AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 4, April 2006

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
"The overall spread of health insurance between 1950 and 1990 may be able to explain at least 40 percent of that period's dramatic rise in real per capita health spending." In The Aggregate Effects of Health Insurance: Evidence from the Introduction of Medicare (NBER Working Paper No. 11619), NBER researcher Amy Finkelstein challenges the belief that the spread of health insurance played only a small role in contributing to the dramatic rise in health care spending...

Research Summaries

Article
"Because real, long-term interest rates are currently so low, housing costs are more sensitive to changes in real, long-term interest rates now than at any other time in the last 25 years." For some time now, there has been much speculation in the media that house prices are unsustainably high, that there is a "bubble" in the housing market, possibly even that house prices may already be on their way down in the East and West Coast regions of the United States. "House...
Article
"The estimated age-adjusted percentage of overweight U.S. adults between the ages of 20 and 74 increased from about 43 percent in 1960-2 to about 54 percent in 1988-94. The fraction of the population that is obese - that is, with a BMI greater than 30 - increased from about 14 percent in the mid-1970s to about 29 percent in 2000. " Since the early 1970s, the U.S. federal government has used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and various body...
Article
After being reunited with West Germany, most East Germans have retained a decidedly Communist view of what the government should do in terms of providing a social safety net and redistributing wealth from rich to poor. While the common view in the West is that most Europeans who lived under Communism were happy to trade state-run economies for free-market capitalism, it turns out that their Marxist indoctrination may have more staying power than previously thought. In...
Article
"Aid inflows have systematic adverse effects on the growth of labor intensive and export sectors. Aid probably causes exchange rate overvaluation." The question "Does aid lead to growth?" seems to have a patently obvious answer. In poor countries, schools need textbooks, clinics need medicines, and roads need maintenance. More aid to each of these areas, reason suggests, would lead to better education, healthcare, and transport and, subsequently, to economic growth...

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