AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 3, March 2016

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Firms which are backed by angel investors are more likely to survive, create more jobs, and have a greater chance of successfully exiting the startup phase than otherwise comparable firms without this support. Angels — wealthy individuals who often are actively involved in the startups they back, and who typically are not professional investors — have surpassed venture capitalists as a funding source for startup enterprises in the United States. They are...

Research Summaries

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Article
Allowing accelerated depreciation of capital equipment raised investment an average of 10.4 percent a year between 2001 and 2004 and 16.9 percent between 2008 and 2010. Temporary tax incentives boost capital equipment purchases when companies see an immediate benefit, according to research by Eric Zwick and James Mahon in Tax Policy and Heterogeneous Investment Behavior (NBER Working Paper No. 21876). This is especially the case for small firms, which respond...
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When a star scientist dies, outsiders often tackle mainstream questions in the field by leveraging new ideas that arise in other domains. Knowledge accumulation — the process by which new research builds upon prior research — is central to scientific progress, but the way this process works is not well understood. In Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time? (NBER Working Paper No. 21788), Pierre Azoulay, Christian Fons-Rosen, and Joshua S. Graff Zivin...
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German women over 50, who on average are less financially secure than men, are more likely to improve their pay and delay retirement when employers offer training targeted at older workers. The combination of declining birth rates and increasing longevity in developed countries means labor forces are aging and in some nations shrinking. These patterns are particularly evident in Germany, where the population is expected to decline by 18.8 percent over the next 15...
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Veterans who were in their early 50s in 1992 were better educated, healthier, and wealthier than nonveterans of the same age. By 2010, this pattern had reversed. In Declining Wealth and Work Among Male Veterans in the Health and Retirement Study (NBER Working Paper No. 21736), Alan L. Gustman, Thomas L. Steinmeier, and Nahid Tabatabai present new evidence on how the relative financial status of veterans and nonveterans approaching traditional retirement age has...
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The declining cost of long-distance communication has led to a further concentration of foreign exchange trading in financial centers. The best-selling, contrasting narratives of Thomas Friedman in The World is Flat and Michael Lewis in Flash Boys are among the prominent efforts to identify impacts of electronic technology on economic activity. In Cables, Sharks and Servers: Technology and the Geography of the Foreign Exchange Market (NBER Working Paper No. 21884...

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