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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Challenges and Opportunities in Applying Big Data
and High-Performance Computing in Financial Economics

Researchers studying the applicability of big data and high-performance computing in financial economics exchanged ideas and discussed work in progress at the NBER Summer Institute. Featured speakers at the conference, which was supported by the National Science Foundation, were S. P. Kothari (above), chief economist of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Bill Gropp, director and chief scientist of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

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New NBER Research

23 August 2019

Student Loan Choice Overload

When students who have received information about financial aid but have not made a borrowing decision receive information about borrowing by recent graduates, some shift from borrowing the maximum allowable amount to not borrowing, Benjamin M. Marx and Lesley J. Turner find.

22 August 2019

Fathers' Workplace Flexibility and Maternal Health

Increasing a new father's temporal flexibility reduces the risk of the mother experiencing physical postpartum health complications and improves her mental health, according to a study by Petra Persson and Maya Rossin-Slater.

21 August 2019

Factions, Accountability, and Long-Term Development

Chinese counties where leaders were affiliated with nationally weak factions and had local accountability experienced stronger local growth, faster private-sector development, higher education levels from the 1950s to the 1990s, and better survival rates during the famine of 1959-61, Hanming Fang, Linke Hou, Mingxing Liu, Lixin Colin Xu, and Pengfei Zhang find.
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NBER in the News




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The NBER Reporter

Accelerated by Policy, China's Population Is Rapidly Aging,
Giving Rise to Multiple Social and Economic Challenges




China's family planning policies have led to a dramatic decline in total fertility, and average life expectancy at birth has increased steadily, from 57.6 years in 1969 to 76.4 in 2017. Research on what such trends mean for the health and well-being of elderly Chinese is featured in the current issue of the free, quarterly NBER Reporter. This issue of The Reporter also includes articles by NBER researchers about their work on the efficacy of the sustainable investing proposition, the economics of Fair Trade, the work of NBER Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program affiliates, and the labor market effects of the business cycle.

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Latest Volumes of NBER's Macroeconomics Annual
and Tax Policy and the Economy Are Now Available


In the NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2018, researchers examine the relative safety of the U.S. financial sector today and before the last financial crisis; effects of the crisis on the perceived risk, and possible propagation of large, rare shocks; finite-horizon forward planning compared with rational expectations; changes in the manufacturing sector and employment among prime-aged Americans; "factorless income"; and the effects of border adjustment taxes.




In Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 33, the researchers use asset pricing to value implicit fiscal debts and account for risk properties; study the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on the behavior of corporations; investigate whether pre-announced consumption tax changes affect the timing of durable goods purchases; and examine "tax equivalences" and return-free tax filing.


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The NBER Digest

Are Veterans Highly Represented in Public-Sector Jobs
Due to Preferential Hiring or Are They Predisposed?




Men who were of draft age during the Vietnam War find that those who were subject to call-up due to selection of their birthdates in the draft lottery were more likely to later hold jobs in the executive branch of the federal government, a study featured in the current edition of the NBER Digest finds. Also in the August Digest are summaries of studies documenting outcomes for children of the Perry Preschool Project participants, analyzing the stock market wealth effect and analyzing the $500 million bond issuance in the private sector in emerging markets, and gauging the impact of workers’ wage demands when employees understand their company is highly leveraged, and investigating inflation of China’s GDP growth statistics.

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Bulletin on Health

Penicillin’s Introduction in Post-World War II Italy
Greatly Reduced Mortality and Regional Disparities




The summer issue of the Bulletin on Health features a study of the distributional impact of penicillin’s introduction on mortality in Italy following World War II. Researchers find that mortality rates for penicillin-sensitive causes of death fell by 58 percent, relative to the mean in earlier years. Furthermore, penicillin’s introduction reduced the dispersion of penicillin-sensitive mortality rates across regions by 68 percent, explaining 40 percent of all-cause convergence over this period. Also featured in the summer issue of the Bulletin on Health are studies of the effects of heating costs on winter deaths, and the effects of California’s change in vaccine laws on vaccination and medical exemption rates.
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Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

The Insurance and Liquidity Value
of Social Security Survivors Benefits?




In 2015, the Social Security program paid over $95 billion in survivors benefits to 4.2 million surviving spouses. Research that is the first to explore the protective role of survivors benefit receipt against the short-run financial consequences of a spousal death finds that attaining benefit eligibility is associated with a 34-percentage point increase in Social Security receipt and a 3.1-percentage point decline in labor force participation. Also summarized in this first issue of the free Bulletin on Retirement and Disability: research that estimates the total value of Great Recession-induced disability insurance (DI) awards and a study of the effects of DI awards on the financial outcomes of applicants.
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In 11th Annual Feldstein Lecture, Katherine Baicker
Underscores Need for Specifics in Health Care Debate

Recent research harnesses large datasets containing information on the presenting conditions, insurance status, treatment, and health outcomes of patients to offer insights on the productivity of the health care system. Katherine Baicker, dean of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, described some of the lessons of this research as well as the challenges of using this research to inform policy when she presented the 11th Annual Martin Feldstein Lecture at the 2019 NBER Summer Institute. Her remarks followed a program of reminiscences of NBER President Emeritus Feldstein, who died June 11th.

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Martin Feldstein
1939-2019

NBER President Emeritus

Memorial Service
Harvard Memorial Church
September 14, 2019, 1 pm






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