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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 2, February 2013

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
While the hollowing out of middle-skill positions has been ongoing for 30 years, it happens almost uniquely in recessions. Two recent trends in the U.S. labor market -- job polarization and jobless recoveries -- are not only evident in the aftermath of the recent recession but also are linked, according to Nir Jaimovich and Henry Siu writing in The Trend is the Cycle: Job Polarization and Jobless Recoveries (NBER Working Paper No. 18334). Polarization -- the loss of...

Research Summaries

Article
The ratio of female-to-male pharmacist earnings (median ...) grew from 0.66 in 1970 to 0.92 in 2010, representing [a] gender wage gap ... considerably smaller than in most other high-wage professions. Some workers experience negative pressure on their earnings and job prospects when their respective industries and occupations undergo major technology and structural changes. But in The Most Egalitarian of All Professions: Pharmacy and the Evolution of a Family-Friendly...
Article
Environmental regulations have reduced total factor productivity by approximately 4.8 percent for manufacturing plants in non-attainment counties. The economic costs of environmental regulations have been widely debated since the United States began to restrict pollution emissions more than four decades ago through the Clean Air and Water Acts. Some claim that stricter environmental standards raise polluting firms' costs of production, weakening U.S. firms' position...
Article
In the year after a university experiences a negative shock equal to 10 percent of its annual operating budget, donors increase giving by 1 percent. Educational institutions are the second largest recipients of charitable donations in the United States. In The Supply of and Demand for Charitable Donations to Higher Education (NBER Working Paper No. 18389), Jeffrey Brown, Stephen Dimmock, and Scott Weisbenner estimate that in the 2008-9 academic year about $12 billion...
Article
The typical market experienced an annual growth in constant quality land prices of 10 percent, with the top third of the sample reaching 20 percent annual growth. In light of the role of the housing bubble in the most recent U.S. economic crisis, questions have begun to emerge about the stability of house prices in China where values have increased rapidly. In Land and House Price Measurement in China (NBER Working Paper No. 18403), Yongheng Deng, Joseph Gyourko, and...
Article
A recession in the years preceding retirement results in a short period in which mortality is lower, but then a longer period in which mortality is higher. In Recessions, Older Workers, and Longevity: How Long Are Recessions Good for Your Health? (NBER Working Paper No. 18361), Courtney Coile, Phillip Levine, and Robin McKnight find that if workers experience an economic downturn in their late fifties, they may face several years of reduced employment before they...

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