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During World War II, the US government, under Democratic Party leadership, encouraged citizens to invest in savings bonds, and over 85 million Americans subscribed. But high post-war inflation diminished the value of these bonds. The Republican Party criticized Democrats for the poor returns earned by bondholders. Running on a platform that promised to control inflation, the Republicans won the presidency in 1952, ending two decades of Democratic dominance. In Inflation, War Bonds, and the Rise of Republicans in the 1950s (NBER Working Paper 31969), researchers Gillian Brunet, Eric Hilt, and Matthew S. Jaremski examine how ownership of war bonds affected the presidential elections of the 1950s.
In May 1941, the federal government began selling “E bonds” to finance WWII. Bond drives supported by celebrities, government officials, and civil society organizations boosted sales, as did major events like the bombing of Pearl Harbor ...
From the NBER Reporter: Research, program, and conference summaries
Policymaking during a novel pandemic requires information about the spread and impact of infection or about the impact of nonpharmaceutical and pharmaceutical interventions. This is also critical for scientific understanding, whether one is developing models of the disease, the economy, or both. However, because the contagion is novel, we may not know what to measure before the event, and our existing data-gathering infrastructure may be lacking. We have to quickly adapt our surveillance, analysis, and models as we learn more about the threat.
This adaptation was on display during the COVID-19 pandemic. I illustrate this with a series of papers that responded to questions from policymakers and were written with coauthors who sacrificed their regular research to assist with the pandemic response. These papers estimated…
From the NBER Bulletin on Retirement and Disability
Over the past 25 years, labor force participation at older ages has increased dramatically. In the 12 countries that are part of the NBER’s International Social Security (ISS) project, participation among those aged 60 to 64 has risen by an average of over 20 percentage points for men and over 25 percentage points for women.
In The Effects of Reforms on Retirement Behavior: Introduction and Summary (NBER Working Paper 31979), authors Axel Börsch-Supan and Courtney Coile report on the most recent work of the ISS project. The current analysis builds on previous project phases which showed that changes in health and education could…
From the NBER Bulletin on Health
Access to a high-speed internet connection provides patients with a low-cost means of collecting information related to medical decisions and the quality of medical care providers. In Broadband Internet Access and Health Outcomes: Patient and Provider Responses in Medicare (NBER Working Paper 31579), Jessica Van Parys and Zach Y. Brown link information on broadband availability by ZIP code from the Federal Communications Commission to Medicare claims data from 1999 to 2008. They analyze the effect of high-speed internet access on health outcomes and provider choices for Medicare beneficiaries who are undergoing common procedures.…
From the NBER Bulletin on Entrepreneurship
Private equity (PE) firms’ business model is to acquire privately held companies, to change their strategy and operations with the goal of improving profitability and growth, and ultimately to sell the companies for a profit. The senior management team is replaced at a majority of private equity acquisitions. More than 40 percent of PE firms report that this is a key way to improve their acquisitions’ success.
In The Market for CEOs: Evidence from Private Equity (NBER Working Paper 30899), Paul Gompers, Steven Kaplan, and Vladimir Mukharlyamov compare the characteristics of CEOs installed by PE firms to the characteristics of those who become...
Featured Working Papers
In a comparison of the behavior of profit-motivated and altruistic providers of malaria treatment in Kenya, Paul Gertler and Ada Kwan find that the rate of false positive malaria test results is 30 percentage points higher for the former group. Profit- motivated providers also sell more unnecessary antimalarial drugs.
In response to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, EU firms became less data intensive, decreasing their data storage by 26 percent and their data processing by 15 percent relative to comparable US firms, according to research by Mert Demirer, Diego J. Jiménez Hernández, Dean Li, and Sida Peng.
For the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, movements in aggregate US import prices were largely explained by fluctuations in a global index of import prices, but after late 2022, idiosyncratic US demand shocks accounted for a larger share of the variation, according to Mary Amiti, Oleg Itskhoki, and David Weinstein.
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