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The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Low-income and less creditworthy households were more likely to obtain debt forbearance during the pandemic, but 60 percent of the forbearance dollars went to households with above median incomes. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted in March 2020, included a range of different policies designed to address the economic impact of the pandemic. In addition to income-based interventions such as stimulus checks and unemployment...

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Purchases of nursing homes by private equity firms are associated with higher patient mortality rates, fewer caregivers, higher management fees, and a decline in patient mobility. In 2005, private equity-owned firms owned less than 1 percent of skilled nursing facilities. By 2015, they owned 9 percent; the share is likely higher today. A new study explores the impact of their business model on patient outcomes and costs. In Does Private Equity Investment in...
Low-income children who participated in Head Start were 2.7 percent more likely to finish high school, 8.5 percent more likely to enroll in college, and 39 percent more likely to finish college. The Head Start program increases high school and college graduation rates and participation in the workforce, according to a new study by Martha J. Bailey, Shuqiao Sun, and Brenden D. Timpe. In Prep School for Poor Kids: The Long-Run Impacts of Head Start on Human...
Participation decreases the chance of any arrest during the program summer by 17 percent, and the chance of a felony arrest by 23 percent. A key goal of youth employment programs is reduction in young people’s involvement with the criminal justice system. In The Effects of Youth Employment on Crime: Evidence from New York City Lotteries (NBER Working Paper 28373), Judd B. Kessler, Sarah Tahamont, Alexander M. Gelber, and Adam Isen explore whether participation in...
The state-sponsored automatic enrollment program facilitates saving among lower-wage workers without access to an employer’s retirement plan, but take-up is modest. Roughly half of Americans working in the private sector lack access to a company-sponsored retirement plan. Typically, they work for smaller companies that pay lower-than-average earnings and have higher-than-average turnover.  To help these workers, Oregon has created a state-sponsored...
While the cost of mandating use of electric heating in new homes in Florida would average only $85 a year, in some Northern states it could top $4,000. The share of American homes heated with electricity was only 1 percent in 1950 but has increased steadily to 39 percent in 2018. In What Matters for Electrification? Evidence from 70 Years of US Home Heating Choices (NBER Working Paper 28324), Lucas W. Davis investigates the key determinants of this increase using...
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