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The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
States estimate their unfunded liabilities at just under $1 trillion ... [but] that gap increases to $1.3 trillion using the municipal yield curve and to $2.5 trillion using the Treasury curve. In Policy Options for State Pension Systems and Their Impact on Plan Liabilities (NBER Working Paper No. 16453), co-authors Joshua Rauh and Robert Novy-Marx examine 116 state-sponsored pension plans, including all of those with more than $1 billion of assets, to estimate the...

Research Summaries

This study provides new evidence of the importance of fiscal-monetary interactions as a crucial determinant of the effects of fiscal policy on GDP. In How Big (Small?) Are Fiscal Multipliers? (NBER Working Paper No. 16479), co-authors Ethan Ilzetzki, Enrique Mendoza, and Carlos Vegh show that the impact of government fiscal stimulus depends on key country characteristics, including the level of development, the exchange rate regime, openness to trade, and public...
For people paid below the median for their department and occupation ... information [on pay of peers] has a negative effect...on job satisfaction. After a court decision on California's "right to know" law, the Sacramento Bee newspaper established a website in early 2008 that made it possible to search for the salary of any state employee, including both faculty and staff at the University of California (UC). To determine how the availability of such salary...
A country's legal and taxation system, its level of corruption, and the preferences of capital suppliers ... explain a significant portion of the variation in leverage. Corporate financing choices are determined by a combination of factors that are related to the characteristics of the firm as well as the institutional environment. In An International Comparison of Capital Structure and Debt Maturity Choices (NBER Working paper No. 16445), authors Joseph Fan, Sheridan...
School desegregation orders reduced the value of urban houses relative to houses in neighboring suburbs by almost 6 percent. In School Desegregation and Urban Change: Evidence from City Boundaries (NBER Working Paper No. 16434), Leah Platt Boustan analyzes changes in housing prices in neighborhoods on either side of the borders of city school districts that were subject to court-ordered school desegregation in the 1970s. She finds that school desegregation orders...

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