Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

Retirement Income Replacement Rates Have Fallen
for Households below the Median Income

Is the retirement income of older Americans adequate to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living? This question is the topic of study of a paper summarized in the winter issue of the free Bulletin on Retirement and Disability. The researchers look at the income replacement ratio and find that the ratio has been flat or rising over time for households with income at or above the median but, critically, has deteriorated for households below the median. Also featured in this issue; a summary of research on the retirement income choices of defined contribution plan participants, an exploration of research on self-employment at older ages, and a Q & A with newly appointed Retirement and Disability Research Center co-director James Choi.
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New NBER Research

13 December 2019

Industry Payments Use Peer Networks to Market Drugs

A study by Leila Agha and Dan Zeltzer finds that pharmaceutical companies' marketing payments to physicians target highly connected individuals as a method of broadening the impact of the marketing expenditures.

12 December 2019

Long-Term Consequences of Growing Up in a Recession

Men who experience severe economic conditions in youth are more risk averse in adulthood, less likely to be self-employed, and more likely to have longer job tenure, Hitoshi Shigeoka finds.

11 December 2019

The Consumption Response to Trade Shocks

The 20 percent of US counties that were most affected by Chinese retaliatory tariffs experienced a 3.8 percentage point decline in consumption growth and a decline in employment growth according to a study by Michael E. Waugh.
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NBER in the News

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Quantitative Easing Stimulated the Economy,
Kept Inflation from Falling, and Gave Fed a New Tool

At the height of the Great Recession, with the Federal Reserve's capacity to lower interest rates limited by the zero lower bound, the Fed announced it would begin purchasing mortgage-backed securities — essentially filling the role of an investment bank or hedge fund at a time when the private markets were in disarray. Mark Gertler of New York University and the NBER explains how the use of this new tool worked out.

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On the News

Oil Reserves in an Era of Climate Change Concerns

Some major oil companies in the United States and abroad are writing down the value of their assets in the face of a supply glut and ever-growing concern about climate change. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Chevron’s CEO said in announcing a $10-billion-plus write-down Dec. 10, the world the company sees in the future is “a different world than the one that lies behind us.” NBER Working Paper 26497 reviews the possibility that vast oil and gas reserves may become “stranded assets” no longer highly valued by capital markets.

Bulletin on Health

Hospital Cesarean Section Rates and Birth Outcomes

The fall issue of the Bulletin on Health features a study examining the impact of delivering a baby at a hospital that has a relatively high c-section rate. The researchers rely on the variation in hospital choice that arises from the relative distance to different types of hospitals in a sample of low-risk first births in California. They find both benefits and costs from the earlier truncation of long labors that occurs at high c-section hospitals. Also featured in the fall issue of the free Bulletin on Health are studies of the longevity of Medicare beneficiaries who move from one location to another, and the effects of increased Medicaid reimbursement rates on patient access to care.
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The NBER Digest

Grocery Price Fluctuations Found to Influence
Consumers’ Expectation of Inflation in the Future

Consumers who experienced the most extreme changes — either negative or positive — in frequently purchased goods such as bread and milk were more likely to extrapolate from their trips to the grocery store when forming inflation expectations than those who saw little to moderate change, according to research summarized in the latest edition of the NBER Digest. Also featured in the December issue of the free monthly publication are studies of strict school discipline’s impacts on adult outcomes, free legal services’ influences on American family structure, bankruptcy law reform’s contribution to a decline in filings, and the phenomenon of women under-selling themselves, and differential effects of microfinance.
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The NBER Reporter

Exploring the Factors Contributing to Increase
in Long-Term Unemployment in the United States

For more than 50 years, unemployed individuals were mostly short-term unemployed, even during recessions. But starting in 2007, the long-term unemployment share increased from roughly 20 percent to 45 percent of all unemployed Americans and remained at that elevated level for several years. Research featured in the current edition of the NBER Reporter explores why. Also in this issue of the free NBER quarterly are reports on evidence-based health care policy, belief formation, analysis of violent conflict, and declining US productivity growth.

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