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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 7, July 2017

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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In sectors hit hard by the Great Recession, decentralized firms were more likely to survive. They experienced smaller declines in sales, productivity, and profits than their centralized counterparts. The Great Recession sparked public debate about whether different approaches to organizing a firm affect its capacity to survive and recover from hard times. Are decisions about pricing, marketing, and hiring better made in corporate headquarters, by executives who...

Research Summaries

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Article
New evidence shows that childhood lead exposure has substantial adverse effects on school suspension and juvenile detention rates. The use of lead in gasoline, paint, and other products has been sharply restricted since the 1970s as part of a national effort to reduce the incidence of neurological and other medical problems associated with lead ingestion, particularly by children. In Lead and Juvenile Delinquency: New Evidence from Linked Birth, School, and...
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Earnings growth for married men with college degrees is substantially higher than for comparably qualified married women over the course of their prime working years. Despite dramatic workforce gains by women in recent decades, a substantial gender earnings gap persists. In The Dynamics of Gender Earnings Differentials: Evidence from Establishment Data (NBER Working Paper No. 23381), Erling Barth, Sari Pekkala Kerr, and Claudia Olivetti find that this gap...
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Forward guidance and large-scale asset purchases were effective alternatives when the Federal Reserve was unable to stimulate the economy by lowering interest rates. From 2009 to 2015, when the Federal Reserve's target short-term interest rate was close to zero, the central bank employed two other mechanisms in its efforts to boost the economy: forward guidance — information about the future path of the short-term interest rate — and large-scale asset purchases (...
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When a U.S. parent company engineers product components domestically, then transfers the profits from these intangible assets to a foreign affiliate, measured U.S. growth may suffer. Recent reports of declining U.S. productivity growth have spurred discussion of whether official statistics accurately measure the impact of certain technologies, such as smartphones and broadband Internet. While the usual concern is that the impact of these goods on the real value of...
Article
Following an incident of misconduct, women are more likely than men to lose their jobs and are less likely than men to find a new job within a year. Gender disparities in the financial industry extend beyond discrimination in pay and hiring decisions to the severity of consequences for wrongdoing. This is the conclusion of a study by Mark L. Egan, Gregor Matvos, and Amit Seru, When Harry Fired Sally: The Double Standard in Punishing Misconduct (NBER Working Paper...

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