11 New Studies of Economic Impact
of COVID-19 and Policy Responses

All NBER papers related to COVID-19 are open-access and have been collected for easy reference. View them in reverse chronological order or by topic area.

Research Associate Kosali Simon of Indiana University describes the findings of her research, with a multi-disciplinary team, on how households have responded as states have lifted restrictions as part of their re-opening plans. Watch the video here.

Eleven NBER working papers distributed this week offer new evidence on the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and on the effects of public and private actions that have been taken to combat it.

This week’s studies consider the treatment of uncertainty in policy choices (27289), the effect of the pandemic on bank lending and liquidity (27256), the impact of COVID-19 and associated policy responses in developing nations (27282, 27275, 27273), how the COVID-19 crisis affected short- and long-run expectations of stock market investors (27272), the macroeconomic effects of the crisis (27281), the effect of state-mandated lockdown policies on labor markets (27280), the role of ethnic diversity in a community on the practice of social distancing (27277), the relationship between voluntary and state-imposed social distancing in South Korea (27264), and the long-term impact of COVID-19 on retirement security (27261).

More than 125 NBER working papers issued since mid-March have presented new pandemic-related research.

The NBER Digest

Virus Lockdowns Targeting the Most Vulnerable May Balance Public Health and Economic Concerns

Isolating seniors until a vaccine is available while imposing less-stringent restrictions on the personal mobility of less-vulnerable people could reduce the economic cost of a COVID-19 pandemic by half, relative to a uniform lockdown policy, while also reducing the number of lives lost, according to results of a simulation featured in the new edition of The NBER Digest . Also in this issue of the free, monthly Digest are summaries of studies analyzing drug-price inflation, Federal Reserve reactions to market declines, metered pricing of energy for home heating in China, a Texas program to increase diversity at state universities, and innovation among manufacturers with environmentally conscious consumers.
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New NBER Research

4 June 2020

The Environmental Bias of Trade Policy

In most countries, import tariffs and non-tariff barriers are substantially lower on “dirty” than on “clean” industries, where an industry’s dirtiness is defined as its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per dollar of output, Joseph S. Shapiro documents.

3 June 2020

Long-Term Health Insurance: Theory Meets Evidence

German long-term health insurance achieves substantial welfare gains compared to a series of risk-rated short-term contracts, according to a study by Juan Pablo Atal, Hanming Fang, Martin Karlsson, and Nicolas R. Ziebarth.

2 June 2020

Mentoring Female Assistant Professors in Economics

Women who received career support from the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession of the American Economics Association are more likely to have stayed in academia and more likely to have received tenure at a top institution, Donna K. Ginther, Janet Currie, Francine D. Blau, and Rachel Croson find.
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Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

The Effects of Sick Pay Mandates

Fewer than half of low-income and part-time workers have access to paid [sick?] leave. In the absence of federal action, numerous states and localities have enacted sick pay mandates. A study summarized in the current issue of the Bulletin on Retirement and Disability finds that following the introduction of a mandate, coverage rises by 13 percentage points, from an initial level of 66 percent overall. Also in this issue: a summary of how student loan forgiveness affects disability insurance applications, a study of how bill timing affects low-income and aged households, and a feature on the NBER Retirement and Disability Research Center’s Training Fellowship program.
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Bulletin on Health

Informational Letters About Tax Penalties for Uninsurance
Raised Insurance Coverage and Reduced Mortality

In 2017, researchers randomly selected households that had previously paid a tax penalty for lack of health insurance and sent them an informational letter about how to avoid paying the penalty in the future. The spring issue of the free Bulletin on Health features a study that compares the outcomes of those who received the letters to the outcomes of those who did not. The researchers report that receipt of the letter was associated with increases in health insurance coverage and small decreases in subsequent mortality. Also featured in this issue of the Bulletin on Health are summaries of a study of how Medicare eligibility impacts cancer outcomes, a study of how a diabetes diagnosis affects subsequent health care and health outcomes, and a profile of NBER research associate Adriana Lleras-Muney.
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The NBER Reporter

Agricultural Productivity in Rich and Poor Nations:
The Impact of Land Institutions and Misallocation

In rich countries less than 5 percent of the labor force works in agriculture, while in poor countries more than 70 percent is employed there. At the same time, real labor productivity is more than 35 times higher in rich nations. An article in the current edition of the NBER Reporter discusses efforts to explain and reduce the gap. Also in this edition of the free quarterly NBER Reporter, NBER affiliates write about their inquiries into the role of the firm in explaining the structure and evolution of wages and worker risk, and the benefits of rehabilitative incarceration of criminals, and importance of barriers to take-up of government initiatives, and the impact of rare events on financial markets.
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