AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 11, November 2018

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Evidence from the 1940s shows that schools can be vehicles for discrimination or can help improve equality of opportunity across generations. As access to public education spread across the United States in the early 20th century, some children benefited more than others. Children's schooling achievement was positively related to parental education, but the link between parental and children's education varied substantially by place of birth. A child's years in...

Research Summaries

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Article
The 2015 Chinese stock market crash was precipitated by the release of draft regulations pertaining to shadow-financed margin accounts. Leverage feedback loops in which highly levered investors facing margin calls are forced to sell off assets quickly, thus further depressing asset prices and tightening leverage constraints, are widely believed to have contributed to many past financial crises, including the U.S. stock market crash of 1929 and the global financial...
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The number of Mexican immigrants attempting to enter the United States illegally dropped sharply after the Border Patrol rolled out the Consequence Delivery System in 2008–12. Before 2008, more than 95 percent of Mexican nationals intercepted at the U.S. border were simply sent home without further repercussions. Over the next four years, under a sanctions program put in place by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol began imposing administrative...
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Spending on patients in the U.S. Military Health System who are treated in settings that preclude suits against providers is about 5 percent lower than spending on patients who can sue. "Defensive medicine" is frequently advanced as one potential explanation for the high share of GDP that the U.S. spends on health care. This narrative holds that doctors sometimes provide excess medical care because of concerns about potential lawsuits, even when the incremental...
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A six-fold increase in the length of 10-Ks since 1995 has made much new information available to investors, but stock prices seem unresponsive to some potentially significant disclosures. Financial market prices move on information. Changing regulations as well as corporate reporting norms have increased the amount of information available to investors, raising questions about the capacity of investors to process it. By 2014, for example, 10-K reports were more...
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After eBay implemented a new AI-based translation program, U.S. exports to Spanish-speaking Latin American countries on the platform increased sharply. Advances in machine learning have significantly improved the performance of various artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Error rates of top speech recognition systems, for example, decreased from 15 percent in 2011 to 5 percent in 2017. Despite such advances, economists have found only scant evidence that this...

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