The NBER Digest

Mandatory Disclosures Motivated by Safety Concerns
May Sharpen Competition but Depress Innovation

Mandatory disclosure of chemicals in fracking fluids allows competitors to catch up to industry leaders but depresses experimentation at high-productivity firms, according to research featured in the current edition of The NBER Digest. Also featured in this issue of the free monthly Digest are studies of the long-term payoff for investing in bonds of countries that default, the later-life impact of retaining students in 8th grade due to low English and math scores, the lasting legacy of Civil War General Sherman's March through the South, and the earnings results of women who attend highly selective schools, and the benefits of new highway construction.

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New NBER Research

23 April 2019

A Strategy to Reduce Cost of Integrating Renewables?

A large-scale field experiment in Denmark suggests that price signaling could significantly reduce the cost of integrating of wind and solar electricity production into an electricity supply industry, Laura Mørch Andersen, Lars Gårn Hansen, Carsten Lynge Jensen, and Frank A. Wolak report.

22 April 2019

Effects of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement

The Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement may have increased the U.S.-South Korea bilateral trade deficit by diverting U.S. import demand from other trading partners, according a study by Katheryn N. Russ and Deborah L. Swenson.

19 April 2019

Assessing the Gains from E-Commerce

E-Commerce spending in the United States accounted for eight percent of consumption by 2017, yielding consumers over $1,000 per household in travel cost saving, according to a study by Paul Dolfen, Liran Einav, Peter J. Klenow, Benjamin Klopack, Jonathan D. Levin, Laurence Levin, and Wayne Best.
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Control of Infectious Diseases Benefited Both Genders;
Research Explores Why Women's Gains Were Greater

Concern over sharp increases in income inequality has risen in recent years. But NBER Research Associate Bruce D. Meyer of the University of Chicago says income is not a good measure of real inequality and well-being. His research shows that — when measured in terms of consumption, what people actually have — inequality has declined for the lowest 20 percent of the distribution since 2005.

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Former IMF Research Department Chief Analyzes
2018–19 Slowdown in Global Economic Growth

Global economic growth slowed in late 2018 and early 2019. NBER Research Associate Maurice Obstfeld of the University of California, Berkeley, who served as economic counsellor and director of the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund until December 2018, examines what contributed to the slowdown and the divergence in growth trends across nations. Obstfeld delivered a keynote address on this topic at the NBER's Corporate Associates Research Symposium in April 2019.

The NBER Reporter

A Central Focus of the NBER's Program on Education:
Exploring the Productivity of of American Universities

When earnings are used to measure benefits, the productivity of a dollar is fairly similar across a wide array of selective postsecondary institutions in the United States, suggesting that market forces compel some amount of efficiency among selective institutions, according to research discussed in a new report on the NBER's program on Education. In contrast, market forces appear to exert little productivity discipline on nonselective schools, possibly because those schools' students are poorly informed investors or rely greatly on third parties to pay their tuition. The full report is in the new edition of the quarterly NBER Reporter. Also featured in this issue are articles on financial misconduct, survey expectations, patents and innovation, and charitable-giving behaviors.

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The NBER Bulletin on Health

First Edition of Free Bulletin on Health Features Study
of Medicare Advantage Effects on the Use of Opioids

Researchers exploring the role of health insurance design in reducing prescription opioid use in the United States find that Medicare Advantage plans are structured in a way that gives them greater opportunity than stand-alone Part D plans to affect opioid prescription rates. Counties with higher Medicare Advantage enrollment have lower opioid prescription rates, particularly from high-volume prescribers. The findings are featured in the new NBER Bulletin on Health. Also featured are studies of intergenerational wounds from the Civil War and the effects of air pollution on dementia. Another new bulletin, on retirement and disability research, is coming soon.

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