AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 5, May 2017

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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On average, the arrival of one new industrial robot in a local labor market coincides with an employment drop of 5.6 workers. With America's workers already squeezed by forces ranging from international competition to offshoring to new information technologies, concern is growing about the impact of robots on jobs and wages. In Robots and Jobs: Evidence from U.S. Labor Markets (NBER Working Paper No. 23285), Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo find that...

Research Summaries

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Article
The Affordable Care Act has reduced the percentage of uninsured Americans by 44 percent, but whether it has had positive health effects remains unclear. Increased access to affordable health care does not necessarily translate to a decrease in smoking, substance abuse, or obesity, or to better self-reported health. Those are among the principal findings of Early Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Health Care Access, Risky Health Behaviors, and Self-Assessed...
Article
Developing countries in Latin America and Africa have not followed the rapid, export-oriented industrialization strategy that was used in East Asia. Many countries in the developing world have experienced a remarkable period of economic development over the last several decades. Besides India and China, which registered record growth rates, countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America have managed to match or exceed their performance of the 1960s and first...
Article
Falling labor shares and rising corporate profits have translated into higher corporate saving and turned the corporate sector from a net borrower to a net saver, while household saving has declined. Since 1980, the global corporate sector has increased its saving rate and switched from being a net borrower to being a net lender to the rest of the economy. This change has occurred in most industries and in a majority of countries. In The Global Rise of Corporate...
Article
Startups that are awarded patents in a "quasi-random" way experience faster employment and sales growth than their counterparts with unsuccessful patent applications. Patent applications are assigned to examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on a quasi-random basis. The median examiner grants a patent to 61.5 percent of the applications he or she considers, but the percentage varies substantially across examiners. This creates a "patent lottery" of...
Article
Single women were less likely to display high levels of ambition when they believed that their preferences would be shared with single male classmates. Some women avoid actions that would help their careers in an effort to appear more marriageable, according to the results of experiments conducted with students starting an elite U.S. MBA program. Leonardo Bursztyn, Thomas Fujiwara, and Amanda Pallais report those findings in 'Acting Wife': Marriage Market...

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