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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 11, November 2014

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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  Though board representation rose, the gender wage gap persisted. After Norway passed a law mandating that public limited-liability corporations create boards with no less than 40 percent of each gender represented, the number and quality of women board directors rose and the pay gap vis-a-vis male board members shrank. But 10 years into this experiment, which now is being copied in other countries, there's not much evidence of a trickle-down effect for...

Research Summaries

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Article
  Costs are higher where fewer providers participate. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) introduced dramatic reforms to the health insurance industry, including the creation of online marketplaces for the purchase of insurance, a key element in the effort to expand insurance coverage. The success of these health insurance marketplaces (HIMs) will depend on their ability to attract multiple insurers to strengthen price competition. However, insurer...
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Better-informed consumers are less likely to pay more for national brands. Why are consumers willing to pay for a nationally advertised product when a store brand or generic of the same product may be had at one-third the price? In Do Pharmacists Buy Bayer? Informed Shoppers and the Brand Premium (NBER Working Paper No. 20295), Bart J. Bronnenberg, Jean-Pierre Dubé, Matthew Gentzkow, and Jesse M. Shapiro analyze wide-ranging shopper surveys and conclude that the...
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  Bankrupt firms exert negative pressures on non-bankrupt neighbors. Economists have long studied how a vibrant cluster of businesses can act as a catalyst for regional growth, attracting other firms to a geographic area and bolstering economic benefits enjoyed by all nearby companies. But in The Agglomeration of Bankruptcy (NBER Working Paper No. 20254), Efraim Benmelech, Nittai Bergman, Anna Milanez, and Vladimir Mukharlyamov explore how such economic...
Article
  The loss of potential output relative to the pre-crisis path is 8.4 percent in 2015. Many macroeconomics textbooks describe recessions as temporary declines in aggregate demand, when actual output drops below potential output, followed by a recovery period when output returns to potential. However, a number of studies of deep recessions around the world find that recessions have highly persistent effects on output. These effects, sometimes labeled "...
Article
  Poor attendance can account for up to a quater of the math achievement gap between poor and non-poor students. The average American student misses two weeks of school each year. In Flaking Out: Student Absences and Snow Days as Disruptions of Instructional Time (NBER Working Paper No. 20221), Joshua Goodman concludes that poor attendance can account for up to a quarter of the math achievement gap between poor and non-poor students. He finds that while...

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