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The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Individuals who grow up during recessions tend to form life-long beliefs, including that success in life depends more on luck than on effort. In Growing up in a Recession: Beliefs and the Macroeconomy (NBER Working Paper No. 15321), co-authors Paola Giuliano and Antonio Spilimbergo substantiate the importance of the historical economic environment in shaping economic attitudes, affecting individuals' views of the role of government, and influencing whether those...

Research Summaries

Household wealth is strongly associated with numeracy and memory recall. In Cognition and Economic Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Survey, (NBER Working Paper No. 15266), co-authors John McArdle, James Smith, and Robert Willis show that the ability to answer three simple mathematical questions is a significant predictor of wealth, wealth growth, and wealth composition for people over 50 years of age. Using data from the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS) --...
A price on carbon could yield substantial government revenues, and careful recycling of these revenues could offset the regressive nature of a national GHG [greenhouse-gas] emissions policy. Under either a cap-and-trade program that limits carbon emissions or a carbon tax that imposes an outright tax on these emissions, the poor may be among the hardest hit. Because they spend a greater share of their income on energy than higher-income families, households in the...
An increase in spending on student services of $500 per student was correlated with an increase in graduation rates of 1.7 percent. In new research, Douglas Webber and Ronald Ehrenberg find that institutions of higher education serving low-income students with relatively lower entrance exam scores may be able to increase their six-year graduation rates by spending more on student services, including admissions, registrar activities, tutoring programs, intramurals,...
When time becomes more valuable (as proxied by the hourly wage), then people substitute grazing for eating, in essence multi-tasking this essential activity. In Grazing, Goods, and Girth: Determinants and Effects (NBER Working Paper No. 15277) NBER Research Associate Daniel Hamermesh uses a newly-created nationally representative dataset (the 2006-7 American Time Use Survey and its Eating and Health Module) to study eating patterns and how they relate to wage rates....

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