AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 12, December 2015

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Banks passed through credit expansions not to the consumers most likely to increase spending, but to those whose spending was less responsive to changes in credit limits. Interest rates on consumer loans, including credit cards, rose during the Great Recession as banks became more cautious in their lending. This led to reduced consumer spending. The Federal Reserve attempted to offset this development by providing banks with access to financing at relatively low...

Research Summaries

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Article
The change encouraged some workers to claim Social Security benefits earlier than they otherwise would have, decreasing their benefits. Until 2000, the Retirement Earnings Test (RET) reduced the net Social Security benefits of some senior citizens who had income from working. Then the test was eliminated for seniors who have reached full retirement age in an effort to encourage those who want to work to continue doing so. The change allows seniors working past...
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An entertaining, educational movie and an incentive for shopkeepers to push the product led to large gains in the number of Indian household users. Anemia is estimated to affect 1.6 billion people worldwide. Iron deficiency is one of its leading causes, along with other nutritional deficiencies, illnesses and diseases such as diarrhea and malaria, and parasitic infections. Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is associated with a slowing of physical and cognitive...
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Implementation of the deductible reduced employee health care spending by 12 to 14 percent, nearly all from reduc-tion in demand for services. After years of providing completely free medical care to its employees, a large company switched to a high-deductible insurance plan that, in its first year, covered 78 percent of expenditures. The subsequent change in the spending patterns of employees suggest that textbook models of rational consumer behavior do not apply...
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The shale gas boom has brought a much greater reduction of emissions to electricity markets not affected by restruc-turing than to restructured markets. In many parts of the United States, the electricity market was restructured in the 1990s and early 2000s in an effort to increase competition by breaking up regional monopolies. But an unforeseen side effect of this restructuring has emerged, Christopher R. Knittel, Konstantinos Metaxoglou, and Andre Trindade...
Article
To identify likely cheaters, the researchers compared the predicted number and the observed number of matching answers for all possible pairs of students. An introductory natural science course at a top American university offered in the spring of 2012 had three midterm exams and one final. Two hundred fourteen students took both the third midterm and the final. After the third midterm, two students reported that other students cheated, and the professor in charge...

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