Skip to main content
AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 12, December 2008

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Higher temperatures have large negative effects on economic growth in poor countries. In Climate Change and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Last Half Century (NBER Working Paper No. 14132), researchers Melissa Dell, Benjamin Jones, and Benjamin Olken use year-by-year fluctuations in temperature and precipitation over the past half century to examine how these variables affect aggregate economic activity. Using data for 136 countries over the period 1950 to 2003,...

Research Summaries

Article
Changes in labor's share of income play no role in rising inequality of labor income: by one measure, labor's income share was almost the same in 2007 as in 1950. It's one of the biggest socioeconomic questions in America today: Why is income inequality rising in the United States, especially between the top 10 percent of workers and everybody else? In Controversies about the Rise of American Inequality: A Survey (NBER Working Paper No. 13982) , authors Robert J....
Article
The $4 per gallon gasoline prices observed in early 2008 could result in a sizable increase in fleet fuel economy -- that is, an increase in average fleet miles per gallon, or MPG - of 3.27, or 14 percent, relative to 2005. In How Do Gasoline Prices Affect Fleet Fuel Economy? (NBER Working Paper No. 14450), authors Shanjun Li,Roger von Haefen, and Christopher Timmins rely on a unique dataset of passenger vehicle registrations in twenty U.S. Metropolitan Statistical...
Article
The increase in women's status may eventually reverse fertility trends in Europe and Japan. In particular, men in all high-income countries appear to be taking on a larger share of household duties, which could lead to a large positive increase in fertility. There's reason to hope that advanced nations facing demographic decline -- such as Japan, Spain, and Italy -- could see their populations rebound. A big catalyst for the change: husbands beginning to do more...
Article
Between 1972 and 2006, two-thirds of the black-white happiness gap disappeared, and the male-female gap vanished entirely. Despite robust economic growth over the past three decades, Americans do not report being any happier today than they were thirty years ago. Yet in Happiness Inequality in the United States (NBER Working Paper No. 14220), Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers find that happiness is more evenly distributed among Americans -- in other words, the...
Article
... Monetary policy rules are no short-cut to credibility in situations where vulnerability to economic and political shocks, not time-inconsistency, are overarching concerns for investors. Adopting a new gold standard, or some other hard currency peg, is often touted as a good way for poor, developing nations to attract foreign investors. But if the last era of globalization is any guide, the benefits of doing so are nil. Rather than a "good housekeeping seal of...

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