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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 4, April 2018

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Comparing a counterfactual U.S. economy entirely dependent on domestic resources and one that has access to foreign factor services, international trade is estimated to raise GDP 2 to 8 percent. At a time when foreign trade is on the front burner of the national debate, a new study offers estimates of the economic benefits of a globally open economy. Depending on the assumptions that are made about consumer and producer behavior, international trade raises the...

Research Summaries

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Article
Every €1,000 decline in disability benefits to parents translated into a boost of around €5,700 in children's future earnings. In 1969, two years after the introduction of disability insurance in the Netherlands, 4 percent of the Dutch working age population was receiving benefits. By the late 1980s, that had risen to 12 percent. Prompted by rising costs, the Dutch took a series of steps to reduce benefits, stiffen eligibility requirements, and transfer...
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Article
Workplace health programs have been touted as a way to reduce employee medical costs, but employees in the program studied spent $566 a month on health care compared to $562 a month in the control group. Spurred in part by incentives in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the workplace wellness industry has more than tripled its annual revenues, to $8 billion, in recent years. Wellness programs now cover more than 50 million American workers. But a new study of one...
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Countries that rely on the United States for military protection hold a higher fraction of their foreign exchange reserves in U.S. dollars. If other nations believe that the United States is disengaging from international security alliances, this could lead to an increase in the interest rates on U.S. Treasury debt, according to Barry Eichengreen, Arnaud J. Mehl, and Livia Chitu in Mars or Mercury? The Geopolitics of International Currency Choice (NBER Working...
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Costa Rican growers, coffee workers, and their neighbors all experience gains; only intermediaries' incomes are reduced. The fair trade movement began as an initiative of a church-based NGO in the Netherlands whose members were concerned about the impact of low coffee prices on growers and pickers. It was replicated elsewhere in Europe and North America, and expanded to cover numerous agricultural products from the developing world. Various groups coalesced into...
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An analysis of data on Norwegian entrepreneurs finds that many went into the industries in which their fathers worked and that they were more successful than those who entered other industries. What impact does industry knowledge passed on by a father have on a son's entrepreneurial success? In Dinner Table Human Capital and Entrepreneurship (NBER Working Paper No. 24198) Hans K. Hvide and Paul Oyer tease out specific benefits of exposure to industry knowledge...

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