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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 6, June 2010

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Providing home computers to low-income children in Romania lowered academic achievement even while it improved their computer skills and cognitive ability. Several nations -- including Brazil, Uruguay, Peru, and Colombia -- have used subsidized programs to get personal computers into poor households. Governments have promulgated such programs despite little credible evidence that the technology improves children's academic performance or their behavior. Euro 200, a...

Research Summaries

Article
More lives are saved and infection rates are reduced when both avoidance behaviors and a vaccination campaign begin before the flu has spread Novel influenza A or nH1N1, also known as the swine flu, appeared in the spring of 2009. Its first fatality was reported in Oaxaca, Mexico that April, and two months later the World Health Organization declared that it had reached pandemic status worldwide. Unlike seasonal influenza, nH1N1 afflicts children, pregnant women, and...
Article
[There is] ... a tradeoff between the number of foreclosures prevented in the short term and the durability of foreclosure prevention efforts. There have been multiple efforts to reduce home mortgage foreclosures via federal government loan modification or debt forgiveness programs since 2008. According to NBER Research Associate Casey Mulligan writing in Foreclosures, Enforcement, and Collections under the Federal Mortgage Modification Guidelines (NBER Working Paper...
Article
The mortality gap between males with and without a college degree rose 21 percentage points during [the 1971-2000 period]. The long-standing inverse relationship between education and mortality strengthened substantially late in the twentieth century. In 2000, college-educated 25-year olds could expect to live seven years longer than their peers with less schooling. In Explaining the Rise in Educational Gradients in Mortality (NBER Working Paper No. 15678), co-...
Article
[Announcing high probabilities of future audits generated] substantial future tax revenue through behavioral responses to a higher perceived probability of detection. In Unwilling or Unable to Cheat? Evidence From a Randomized Tax Audit Experiment in Denmark (NBER Working Paper No. 15769), co-authors Henrik Kleven, Martin Knudsen, Claus Kreiner, Soren Pedersen, and Emmanuel Saez conclude that the low overall rate of tax evasion enjoyed by advanced economies has more...
Article
Taxi drivers appear to have worked just a little bit less in response to an increase in the fare structure. Many public policies regarding taxation, social safety nets, and the redistribution of income are designed based on assumptions about the long-run effect of after-tax wage rates on labor supply. For men, many of the estimates of this elasticity of labor supply suggest values near zero, implying that permanent wage increases have relatively small effects on...

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