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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 12, December 2010

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Adjust[ing] for quality ... cable prices declined 14 percent over the period, while DSL prices fell 6 percent. Between 2004 and 2009, as U.S. computer users were switching from dial-up Internet service to faster broadband service, the price of broadband declined anywhere from 3 percent to 10 percent, even after adjusting for quality. That was faster than the declines reflected in Internet pricing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but was decidedly modest...

Research Summaries

Article
The share of [Superfund] cleanup costs recovered by the government increases with the number of ...potentially responsible parties. Economic theory suggests that under the joint-and-several liability imposed by the federal Superfund statute, the government will recover more of its costs of cleaning up contaminated sites than it would under non-joint liability. Further, the amount recovered should increase with the number of defendants. In An Empirical Analysis of...
Article
Much of the new coverage and spending under Medicare Part D served to crowd out previous private insurance coverage. In 2003, Medicare recipients spent an average of $2,500 on prescription drugs, more than twice what the average American spent on all health care in 1965. Most of the nation's elderly had some form of private insurance to cover the costs of prescription drugs, but many did not. The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, known as Medicare Part D, addressed...
Article
Adverse credit conditions were an important channel through which the global economic and financial crisis of 2008-9 affected trade volumes. In Off the Cliff and Back? Credit Conditions and International Trade During the Global Financial Crisis (NBER Working Paper No. 16174), co-authors Davin Chor and Kalina Manova provide new evidence that adverse credit conditions were an important channel through which the global economic and financial crisis of 2008-9 affected...
Article
For men born in 1918 who began receiving benefits at age 65... in 1983, {there was] a decline in real purchasing power of almost 20 percent [by 2007]. Women born in 1918 saw their average Social Security benefit, net of out-of-pocket medical expenses, decline by almost 27 percent. Social Security, a major source of retirement income for elderly people in the United States, indexes benefits for inflation by using the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W...
Article
The impact of providing [objective performance] information [on teachers] is greater when [it is] ...more precise and is smaller when principals have already supervised their teachers for a greater number of years. As part of the incentives built into its $4.3 billion Race to the Top Fund, the federal government is prodding states and school districts to use data on growth in student achievement to measure teacher effectiveness, and then to implement policies to "...

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