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The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Fewer than 30 percent of workers surveyed say they will return fully to pre-COVID activities, while most remain wary of mass transit, crowded elevators, and indoor dining. After the COVID-19 pandemic ends, 20 percent of all labor in the United States may be satisfied by remote workers, up from 5 percent before the virus struck, according to Why Working from Home Will Stick (NBER Working Paper 28731) by Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, and Steven J. Davis. The...

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CEOs of firms that are more subject to risk of hostile takeover and experience industry distress appear to age faster, and to die younger, than those in less stressful circumstances. How does work-related stress affect health outcomes? To explore this much-discussed issue, Mark Borgschulte, Marius Guenzel, Canyao Liu, and Ulrike Malmendier analyze the experiences of 1,605 CEOs who entered the C-suite between 1975 and 1991. The CEOs in the study — CEO Stress, Aging...
Peak annual earnings relative to early-career earnings more than doubled between 1960 and 2017, largely due to an economy-wide shift toward jobs that place workers in decision-making roles. As automation has improved, machines increasingly have substituted for workers in jobs involving routine tasks predictable enough to be scripted ahead of time. The tasks required of those in the remaining jobs are increasingly open-ended, and doing good work requires the...
Rising labor market returns to education and a stable disparity in educational attainment led to a doubling in the share of the earnings gap between Black and White men that is attributable to the education gap. The return to education in the US labor market has increased in recent decades, raising the importance of disparities in educational attainment between Black and White men in accounting for the earnings gap between these two groups. In Human Capital and...
When small loans secured with “digital collateral” are in arrears, lenders can shut off the benefits of the collateralized asset without physically repossessing it. While microfinance has not broadly succeeded in relaxing credit constraints for the poor in low- and middle-income countries, a new form of credit using “digital collateral” is effective, a study by Paul Gertler, Brett Green, and Catherine Wolfram finds. Digital collateral allows a person to...
A ban on late night and early morning driving by first-year drivers reduced crashes and fatalities, and had ongoing benefits in later years. A policy in Australia that banned first-year drivers from carrying multiple passengers from 11 pm until 5 am more than halved crashes, casualties, and deaths during those hours, Timothy J. Moore and Todd Morris report in Shaping the Habits of Teen Drivers (NBER Working Paper 28707). It also lowered crashes earlier in the...
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