AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 1, January 2017

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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The threat of 'disruption' from online education may induce traditional schools to improve quality. Does competition from virtual schools make their brick-and-mortar counterparts better? In The Competitive Effects of Online Education (NBER Working Paper No. 22749), David J. Deming, Michael Lovenheim, and Richard W. Patterson explore that question by analyzing the impact of online education on colleges with less-selective admissions policies. What they learn...

Research Summaries

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Georgia Tech results suggest that online programs could significantly increase the production of master's graduates in computer science. Online coursework has been heralded as potentially transformative for higher education, but little is known about whether it increases the number of people pursuing education or simply substitutes for existing options. In Can Online Delivery Increase Access to Education? (NBER Working Paper No. 22754), Joshua Goodman, Julia...
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Over the past 75 years, the racial gap in economic rank has narrowed sharply among men at the top of the earnings ladder but changed very little among those at the middle and bottom. Since the end of slavery a century and a half ago, differences between the earnings of black and white Americans have been a reality of the U.S. labor market. Among working men, this gap narrowed sharply between 1940 and 1970 and has remained largely stable ever since. In Divergent...
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Researchers found higher likelihood of giving but no difference in donation size between the control group of potential donors that was not offered a gift and groups that were offered embossed luggage tags. How do potential donors respond to receiving gifts from organizations that appeal to them for support? That's the central question in It's Not the Thought That Counts: A Field Experiment on Gift Exchange and Giving at a Public University (NBER Working Paper No...
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Whether fiscal adjustments are implemented via tax or expenditure changes is an important determinant of their impact on national income, independent of the business cycle. Economists have long studied and debated how fiscal adjustments affect economic output. New data, and new methods of analysis, continually influence this dialogue. At a very general level, changes in fiscal policy can take two forms: changes in taxes, and changes in government spending. Whether...
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An experiment in two cities suggests that African Americans have to wait longer for pickups from ride-sharing services. The advent of the ride-sharing industry is rapidly changing the marketplace for transportation. New services are crowding the traditional taxi industry, which is subject to an array of local regulations, including strict anti-discrimination laws designed to prevent taxi drivers from offering differential services to potential passengers from...

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