AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 3, March 2020

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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After a firm wins a grant, workers' wages rise substantially, which is consistent with their having accepted lower wages in the startup phase in the hope of higher pay later. When small, private high-tech companies land a government research and development grant, they share the benefits of this windfall with their senior employees. Workers who were with the company prior to its application for the grant received an average 16 percent raise in pay, according to...

Also from This Issue

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Voters in entirely black neighborhoods were 74 percent more likely to spend more than 30 minutes at the polls than those in entirely white neighborhoods. Black people waited longer to vote than whites during the 2016 election, and there was no association between the length of the waiting time and which political party was in power in the voting jurisdiction. Those are two of the findings in Racial Disparities in Voting Wait Times: Evidence from Smartphone Data (...
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Five states that required doctors to fill out triplicate forms and report opioid prescriptions experienced slower growth in OxyContin use. The opioid epidemic struck with different force in different states. The average per capita usage rate over the last two decades of OxyContin, a widely used prescription opioid that was introduced in 1996, was about 50 percent lower in California, Idaho, Illinois, New York, and Texas than in other states. In Origins of the...
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Rising Department of Defense outlays in a community are associated with lower auto and home equity loan rates, perhaps because they increase expected future income and wealth. Textbook macroeconomic theory holds that unless there are slack resources in the economy, an increase in government spending will put upward pressure on interest rates, thereby lowering consumer spending and business investment. But new empirical findings suggest that, at least at the local...
Article
Negative feeling toward opposing political parties is up most sharply in the United States. It has also risen in Canada, Switzerland and New Zealand while falling elsewhere. Affective polarization — people’s negative feelings toward members of opposing political parties — has been increasing in the United States, causing concern not just because of the accompanying decline in the civility of public discourse but also because high levels of polarization are...
Article
Fire protection costs — paid for by the federal government — are not considered by prospective homeowners and local authorities when making development decisions. Annual wildland firefighting costs for the US federal government have more than doubled in real terms over the past 30 years and are expected to keep growing. Firefighting costs for federal agencies totaled some $43 billion in the period 1985–2017, mostly in Western states in which the federal government...

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