemic. Corporations and governments increasingly borrow from foreign investors, who face more options for allocating their capital in terms of asset class, currency, and geography. A sense of “who owns what” around the world, and why, is required to understand what these trends mean for the...

Featured Working Papers

Resetting insurance deductibles at a frequency higher than annually would raise household welfare by between 6 and 10 percent of premium costs, with particularly large benefits for those with borrowing constraints, according to Long Hong and Corina Mommaerts.

Analyzing date from Italy, Francesco D'Amuri, Francesca Carta, and Till M. von Wachter report that a 10 percent increase in the number of older workers associated with an increase in the public pension retirement age is associated with a 1.8 percent rise in employment of young workers and 1.3 percent rise for those of middle age. 

Analyzing the sudden exchange rate appreciation of the Swiss franc in 2015 on Swiss border import prices and retail prices, Raphael Auer, Ariel Burstein, and Sarah M. Lein find that the magnitude of border-price changes is associated with the currency of invoicing.

Skilled workers in China emigrate more in response to pollution than do the unskilled, resulting in higher wage premia for skilled workers in more polluted cities, according to a study by Gaurav Khanna, Wenquan Liang, Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, and Ran Song.

Rich countries have experienced more deaths per head than poor ones from the COVID-19 pandemic, and experienced larger declines in income, Angus Deaton finds. International income inequality has decreased during the pandemic.

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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.
Promoting Vaccine Take-up among Minority Populations
Research Spotlight
Widespread vaccination is a critical tool in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Achieving this goal requires not just...
The Economics of Vaccine Development and Distribution
Research Spotlight
Vaccines that protect against SARS-CoV-2 are a critical element in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a...
Urban Rent Gradients Have Flattened During the Pandemic Graph
Research Spotlight
Rents and housing prices are usually highest at the center of dense urban areas, reflecting the value that residents...
Prioritization and mitigation policies
Research Spotlight
As vaccines to protect against SARS-CoV-2 have become increasingly available in the U.S. and other nations, how to...
Gendered Impact of COVID-19
Research Spotlight
Historically, the employment rate for men has fallen more during recessions than that for women, largely because men...
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