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The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
About 20 percent of drug approvals come in pre-holiday surges in December. They are associated with more adverse outcomes than drugs approved at other times. Government approval of drugs surges before major holidays, at month-end, and especially at the end of the year, according to research by Lauren Cohen, Umit Gurun, and Danielle Li. In Internal Deadlines, Drug Approvals, and Safety Problems (NBER Working Paper 28071), they find that drugs approved during such...

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Tick Size Pilot Program and Corporate Payouts Graphic
A series of regulatory changes beginning in the mid-1990s reduced firms’ cost of repurchasing their shares and contributed to increases in buybacks. Stock repurchases by US corporations have trended higher in recent decades, particularly in comparison to corporate dividend payouts. One explanation is that the capital gains that buybacks generate for investors are generally taxed less heavily than dividend payments. However, the tax rate difference between...
Full scholarships to low-income high school graduates in Nebraska raised college enrollment and completion, especially for those with the least academic preparation and greatest family disadvantage. The goal of most financial aid programs is to increase educational attainment for prospective students who might not otherwise be able to enroll in college or to complete a degree. In Marginal Effects of Merit Aid for Low-Income Students (NBER Working Paper 27834),...
Property sales in Florida census tracts most exposed to prospective sea level increase declined after 2013 relative to sales in less-exposed areas, but prices only started to fall years later. Forty-two percent of the US population resides in shoreline counties. Whether and how property and mortgage markets incorporate information on the risk of climate-related sea level rise is therefore an issue of broad significance. In Neglected No More: Housing Markets,...
Between 1890 and 1899, African American jockeys won the Kentucky Derby six times. By the early 1900s, they were history. In Jim Crow in the Saddle: The Expulsion of African American Jockeys from American Racing (NBER Working Paper 28167), Michael Leeds and Hugh Rockoff document the expulsion of African American jockeys from the Triple Crown races as a striking example of the surge in racism in the 1890s. The researchers suggest that horse racing provides a...
Children from large housing projects demolished in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOPE VI program were earning 14% more at age 26 than those in the control group. Between 1996 and 2003, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded nearly $400 million in grants to localities for the demolition of more than 57,000 public housing units. Through this HOPE VI program, HUD sought to improve families’ living conditions by demolishing...
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