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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 9, September 2015

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Program designs, ranging from electricity-pricing strategies to rules defining eligibility for tax breaks, have given most clean-energy benefits to higher-income Americans. In an effort to encourage households to adopt renewable energy technologies, most states subsidize renewable electricity as well as electric cars. The federal government has provided some $18 billion in tax credits to individuals since 2006. While distributional factors are only one of many...

Research Summaries

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Article
New energy extraction technologies have increased local incomes, especially for low-skilled workers, while also raising high school dropout rates for young men. A defining feature of the U.S. labor market since the 1970s has been a rising premium for skill. The disparity between the wages of high- and low-skill workers has increased in part because the economy has evolved in a way that has raised the relative demand for high-skill workers. But over the past...
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Items listed at multiples of $100 ultimately sold for 5 to 8 percent less than items with non-rounded prices, but received offers faster and were more likely to sell. In the marketplace for ordinary goods, buyers and sellers have many characteristics that are hidden from each other. From the seller's perspective, it may be beneficial to reveal some of these characteristics. For example, a patient seller may want to signal unending willingness to wait in order to...
Article
As private insurance plans increased market penetration, risk scores for seniors increased for reasons not explained by declining health or regional differences. In 2014, some 50 million Americans were covered by health insurance companies that received public subsidies for patients who were considered high health risks. The subsidies were introduced over the previous decade to dissuade insurance companies from cherry-picking the healthiest customers in order to...
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Rising numbers of Chinese graduate students raised the productivity of faculty with Chinese heritage and correspondingly reduced publications by the non-Chinese. After decades of isolation, the Chinese under Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping's "Open Up" reforms sent thousands of college students abroad. Deng's goal was to close the education gap between China and the rest of the world that had been exacerbated by the Cultural Revolution. The sudden influx of Chinese...
Article
The total number of listed companies fell from 8,000 to 4,100 from 1996 to 2012, while the rest of the world saw an increase from 30,700 to 39,400. One of the most important choices a firm must make is whether or not to sell shares to the public. This choice is influenced by many factors, including prevailing economic conditions, government regulations, firm characteristics, and listing requirements on the major stock exchanges. However, many aspects of this...

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