AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 3, March 2019

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Currently state-owned firms receive more subsidies and lower interest rates than formerly state-owned firms, which in turn are favored relative to always-private firms. China's two-decade push to privatize state-owned enterprises (SOEs) has created better-performing companies, but former SOEs still benefit from some forms of state support. These firms receive low-interest loans and subsidies more frequently, and in greater quantity, than other enterprises. In...

Research Summaries

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Article
The increase is concentrated among earners in the top quartile of the firm's wage distribution, and those who were employed by the firm during the year of the patent application who stayed on in subsequent years. Whether workers' wages are mostly determined by the value of what they contribute to the firm they work for, with little room for negotiation, or whether they in substantial part reflect a division of profits, or "rents," between the two parties, is a...
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Much of the slowdown in employment growth during economic recoveries in recent decades is due to slowing growth in women's labor force participation. Recent economic recoveries have been characterized by slow employment growth. Various explanations have been suggested for this pattern, including labor market restructuring that creates mismatches between workers and job openings, and firms using existing workers for longer hours rather than hiring new ones...
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  Standardized tests are widely used to gauge student capabilities and inform educational programming. Test scores can also shape the academic destinies and careers of students. Their importance can generate stress among test-takers. In Testing, Stress, and Performance: How Students Respond Physiologically to High-Stakes Testing (NBER Working Paper 25305), Jennifer A. Heissel, Emma K. Adam, Jennifer L. Doleac, David N. Figlio, and Jonathan Meer document that...
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  In attempts to curb gun violence by young people, who often use unsecured firearms from their homes, 27 states and the District of Columbia have adopted safe-storage laws designed to restrict juvenile access to guns. These "child access prevention" (CAP) laws vary from state to state in severity of penalties and assignment of liability. In Child Access Prevention Laws and Juvenile Firearm-related Homicides (NBER Working Paper 25209), D. Mark Anderson, Joseph...
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A pilot program finds that high achievers who wouldn't otherwise apply to the University of Michigan can be encouraged by outreach, information, and assurances of a full tuition scholarship. A new Michigan initiative suggests a low-cost way for highly selective universities to attract economically disadvantaged, academically gifted students, who historically have been unlikely to apply. In Closing the Gap: The Effect of a Targeted, Tuition-Free Promise on...
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A one percentage point drop in the federal funds rate is associated, over the following three years, with a 5 percent increase in the inflows to stock mutual funds with high income yields. Standard theories in financial economics hold that investors should be indifferent to whether income accrues from dividends or from capital gains as long as there are no tax differences and capital markets are frictionless. The actual behavior of retail investors appears to be...

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