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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 11, November 2021

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
After the United States restricted lead emissions, the Mexican lead-acid battery-recycling industry expanded rapidly, and the incidence of low birthweight infants near recycling plants in Mexico increased. A key concern in environmental policy debates is that tighter pollution regulations in richer countries may lead to the relocation of dirty production activities to poorer countries with weaker regulations. This could have adverse health effects on the “...

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The Heavy and Chemical Industry Drive of 1972 to 1979 increased the size and output of targeted firms and industries but was also associated with increased misallocation of resources. Between 1965 and 1990, four “tigers” — South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong — were among the leaders in a period of rapid industrialization and economic growth that became known as the East Asian Miracle. Some analysts have linked this growth to these countries’ reliance on...
Total enrollment in autumn, 2020, was down 3 percent, with the sharpest declines in lower grades, especially kindergarten, as families shifted to options such as homeschooling and private schools. Public-school enrollment has fallen during the COVID-19 pandemic as parents have shifted their children to homeschooling and private schools. In The Pandemic’s Effect on Demand for Public Schools, Homeschooling, and Private Schools (NBER Working Paper 29262), Tareena...
Analysis of the behavior of 21,447 firms in 46 emerging economies finds active central bank management of international reserves increases business investment. When global financial risk spikes, emerging market economies can experience widened credit spreads, plunging investment, capital flow reversals, and heightened speculation about impending debt crises. If a country’s central bank accumulates international reserves during good times, it can “lean against the...
A community-financed program to procure boats, ice, and fuel enabled impoverished communities to avoid middlemen in trade, boosting incomes and increasing food consumption. In the impoverished communities of the Brazilian Amazon, one of the most remote settings in the world, fishermen harvest a huge, prehistoric, air-breathing fish called a pirarucu. Historically, they have sold the fish to middlemen who wield significant market power, resulting in a large gap...
Hispanic students in California who began schooling after Mendez v. Westminster remained in school 0.9 years longer and were 19.4 percent more likely to graduate from high school. The Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 is widely viewed as the seminal decision outlawing racial segregation of schools. But a decade earlier, in Mendez v. Westminster, a federal district court ruled against segregation of Mexican Americans in California schools....
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