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The Economic Effects of Trade and Tariffs


As United States and China levy tit-for-tat tariffs and other aspects of the global trading system face new challenges, NBER researchers explore the costs and benefits of international trade and the consequences of tariffs and other trade policies. A panel discussion held during the 2018 NBER Summer Institute features Research Associates Robert Feenstra of the University of California, Davis; Pinelopi Goldberg of Yale University, chief economist-designate of the World Bank; Gordon Hanson of the University of California, San Diego; and Douglas Irwin of Dartmouth College.
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New NBER Research

21 September 2018

Network Theory-based Targeting and Technology Adoption

In a field experiment in Malawi, Lori Beaman, Ariel BenYishay, Jeremy Magruder, and Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak find that technology diffusion among farmers is characterized by a complex contagion learning environment in which most farmers need to learn from multiple people before they adopt new technology.

20 September 2018

Supplemental Security Income and Child Outcomes

When women with low educational attainment who have low birth weight infants are eligible for Supplemental Security Income payments for children with disabilities, both their parenting behaviors and children’s outcomes improve, and they are more likely to work part-time than full-time, Melanie Guldi, Amelia Hawkins, Jeffrey Hemmeter, and Lucie Schmidt find.

19 September 2018

The Impact of Unequal Raises on Quit Behavior

In an analysis of job-leaving decisions at a large U.S. retailer that workers say were wage-based, Arindrajit Dube, Laura Giuliano, and Jonathan Leonard find that decisions to quit are driven by comparisons with higher-paid peers, suggesting concerns about fairness.
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The Global Financial Crisis at 10:
What Led Up to It? What Lessons Were Learned?


The global financial crisis a decade ago had a profound impact on the fields in which economists work. Studies of beliefs that led to the crisis, weaknesses of the pre-crisis financial system, the lessons learned, and the possibility that it could have been prevented were considered at the NBER’s 2018 Summer Institute.
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Weeks before Supposedly Unexpected Expansionary
FOMC Announcements, Stock Returns Trend Positive




In a study featured in the current edition of The NBER Digest, researchers found positive returns as much as 25 days before the announcement of expansionary monetary policy “shocks” by the Federal Open Market Committee. Drift around supposedly surprise announcements — both positive and negative — affected firms in almost all industries and extended to many equity markets outside the United States. Also featured in the September issue of the Digest: an examination of the effect of more affordable travel on scientific collaborations, an investigation of the relationship between car prices and financing terms, a measure of gains from a localized spurt in productivity, a look at union membership, wages, and income inequality, and an analysis of debt markets’ bias toward home country currencies.

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Mergers and the Rising Importance of Intangible Assets
Contributing to Decline in the Number of Listed Firms




Investment by U.S. firms has changed, with spending for intangible assets rising and expenditures on capital goods decreasing, and this has impacted newer firms’ views on the desirability of being listed. A research summary in the current issue of The NBER Reporter explains that this shift and a surge in mergers have contributed to a sharp decline in listings. Also in the quarterly Reporter: A report on the effects of gender imbalance on saving behaviors within families and in the broader economy, an analysis of firm behaviors in reaction to changes in the competitive environment, a summary of asset pricing research in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and an examination of large implicit taxes on work at older ages.

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Regulation of Emergency Department Wait Times
Benefits Patients’ Short- and Long-Term Outcomes




Growing emergency department (ED) wait times are increasingly a focus of public concern. Research summarized in the current edition of the NBER's Bulletin on Aging and Health studies the effects of a policy in England requiring that 95 percent of ED patients be discharged, admitted as an inpatient, or transferred to another hospital within four hours of arrival. The study finds a modest increase in ED costs due to the policy, and a reduction in the 30-day patient mortality rate of an estimated 14 percent.

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