New NBER Research
24 October 2014
While the links between an individual's earnings history and subsequent Social Security benefits are complex, a survey of individuals between the ages of 50 and 70 by Jeffrey Liebman and Erzo Luttmer suggests high levels of understanding of the incentives for longer years’ work and higher wages. They find variation in the comprehension of other features, with the effects of delayed claiming well known, and the provisions surrounding spousal benefits less well understood.
23 October 2014
Despite substantial gains over the past 30 years, women still constitute a small proportion of top earners in the U.S., according to an analysis by Fatih Guvenen, Greg Kaplan, and Jae Song. In 1981–85, women constituted just 1.9 percent of the top 0.1 percent of earners; in 2008–12 they comprised 10 percent.
22 October 2014
The “Cash for Appliances” program, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, delivered $300 million to state governments to fund rebates to purchasers of energy-efficient appliances. Sébastien Houde and Joseph Aldy find the program did not have a meaningful impact on aggregate electricity consumption. They also find evidence the rebates may have induced some consumers to purchase larger appliances.
21 October 2014
Consumer bankruptcy is one of the largest social insurance programs in the United States. Will Dobbie and Jae Song analyze its impact on debtors using 500,000 bankruptcy filings matched to administrative tax and foreclosure data. They find that Chapter 13 protection increases annual earnings by $5,562, decreases five-year mortality by 1.2 percentage points, and decreases five-year foreclosure rates by 19.1 percentage points.
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20 October 2014
The U.S. has substantially higher infant mortality than peer countries. Using data from the U.S., Austria, and Finland, Alice Chen, Emily Oster, and Heidi Williams find similar mortality in the first month after birth but a substantial US disadvantage thereafter. This postneonatal mortality disadvantage is driven almost exclusively by inequality in the U.S. Infants born to white, college-educated, married U.S. mothers have similar mortality to advantaged infants in Europe.
17 October 2014
In an experimental study of employers’ perceptions of postsecondary degrees, David Deming, Noam Yuchtman, Amira Abulafi, Claudia Goldin, and Lawrence Katz send fictitious resumes to real vacancy postings on a large online job board. Callbacks in response to the “applications” suggest that employers value college quality and the likelihood of a successful match when contacting applicants.
16 October 2014
Some sanctions built into the No Child Left Behind accountability regime exert positive impacts on students, according to Thomas Ahn and Jacob Vigdor. They find the strongest positive effects from the leadership and management changes associated with school restructuring. They find that the gains from restructuring are pervasive, while the gains from other, more modest, sanctions are concentrated among low-performing students.
15 October 2014
Hunt Allcott and Daniel Keniston find that when an energy boom doubles national oil and gas employment, total employment and wages also rise. Their results highlight how linkages to natural resources can be drivers of manufacturing growth.
14 October 2014
A country's age structure is related to its level of entrepreneurship, according to a study by James Liang, Hui Wang, and Edward Lazear that uses Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data. Entrepreneurship requires both creativity and business acumen. Very young individuals often lack the business skills necessary to start a business, while older workers may not have the creativity or energy to engage in entrepreneurship.
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