In 11th Annual Feldstein Lecture, Katherine Baicker
Underscores Need for Specifics in Health Care Debate

Recent research harnesses large datasets containing information on the presenting conditions, insurance status, treatment, and health outcomes of patients to offer insights on the productivity of the health care system. Katherine Baicker, dean of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, described some of the lessons of this research as well as the challenges of using this research to inform policy when she presented the 11th Annual Martin Feldstein Lecture at the 2019 NBER Summer Institute. Her remarks followed a program of reminiscences of NBER President Emeritus Feldstein, who died June 11th.

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Latest Volumes of NBER's Macroeconomics Annual
and Tax Policy and the Economy Are Now Available

In the NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2018, researchers examine the relative safety of the U.S. financial sector today and before the last financial crisis; effects of the crisis on the perceived risk, and possible propagation of large, rare shocks; finite-horizon forward planning compared with rational expectations; changes in the manufacturing sector and employment among prime-aged Americans; "factorless income"; and the effects of border adjustment taxes.

In Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 33, the researchers use asset pricing to value implicit fiscal debts and account for risk properties; study the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on the behavior of corporations; investigate whether pre-announced consumption tax changes affect the timing of durable goods purchases; and examine "tax equivalences" and return-free tax filing.

New NBER Research

16 August 2019

Long-Run Weather Forecasting Benefits the Rural Poor

Mark R. Rosenzweig and Christopher R. Udry find that in areas of India where long-term weather forecasts are accurate, investment, migration and rural wages respond to forecasts. They estimate that improved weather forecasting in other parts of the country could save billions of rupees annually.

15 August 2019

The Changing Structure of American Innovation

Division of innovative labor between research universities and large corporations over the last three decades may have raised the volume of science by universities but it has slowed the transformation of that knowledge into novel products and processes,Ashish Arora, Sharon Belenzon, Andrea Patacconi, and Jungkyu Suh find.

14 August 2019

The Perry Preschoolers at Late Midlife

An analysis by James J. Heckman and Ganesh Karapakula of the life course outcomes of participants in an experimental high-quality preschool program for disadvantaged African-American children in the 1960s finds long-term positive effects on crime, employment, health, and both cognitive and non-cognitive skills.
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Bulletin on Health

Penicillin’s Introduction in Post-World War II Italy
Greatly Reduced Mortality and Regional Disparities

The summer issue of the Bulletin on Health features a study of the distributional impact of penicillin’s introduction on mortality in Italy following World War II. Researchers find that mortality rates for penicillin-sensitive causes of death fell by 58 percent, relative to the mean in earlier years. Furthermore, penicillin’s introduction reduced the dispersion of penicillin-sensitive mortality rates across regions by 68 percent, explaining 40 percent of all-cause convergence over this period. Also featured in the summer issue of the Bulletin on Health are studies of the effects of heating costs on winter deaths, and the effects of California’s change in vaccine laws on vaccination and medical exemption rates.
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The NBER Digest

While China’s Growth Rate Has Been Phenomenal,
Local Padding Means It’s Less than Meets the Eye

It has long been recognized that local governments in China are incentivized to inflate their reports of economic activity because they are rewarded for meeting their growth targets. Research featured in the August edition of the free, monthly NBER Digest finds that national authorities corrected the numbers accurately until 2008, but have been less accurate since then. Also in the August Digest are summaries of studies examining the high percentage of veterans in public service, documenting outcomes for children of the Perry Preschool Project participants, analyzing the stock market wealth effect and analyzing the $500 million bond issuance in the private sector in emerging markets, and gauging the impact of workers’ wage demands when employees understand their company is highly leveraged.

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Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

The Insurance and Liquidity Value
of Social Security Survivors Benefits?

In 2015, the Social Security program paid over $95 billion in survivors benefits to 4.2 million surviving spouses. Research that is the first to explore the protective role of survivors benefit receipt against the short-run financial consequences of a spousal death finds that attaining benefit eligibility is associated with a 34-percentage point increase in Social Security receipt and a 3.1-percentage point decline in labor force participation. Also summarized in this first issue of the free Bulletin on Retirement and Disability: research that estimates the total value of Great Recession-induced disability insurance (DI) awards and a study of the effects of DI awards on the financial outcomes of applicants.
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The NBER Reporter

Accelerated by Policy, China's Population Is Rapidly Aging,
Giving Rise to Multiple Social and Economic Challenges

China's family planning policies have led to a dramatic decline in total fertility, and average life expectancy at birth has increased steadily, from 57.6 years in 1969 to 76.4 in 2017. Research on what such trends mean for the health and well-being of elderly Chinese is featured in the current issue of the free, quarterly NBER Reporter. This issue of The Reporter also includes articles by NBER researchers about their work on the efficacy of the sustainable investing proposition, the economics of Fair Trade, the work of NBER Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program affiliates, and the labor market effects of the business cycle.

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Martin Feldstein


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