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The Digest

A free monthly publication featuring non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest.
Article Legal Changes in the 1960s Narrowed the Gender Pay Gap Figure w31332
Two landmark pieces of federal legislation in the early 1960s targeted pay discrimination against women. In How the 1963 Equal Pay Act and 1964 Civil Rights Act Shaped the Gender Gap in Pay (NBER Working Paper 31332), Martha J. Bailey, Thomas E. Helgerman, and Bryan A. Stuart present new estimates of how these bills affected gender-based pay disparities. The study analyzes data from the 1950–60 Census and the 1962–75 Annual Social and...

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Article The Role of Mega Firms in Patenting and Follow-On Innovation figure 31460
“Mega firms,” defined as the 50 publicly traded firms in the US with the highest annual sales, hold a disproportionate share of novel patents and may play a key part in spreading innovative ideas to smaller firms, Serguey Braguinsky, Joonkyu Choi, Yuheng Ding, Karam Jo, and Seula Kim found in Mega Firms and Recent Trends in the US Innovation: Empirical Evidence from the US Patent Data (NBER Working Paper 31460). The researchers...
Article Banks That Relied on Branches, Not Remote Depositors, Fared Better in Recent Turmoil figure 31462
The number of bank branches in the United States declined from 99,550 in 2009 to 79,186 in 2022, while total deposits significantly increased. Overall branch density fell from 20 branches per $1 billion in deposits in 2010 to 9.2 branches per $1 billion in deposits in 2022. In Bank Branch Density and Bank Runs (NBER Working Paper 31462), Efraim Benmelech, Jun Yang, and Michal Zator find that stock prices of banks with low branch density...
In the United States, 5 percent of all children spend some time in foster care and 37 percent are involved in a maltreatment investigation by a child protective services agency by age 18. The percentage of Black children involved in such investigations is nearly double the percentage of White children, and Black children are also twice as likely as White children to spend time in foster care. A new study examines whether these racial disparities reflect differences in...
A financial crisis can affect the economy’s long-term trajectory if it alters investment behavior. In Research and/or Development? Financial Frictions and Innovation Investment (NBER Working Paper 31521), Filippo Mezzanotti and Timothy Simcoe investigate the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on domestic research and development (R&D) expenditures by US firms. They find that firms in greater need of refinancing responded to the...
Companies increasingly are moving to subscriptions to sell everything from entertainment to security to newspapers. This could be because digital goods and services lend themselves to subscription-based models, and consumers appreciate the convenience. It could also be, however, because suppliers earn higher profits when subscribers fail to cancel subscriptions they are not using. In Selling Subscriptions (NBER Working Paper 31547), Liran Einav, ...
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