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Innovation Policy and the Economy,
Volume 20, Now Available


Edited by NBER Research Associates Josh Lerner and Scott Stern, the latest volume in the Innovation Policy and the Economy series explores changes in the ability of the United States to attract talented foreign workers, the role of sponsoring institutions in shaping immigration policy, the division of innovative labor between research universities and corporate labs, the effectiveness of various innovation policies in the pharmaceutical sector, effects of competition policy, uses of experimental policy design, and geographic disparities in innovation, joblessness, and technological dynamism.

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The NBER Reporter

Report on the NBER's Health Care Program
Reviews Major Sources of High US Medical Costs




The lead article in the new NBER Reporter provides an overview of scores of working papers that explore Americans' soaring medical costs, their declining life expectancy, and impacts of the Affordable Care Act. Also in this edition of the free, quarterly Reporter, in which NBER researchers summarize work in sub-fields of economics, are articles on market concentration, financial market dynamics, behavioral health, and household expectations.
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New NBER Research

17 January 2020

Labor in the Boardroom

Studying the results of a change in German law that left some firms but not others reserving a third of their board seats for workers, Simon Jäger, Benjamin Schoefer, and Jörg Heining find that shared governance raised investment spending and value-added per worker.

16 January 2020

Stranded Fossil Fuel Reserves and Firm Value

In a sample of 679 North American oil firms, Christina Atanasova and Eduardo S. Schwartz find that developed reserves are strongly associated with firm value, but the growth of undeveloped reserves reduces value, arguably because of concern that such assets will be stranded.

15 January 2020

Cost-Sharing in the Affordable Care Act Marketplace

The Affordable Care Act requires insurers to provide cost-sharing reductions to low-income consumers on health insurance marketplaces. Kurt J. Lavetti, Thomas DeLeire, and Nicolas R. Ziebarth calculate that these taxpayer-funded price subsidies increase demand for high-value care, but also for inefficient low-value care.
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NBER in the News




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Exploring the Latest Trends
in International Labor Force
Participation Rates


Over the last two decades, developed countries have experienced a long-term decline in men's labor force participation at older ages, followed by a more-recent pattern of sharply rising participation rates. Participation rates for women at older ages have also been rising. Knowing what's driving these trends is vital as countries seek solutions to fiscal and retirement-security challenges posed by longer lifespans. The eighth volume of the International Social Security project, which compares the social security and retirement experiences of 12 developed countries, explores possible explanations.

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Why Hasn't Investment Come Back Strongly
in the Years Since the 2007-08 Financial Crisis

Among trends of great concern in the United States are a decades-long decline in productivity growth and relatively weak investment in physical capital that has persisted since the Great Recession. Research by Janice C. Eberly of Northwestern University and the NBER shows that the rise in importance of intangible capital can help explain both trends. Moreover, she finds that intangibles may be contributing to the rise of market concentration.
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The NBER Digest

State Estate Taxes Spur Some Billionaires to Move,
but the Levies Still Increase Revenues in Most States




After 2001, taxpayers became fully liable for state-level estate taxes. From then until 2017, the number of individuals listed in the Forbes 400 who lived in states with estate taxes fell 35 percent, according to research featured in the January edition of The NBER Digest. Also featured in the January issue of the free, monthly Digest are studies of the decline in IPOs in the United States, opioid abuse among War on Terror veterans, the benefits to young firms of winning the H-1B visa lottery, the effect of China's retaliatory tariffs on US consumption, and the relationship between credit booms and equity performance.
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How the Chinese Economic System Really Works:
It's Not as Centralized and Controlled as It Seems

China's tight political discipline gives an impression that state power there is highly centralized, but when it comes to the economy that's not so much the case. If the formal rules issued from the center were applied, the system would be dysfunctional, according to Chang-Tai Hsieh of the University of Chicago and his collaborators, but in reality there are some 3,000 powerful local governments with authority to make "special deals" on a case by case basis. These local governments are in competition, the researchers find, so almost anyone with a business and an idea with potential can get a deal with one of them.
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Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

The Role That Self-Employment Plays
in Facilitating Work at Older Ages




Understanding the trends in self-employment at older ages is increasingly important as more Americans work into their later years. Results of a survey on self-employment is summarized in the winter issue of the free Bulletin on Retirement and Disability. The research shows that the share of self-employed rises sharply with age and that highly educated older adults are considerably more likely to be self-employed than less-educated workers. Also featured in this issue: a summary of research on trends in retirement income adequacy, an exploration of research on the retirement income choices of defined contribution plan participants, and a Q & A with newly appointed Retirement and Disability Research Center co-director James Choi.
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