AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 12, December 2007

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Reduced smoking, better control of medical risk factors such as hypertension and cholesterol, and better education among the older population have been more important for mortality than the substantial increase in obesity. Knowing whether health behaviors are improving over time is important in forecasting medical costs. And, a population that behaves in a healthier way will have a higher quality of life than one with a more adverse behavioral profile, even given...

Research Summaries

The villages that added cable were associated with improvements in measures of women's autonomy, a reduction in the number of situations in which wife beating was deemed acceptable, and a reduction in the likelihood of wanting the next child to be a boy. In India, access to private cable television has promoted female autonomy, decreased the reported acceptability of wife beating, and reduced reported preferences for sons over daughters, according to The Power of TV:...
The average purchaser finances around 90 percent of the price of the automobile, with the average loan size being around $11,000. Repayment is highly uncertain: more than half of the loans default, and the majority of these default within the first year of repayment. Access to credit markets is generally considered a hallmark of developed economies. In the United States, most households appear to have substantial ability to borrow. As of September 2007, U.S....
The experience of the emerging market economies during the late 1990s suggests that controls on capital transactions that are intended to regulate capital flows also tend to harm trade substantially. Some years ago, NBER Research Associate and Columbia University Professor Shang-Jin Wei and IMF economist Zhiwei Zhang learned from a top finance official of a certain country that it was common for both companies and individuals to try to circumvent that country's...

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