Skip to main content
AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 11, November 2011

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Overly optimistic official forecasts of future budgets have facilitated complacency and so have contributed to tax cuts and increases in government spending. Bringing budget deficits under control has been, and is, a difficult task for many advanced countries. In Over-Optimism in Forecasts by Official Budget Agencies and Its Implications (NBER Working Paper No. 17239), Jeffrey Frankel argues that overly optimistic official forecasts of future budget balances have...

Research Summaries

Article
Job search and work in the informal sector absorb small fractions of the foregone work hours. In Time Use during Recessions (NBER Working Paper No. 17259), authors Mark Aguiar, Erik Hurst, and Loukas Karabarbounis investigate what activities occupy household members' time when they are unable to find work as a result of an economic downturn. The researchers find that roughly 30 to 40 percent of the "extra" nonworking hours associated with unemployment go to working in...
Article
Those selected by ... lottery to apply for Medicaid have substantially and statistically significantly higher health care utilization, lower out-of-pocket medical expenditures and medical debt, and better self-reported health. In early 2008, Oregon opened a waiting list for a limited number of spots in its Medicaid program for low-income adults. This program had previously been closed to new enrollment. The state drew names by lottery from the 90,000 people who signed...
Article
Detrimental effects [on mothers of six-month olds] of working outside the home are attenuated by the time the child is 4.5 years old. In Early Maternal Employment and Family Wellbeing (NBER Working Paper No. 17212), authors Pinka Chatterji, Sara Markowitz, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn study the effects of mothers' work outside the home on maternal depression, self-reported health status, parenting stress, and parenting quality. They find that among mothers of 6-month old...
Article
Kibbutz ... pay reforms that reduced the effective tax rate increased high school completion rates ... by 3.3 percentage points. In Israel prior to 1998, all kibbutz members received equal wages -- the wages of those working outside the kibbutz were pooled with the kibbutz profits and the sum was divided equally among the members. After 1998, some kibbutzim began basing their members' wages on the market wages for workers with similar occupations, skills, education,...
Article
Being hit by a 1,000-pound heavier vehicle results in roughly a one in one thousand increase in fatality risk. Over the past 35 years, the average weight of light vehicles sold in the United States has fluctuated substantially. From 1975 to 1980, average weight dropped almost 1,000 pounds (from 4,060 pounds to 3,228 pounds), likely in response to rising gasoline prices and the passage of the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standard. As gasoline prices fell in...

NBER periodicals and newsletters are not copyrighted and may be reproduced freely with appropriate attribution.

See the Latest NBER Research
New Working Papers This Week