AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 3, March 2002

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Those cities that have had a greater increase in the trade-to-GDP ratio have also tended to witness a reduction, rather than an increase, in the urban-rural income inequality. Does globalization worsen income inequality or reduce it? In recent years, this simple yet stubborn question has spawned countless studies examining the link between economic openness and income gaps. However, these analyses typically use cross-country regressions and encounter two key problems...

Research Summaries

Article
One in five individuals in the top 20 percent of the lifetime income distribution receive greater net transfers than the average for people in the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution. Because the Social Security benefit formula replaces a greater fraction of the lifetime earnings of low earners than of high earners, the U.S. Social Security system is generally thought to be progressive. However, in Redistribution in the Current U.S. Social Security System (...
Article
Since 1960, mortality reductions have been associated with two newer factors: the frequent conquest of cardiovascular disease in the elderly and the prevention of death caused by low birth weight in infants. During the twentieth century, mortality rates declined quite rapidly in the United States and in all developed countries. In 1900, the annual mortality rate was one in 42 Americans. In 1998, on an age-adjusted basis, the rate had dropped to one in 125 people. That...
Article
Emotional responses are a significant factor in the real-time processing of financial risks, even among the most rational investors in the economy. In The Psychophysiology of Real-Time Financial Risk Processing (NBER Working Paper No. 8508), NBER Research Associate Andrew Lo and coauthor Dmitry Repin marry the biomedical and the social sciences by investigating the role that emotion plays in the high-stakes and high-pressure world of professional securities traders,...
Article
In the absence of a large shock like a spouse's death or entry into a nursing home, home equity remains generally stable throughout retirement. Although home equity is an important component of most families' net worth at retirement, NBER Research Associates Steven Venti and David Wise find that retirees generally do not use that equity to pay their living costs in retirement. In Aging and Housing Equity: Another Look (NBER Working Paper No. 8608), they observe that,...
Article
There is no evidence of the much publicized 'chilling' effect, which anticipated that qualified welfare applicants might be frightened off by the debate and controversy surrounding welfare reform. Approximately 13.5 million legal immigrants, along with some 5 million illegal immigrants, came to the United States between 1981 and 1996, rivaling only the wave of immigration that occurred between 1900 and 1920. These immigrants were less educated than their predecessors...

NBER periodicals, and newsletters are not copyrighted and may be reproduced freely with appropriate attribution.

See the Latest NBER Research
New Working Papers This Week