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The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest
Measuring the Productivity Impact of Generative AI figure
Customer support agents using an AI tool to guide their conversations saw a nearly 14 percent increase in productivity, with 35 percent improvements for the lowest skilled and least experienced workers, and zero or small negative effects on the most experienced/most able workers, Erik Brynjolfsson, Danielle Li, and Lindsey R. Raymond report in Generative AI at Work (NBER Working Paper 31161). Using call data from roughly 5,000 agents...

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The Amount and Structure of Taxpayer Wealth in Foreign Accounts figure
Since 2015, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has significantly expanded the amount of information available to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding wealth held by US taxpayers in foreign accounts. In The Offshore World According to FATCA: New Evidence on the Foreign Wealth of US Households (NBER Working Paper 31055), Niels Johannesen, Daniel Reck, Max Risch, Joel Slemrod, John Guyton, and Patrick Langetieg document the size,...
Bank Liquidity and the Dynamics of the Fed’s Balance Sheet figure
In the wake of the global financial crisis of 2007–09, the Federal Reserve embarked on an ambitious program of quantitative easing (QE), purchasing large quantities of bonds held by commercial banks and the rest of the economy. QE gave banks an infusion of liquidity by exchanging their longer-term assets for liquid reserves. On the liability side, however, there was an expansion of demand deposits at banks, especially uninsured deposits such as checking accounts that...
How monetary policy actions affect the trajectory of the macroeconomy is a key question for central bankers and macroeconomists. Researchers face formidable challenges in answering this question because of the endogeneity of the Federal Reserve’s decisions. If these decisions were made randomly, researchers could simply examine the statistical correlation between the Fed’s actions and subsequent economic outcomes to uncover the causal effects of decisions on outcomes. But...
Over the last decade, the Dallas Independent School District (ISD) has dramatically changed how it sets salaries. Jettisoning a typical pay scale tied to years of experience and academic credentials, Dallas began compensating educators based on a rigorous evaluation system. The result, according to two recent, related studies, is a marked improvement in student achievement. In The Effects of Comprehensive Educator Evaluation and Pay Reform on Achievement (NBER Working...
Mergers can increase prices if the merging parties gain market power due to the deal. They can decrease prices if the union induces cost savings that the firms pass through to consumers. The regulatory agencies that review mergers must determine which scenario is more likely.  In Merger Effects and Antitrust Enforcement: Evidence from US Retail (NBER Working Paper 31123), Vivek Bhattacharya, Gastón Illanes, and David Stillerman study...
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