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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 12, December 2021

The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Minimum wage announcements by national firms have striking spillovers to other firms. Many employers responded to Amazon’s $15 minimum wage by matching it. Between 2014 and 2019, five major national retailers — Amazon, Walmart, Target, CVS, and Costco — implemented company-wide minimum wages. Ellora Derenoncourt, Clemens Noelke, David Weil, and Bledi Taska investigate the impacts of these policies on low-wage workers who are not employed by these firms in...

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Black-owned businesses were least likely to receive Paycheck Protection Program loans from small and mid-sized banks, where subjectivity was most likely to influence lending decisions. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was designed to help businesses retain employees as they weathered the COVID-19 pandemic. Private lenders administered PPP loans at virtually no risk to themselves, as the loans were federally guaranteed. In Racial Disparities in Access to...
Physicians lose an estimated 17.4 percent of Medicaid claims to billing problems, compared with losses of 4.9 percent for Medicare claims and 2.8 percent for commercial insurance claims. Low reimbursement rates are not the only reason many providers decline to accept Medicaid patients. Administrative costs and bureaucratic hurdles doctors face in obtaining reimbursement also are significant factors. In A Denial a Day Keeps the Doctor Away (NBER Working Paper...
High-skill workers’ service demand plunged early in the pandemic as some relocated and others rarely left home. Drawn by shorter commutes and urban amenities, highly skilled, highly compensated workers in the information and management sectors moved to urban centers in recent decades, reviving cities and their service economies. As digital technologies spread, the capacity for working remotely expanded, but it was not widely utilized. That changed dramatically...
Multinational manufacturing enterprises that are better at monitoring and planning production are likely also more adept at shifting their profits to low-tax countries. Better management leads to higher profits, but among multinational manufacturers this is primarily true for their operations in low-tax countries. In high-tax countries, better management is often associated with lower profits. The reason, according to a new study, seems to be profit shifting....
Countries that are more likely to elect left-leaning governments face higher borrowing costs, on average, in global capital markets. Some nations are more likely to elect left-leaning central governments than others. In Sovereign Spreads and the Political Leaning of Nations (NBER Working Paper 29197), Ionut Cotoc, Alok Johri, and César Sosa-Padilla investigate the relationship between a country’s political composition and the interest rate on its sovereign debt...
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