U.S. Welfare Reform Efforts Have Been Based
on an Availability of Work that Doesn’t Always Exist

Hilary W. Hoynes, an NBER research associate and professor of economics and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, specializes in the study of poverty, food and nutrition programs, and the impacts of government tax and transfer programs on low income families. In this video, she outlines successes and failures of federal efforts to reform welfare payments and direct recipients toward employment. Some of her recent NBER working papers are here and here. A complete list, with links, is here.

On the News

American Economic Association Focuses
on Low Share of Women in the Profession

At the AEA's annual meeting in Philadelphia last week, much attention was paid to the persistently low number of women in the economics profession. The dialogue touched on the presentation of economics in introductory textbooks, on the number of women who major in economics and who pursue Ph.D.s, and on post-Ph.D. employment and research activities. The discussion devoted to this issue was the subject of a front page story in The New York Times on January 11. Recent NBER working papers have focused on ways to encourage more women to enter the field and on the representation of women at the NBER's own meetings.

New NBER Research

19 January 2018

Financial Spillovers and Macroprudential Policies

Peripheral economies that implement macroprudential policies increase their monetary independence from central economies when the latter implement expansionary monetary policies. This is also the case when the peripheral economies run current account deficits or experience credit expansions, according to Joshua Aizenman, Menzie D. Chinn, and Hiro Ito.

18 January 2018

The Geography of Poverty and Nutrition:
Food Deserts and Food Choices across the U.S.

In a study of why high-income families tend to eat more healthfully than the poor, Hunt Allcott, Rebecca Diamond, and Jean-Pierre Dubé find that neighborhood environments do not have economically meaningful effects on healthy eating. Exposing low-income households to the same food availability and prices experienced by high-income households would reduce nutritional inequality by only 9 percent.

17 January 2018

House Price Beliefs And Mortgage Leverage Choice

Individuals’ beliefs about future house price changes are affected by recent house price experiences of geographically distant friends, a study by Michael Bailey, Eduardo Dávila, Theresa Kuchler, and Johannes Stroebel finds. More pessimistic homebuyers choose higher leverage, in particular in states where default costs are relatively low.
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The NBER Reporter

Scope of NBER’s Program on Industrial Organization
Broadening Rapidly in Areas of Applied Microeconomics

While studies of traditional manufacturing, service, and retail settings remain an important focus of the NBER’s Program on Industrial Organization, there has been rapid growth of research in sectors such as health care, education, financial markets, and the media. A report on these recent developments leads the new issue of The NBER Reporter. Also featured in this edition of the quarterly Reporter, bureau-affiliated economists write about their work on the value of “soft skills,” the dynamics of international business cycles, the impacts of birth order, and the evolution of factor shares.
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The NBER Digest

'Unicorns' — Private Companies Valued over $1 billion
— Are Often Worth Much Less, Study Finds

The complex financial structures of fast-growing private firms, such as differences in pricing of shares offered in different financing rounds, mean that private companies valued at over $1 billion — so-called "unicorns" — on average are worth around half that, research featured in the current edition of The NBER Digest finds. Also in this month’s Digest: a study of the factors that produce American inventors, an examination of why some taxpayers forgo the benefits of itemizing their returns, a study of the value of monetary and fiscal maneuvering room to countries hit with economic shocks, an analysis of the effects of the housing market crash in 2007–10, and an examination of the impact of OPEC price constraints.

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The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health

Out-of-Network Billing Practices
In Emergency Department Visits

Individuals who require a visit to the emergency department are often in duress and in no position to confirm that their treatment is being handled by in-network practitioners, especially in cases where they are already at in-network hospitals. Research summarized in the current issue of the NBER's Bulletin on Aging and Health finds high incidences of out-of-network billing at in-network hospitals are common in select groups of emergency departments nationwide. Analysis of a 2015 New York state legislative reform targeting out-of-network billing found the reform substantially reduced "surprise costs" for emergency department visitors.
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