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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 12, December 2018

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Discouraging banks from borrowing in foreign currencies causes firms to increase their foreign currency borrowing from sources which may be less able to screen for risks. Regulators have worried about both banks and companies — especially in emerging markets — incurring debt denominated in foreign currency. Yet, the practice keeps expanding. Between 2009 and 2015, cross-border foreign exchange (FX) borrowing, consisting of international debt securities and loans,...

Research Summaries

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Article
Women entering PhD programs in which they have no female peers are 12 percentage points less likely to graduate than men entering the same program. More than half of all doctoral graduates in the United States in 2016 were women, but women accounted for just 23 percent of engineering and 26 percent of mathematics graduates. In Nevertheless She Persisted? Gender Peer Effects in Doctoral STEM Programs (NBER Working Paper No. 25028), Valerie K. Bostwick and Bruce...
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Article
Costs of basic cloud services fell at double-digit annual rates between 2014 and 2016, while revenue from web services grew by 70% in 2015 and 55% in 2016. The rise of the virtual cloud — the array of computer services that are offered for off-site use via the internet — has been one of the most important information technology (IT) developments of the last decade. Data on "the cloud" has not, however, been compiled systematically. David Byrne, Carol Corrado, and...
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Across a dozen European countries, an influx of less-educated immigrants fanned nationalism, while inflows of highly educated immigrants dampened it. Recent elections in Europe and the United States demonstrate the growing strength of populist and nationalistic causes and politicians. One explanation of this development is deep voter anger at governmental policies with regard to immigrants, whom nationalists tend to view as poor, unskilled, and burdens on the...
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Those who opt for for-profit schools over similarly selective public colleges borrow more, default at a higher rate, and have lower likelihood of employment. An increasing number of students are attending for-profit colleges. These institutions receive substantial public funds through federal financial aid programs. About 17 percent of Pell grants and Stafford loans went to for-profit undergraduate students in 2017, although those schools awarded just 7.6 percent...
Article
After a new beverage tax was levied in January 2017, Philadelphia stores shifted their inventories away from sweetened beverages and toward alternative drinks. In 2017, Philadelphia became the first large U.S. city to impose an excise tax on sweetened beverages. The goals were to promote consumers' health and to raise money. The cost of the tax was passed on fully to consumers, according to a new study comparing prices in Philadelphia stores with those in adjacent...

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