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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 9, September 2017

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Production establishments with higher percentages of scientists and engineers in their workforces have higher productivity and pay more. While many scientists and engineers in industry work in laboratories and create patents, the majority employed in the United States falls outside of the oft-studied "research and development" umbrella. Most work for goods- and services-producing establishments, implementing new technologies and lowering production costs. About 80...

Research Summaries

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Article
Mid-tier public institutions are most likely to enroll low-income students and successfully prepare them for high-earning careers. In Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Inter-generational Mobility (NBER Working Paper No. 23618), Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, Emmanuel Saez, Nicholas Turner, and Danny Yagan explore the differences across colleges in the extent to which they advance the economic fortunes of students from low-income backgrounds. They find...
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Article
Economic performance improves when high-speed, high-capacity bandwidth is introduced. The slow pace of economic progress among the poor in Africa and other less-developed regions of the world has perplexed many economists. In The Arrival of Fast Internet and Employment in Africa (NBER Working Paper No. 23582), Jonas Hjort and Jonas Poulsen find that the absence of key technologies may play a role. They demonstrate this by studying the recent introduction of high-...
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Firms at which senior partners had more daughters than sons hired more women partners and performed better than their competitors. Only about 10 percent of new venture capital (VC) hires are women, despite higher female representation among MBAs and advanced degree holders in science and technology. Approximately 75 percent of venture capital firms have never had a senior investment professional who is a woman, and the percentage of venture capitalists who are...
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Increased leisure time and reduced labor supply of young men may be partly due to the improved quality of video games. Technological improvements and reduced prices for online video games have increased the attractiveness of leisure time for young men and may be contributing to declining hours of work, according to the researchers of Leisure Luxuries and the Labor Supply of Young Men (NBER Working Paper No. 23552). They find that young men spend far more time...
Article
When home sales plunged by almost 50 percent during the Great Recession, spending on home-related durable goods and home improvements declined by 12 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Economists have long recognized that household spending rises and falls with booms and busts in the housing market. Most research on this topic has focused on ways in which spending is affected by changes in housing wealth and by employment changes linked to housing construction....

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