Staff Working in Multiple Nursing Homes
Contributed to Pandemic Spread

Some nursing home staff members are employed at multiple facilities, and their movements between locations could contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Research Associate Judy Chevalier of Yale University and her collaborators Keith Chen and Elisa Long, studying geolocation data from cellphones, estimate that in the six weeks following the nationwide ban on visitors to nursing homes, seven percent of those who spent time on the premises of one facility also spent time at another one. They find that fatalities from COVID-19 were substantially higher in facilities that were more connected to others through overlapping staff. The results are presented in a working paper (27608) and summarized in a short video above.

Eleven NBER working papers distributed this week examine the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the actual or potential consequences of various policy responses to it. The studies analyze the impact of the pandemic on consumer spending (27617), the effect of the Paycheck Protection Program on firms and their workers (27623, 27624, 27629), how the pandemic is changing workplace collaboration (27612), the labor market impact of pandemic-related declines in product demand (27613), and the role of workers employed at multiple nursing homes in spreading the virus (27608). Other research explores the sharp rise in corporations’ demand for cash early in the pandemic (27601), how COVID-19 and associated policy actions have affected air pollution in Taiwan (27604), the impact of the pandemic on the use of health care for non-COVID-19 conditions (27621), and the role of changing household behavior in modeling pandemic spread (27632).

More than 200 NBER working papers have presented pandemic-related research. These papers are open access and have been collected for easy reference. View them in reverse chronological order or by topic area.

New NBER Research

7 August 2020

Home Price Beliefs and Time-to-Sell

In a field experiment with 57,910 US homeowners who recently put their houses on the market, Nicolas L. Bottan and Ricardo Perez-Truglia find that a 1 percentage point increase in the seller’s home price expectations was associated with a 2.5 percentage point decline in the probability of selling the home within six months.

6 August 2020

Sovereign Debt, Bailouts and the Eurozone Crisis

Despite the European Union’s formal “no-bailout” clause, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, Philippe Martin, and Todd E. Messer estimate that there were significant net present value transfers from the EU to Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain during the last eurozone crisis.

5 August 2020

Who Influences Equity Valuations and Expected Returns?

Hedge funds and small, active investment advisers are most influential on markets per dollar of assets under management, while long-term investors, such as pension funds and insurance companies are least influential, Ralph S. J. Koijen, Robert J. Richmond, and Motohiro Yogo find.
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Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

An Introduction to Current Research by Fellows in
NBER Retirement and Disability Research Center

The NBER Retirement and Disability Research Center has two competitive training programs for junior scholars, funded through a cooperative agreement with the Social Security Administration. An overview of the program and an introduction to current fellows’ research is featured in the current issue of the Bulletin on Retirement and Disability. Also in this issue are a summary of how bill and benefit timing affects low-income and elderly people’s finances, a summary of how student loan forgiveness affects disability insurance application, and a study of the effectiveness of state-level sick pay mandates.
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The NBER Digest

The Pandemic’s Massive Impact on Businesses Stems
More from Consumers’ Fear than Official Lockdowns

The recent steep decline in economic activity in the United States has been attributed by many to restrictions on business operations and personal mobility ordered by governments trying to contain the new coronavirus, but a study reported in the new edition of The NBER Digest shows that the public’s fear of infection is a stronger influence. Also featured in this issue of The Digest are working papers focusing on effects of the pandemic on CPI weightings, long-term outcomes of efforts to mandate equality in China, the environmental-justice effects of California’s carbon market, benefits for the very young of food-stamp availability, and the reactions of diners to having calorie data posted on the menu.
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Feldstein Lecture Focused on Women and Careers

Claudia Goldin, the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University and a past president of the American Economic Association, presented the 2020 Martin Feldstein Lecture "Journey Across a Century of Women," chronicling the odyssey of generations of women college graduates aiming for family, career, and, today, both. The lecture series was launched in 2009 by the NBER Board of Directors to celebrate the late Martin Feldstein's three decades of transformative NBER leadership. This year’s lecture may be viewed here.

The NBER Reporter

Exploring the Changes that Digitization Has Brought
to Many Facets of Business, Media, and Personal Life

The new edition of the quarterly NBER Reporter features a review of research in the framework of the NBER’s decade-long project on the Economics of Digitization. Also in this issue of the Reporter, NBER research associates write about their explorations of behavioral biases among analysts and investors, health care delivery in conditions of uncertainty, tax credit impacts on corporate behavior, and medical spending and savings in elderly households.
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Bulletin on Health

What Can We Learn About COVID-19 Infection Rates
and Infection Fatality Rates Without Randomized Testing?

The summer issue of the Bulletin on Health features two studies that introduce methods for using currently available information to better understand COVID-19 infection rates and the implied infection fatality rates. One paper generates upper and lower bounds on the rates of COVID-19 infection under minimal assumptions, and finds that these bounds are necessarily wide, due to the small proportion of the population that has been tested. The second paper leverages additional assumptions and data, such as travel patterns from the virus epicenters, to infer infection rates. Although the studies take different approaches, they both indicate that infection fatality rates are considerably lower than the fatality rates among confirmed COVID-19 cases. Also featured in this issue of the free Bulletin on Health are a study of the long-term impacts of OxyContin’s reformulation on fatal drug overdoses, a study of the role of Medicaid coverage in reducing infant mortality during flu pandemics, and a profile of NBER research associate Doug Almond.
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