Skip to main content
AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 8, August 2012

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
A one percentage point increase in a state's sales tax rate increases online purchases by just under 2 percent. States across the country are exploring new strategies to collect sales taxes on Internet retail transactions. Currently, many online purchases from out-of-state retailers go untaxed. In Sales Taxes and Internet Commerce (NBER Working Paper No. 18018) co-authors Liran Einav, Dan Knoepfle, Jonathan Levin, and Neel Sundaresan estimate the effect of sales...

Research Summaries

Article
Each ten-fold increase in cumulative production halves average defect rates. Economists believe that "learning-by-doing" helps to shape and drive productivity growth, increasing the returns to human capital. Yet, to date, it has been difficult to understand the mechanisms behind that sort of "on the job training" because of a lack of data. In Toward an Understanding of Learning by Doing: Evidence from an Automobile Assembly Plant (NBER Working Paper No. 18017), co-...
Article
Debt levels above 90 percent are associated with growth that is 1.2 percent lower than in other periods. Public indebtedness in advanced economies is historically high and rising after the recent financial crisis. In Debt Overhangs: Past and Present (NBER Working Paper No. 18015), co-authors Carmen Reinhart, Vincent Reinhart, and Kenneth Rogoff address some of the potential economic consequences of high debt loads. Specifically, they use cross-country historical data...
Article
Losers [in contested takeover contests] outperform winners over the three years following the merger. A major obstacle in the evaluation of mergers is obtaining unbiased estimates of the value they create or destroy. In particular, it is difficult to determine how the acquirer would have performed had the merger not taken place. Estimates based on announcement returns may be biased because of price pressure around mergers, information revealed in the merger bid, or...
Article
Nearly a third of the tightening by regulated banks was offset by the increased lending of foreign-regulated banks. Under proposed global banking rules known as Basel III, regulators will vary banks' capital requirements over time to try to smooth the credit cycle. When lending grows too sharply, regulators can raise the amount of capital banks must hold in reserve. When it's too anemic, they can lower the capital requirements. But to be effective, such macro-...
Article
Real wages [measured as] ... Big Macs per Hours Worked (BMPH) ...range from 3.09 in Japan to 0.35 in Latin America and India. In Comparing Real Wages (NBER Working Paper No. 18006), Orley Ashenfelter notes that real wage rates are important indicators of both living standards and labor productivity, but are difficult to measure accurately. He then reports on the results of a decade-long project designed to estimate real wages by studying the hourly worker wages at...

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