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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 6, June 2017

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Higher levels of government borrowing are associated with lower leverage ratios in the corporate sector. Most governments in developed countries responded to the financial crisis of 2008 by pursuing expansionary fiscal policies, raising budget deficits and issuing government debt. Some warned that growing supplies of government debt might have unintended consequences in the realm of corporate finance. In Government Debt and Corporate Leverage: International...

Research Summaries

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Article
California data suggest that increasing the healthfulness of school lunches raises test scores for comparatively little cost, but that it does not appear to affect obesity rates. Policies that provide subsidized school lunches are designed to improve student nutrition and support student achievement. The lunches available in different school districts vary along a number of dimensions, and, by standard metrics, some are healthier than others. In School Lunch...
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U.S. counties that received larger numbers of immigrants between 1860 and 1920 had higher average incomes and lower unemployment and poverty rates in 2000. Studying immigrant flows during the period of highest immigration in U.S. history, Sandra Sequeira, Nathan Nunn, and Nancy Qian find that counties that received large influxes of immigrants experienced both short- and long-term economic benefits compared with other regions. In Migrants and the Making of America...
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The incidence of African American infant mortality in the early 20th century and its subsequent decline both were less dramatic than standard data suggest. Vital statistics data on infant mortality rates in the United States have long shown a large disparity between African Americans and whites in the early years of the 20th century, as well as a narrowing in this disparity over the course of the century. New data, reported in Revising Infant Mortality Rates for...
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Alternatives to conventional measures of real wages, as well as direct indicators of consumption spending, suggest that below-median income families have seen gains in material well-being since 1960. Though wage growth has slowed and income inequality has increased since 1960, consumption by lower- and middle-class U.S. families has also increased over this period, Bruce Sacerdote reports in Fifty Years of Growth in American Consumption, Income, and Wages (NBER...
Article
An increase in the weight of options in the CEO's compensation package is associated with an increase in stock price volatility, largely because of greater firm leverage. Raising the share of stock options in a CEO's compensation package may lead to greater corporate risk-taking, according to a new study, How Do Quasi-Random Option Grants Affect CEO Risk-Taking? (NBER Working Paper No. 23091). Researchers Kelly Shue and Richard Townsend find that a 10 percent...

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