How the Notion of Human Capital, Once Scorned
by Economists, Was Nurtured and Expanded at the NBER

Marking the 100th anniversary of the NBER’s founding, affiliated researchers chronicled major chapters in the organization’s evolution at this year’s annual meeting of the American Economic Association. Research Associate Claudia Goldin of Harvard University described how the NBER became an incubator of the notion that investment in the capacities of human beings played a significant role in capital formation, and now is understood to play a role in many sub-fields of economics.
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A History of Development of the Capital Stock:
How the US Became a Global Economic Leader

Tracking the evolution of capital stock is a critical input to a nation's economic history, as capital stock is widely recognized as a crucial determinant of productivity and living standards. The late University of North Carolina economist Robert E. Gallman gathered extensive data on US capital stock and its relationship to long-run economic performance from the end of the colonial period to the turn of the 20th century, providing a foundation for understanding the country's becoming a global economic leader. But he did not publish the material supporting his findings during his lifetime. In a new NBER book from the University of Chicago Press, Paul W. Rhode of the University of Michigan completes Gallman's project.

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New NBER Research

21 February 2020

Gender Disparities in Disability Insurance Approval Rates

Women with severe, work-limiting, permanent impairments are 20 percentage points more likely than equivalent men to be rejected for disability insurance benefits, according to new findings by Hamish Low and Luigi Pistaferri finds.

20 February 2020

An Analysis of the 'Hot Hand' among NBA Players

An NBA player who scores a field goal is less likely to make his next field goal attempt, in contradiction of the widespread belief that there is a “hot hand” effect, according to Robert M. Lantis and Erik T. Nesson.

19 February 2020

The Impact of e-Commerce on Price Dispersion

Using Japanese data, Yoon J. Jo, Misaki Matsumura, and David E. Weinstein find that entry of e-commerce firms raised the rate of intercity price convergence and relative inflation rates for goods sold intensively online.
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Bulletin on Health

Length of Life for Older Americans: Location Matters

The most recent issue of the Bulletin on Health features a study that examines the longevity of Medicare beneficiaries who move from one location to another.Using a panel of Medicare data, the researchers estimate that remaining life expectancy at age 65 increases by 1.1 years for a person moving from an area in the lowest 10 percent in terms of life expectancy impact to one in the highest 10 percent. Equalizing the effects of location would eliminate 15 percent of the variation in life expectancy across areas. Also featured in this issue of the Bulletin on Health are studies of birth outcomes at hospitals with relatively high C-section rates, and the effects of increased Medicaid reimbursement rates on patient access to care.
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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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The NBER Digest

After Shootings at US Schools, Antidepressant Use
Is Influenced by Who Is Treating Affected Students

After a fatal school shooting, the number of antidepressant prescriptions written for young people within five miles of the school rises sharply, but in areas with the highest density of psychologists and social workers — who unlike psychiatrists may not write prescriptions — youth antidepressant use does not increase, a study featured in the current edition of The NBER Digest finds. Also featured in this issue of the free, monthly Digest are summaries of studies of immigrants' sons' income mobility, influence of climate concerns on oil firms' value, effects of private equity buyouts, impacts of air pollution information in China, and labor representation of German corporate boards.

When Residents of China Got Accurate Information
on Air Pollution, They Altered Behavior to Avoid Risk

A program that for the first time made accurate information of air pollution readily available to residents of China caused residents to limit outside-the-home activities on high pollution days, a study featured in the February edition of The NBER Digest finds. Also featured in the current issue of the free, monthly Digest are summaries of studies of worker representation on company boards, youths' antidepressant use after school shootings, immigrants' sons' income mobility, and effects of climate concerns on oil firms' value, and effects of private equity buyouts.
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The NBER Reporter

How Do Financial Markets Amplify Asset Price Shocks?
History Offers Clues to the Dynamics among Institutions

Today, information about a bank's relationships with other lenders is often closely held and, because many banks have international branches and engage in a wide variety of off-balance-sheet activities, it is difficult to distinguish the effect of a single shock or policy from other factors. But analyzing data from when financial markets were less complex and more transparent offers insights into the dynamics of the most recent crisis, according to research featured in the current issue of the NBER Reporter. Also in this edition of the free, quarterly Reporter, in which NBER affiliates summarize work in sub-fields of economics, are articles on behavioral health, household expectations, costs of health care, and market concentration.
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