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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 2, February 2016

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Hospital prices are positively associated with hospital market power; in monopoly markets they are 15.3 percent higher than in markets with four or more hospitals. The cost of an MRI of the lower limbs varies by a factor of 12 between the most and least expensive hospitals in the United States for patients who are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance. Similar disparities are observed for many other standard procedures. For patients covered by Medicare,...

Research Summaries

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Article
The Acid Rain Program led to higher levels of premature mortality than would have occurred under a hypothetical no-trade counterfactual with the same overall sulfur dioxide emissions. Since the passage of the Clean Air Act of 1990, the federal government has pursued a variety of policies designed to reduce the level of sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and the associated acid rain. In The Market for Sulfur Dioxide Allowances: What Have We...
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Article
California's first-in-nation provision of paid family leave led to a substantial increase in fathers taking leave, most often for sons and first-borns. California was the first U.S. state to offer paid family leave to new parents. Its program, started in 2004, offers up to six weeks of paid leave, replacing 55 percent of wages up to a maximum benefit of $1,104 per week in 2015. The program also funds leave to care for a parent, child, spouse, or registered...
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Researchers find underreporting of transfers in federal survey leads to overstating of poverty and inequality. Researchers and policymakers have long relied upon survey data, especially from the Current Population Survey (CPS), as a critical input for measuring unemployment and for analyzing the effects of government policies, such as anti-poverty initiatives. In Using Linked Survey and Administrative Data to Better Measure Income: Implications for Poverty,...
Article
Since 2000, both the number of start-up firms and the number of these firms that display very rapid growth has been declining. The number of start-up firms in the United States has been declining in recent decades. Prior to 2000, the employment effects of this decline were partly offset by the presence of a small number of high-growth young companies. That pattern seems to have changed. In Where Has All the Skewness Gone? The Decline in High-Growth (Young)...
Article
Source country gender roles influence immigrants' behavior in the United States, even among second-generation women. Immigrants are an increasing presence in the United States. The share of the foreign-born in the population grew from 4.8 percent in 1970 to 12.9 percent in 2012, and the share of U.S. children who were immigrants themselves or who had at least one immigrant parent increased from 13 percent in 1990 to 23 percent in 2008. Along with the rise in...

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