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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 9, September 2021

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Children who had greater exposure to the welfare reforms of the 1990s reported less food insecurity as adults. In 1992, some US states began experimenting with welfare reforms. Federal waivers allowed them to develop programs to reduce cash assistance by imposing work requirements and other conditions on beneficiaries. In 1996, the federal government ended cash welfare benefit entitlements and replaced them with block grants that imposed a five-year lifetime limit...

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Article
The number of new business applications was higher during the summer of 2020 than at any time in the past 15 years, and it has remained strong ever since. Applications for new businesses plunged in the early months of the pandemic-induced recession, but rebounded before long. In July 2020, applications surged to historic heights, John C. Haltiwanger finds in Entrepreneurship during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from the Business Formation Statistics (NBER...
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Article
Destruction of Black Wall Street and the death or impoverishment of its residents reduced Black home ownership in Tulsa for decades and had spillover effects in other locations. On May 31 and June 1, 1921, 35 square blocks of the Greenwood neighborhood, a thriving Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were destroyed in one of the worst incidents of racial violence, murder, and destruction in postbellum US history. In this area hailed as Black Wall Street, homes and...
Article
When large power plants were required to disclose their carbon dioxide output, emissions fell by more than 7 percent, while at some small plants, exempt from disclosure, emissions rose at least 25 percent. Transparency alone can serve as a tool to reduce greenhouse gases, according to a study of a federal program mandating comprehensive emission reporting by large electric power plants. In The Real Effects of Mandatory CSR Disclosure on Emissions: Evidence from...
Article
Recent financial innovations have been driven by companies outside of finance, especially by US information technology firms. While several high-profile financial innovations, like blockchain and cryptocurrency, have attracted widespread attention, the broad landscape of financial invention — where innovation occurs, what it targets, and who is responsible for it — has not been studied systematically. In Financial Innovation in the 21st Century: Evidence from...
Article
Alcohol-related deaths in traffic accidents have decreased by 6 percent in areas of the United States where ridesharing has become available. Nearly a third of all traffic fatalities in the United States involve alcohol consumption. Drunk drivers are an order of magnitude more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than their sober counterparts. In Uber and Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities (NBER Working Paper 29071), researchers Michael L. Anderson and Lucas W....
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