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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 5, May 2004

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Workers with defined contribution plans are retiring significantly later, which helps explain why employment rates recently have risen among people in their 60s, after decades of decline. The typical employer-provided pension plan has changed dramatically in the past twenty years. Defined benefit (DB) pension plans have become considerably less common since the early 1980s, while defined contribution (DC) plans have spread. The share of pensioned full-time employees...

Research Summaries

Article
New cancer drugs account for 10.7 percent of the overall increase in U.S. life expectancy at birth... The estimated cost of the drugs used to attain each additional year of life was less than $3,000. In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared "war on cancer" and the National Cancer Act was enacted. Since that time, both government and industry have devoted enormous resources to fighting this war. In The Expanding Pharmaceutical Arsenal in the War on Cancer (NBER...
Article
An understanding of how and when employee ownership works successfully requires a three-pronged analysis of: 1) the incentives that ownership gives; 2) the participative mechanisms available to workers to act on those incentives; and 3) the corporate culture that battles against tendencies to free ride. For decades now, American firms have engaged in a capitalist experiment, helping their employees to become partial owners of their companies in the expectation that...
Article
Sales increase with the number of 'stars' awarded by online reviewers. However, the decrease in sales associated with a negative customer book review is greater than the increase in sales generated by a positive review. Online booksellers provide customers with reviews and rankings of the books that they offer for sale. In The Effect of Word of Mouth on Sales: Online Book Reviews (NBER Working Paper No. 10148), authors Judith Chevalier and Dina Mayzlin use a snapshot...

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