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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 5, May 2012

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Employees under the age of 65 have substantially higher turnover rates at firms that offer subsidized retiree health coverage than at firms that do not. The strong link between health insurance and employment in the United States may cause workers to delay retirement until they become eligible for Medicare at age 65. However, some employers extend health insurance benefits to their retirees, and individuals who are eligible for such benefits need not wait until age 65...

Research Summaries

Article
For those born in the early 1960s, there was little variation between men and women in terms of college completion. For those born in the early 1980s, women outperformed men at all income levels, but especially at the higher income levels. In the seventy years since 1940, college has become an increasingly prevalent part of young Americans' lives. The rate of college entry has increased by 50 percentage points and the rate of college completion (by age 25) has...
Article
On average, a single dollar increase in housing wealth raises consumption by between five and eight cents. If the value of a homeowner's house rises by one dollar, how much will that homeowner increase spending on consumption? In The Housing Wealth Effect: The Crucial Roles of Demographics, Wealth Distribution, and Wealth Shares (NBER Working Paper No. 17740), authors Charles Calomiris, Stanley Longhofer, and William Miles determine that the impact of housing wealth...
Article
[In the U.S.] cohort effects persist for over a decade, [but] in China cohort effects associated with the supply/demand balance diminished within three years. Buffeted by dramatic structural and economic changes in its demand for labor over the past two decades, China's workforce has adjusted in ways often seen in advanced economies. However, according to Wei Chi, Richard Freeman, and Hongbin Li writing in Adjusting to Really Big Changes: The Labor Market in China,...
Article
[A tax induced increase of 6 percent in alcohol prices] resulted in a reduction of 4.7 percent in injury deaths nationwide. Because consumers reduce alcohol consumption in response to price increases, rising excise taxes on alcohol are associated with reduced levels of alcohol abuse and the related consequences for public health and safety. In The Virtuous Tax: Lifesaving and Crime-Prevention Effects of the 1991 Federal Alcohol-Tax Increase (NBER Working Paper No....
Article
Small amounts of ambient air pollution... can have substantial effects on the incidence of local respiratory illness. Airports are among the largest sources of air pollution in the United States. In fact, Los Angeles International Airport is the largest source of carbon monoxide (CO) in the state of California. Average airplane taxi time -- the amount of time that an airplane spends between the gate and runway -- increased by 23 percent from 1995 to 2007. This...

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