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Research

The NBER conducts and disseminates independent, cutting-edge, non-partisan research that advances economic knowledge and informs policy makers and the business community.

New NBER Papers

- Working Paper
We study a model of social learning and communication using hard anecdotal evidence. There are two Bayesian agents (a...
- Working Paper
Since the turn of the last century, nationalistic political parties have been gaining support in Europe. Over the same...
- Working Paper
Based on patterns of employment transitions, we identify three different types of workers in the US labor market: α's...
- Working Paper
Workfare programs are one of the most popular social protection and employment policy instruments in the developing...
- Working Paper
Competitive exams are a standard method for selecting civil servants. Yet, evidence on the effectiveness of such...
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The Digest

The Digest is a free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest.

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    w28374
    Article
    Data on 800,000 commercially insured individuals in Philadelphia suggest that during lockdown essential workers were 55 percent more likely than others to get COVID-19. For 12 weeks beginning in March 2020, Pennsylvania closed all nonessential businesses as part of a program to reduce the spread of COVID-19. A new study examines how this lockdown affected the relative health of employees in essential and nonessential businesses. In The Impact of the...
    w28242
    Article
    After a ban on high-to-low ordering of debit charges, micro loans from alternative lenders in zip codes with below median income fell by about 16 percent. At the end of each business day, banks post the day’s transactions to their customers’ accounts. Some banks post deposits, debit card transactions, cash withdrawals, and wire transfers without regard to transaction size. If the funds in the account are insufficient to cover the charges, accounts with overdraft...

The Reporter

The Reporter is a free quarterly publication featuring program updates, affiliates writing about their research, and news about the NBER.

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    RDRC_Reporter_2020_04_ figure1
    Article
    Author(s): Nicole Maestas
    The NBER Retirement and Disability Research Center (RDRC) conducts research on issues relevant to Social Security policy. It is part of a national consortium of competitively selected research centers supported by the Social Security Administration (SSA) under five-year cooperative agreements. In addition to the NBER center, the consortium includes research centers at the University of Michigan, Boston College, and the University of Wisconsin. The consortium helps inform the...
    Central_Bank_Reporter_2020_04_figure1
    Article
    In December 2008, at the height of the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve lowered the federal funds rate, the short-term interest rate that is one of its central policy tools, to zero. Around the same time, it began large-scale purchases of long-term Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities issued by the three federal agencies that participate in mortgage lending, a practice commonly known as quantitative easing (QE). It also began to use more explicit forms of forward...

The Bulletin on Retirement & Disability

The Bulletin on Retirement and Disability summarizes research in the NBER's Retirement and Disabiy Research Center. A quarterly, it is distributed digitally and is free.

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    NB20-05
    Article
    The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides cash benefits and access to Medicaid to 1.3 million low-income children in the US with physical, mental, and behavioral disabilities. Supporters of the program contend that SSI can improve the long-term outcomes of children by boosting household resources of poor families raising a child with a disability. Critics argue that conditioning benefits on a child’s disability creates perverse incentives for families to...
    NB20-13
    Article
    Nearly one in seven US workers is a state or local government employee. These employees are eligible for retirement benefits through about 300 state administered and 6,000 locally administered pension plans, most of which are defined benefit plans. Many state and local pension plans face a funding gap. Across all plans, the ratio of plan assets to plan liabilities was 72 percent in 2019. Many public sector retirement plans are prohibited by their state constitutions...

The Bulletin on Health

The Bulletin on Health summarizes recent NBER Working Papers pertaining to health topics. It is distributed digitally three times a year and is free.

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    w27848
    Article
    As health care costs continue to grow in the United States, a crucial question is whether the increased spending is productive. Traditional measures — such as those in the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) — indicate that health care productivity has declined in recent decades. However, this traditional accounting suffers from an important shortcoming: it does not directly measure health improvement as the primary outcome. In A Satellite Account for Health...
    w27890
    Article
    Do treatment guidelines encourage use of effective treatment or impede provision of personalized health care? In Rules vs. Discretion: Treatment of Mental Illness in US Adolescents (NBER Working Paper 27890), researchers Emily Cuddy and Janet Currie address this important issue in the context of mental illness among adolescents. They use claims data from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Alliance for Health Research to evaluate the effect of the initial treatment choice on...
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