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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 1, January 2013

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
[There is no] compelling evidence that there have been changes in the structure of the labor market that are capable of explaining the [recent] pattern of persistently high unemployment rates. The recession of 2007 to 2009 caused such high and persistent unemployment that it led many to conclude that the labor market had undergone structural changes, making it difficult or impossible to return to pre-recession employment levels. But in The United States Labor Market:...

Research Summaries

Article
The federal requirement reduced the uninsurance rate of eligible young adults by 3.5 percent, [thereby] ... expanding the set of insured individuals by roughly 716,000. The 2010 federal health reform -- the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- required that with the first plan renewal on or after September 2010, all private health insurance plans treat children up to the age of 26 as dependents, eligible to be covered under a parent's family plan. A number of...
Article
Government purchasing policies can break deadlocks that emerge when coordinated investments are required to adopt a common standard. In recent decades, a number of federal, state, and local government procurement programs have been implemented to promote increased use of "green" products, with the dual goal of helping the environment and boosting market demand for environmentally friendly products. In Public Procurement and the Private Supply of Green Buildings (NBER...
Article
Over time, complementary IT skills are expected to become more widely available, and the various components more widely deployed. If so, more hospitals will enjoy the benefits of EMR and it may yet fulfill its promise. Some analysts have suggested that the adoption of electronic medical records (EMR) by hospitals could eventually reduce annual U.S. healthcare expenditures by one third or more. Others have been far less sanguine about such projections, arguing that...
Article
Increasing the number of days between exams from one to ten improves the probability of passing both exams by 8 percent. In many education and work environments, students or workers must perform several mental tasks in a short period of time. And just as with physical fatigue, cognitive fatigue can occur, and can affect performance if those tasks are scheduled close together. In The Impact of Time Between Cognitive Tasks on Performance: Evidence from Advanced...
Article
During the recent crisis, bank lending to firms declined: loan issuances dropped 75 percent, and the probability of obtaining a loan fell by 14 percent. In Which Financial Frictions? Parsing the Evidence of the Financial Crisis 2007-9 (NBER Working Paper No. 18335), co-authors Tobias Adrian, Paolo Colla, and Hyun Song Shin revisit a long standing debate about whether financial frictions manifest themselves through shocks to the demand for credit -- deterioration of...

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