NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

How Did the Great Recession Affect
the Disability Insurance Program?




New analysis of over 10 million disability insurance (DI) applications shows that nearly 1 million former workers who applied for DI during and following the great recession would not have applied had the recession not hit. The researchers estimate that the resulting recession-induced DI awards will result in an additional $56 billion in DI benefits over the lifetime of the beneficiaries. Also summarized in this first issue of the free Bulletin on Retirement and Disability: research on the importance of survivors benefits to the well-being of widows and a study of the effects of DI awards on the financial outcomes of applicants.
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New NBER Research

16 July 2019

Military Service and Public Sector Employment

In a study of draftees called for induction in the Vietnam-Era Selective Service Lotteries, Tim Johnson and Dalton Conley find that men whose birthdays were associated with lower lottery numbers – higher probability of being drafted – were more likely than their low-draft-probability counterparts to work for the federal government later in life.

15 July 2019

Financial Players Improve Electricity Market Efficiency

Akshaya Jha and Frank A. Wolak find evidence that introduction of purely financial participants into the California wholesale electricity market decreased the average difference, and the volatility of the difference, between day-ahead and real-time prices.

12 July 2019

Physician Bias and Racial Disparities in Veteran Health

Using records from cohorts of Union Army veterans to estimate racial differences in longevity, Shari Eli, Trevon D. Logan, and Boriana Miloucheva find acute discrimination against blacks by the doctors who certified disability. This behavior negatively affected black veterans’ pensions and mortality experience.
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NBER in the News




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Latest Research on Theory and Practice of Long-Term
Investing Presented at Asset Management Conference

The NBER's Project on Long-Term Asset Management, which focuses on the theory and practice of long-term investing, held its fourth annual meeting in Cambridge on May 9–10, with the support of Norges Bank Investment Management. Researchers presented papers on topics ranging from the changing ownership structure of equity markets to the returns on real assets such as infrastructure investments to the valuation of private equity investments. The keynote address was delivered by Harvard University Professor John Campbell.

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The NBER Digest

WWII Effort to Keep Innovations from the Enemy
Shown to Have Retarded Pace of Follow-On Discovery




Inventors who sought patents for more than 11,000 innovations were ordered to keep their inventions and patent applications secret as part of the United States’ war effort in the 1940s. A study featured in the July edition of The NBER Digest finds that this effectively kept information from the enemy, but also slowed the march of follow-on innovation. Also summarized in this issue of the free, monthly Digest: an examination of the effects of wartime patent secrecy regulations, a report on the impact of more lighting in high-crime areas, an investigation into why some talented IT workers accept lower wages, and a look at how much car buyers care about fuel efficiency, and an analysis of the impacts of cancelling student debt, and an examination of high- and low-debt countries’ responses to financial crises.

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The NBER Reporter

NBER Research on Financial Crises, Wealth Inequality,
and Lackluster Productivity Reviewed and Summarized




Researchers affiliated with the NBER’s Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program have extensively analyzed the last global financial crisis and policy responses to it, in work reviewed by the program’s directors in the new issue of The NBER Reporter. They also summarize program affiliates’ work on other current, major macroeconomic issues. Also in this issue of the Reporter, researchers write about their work on labor market effects of the business cycle, social challenges posed by China’s aging population, the efficacy of the sustainable investing proposition, and the economics of Fair Trade.

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Bulletin on Health

California's Ban on Non-Medical Vaccine Exemptions
Was Largely Offset by a Rise in Medical Exemptions




The second issue of the free Bulletin on Health features a study of California’s decision to eliminate all non-medical exemptions from vaccine requirements for school entry beginning in 2016. Researchers find that the resulting decrease in non-medical exemptions was substantially offset by an increase in medical exemptions. Nonetheless, overall vaccination rates among children entering kindergarten increased by between 2 and 5 percentage points. Also featured in the summer issue of the Bulletin on Health are studies of the effects of heating costs on winter deaths and the impact of penicillin’s introduction on the distribution of mortality in Italy following World War II.

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Martin Feldstein, 1939-2019
Renowned Economist and NBER President Emeritus


Martin Feldstein, president of the NBER for nearly 30 years, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University, chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1984, and one of the most prolific and influential economists of the last half century, passed away on Tuesday, June 11. He was 79.

Feldstein’s leadership of the NBER had a profound and lasting effect on applied economic research. He was appointed president of the NBER in 1977 and, aside from his years of CEA service, served in this role until 2008. He transformed the organization and created the network structure that today encompasses nearly 1,600 affiliated scholars. He moved the NBER headquarters from New York City to Cambridge, launched the NBER Summer Institute and regular meetings of program groups, and promoted NBER working papers as an important channel for dissemination of economic research. Feldstein recognized the value of enhanced communication, at conferences and through sharing pre-publication manuscripts, in advancing research progress. He authored or coauthored 165 NBER working papers and edited 19 NBER books.
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