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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 3, March 2015

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Typical degrees of regression to the mean imply substantial slowdowns in China and India relative even to currently cautious forecasts. Much analysis and forecasting treats a country's past growth experience as the best source of information on its future growth prospects. Because of this tendency, Asiaphoria - a relatively uncritical enthusiasm for the growth prospects of Asian economies - has arisen repeatedly. This was observed with regard to Japan in the...

Research Summaries

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Article
There is little evidence that obtaining credentials from for-profit institutions improves the job prospects of workers who would otherwise not attend college. Employers looking at applicants with bachelor's degrees in business are 22 percent less likely to call back graduates from for-profit online schools than those from non-selective public institutions, according to a new study comparing employer perceptions of public and for-profit institutions of higher...
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Article
  Allowing local trader-lenders to select borrowers appears to increase farm output more than group-based lending does. In recent years, the concept of "micro-lending" or "micro-financing," has held out hope that small loans to borrowers who lack access to formal financial institutions could improve economic well-being in impoverished areas of developing economies. This possibility has been called into question by a number of studies suggesting that...
Article
Consumers whose mortgage interest rate fell were more likely to reduce their credit card debts and buy new cars. Economists have long debated the effects of monetary policy on the real economy. During the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve reduced short-term interest rates and made large purchases of mortgage-backed securities in an attempt to stimulate household spending and support the prices of assets such as houses. However, empirical evidence on the...
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Tariff reductions were fully passed on to domestic consumers, but the burden of increases was shared by consumers and foreign exporters. In Tariff Incidence: Evidence from U.S. Sugar Duties, 1890-1930 (NBER Working Paper No. 20635), Douglas A. Irwin uses a unique dataset to provide new empirical evidence on whether domestic consumers or foreign exporters bear the burden of import duties and how tariffs affect the terms of trade. This paper uses high-frequency...
Article
The market value of Brazilian companies, especially smaller and purely domestic firms, declined in response to the imposition of capital controls. The massive surge of foreign capital to emerging markets following the global financial crisis of 2008-09 has led to renewed debate about the merits and consequences of international capital mobility. While the free flow of international capital can reduce the cost of capital, increase investment and growth, and boost...

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