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The Digest 2022-08

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
The graph is a two-panel event-study figure titled "Right-to-Carry Laws and Urban Firearm Crimes."  The left panel plots the estimated change in the firearm violent crime rate in 47 major US cities, relative to the year before right-to-carry (RTC) is adopted.   The right panel plots the estimated change in the firearm robbery rate in 47 major US cities, also relative to the year before right-to-carry is adopted.  The y-axis in both charts range from -20 to 60 percent, and both x-axes range from five years b
When states enact Right-to-Carry (RTC) concealed handgun laws, incidents of violent crimes, robberies, and aggravated assaults involving firearms increase by around a third in major cities as a result of the altered behavior of gun permit holders, career criminals, and the police. These adverse crime effects from RTC laws are in part generated by a substantial increase in gun thefts as well as reduced police effectiveness, John J. Donohue, Samuel V. Cai, Matthew V....

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Working paper figure w30077
E-commerce has dramatically altered retail in the last two decades, with online sales growing from 0.63 percent of total retail sales in 1999 to 13.3 percent in 2021. In Creative Destruction? Impact of E-commerce on the Retail Sector (NBER Working Paper 30077), Sudheer Chava, Alexander Oettl, Manpreet Singh, and Linghang Zeng study how the rise of online selling has affected brick-and-mortar retail establishments and their employees. The researchers measure the...
Working Paper Figure w30101
The wealth gap between White and Black Americans is nearly as large today as it was in the 1950s. In Wealth of Two Nations: The US Racial Wealth Gap, 1860–2020 (NBER Working Paper 30101), Ellora Derenoncourt, Chi Hyun Kim, Moritz Kuhn, and Moritz Schularick construct a time series of the ratio of White-to-Black per capita wealth spanning a century and a half. Delving into historical census data, state tax records, and multiple waves of the Survey of Consumer...
National governments that finance their activities by issuing debt must find someone to buy it. The interest rate they must pay to borrow depends on the cost of attracting new buyers, a cost that generally rises along with the outstanding stock of debt. Due in part to government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the aggregate government debt-to-GDP ratio is now at its highest level since 2003. Outstanding government debt now exceeds GDP in advanced economies, and is...
Many decisions involve choosing among complex options, and it may be difficult to assess the value of each alternative. In Complexity and Choice (NBER Working Paper 30002), Yuval Salant and Jörg L. Spenkuch use data on 227 million chess moves on an online chess server to study how complexity affects the quality of decision-making. They find that complex optimal options are chosen less frequently than other alternatives that are also optimal but simpler. The...
Under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, all workers covered by collective-bargaining agreements receive the full benefits of those agreements, such as wages and grievance redress, whether they are union members or not. In keeping with this approach, in most US states all covered workers must pay union dues regardless of union membership. However, the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, better known as the Taft-Hartley Act, allowed states to introduce “...
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