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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 5, May 2021

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Replacing administratively set pricing with a bidding mechanism reduced spending on 12 durable medical devices by 41.8 percent, and reduced average quantities purchased by 9.3 percent. In 2020, the Medicare program provided health coverage for 62 million elderly and disabled Americans at a cost of more than $800 billion. Annual expenditures are projected to reach about $1.6 trillion by 2028. Medicare fee-for-service plans cover 60 percent of Medicare beneficiaries...

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Article
At-home charging data from California suggest that electric vehicles have been driven many fewer miles per year than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Estimates of the environmental benefits of electrification of the passenger vehicle fleet depend on the number of miles that each new electric car will displace from the gasoline-powered fleet. Using new data on the electricity use of electric vehicle (EV) owners in northern California from 2014 to 2017, Fiona...
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Awarding tax credits based on a combination of formal and discretionary criteria, and strictly monitoring grantee compliance, generated new jobs both at firms receiving credits and at other firms. Many states and localities offer local subsidies to firms in an effort to create jobs. Whether such local development programs are a cost-effective way of raising employment is a controversial issue, and can result in significant swings in the nature and extent of such...
Article
A one-year increase in the average retirement age of workers who are close to retirement reduces the wage growth of younger coworkers by 2.5 percent per year. The retirement decisions of older workers can influence the earnings growth rate and promotion rate of younger workers, especially in firms where promotion opportunities are more limited. These effects are the focus of Career Spillovers in Internal Labor Markets (NBER Working Paper 28605), by Nicola Bianchi...
Article
Competition for private donors, talented students, and highly skilled professors produced a virtuous circle in which elite institutions rewarded high-quality research. The United States had about 900 colleges before the Civil War. By 1875, educational attainment exceeded that in any European nation, but the country had no top-tier research universities. Yet over the next half century, US research universities not only emerged, but achieved global dominance. In...
Article
Shareholder support for new female board nominees decreased to that of new male nominees after board gender quotas were mandated, but share prices declined only for firms that failed to replace the least-supported directors. In 2018, California enacted a new law that required all publicly held corporations headquartered there — 12 percent of all US firms — to have at least one woman director by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021, the statute requires boards...
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