Three New Working Papers Explore
Impacts of Coronavirus Countermeasures

The economic consequences of pandemics like the current novel coronavirus outbreak, and of policies to contain their spread, are the subject of three new NBER working papers that are posted on this website. One study examines the lessons from the massive influenza pandemic of 1918-1920, and estimates that it reduced GDP in a typical country by between 6 and 8 percent. Another explores the tradeoff between the severity and timing of suppression of the disease, for example through social distancing, and the progression of the disease in the population. A third outlines the balancing between the economic costs of containment policies — which could include a recession — and the number of lives saved. Earlier NBER studies which have investigated economic and other consequences of previous epidemics are available here.

NBER Cancels In-Person Meetings until May 1,
Extends 2020 Summer Institute Deadline to March 31

In light of the evolving global coronavirus situation, the NBER has canceled all in-person meetings that were scheduled for March and April 2020. Some upcoming in-person meetings are being replaced with virtual, web-based conferences. Invitees to those meetings will receive further information from the NBER Conference Department. To be considered for presentation at the 2020 Summer Institute, papers or abstracts may now be submitted until noon EDT on March 31.

Bulletin on Health

Medicare Eligibility Reduces Cancer Mortality for Women

The spring issue of the Bulletin on Health features a study examining the impact of Medicare eligibility at age 65 on cancer detection and outcomes. The researchers show that cancer detection shifts sharply upward at the age of Medicare eligibility, while cancer mortality shifts downward with Medicare eligibility. The effects are concentrated among women, especially among racial minorities. Also featured in this issue of the free Bulletin on Health are: a study of how a diabetes diagnosis affects subsequent health care and health outcomes, a study of how an informational letter about the tax penalty for lacking health insurance affected insurance coverage and mortality, and a profile of NBER research associate Adriana Lleras-Muney.
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New NBER Research

30 March 2020

Unpacking Skill Bias: Automation and New Tasks

Using industry-level estimates of worker displacement due to automation and of worker reinstatement due to new tasks, Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo show that since 1987, the combined effects of these two forces has been to shift towards greater demand for skills in the US economy.

27 March 2020

Valuation Effects of China's Anti-Corruption Campaign

The stock price returns when China announced its anti-corruption campaign were significantly lower for luxury-goods producers, state-owned enterprises, large firms, and politically connected firms than for private, small, or non-connected firms, Haoyuan Ding, Hanming Fang, Shu Lin, and Kang Shi find.

26 March 2020

Assessing Efforts to Re-Enroll College Dropouts

Providing information that simplifies community college re-enrollment has little effect on re-enrollment of dropouts, while offering both the information and a one-course tuition waiver significantly increases it, according to a new study by Justin C. Ortagus, Melvin J. Tanner, and Isaac McFarlin Jr.
More Research

The Roles of Immigrants and Foreign Students
in US Science, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

Ina Ganguli, Shulamit Kahn,
and Megan MacGarvie, editors

Using new data and rigorous empirical analysis, this new NBER book examines various aspects of the relationship between immigration, innovation, and entrepreneurship, including the effects of changes in the number of immigrants and their skill composition on the rate of innovation; the relationship between high-skilled immigration and entrepreneurship; the differences between immigrant and native entrepreneurs; and the post-graduation migration patterns of STEM doctoral recipients. The volume also examines the role of the US higher education system and US visa policy in attracting foreign students for graduate study and retaining them after graduation.

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The NBER Digest

Does Major Federal Financing of Wildfire-Fighting Cost
Encourage Developers to Build in High-Risk Locations?

State and federal governments bear a large share of wildfire-fighting costs, local homeowners and developers may not take the expected cost of fire protection into account when they decide to build in high fire-risk areas, according to a study featured in the current edition of The NBER Digest. Also in this issue of the free monthly Digest are summaries of studies exploring an implicit wage bargain in startup tech firms, black Americans' long waits to vote in the 2016 election, why some states suffered less than others from the opioid epidemic, how federal spending might affect local interest rates, and which countries have had more — and less — political polarization.
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The NBER Reporter

An Approach to Incurable Behavioral Health Disorders:
Manage Them by Providing Insurance of Treatment

Recent government data suggest that in 2017, 4.2 percent of all US adults — 11.2 million people — met diagnostic criteria for serious mental illness, and 7.2 percent — 19.2 million people — had substance abuse disorders, and at least 70,237 individuals died from drug overdoses. Research reviewed in the current edition of the NBER Reporter finds major benefits from expanded access to treatment through Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansions. Also in this edition of the free, quarterly Reporter, in which NBER affiliates summarize work in sub-fields of economics, are articles on household expectations, costs of health care, and market concentration, and financial market dynamics
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Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

What Drives Prescription Opioid Abuse?

While the magnitude of the US opioid crisis is fairly well understood, its causes are less well established. This issue is the topic of study of a paper summarized in the current issue of the free Bulletin on Retirement and Disability. The research finds that opioid abuse jumps shortly after a move and remains at the new higher level for up to five years after the move, suggesting that place-specific factors may explain about one-fourth of opioid abuse. Also featured in this issue: a summary of research on how perception of pain differs by education level, an exploration of trends in work and disability application among people with mental illness, and a joint Q&A with NBER research associates Richard Frank and Ellen Meara, both of Harvard University.
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