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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 8, August 2008

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
A branded drug sold to an elderly consumer covered by a Medicare Part D plan cost at least 24 percent less than the same drug sold to an uninsured consumer. Passed in December 2003 and operational in January of 2006, Medicare Part D subsidizes prescription drugs for the elderly in the United States by contracting with private plans to provide drug coverage. Part D enrollment is voluntary. The government pays each plan a lump sum for each enrollee that chooses it, and...

Research Summaries

Article
If China's bond market were as well developed as the cross-country average - about the level of development in South Korea -- then China's predicted holdings of U.S. bonds would be about $200 billion below their current level. One of today's most contentious economic debates is whether the current system of large global imbalances can continue. Some researchers suggest that this system will not persist because the United States must stabilize its external debt ratios...
Article
Large gender differences in the propensity to choose challenging tasks, appear to be driven by gender differences in risk aversion and in confidence about the ability to perform a new and potentially difficult task. Although women have made significant advances in catching up economically with men, gender differences in wages and in representation in high-profile jobs remain. The psychological literature suggests that women and men may differ in ways that affect...
Article
The estimated probability of disaster [a decline in national income or consumption of more than 10 percent in a year] is around 3.5 percent per year, with an average size of 22 percent and an average duration of 3.5 years. Typically, GDP and consumption fall concurrently, though consumption tends to fall proportionately more in wartime. An economic crisis may be defined as a situation in which a nation's per capita GDP or consumption suffers a fall of at least 10...
Article
The authors find no statistical relationship between the LIBOR-OIS interest rate spread and the utilization of the Term Auction Facility. Following the unexpected leap in interest rates on the overnight loans between banks in early August 2007 and the subsequent turmoil in world money markets - a so-called "black swan" event, something that market participants had not seen before and therefore assumed could not exist - the Federal Reserve took several steps to...
Article
When standardized test scores in grades 4 through 8 were used as a measure of student achievement, and after controlling for student demographics, the hours of mentoring provided had positive effects on reading and math achievement. Over one million new teachers in the United States were mentored between 1993 and 2003. The main goal of mentoring programs is to reduce turnover among new teachers. Yet in Does Mentoring Reduce Turnover and Improve Skills of New Employees...

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