New NBER Research

11 February 2016

Relative Price Dispersion: Evidence and Theory

A sizeable portion of the variation in the price at which the same good trades in the same period and in the same market stems from sellers' attempts to discriminate between buyers who need to make all of their purchases in the same store and buyers who are willing to purchase different items from different stores, according to a study by Greg Kaplan, Guido Menzio, Leena Rudanko, and Nicholas Trachter.

10 February 2016

Health Capacity to Work at Older Ages:
Evidence from the United States

Historical patterns of health status and labor force activity suggest that most older Americans are healthy enough to work longer than they do now, according to calculations made by Courtney Coile, Kevin S. Milligan, and David A. Wise. They estimate that the share of men working at ages 64 to 69 could be more than 30 percentage points higher than at present, and that women have a similar capacity for extending their work lives.

9 February 2016

Cables, Sharks and Servers: Technology and
the Geography of the Foreign Exchange Market

The installation of cable connections between local markets and major financial centers lowers the fixed costs of trading currencies, increases the share of currency trades occurring offshore, and reduces the spatial "frictions" that discourage long-distance trading, a study by Barry Eichengreen, Romain Lafarguette, and Arnaud Mehl finds. On balance, these connections raise the amount of trading done in global market centers, particularly London.
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39th Annual NBER Summer Institute

NBER in the News

Wide Variety of Analyses, Multiple Perspectives

... in Tax Policy and the Economy, Vol. 29

From an estimate of how much the federal government could raise by limiting tax expenditures, to an analysis of whether tax credits have a significant causal effect on college attendance and related outcomes, to the impact of the Affordable Care Act on taxes on income and on full-time employment, the 29th volume of Tax Policy and the Economy illustrates the depth and breadth of taxation-related research by NBER associates. The book, edited by Jeffrey R. Brown, is just out from The University of Chicago Press.

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This Week's Working Papers

New in the NBER Digest

Privately Negotiated Hospital Prices Vary Widely
for Patients Covered by Employer-Sponsored Plans

Hospitals negotiate higher prices when they face less competition, research presented in the latest issue of The NBER Digest shows. Hospitals with monopoly power charge an average of 15 percent more than those in areas with four or more hospitals. Other studies featured in this month's Digest explore the health impacts of cap-and-trade sulfur dioxide allowances, the effects of California's first-in-the-nation paid family-leave law, the reliability of statistics in the Current Population Survey, the decline in high-growth job-creating firms in the United States, and assimilation's effect on immigrants' labor supply.

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New in the NBER Reporter

Fiscal Policy in Emerging Markets:
Procyclicality and Graduation

Why do so many emerging-market countries pursue procyclical fiscal policies when almost all developed countries have countercyclical policies? Carlos A. Vegh, a professor of international economics at Johns Hopkins University, analyzes this question in the latest edition of the quarterly NBER Reporter. He also explores factors that influence the size of fiscal multipliers – such as exchange-rate structure, debt levels, and the stage of the business cycle – and finds that multipliers are highest in recessions when government spending is trending upward. Read his analysis or download a pdf of the 2015:4 Reporter.

Bulletin on Aging and Health

What Is the Value of Medicaid?

While Medicaid is the largest means-tested program in the United States, it has not been clear how to assess its value: How do Medicaid’s welfare benefits compare to its costs? How do its benefits compare to the benefits of other cash-based transfer programs? NBER research associates develop two analytical frameworks in research presented in the latest Bulletin on Aging and Health.

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Disability Insurance Programs and Retirement

Vol. 6 in Series on Social Security Around World

Disability insurance programs can play a significant role in the departure of older workers; in some countries, many individuals rely on disability insurance until they are able to enter into full retirement. The sixth stage of an ongoing research project studying the relationship between social security programs and labor force participation, this volume draws on the work of an eminent group of international economists to consider the extent to which differences in labor force participation across countries are determined by the provisions of disability insurance programs. Edited by David A. Wise; published by The University of Chicago Press.

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