New Working Papers Explore
A Range of Virus Containment Strategies

Four new NBER working papers, distributed this week, examine economic and health outcomes of the coronavirus outbreak under various containment strategies in the United States, China, and Italy.

One shows that testing at a higher rate in conjunction with targeted quarantine policies can reduce both the economic impact of the coronavirus and peak symptomatic infections. Another explores the benefits of randomly testing the general population to determine the asymptomatic infection rate. An analysis of Chinese efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak measures the effectiveness of the lockdown of Wuhan and enhanced social distancing policies in other cities. And a study of Italians' expectations about the duration of self-isolation requirements demonstrates the importance of communication and persuasion for effective virus containment strategies.

Other recent NBER studies of the impact of coronavirus containment efforts, as well as earlier studies of economic and other consequences of previous epidemics, are available here.

Bulletin on Health

Medicare Eligibility Reduces Cancer Mortality for Women

The spring issue of the Bulletin on Health features a study examining the impact of Medicare eligibility at age 65 on cancer detection and outcomes. The researchers show that cancer detection shifts sharply upward at the age of Medicare eligibility, while cancer mortality shifts downward with Medicare eligibility. The effects are concentrated among women, especially among racial minorities. Also featured in this issue of the free Bulletin on Health are: a study of how a diabetes diagnosis affects subsequent health care and health outcomes, a study of how an informational letter about the tax penalty for lacking health insurance affected insurance coverage and mortality, and a profile of NBER research associate Adriana Lleras-Muney.
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New NBER Research

3 April 2020

Demand for Higher Skills Rose after Great Recession

The share of US job vacancies requiring a bachelor’s degree increased by more than 60 percent between 2007 and 2019, with faster growth in professional occupations and high-wage cities, Peter Q. Blair and David J. Deming find.

2 April 2020

How Procurement Policies Affect Medical Innovation

Relatively stingy, fixed-price contracts for prosthetic devices in the Civil War era led inventors to focus broadly on reducing costs, while the less cost-conscious procurement contracts of World War I did not, an analysis by Jeffrey Clemens and Parker Rogers shows.

1 April 2020

Innovation, Diversification, and Firm Growth

In a study of Japan’s cotton spinning industry in the early 20th century, Serguey Braguinsky, Atsushi Ohyama, Tetsuji Okazaki, and Chad Syverson find that the most successful firms first experimented with technologically challenging, vertically differentiated products, then expanded their product portfolios horizontally.
More Research

The Roles of Immigrants and Foreign Students
in US Science, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

Ina Ganguli, Shulamit Kahn,
and Megan MacGarvie, editors

Using new data and rigorous empirical analysis, this new NBER book examines various aspects of the relationship between immigration, innovation, and entrepreneurship, including the effects of changes in the number of immigrants and their skill composition on the rate of innovation; the relationship between high-skilled immigration and entrepreneurship; the differences between immigrant and native entrepreneurs; and the post-graduation migration patterns of STEM doctoral recipients. The volume also examines the role of the US higher education system and US visa policy in attracting foreign students for graduate study and retaining them after graduation.

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Due to the coronavirus situation, all in-person NBER meetings scheduled for April and May 2020 have been canceled.

The NBER Digest

Why Has the Euro Not Gone International?
There Are Few Safe Euro-Denominated Assets

The euro was launched in 2002 in hopes of providing Europe with an international currency of the stature of the dollar. Today, its use is largely confined to the European Union and former French colonies in Africa. Analysis featured in the April edition of The NBER Digest finds that this is because of an inadequate supply of high-quality euro-denominated assets that international investors and central banks can use as stores of value. Also in this issue of the free monthly Digest are summaries of studies examining advance market commitments, H-1B visa allocation methods, the sleep-productivity, the effect of prize structure on an innovation competition, and consumer valuation of product licensing.
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NBER in the News

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The NBER Reporter

At the Intersection of Neurology and Economics:
A Chance to Better Understand Beliefs and Expectations

Household expectations affect many household economic decisions, and are critically important determinants of the impact of various public policies. Research featured in the current edition of the NBER Reporter indicates benefits to public policy formation from informing economic calculations with work in disciplines such as neuroscience and psychology. Also in this edition of the free, quarterly Reporter, in which NBER affiliates summarize work in sub-fields of economics, are articles on costs of health care, market concentration, financial market dynamics, and behavioral disorders.
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Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

What Drives Prescription Opioid Abuse?

While the magnitude of the US opioid crisis is fairly well understood, its causes are less well established. This issue is the topic of study of a paper summarized in the current issue of the free Bulletin on Retirement and Disability. The research finds that opioid abuse jumps shortly after a move and remains at the new higher level for up to five years after the move, suggesting that place-specific factors may explain about one-fourth of opioid abuse. Also featured in this issue: a summary of research on how perception of pain differs by education level, an exploration of trends in work and disability application among people with mental illness, and a joint Q&A with NBER research associates Richard Frank and Ellen Meara, both of Harvard University.
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