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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 6, June 2015

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Lower tax rates appear to induce a significant fraction of top inventors to move between countries and scientists to move between states in the U.S. Inventors are a highly mobile group, according to data from the World Intellectual Property Organization. Some of the most successful inventors in U.S. history—Alexander Graham Bell, James L. Kraft, Ralph Baer, and Samar Basu, for example&mdash were immigrants. What determines the migration patterns of inventors...

Research Summaries

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Article
Large public companies have been opened to individual investors, but control remains firmly in the hands of the central government. The transformation of China's industrial sector that began in the late 1990s was not simply a resource shift from the public to the private sector. It also involved policy changes that transformed the remaining state-owned firms and created new ones, according to Grasp the Large, Let Go of the Small: The Transformation of the State...
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Article
The historic cost advantage of coal-fired electric power plants is reduced by carbon pricing and by use of cleaner-burning abundant natural gas. In recent years, policymakers have grappled with a number of ideas on how to reduce carbon pollutants believed to be causing climate change. One of the approaches has been to apply a "carbon price," or "carbon tax," on CO2 emissions by electricity generators, thereby making it more expensive for power-plant owners to use...
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Lower discount rates, signifying greater patience, are associated with increased willingness to pay for energy efficiency. When shopping for appliances, consumers often must decide between the standard model and an energy-efficient model. The latter is typically more expensive but promises reduced operating costs for the lifetime of the appliance. The trade-off is between spending less now (with the standard model) and spending less later (with the energy-...
Article
  A student-matching algorithm derived from economic theory performed better, across a variety of metrics, than the uncoordinated procedure previously used in New York City. In 2003, about 90,000 incoming high school students in New York City applied for admission to roughly 600 programs of study, offered by some 300 schools. For the first time, the process was mediated through a centralized, coordinated matching algorithm. In The Welfare Effects of...
Article
Inequality in Latin America is relatively high now, but historically it has been no higher than in the United States and Western Europe. Income and wealth disparities in Latin America are higher than in Asia and in most industrial nations, a condition that many economists attribute to factors developed during the region's history of Portuguese and Spanish rule. In Latin American Inequality: Colonial Origins, Commodity Booms, Or A Missed 20th Century Leveling...

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