Research Associate Lisa Kahn of the University of Rochester describes how data tracking real-time job postings suggest an economy-wide decline in labor demand in late March and early April and a relatively weak association between stay-at-home policies and the drop in labor market activity. Watch the video here.
Twelve NBER working papers distributed this week examine the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic along with the actual or potential consequences of public and private actions to combat it.
Several studies investigate the effect of pandemic-related shut-downs and re-openings on the labor market (27431, 27422, 27419) and on older workers in particular (27448). Others consider the role of consumer fear vs. shutdown policies in contributing to the drop of economic activity (27432), the macroeconomic effects of a pandemic in several different modeling frameworks (27430), the pandemic’s impact on state tax revenues (27426), how consumer demand for on-line food shopping responded to the number of reported virus cases (27427), and the potential gains from a spatially-targeted rather than uniform lockdown policy (27441).
With respect to financial markets, studies consider the portfolio adjustments of retirement savers (27438), the potential long-term effects of COVID-19 on risk-taking (27439), and the effect of news about COVID-19 case levels on the yield disparities for eurozone government bonds (27451).
More than 170 NBER working papers issued since mid-March have reported on pandemic-related research.
By mid-April 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with about a 67 percent decline in the total number of outpatient visits per provider relative to the same week in prior years, Pinka Chatterji and Yue Li calculate.
White sons born after the early 20th century boll weevil shock to agriculture had similar wages and schooling outcomes to white sons born prior to the weevil’s arrival, while black sons born after the boll weevil had significantly higher wages and years of schooling, Karen Clay, Ethan J. Schmick, and Werner Troesken find.
The NBER Summer Institute is a collection more than 50 distinct research meetings, on a wide range of topics, taking place between July
6 and July 25. Most meetings are being live-streamed on the NBER YouTube channel. The schedule of meetings may be found here.
The live-stream URLs are assigned each day by YouTube, and they will be posted as soon as they are available here.
The summer issue of the Bulletin on Health features two studies that introduce methods for using currently available information to better understand COVID-19 infection rates and the implied infection fatality rates. One paper generates upper and lower bounds on the rates of COVID-19 infection under minimal assumptions, and finds that these bounds are necessarily wide, due to the small proportion of the population that has been tested. The second paper leverages additional assumptions and data, such as travel patterns from the virus epicenters, to infer infection rates. Although the studies take different approaches, they both indicate that infection fatality rates are considerably lower than the fatality rates among confirmed COVID-19 cases. Also featured in this issue of the free Bulletin on Health are a study of the long-term impacts of OxyContin’s reformulation on fatal drug overdoses, a study of the role of Medicaid coverage in reducing infant mortality during flu pandemics, and a profile of NBER research associate Doug Almond.
Following an influential report on prisoner rehabilitation programs that concluded that "nothing works" in the United States rose sharply, ensuing policy discussions gradually led to rehabilitation programs being subordinated to policies emphasizing punishment and incapacitation. Research into the Norwegian prison system, featured in the current edition of the NBER Reporter, challenges that approach. Also in this issue of the free quarterly Reporter, NBER affiliates write about investigations into barriers to take-up of government initiatives, the impact of rare events on financial markets, the impact of land systems and misallocation on agricultural productivity, and the role of the firm in explaining the structure and evolution of wages and worker risk .
Fewer than half of low-income and part-time workers have access to paid [sick?] leave. In the absence of federal action, numerous states and localities have enacted sick pay mandates. A study summarized in the current issue of the Bulletin on Retirement and Disability finds that following the introduction of a mandate, coverage rises by 13 percentage points, from an initial level of 66 percent overall. Also in this issue: a summary of how student loan forgiveness affects disability insurance applications, a study of how bill timing affects low-income and aged households, and a feature on the NBER Retirement and Disability Research Center’s Training Fellowship program.
New NBER affiliates are appointed through a highly competitive process that begins with a call for nominations in January. Candidates are evaluated based on their research records and their capacity to contribute to the NBER's activities by program directors and steering committees. New affiliates must hold primary academic appointments in North America. On January 1, 2020, there were 1,581 NBER-affiliated researchers based at 180 institutions.