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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 8, August 2015

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Of those who lost full-time jobs between 2007 and 2009, only about 50 percent were employed in January 2010 and only about 75 percent of those were re-employed in full-time jobs. The economic downturn that began in December 2007 was associated with a rapid rise in unemployment and with an especially pronounced increase in the number of long-term unemployed. In Job Loss in the Great Recession and its Aftermath: U.S. Evidence from the Displaced Workers Survey (NBER...

Research Summaries

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Article
Neighborhood networks, enduring assets for job-seekers, were weakened substantially. Most people who have searched for a job know that it is often useful to have a little help from contacts such as friends, acquaintances, and former colleagues. Where a job-searcher lives may be an important determinant of this contact network. In Labor Market Networks and Recovery from Mass Layoffs Before, During, and After the Great Recession (NBER Working Paper No. 21262),...
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Article
Even if consumers do not choose the lowest-cost plans, simply prompting them to choose a new plan every year has a substantial cost-reduction effect. Insurers profit when consumers enrolled in the Medicare Part D drug program fail to shop around for the most economical insurance provider. In The Impact of Consumer Inattention on Insurer Pricing in the Medicare Part D Program (NBER Working Paper No. 21028), Kate Ho, Joseph Hogan, and Fiona Scott Morton model the...
Article
Pursuing trading and investment strategies that could limit investment opportunities does not appear to lower average pre-tax returns. Millions of baby boomers who are set to retire over the next few years may some day regret that they didn't pay more attention to the tax implications of their mutual fund investments during their working lives. In Tax-Efficient Asset Management: Evidence from Equity Mutual Funds (NBER Working Paper No. 21060), Clemens Sialm...
Article
Chinese firms with a former top government official in the C-suite had higher worker death rates, few if any safety inspections, and lower rates of environmental fines. Economists have long debated the extent to which political ties allow businesses to circumvent regulations. In The Mortality Cost of Political Connections (NBER Working Paper No. 21266), Raymond Fisman and Yongxiang Wang conclude that hiring senior managers from the ranks of high-level municipal...
Article
The crisis began in the subprime mortgage sector, but twice as many prime borrowers as subprime borrowers lost their homes over the full sample period. Many studies of the housing market collapse of the last decade, and the associated sharp rise in defaults and foreclosures, focus on the role of the subprime mortgage sector. Yet subprime loans comprise a relatively small share of the U.S. housing market, usually about 15 percent and never more than 21 percent....

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