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Two New NBER Books Explore
Productivity in Education and Agriculture


   
Productivity in Higher Education
How do the benefits of higher education compare with its costs, and how does this vary across individuals and institutions? Productivity in Higher Education uses rich and novel administrative data, modern econometric methods, and deep institutional understanding to explore these issues. Researchers examine the returns to undergraduate education, differences in costs by major, the productivity of for-profit schools, the productivity of various types of faculty, the effects of online education on the market, and the ways in which the productivity of institutions responds to market forces. Edited by Caroline M. Hoxby and Kevin Stange.
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Agricultural Productivity and Producer Behavior
While agricultural yields have increased steadily in the last half century, inflation-adjusted agricultural commodity prices have been trending downward as increases in supply outpace the growth of demand. Yet recent severe weather events, biofuel mandates, and a switch toward a more meat-heavy diet in emerging economies have boosted prices. Whether this is a temporary jump or the beginning of a longer-term trend is an open question. Agricultural Productivity and Producer Behavior explores issues including potential environmental consequences of yield growth, genetically modified crops, changing climatic factors, production responses to government regulations, and the role of crop diversification, disease management, and water-saving methods. Edited by Wolfram Schlenker.
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New NBER Research

18 November 2019

Price Changes Drive Shoppers' Inflation Expectations

Many consumers rely on the frequency and size of grocery price changes to form their inflation expectations, according to a study by Francesco D’Acunto, Ulrike Malmendier, Juan Ospina, and Michael Weber. Many central banks, however, focus on inflation measures that exclude grocery prices.

15 November 2019

Long-Run Impacts of School Suspensions on Adult Crime

Students assigned to a school that has a one standard deviation higher suspension rate have lower educational attainment and are 15 to 20 percent more likely to be arrested and incarcerated as adults, Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Stephen B. Billings, and David J. Deming find.

14 November 2019

The Economic Consequences of Bankruptcy Reform

The 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act reduced bankruptcy filings and led to a decrease in credit card interest rates, Tal Gross, Raymond Kluender, Feng Liu, Matthew J. Notowidigdo, and Jialan Wang calculate.
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NBER in the News




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Bulletin on Health

Federally Mandated Medicaid Reimbursement Increases
Expanded Patient Access to Care, While They Lasted




The fall issue of the Bulletin on Health features a study of increases in Medicaid reimbursement rates that were federally mandated from 2013 to 2015. This policy change increased Medicaid payments for certain primary care services by 60 percent, on average, and substantially reduced geographic dispersion in the level of payments. Researchers find that the increased reimbursement expanded access to care, improved self-reported health, and reduced school absences among primary school-aged children. Also featured in the fall issue of the Bulletin on Health are studies of birth outcomes at hospitals with relatively high c-section rates, and the longevity of Medicare beneficiaries who move from one location to another.
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How Republican and Democratic Investors
Reacted to the Outcome of the 2016 Election

The marked change in national leadership — both at the level of individual politicians and national parties — following the 2016 election produced a sharp change in investment behaviors, as households in predominantly Democratic zip codes tended to sell out of the stock market and buy into safe assets while those in Republican dominated zip codes bought into the market and sold safe assets to finance those investments. A study of why that happened was made by Jonathan A. Parker, Maarten Meeuwis, Antoinette Schoar, and Duncan I. Simester.

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The NBER Digest

Foreclosures Found to Exacerbate Housing Downturns
by Excluding Defaulters from Market and Straining Banks




Foreclosures of homeowners deepen downward spirals in the housing market by excluding those who default from the market, tightening constraints on banks, and making potential buyers more picky, according to an analysis of the 2006–13 period featured in the current edition of the free, monthly NBER Digest. Also featured in the November issue are working papers exploring: the preferred locations of American inventors, the first four years of the Affordable Care Act, signs of stagnation in the developed world's economy, and the effects of the Common Application on the college admissions process and new strategies for improving tax collection in developing countries.
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The NBER Reporter

In '80s and '90s, Low Unemployment and Inflation
Were Associated with Robust Growth. Why Not Now?




Declines in both the startup of new businesses and the reallocation of workers potentially are related to the aggregate decline in productivity growth in the United States, according to research discussed in the current edition of the NBER Reporter. Also in this issue of the free NBER quarterly are reports on long-term unemployment, evidence-based health care policy, belief formation, and analysis of violent conflict.

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Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

Effects of Mandatory State-Level Medigap Coverage
To the Under-65 Medicare-Eligible Population




Research summarized in the current issue of the Bulletin in Retirement and Disability shows that states requiring Medigap insurers to offer at least one Medigap plan to the under-65 Medicare population measurably and substantially improves that population's health. Also in the current issue, are summaries of the 2019 Retirement and Disability Research Consortium Meeting held August 1-2 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, research on the effects of Medicaid privatization in Texas, and a panel discussion on the economic determinants of fertility decisions held this past July at the NBER Summer Institute's Social Security meeting.
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If Unconventional Policies Are Swiftly Adopted,
the Zero Lower Bound May Actually Be Irrelevant

The global financial crisis of 2007–08 and the recession that followed led many central banks to lower rates down to near zero — their theoretical lower bound. Given the impossibility of further reductions in the short-term nominal rate, which is the usual instrument of monetary policy in normal times — central banks increasingly relied on unconventional monetary policies. A study presented at this year's NBER Annual Conference on Macroeconomics found that, in the case of the United States, it worked.

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