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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 1, January 2004

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Laws dealing with advance directives and surrogates do not bring "any savings in medical expenditures at the end of life." Many Americans have decided to prepare written instructions on their preferences for specific medical treatments in the event of a loss of mental or physical competence. This trend toward preparing "advance medical directives" has been debated extensively by physicians, philosophers, and social scientists. One issue is whether these end-of-life...

Research Summaries

Article
One half of the African continent lives below the poverty line. In sub-Saharan Africa, per capita GDP is now less than it was in 1974, having declined over 11 percent. While the rest of the world's economy grew at an annual rate of close to 2 percent from 1960 to 2002, growth performance in Africa has been dismal. From 1974 through the mid-1990s, growth was negative, reaching negative 1.5 percent in 1990-4. As a consequence, hundreds of millions of African citizens...
Article
Under flexible exchange rates the effects of terms-of-trade shocks on growth are approximately one half that under pegged regimes. The international financial crises of the 1990s -- spanning Latin America, Asia, and Russia -- prompted a rethinking of appropriate exchange rate regimes for rich and poor countries alike. In recent years, fixed-but-adjustable regimes have fallen out of favor, and many economists seem to prefer either hard pegs or floating regimes (the so...
Article
Charter school competition raised the composite test scores in district schools, even though the students leaving district schools for the charters tended to have above average test scores. In 1996-7, North Carolina had no charter schools. Three years later its 91 charter schools had enrolled 14,899 students, about 1 percent of the state's total public school enrollment. In Does School Choice Increase School Quality? (NBER Working Paper No. 9683), George Holmes, Jeff...

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