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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 7, July 2018

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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While it is a widely held belief that youth and entrepreneurship go hand in hand, research finds that more successful entrepreneurs launch their enterprises in their 40s than in their 20s. Star innovators such as Bill Gates, who was 19 when he started Microsoft, Steve Jobs, 21 when he started Apple, and Mark Zuckerberg, 19 when he launched Facebook, have reinforced the longstanding impression that young people are the wellspring of entrepreneurship. Systematic...

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  New technology can sometimes replace workers in jobs for which there are no longer enough humans. Some worry that rapid technological progress, specifically in automation and robotics, may lead to workers being replaced by machines in many industries, and that this will generate societal disruptions not seen since the onset of the Industrial Revolution. The authors of Demographics and Automation (NBER Working Paper No. 24421) offer a different narrative...
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Expansion of the network between larger and smaller cities reduced travel times by 13 minutes on average, and increased the number of commuters working in smaller cities while retaining homes in larger ones. Starting in the late 1990s, Germany expanded its high-speed rail network (HSR), connecting outlying locales to large urban areas. In The Effect of Infrastructure on Worker Mobility: Evidence from High-Speed Rail Expansion in Germany (NBER Working Paper No....
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Nation- and industry-specific barriers keep resources from flowing to the most efficient firms in the European Union. Their complete elimination could boost EU GDP by almost one-third. European companies vary widely in output per unit of capital and labor, which means that the European Union (EU) does not produce as much as it could if resources were allocated more efficiently, according to Resource Misallocation in European Firms: The Role of Constraints, Firm...
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Nonprofit organizations with a member of Congress on their board are four times more likely than peer organizations to receive grants from corporate foundations. The channels through which corporations may support elected officials are a subject of long-standing and contentious debate in the United States. Firms' capacity to spend on behalf of elected officials of whom they approve increased markedly with the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in 2010. While...
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The National Research Service Award program increased the number of postdoctoral researchers who subsequently received an NIH grant. What works in supporting the pipeline of scientific talent development? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been asking that question for decades, and has funded undergraduate and graduate fellowships, research grants, and other programs designed to train and encourage promising young scientific researchers. In The Impact...

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