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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 10, October 2021

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
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The probability of an accurate ball or strike call rises when the pitch is more likely to affect the outcome of the game. Umpires devote less attention, however, to calls made after or in anticipation of high-stakes decisions. Do individuals prioritize their limited supply of attention and focus more on important than on less-important decisions? In The Dynamics of Inattention in the (Baseball) Field (NBER Working Paper 28922) James E. Archsmith, Anthony Heyes,...

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Article
The program had long-lasting effects on cognition, and first-generation treatment group members also have more stable home lives and higher incomes in their child-rearing years. Using newly collected late midlife measures of skills and life cycle panel data from surveys and administrative criminal records, Jorge Luis García, James J. Heckman, and Victor Ronda explore intergenerational impacts of the Perry Preschool Project (PPP), an early childhood education...
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Article
If consumers in California’s ACA exchange fully optimized their policy choices each year, average monthly premiums would be $58 lower. Many US markets for health insurance rely on managed competition: consumers choose freely among private insurers while regulations mandate minimum benefits and limit insurers’ incentives to screen consumers by risk. Anything that impedes consumers’ ability to choose high-quality plans, so-called “frictions,” may undermine the...
Article
Government policies motivated by ethnic bias can account for up to 92 percent of the deaths of ethnic Ukrainians living in Ukraine at the time. When harvests failed in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s, ethnic Ukrainians experienced significantly higher mortality than the majority Russian population. Andrei Markevich, Natalya Naumenko, and Nancy Qian discover in The Political-Economic Causes of the Soviet Great Famine, 1932–33 (NBER Working Paper 29089) that...
Article
An opt-in program allowing drivers to provide their insurer with information on their driving behavior reduced the volunteers’ premiums and raised the company’s profits. New technologies have allowed consumers to monitor their own behaviors and to sell their data to firms. In the auto insurance industry, for example, some insurers now reward customers for having devices in their cars that track their driving behavior. Insurers can then use this proprietary data to...
Article
Latency-arbitrage races constitute about a fifth of total daily FTSE 350 Index trading volume and cumulate to about $5 billion annually in global equity markets. Reducing latency, the amount of time it takes an electronic order to reach a trading venue, has become increasingly important to traders looking to profit from small, temporary price differences between exchanges. Latency-arbitrage competitions are measured in microseconds (millionths of a second), and...
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