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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 12, December 2011

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
In Canada the banking system was ... a system of large financial institutions whose size and diversification enhanced their robustness. When European and North American banks teetered on the brink of meltdown in 2008, requiring bailouts and extraordinary central bank intervention, Canadian banks escaped relatively unscathed. History explains why, according to co-authors Michael Bordo, Angela Redish, and Hugh Rockoff in Why Didn't Canada Have a Banking Crisis in 2008 (...

Research Summaries

Article
Over-subscribed urban charter schools that admit students by lottery have produced the largest improvement in student achievement. Comparisons of those who did and did not win charter school admissions lotteries in Massachusetts suggest that urban charter schools boost student achievement. In Explaining Charter School Effectiveness (NBER Working Paper No. 17332), Joshua Angrist, Parag Pathak, and Christopher Walters find that student demographics are related to the...
Article
Among women who received the information [about Social Security], there was a 7.2 percentage point increase in labor force participation. If individuals do not fully understand the incentives created by government tax and social insurance programs, they may make economic decisions that are less than optimal for them. In Would People Behave Differently If They Better Understood Social Security? Evidence From a Field Experiment (NBER Working Paper No. 17287), authors...
Article
Deregulation and consolidation are associated with a 10 percentage-point increase in operating efficiency [for nuclear power plants]. In Deregulation, Consolidation, and Efficiency: Evidence from U.S. Nuclear Power (NBER Working Paper No. 17341), authors Lucas Davis and Catherine Wolfram examine an unprecedented period of deregulation and consolidation in the U.S. nuclear power industry. In particular, they analyze operating efficiency before, during, and after market...
Article
The "priority rule," which grants priority on organ waiting lists to those who have previously registered as organ donors, can significantly raise the number of potential donors. In Organ Allocation Policy and the Decision to Donate (NBER Working Paper No. 17324), Judd Kessler and Alvin Roth find that an organ allocation policy known as the "priority rule," which grants priority on organ waiting lists to those who have previously registered as organ donors, can...
Article
Shorting stocks with a disproportionate number of negative picks ... and buying stocks with a disproportionate number of positive picks produces a return of over 9 percent per annum. In The 'CAPS' Prediction System and Stock Market Returns (NBER Working Paper No. 17298), co-authors Christopher Avery, Judith Chevalier, and Richard Zeckhauser study the predictive power of approximately 2.5 million stock predictions submitted by individual users to the 'CAPS' website run...

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