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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 8, August 2009

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Debt maturity structure is an important variable in understanding how credit supply shocks spread through the corporate sector. In Corporate Debt Maturity and the Real Effects of the 2007 Credit Crisis (NBER Working Paper No. 14990), co-authors Heitor Almeida, Murillo Campello, Bruno Laranjeira, and Scott Weisbenner measure the effect of financial contracting on corporate outcomes following a shock to the supply of credit -- specifically the mortgage market...

Research Summaries

Article
Consumption data show greater improvements in poverty rates and the depth of poverty than income data. Despite a range of public programs that are designed to ameliorate poverty, the official U.S. poverty rate is virtually the same today as it was in 1970. Rather than being an indictment of the effects of economic growth or anti-poverty programs, this fact reflects important flaws in how official poverty is measured. In Five Decades of Consumption and Income Poverty...
Article
SWFs with political figures involved in their governance have a much greater likelihood of investing domestically, while funds relying on external managers are less likely to do so. The state-owned investment portfolios known as sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) have grown impressively over the past decade to a total estimated value in 2008 of $3.5 trillion. In The Investment Strategies of Sovereign Wealth Funds (NBER Working Paper No. 14861), co-authors Shai Bernstein,...
Article
Erosion of health services is highly correlated with increases in AIDS prevalence. Regions of countries that have light AIDS burdens have witnessed small or no declines in health care. In the past twenty years, the AIDS crisis has had crippling effects on the health care systems of many countries. The pandemic has compromised the ability of health systems to deliver care, in part because health professionals have fallen ill or have chosen to leave for less risky...
Article
Our study is the first to explicitly consider the interaction between fundraising mechanism and mode of previous contributions to the charity. As charities turn to the Internet to reach new donors, they face the challenge of knowing which traditional fundraising techniques will work online. A new study by Andreas Lange and Andrew Stocking shows that past donors tend to give more than non-donors, as one might expect. However, it also shows that past financial donors...
Article
It is important to account for avoidance behavior and measurement error in determining the full welfare effects of environmental quality. Ozone is often described as having a deleterious effect on health, especially for children, the elderly, and those with existing respiratory illnesses. Yet the exact magnitude of that effect is difficult to estimate because individuals may select neighborhoods to live in based on the air quality there. For example, those with...

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