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Study of a Wellness Program Finds that, in Year One,
It Did Not Lead to Lower Spending on Health Care

As health-care costs continue to rise, workplace wellness programs have become popular with employers looking for ways to cut costs. Damon Jones of the University of Chicago and the NBER is a leader of a large-scale study of wellness programs’ effectiveness at cutting costs and enrolling targeted populations.

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Visit the Illinois Workplace Wellness Study website


How Globalization of R&D and the Spread of AI
Affect Innovation, Competition and the Labor Force



Volume 19 in the NBER's Innovation Policy and the Economy series focuses on the interaction between public policy and innovation. Edited by Josh Lerner and Scott Stern and published by the University of Chicago Press, this volume examines the globalization of R&D and its effects, the impact of trade shocks on innovation, the Advanced Research Projects Agency model for funding and managing high-risk R&D, drug discovery and development, and issues around the diffusion of artificial intelligence.
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18 December 2018

Arbitration with Uninformed Consumers

In a sample of roughly 9,000 securities arbitration cases, industry-friendly arbitrators are 40 percent more likely to be selected than their consumer friendly counterparts, according to an analysis by Mark L. Egan, Gregor Matvos, and Amit Seru. Their evidence suggests that firms appear to use information on arbitrators’ past decisions in selecting arbitrators. Limiting the respondent's and claimant's inputs over the arbitrator selection process could significantly improve outcomes for consumers.

17 December 2018

Mapping the Childhood Roots of Social Mobility

Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, Nathaniel Hendren, Maggie R. Jones, and Sonya R. Porter construct an atlas of children’s outcomes in adulthood by census tract for nearly the entire U.S. population and identify high-opportunity neighborhoods that are affordable to low-income families.

14 December 2018

Survey Reporting and Effects on Food Stamp Estimates

Fifty percent of food stamp recipients do not report their receipt of benefits in the Current Population Survey, and a substantial number of non-recipients are recorded as recipients in the Survey of Income and Program Participation, according to Bruce D. Meyer, Nikolas Mittag, and Robert M. Goerge. They find imputation of recipiency status in response to missing data is an important source of error.
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The NBER Digest

European Natives’ Attitudes toward Immigrants
Are Related to the Migrants’ Levels of Education




A study of immigration and voter attitudes in 12 European countries, featured in the December edition of The NBER Digest, finds that increases in highly skilled, highly educated immigrants are associated with a voter shift away from nationalism, while inflows of less-educated, less-skilled immigrants are associated with a change toward nationalism. Also in this month’s Digest: an analysis of student outcomes at for-profit colleges, a calculation of impacts of Philadelphia's tax on sweetened beverages, an exploration of an unintended consequence of regulations on foreign exchange borrowing by banks, and a look at why women's STEM PhD completion rates are lower than men's, and a measurement of rapid change in the cloud.

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The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health

Fragmentation in the Kidney Exchange Market
Leads to Inefficient Matching of Donors to Recipients




Nearly 100,000 patients are on the wait list for a kidney transplant and the wait times are years long. A study summarized in the current edition of the NBER's Bulletin on Aging and Health documents significant fragmentation in the kidney exchange market, which the researchers find constricts hospitals' opportunities to find replacement kidneys that may patients' blood types and other needs. Also in this edition of the Bulletin: A look at the long-term impacts of Hurricane Katrina on survivors' mortality rates and a study of how a doctors' race affects their patients' utilization of preventative medical treatments.

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The NBER Reporter

Subprime Lenders Wrongly Blamed for Housing Crisis;
Broad-Based Expansion of Credit Fueled Speculation




African-American and Hispanic homebuyers were hurt most by the avalanche of mortgage foreclosures when the housing market collapsed, but not because they were holding subprime mortgages. Research discussed in the current edition of the NBER Reporter finds that a general expansion of credit fueled speculation and that minorities paid higher mortgage costs whether they used prime or subprime loans. Also in this edition of the quarterly Reporter, NBER affiliates write about their explorations of the role of liquidity in the 2007–09 financial crisis, the sometimes unforeseen consequences of energy and environmental policies, the effects of taxation on innovation, and the changing process of pharmaceutical development.

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