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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 7, July 2021

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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Survey data suggest that most CEOs are unaware of the current rate of inflation and of the Fed’s inflation goals and that their inflation expectations differ from those of households and professional forecasters. Firms’ price- and wage-setting decisions are based, in part, on their expectations of future inflation. These decisions in turn shape future inflation outcomes. While firms’ inflation expectations can therefore be important determinants of optimal...

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Article
Specialized drug abuse treatment facilities serve as less-costly alternatives to emergency rooms in providing care to opioid abusers. In the past 20 years, fatalities due to drug overdoses have tripled in the United States, dwarfing the tolls of previous drug epidemics and reducing American life expectancy. Most of those deaths have come from opioid abuse.  While this problem has elicited calls for expanded treatment, it is not clear what the best...
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Article
Labor’s share of corporate earnings has shrunk in recent decades, but when equity-based payments are included in compensation, the decline for high-skill workers is almost entirely eliminated. Standard estimates of the recent decline in labor’s share of national income are likely to overstate the drop by failing to account for a large fraction of compensation in the form of equity grants and stock options. In Human Capitalists (NBER Working Paper 28815), Andrea L...
Article
Viewed from the consumer’s vantage point, 44.4 percent of all industries were highly concentrated in 1994, compared with 36.6 percent in 2019. The extraordinary growth of companies like Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple, and high-profile mergers in fields such as airlines, hospitals, and media, have generated intense interest in the changing nature of competition in the United States. As megafirms have emerged in a number of industries, many studies have pointed to...
Article
Regulators’ decision to facilitate nonbank private equity investors bidding for failed banks is estimated to have saved the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation $3.6 billion after the global financial crisis. When a US bank fails, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) generates a list of potential bidders who might be interested in acquiring it. They submit sealed bids for the failed bank, and the FDIC chooses the bid that will resolve the bank failure...
Article
Limited skill with workplace computing raised the retirement rate for older workers by more than 1 percentage point a year when computers were introduced to jobs after 1984; these differentials began to disappear after 2000. The revolution in the use of workplace computers that began in the 1980s took a toll on older workers who were not tech-savvy. They faced pay cuts, early retirement, and transfers to less intensive jobs. In Computerization, Obsolescence,...
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