AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 5, May 2002

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
The combined employer and employee contribution per active participant to 401(k) plans has been about twice as large as the employer contribution per participant to DB plans. In The Transition to Personal Accounts and Increasing Retirement Wealth: Macro and Micro Evidence (NBER Working Paper No. 8610), authors James Poterba, Steven Venti, and David Wise explore the evolution of U.S. retirement savings over the 1980s and 1990s. In 1980, 92 percent of private retirement...

Research Summaries

Article
A more accurate assessment of globally available shares would show that about 67 percent of a properly balanced U.S. portfolio would be invested in U.S. companies. The fact that domestic companies represent 90 percent of the holdings in an average U.S. investor's stock portfolio -- even though U.S. stocks represent only 49 percent of the world market -- has prompted a range of theories, but no generally accepted explanation for this so-called "home bias." Some...
Article
One additional orphan drug approval is estimated to have prevented 211 deaths in the subsequent year. In the past two decades, a surge of new drugs aimed at treating rare (or "orphan") diseases has increased the life expectancy of the average American by about two and a quarter months, according to NBER Research Associate Frank Lichtenberg. In The Effect of New Drugs on Mortality from Rare Diseases and HIV (NBER Working Paper No. 8677) he notes that, before Congress...
Article
Those who lack information about cars, or have personal characteristics that put them at a disadvantage in negotiations, benefit the most from the information and the low search costs provided by the Internet. In Cowboys or Cowards: Why Are Internet Car Prices Lower? (NBER Working Paper No. 8667) and Consumer Information and Price Discrimination: Does the Internet Affect the Pricing of New Cars to Women and Minorities? (NBER Working Paper No. 8668) authors Fiona Scott...

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