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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 11, November 2010

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
[Massachusetts] health insurance reform reduced the number of uninsured among the inpatient hospital population by 36 percent. The national health care legislation passed in March 2010 requires U.S. citizens to obtain health insurance coverage. Modeled on legislation passed in Massachusetts in 2006, the new federal law contains many provisions that are similar to that state's reform, including new requirements for employers and expansions in subsidized health...

Research Summaries

Article
Pressure on the U.S. government to expand subprime credit came from both mortgage lenders and subprime borrowers. At the peak of the recent housing boom, subprime mortgage companies were loaning $600 billion per year to homebuyers with poor credit histories. In The Political Economy of the Subprime Mortgage Credit Expansion (NBER Working Paper No.16107), co-authors Atif Mian, Amir Sufi, and Francesco Trebbi explore the links between the rapid growth of the subprime...
Article
For about 20 percent of voters, the probability of voting is related to the likelihood that their vote will be pivotal, which depends on election size and expected closeness of the election. Why do people vote in elections with many participants, even if their vote may not be pivotal? In Rational Choice and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Union Representation Elections (NBER Working Paper No. 16160), Henry Farber studies over 75,000 union representation elections held...
Article
Firms with large individual ownership boosted the dividend portion of their total payouts, beginning a few months after enactment of the tax cuts. In Dividends, Share Repurchases, and Tax Clienteles: Evidence from the 2003 Reductions in Shareholder Taxes (NBER Working Paper No. 16129), co-authors Jennifer Blouin, Jana Raedy, and Douglas Shackelford analyze how firms' investor composition and shareholder distributions changed after a 2003 reduction in the dividend and...
Article
Increases in business uncertainty are associated with prolonged declines in economic activity. In Uncertainty and Economic Activity: Evidence from Business Survey Data (NBER Working Paper No. 16143), researchers Ruediger Bachmann, Steffen Elstner, and Eric Sims use micro data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's Business Outlook Survey and Germany's IFO Business Climate Index to investigate how measures of business uncertainty, which are derived from...
Article
In the average three-month period, the probability of a nominal wage change is 18 percent for workers who are paid by the hour. Wages are "sticky" if employers are slow to adjust them in response to changing economic conditions. In Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Wages (NBER Working Paper No. 16130), co-authors Alessandro Barattieri, Susanto Basu, and Peter Gottschalk analyze data on U.S. wages, employment, and demographic characteristics for the period...

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