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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 10, October 2011

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Medicaid patients had shorter office visits after the implementation of SCHIP than before. In the United States, public health insurance programs cover over 90 million individuals. Changes in the scope of these programs, such as the Medicaid expansions under the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or in the generosity of these programs, may affect physician behavior. In The Doctor Might See You Now: the Supply Side Effects of Public Health...

Research Summaries

Article
About 22 percent of eligible participants have a 401(k) loan outstanding at any given time. Borrowing from defined contribution savings plans, including 401(k) plans, has long been permissible under Department of Treasury and Department of Labor regulations. Nevertheless, the impact of this borrowing on economic outcomes has not been studied in depth. The growth of 401(k) loans, coupled with the introduction of the 401(k) debit card, has motivated some in Congress to...
Article
Veterans' home loan programs were consequential. In How Do Mortgage Subsidies Affect Home Ownership: Evidence from the Mid-century GI Bills (NBER Working Paper No. 17166), Daniel Fetter studies the sharpest increase in U.S. home ownership over the last century, which occurred between 1940 and 1960 when the rate of U.S. home ownership rose from 44 to 62 percent. He determines that the shift was primarily the result of a decrease in the age at first ownership, which...
Article
Increases in wages and employment reduce voter turnout in gubernatorial elections by a significant amount. A number of studies have shown that voters' participation in elections is proportional to the amount of exposure they have to campaign advertising, media coverage, and other forms of election information. In Employment, Wages, and Voter Turnout (NBER Working Paper No. 17270), Kerwin Kofi Charles and Melvin Stephens, Jr. demonstrate that following political...
Article
Investors in option markets price-in a substantial collective government bailout guarantee in the financial sector. During economic downturns, governments seek to mitigate the risk and repercussions of financial disasters by providing guarantees to financial institutions that are deemed integral to the stability of the financial system. In Too-Systemic-To-Fail: What Option Markets Imply about Sector-Wide Government Guarantees (NBER Working Paper No. 17149), co-authors...
Article
Being born during wartime and times of hunger may have had long-term effects on health and ability to work. Even as the average life span has crept up in West Germany, the labor force participation of the elderly there has historically declined, according to Disability, Pension Reform and Early Retirement in Germany (NBER Working Paper No. 17079) by Axel Boersch-Supan and Hendrik Juerges. In 1966, labor force participation among 60- to 64-year-old men stood at more...

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