1. Study: 70-degree days are the most productive
Hotter days mean less cold cash for Americans, according to a study matching 40 years of temperatures to economics. Days that averaged 77 degrees ended up reducing people’s incomes about $5 a day, compared with days that were about 20 degrees cooler. A county’s average productivity decreases nearly 1 percent for every degree that the average daily temperature is above 59, says a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. And, the authors predict, if the world continues on its current path of greenhouse gas emissions, even warmer temperatures later this century will squeeze the US economy by tens of billions of dollars each year. Not from storms, drought, or other weather disasters — just daily heat. The paper, by economists at the University of Illinois and University of California, was criticized for its methods by some experts but praised by others as groundbreaking. The researchers used complex new statistical techniques to crunch more than 76,000 data points. The numbers were clear, the researchers said. ‘‘Hot temperatures are very bad for the economy,’’ said coauthor Tatyana Deryugina, of the University of Illinois. Solomon Hsiang said the ‘‘sweet spot’’ where productivity is maximized is when the afternoon temperature is about 70. But Doug Handler, of IHS Economics, said it is hard enough to measure productivity accurately on an annual basis, let alone daily.
2. Boston gets Bloomberg grant for housing innovation
The City of Boston received a $1.35 million grant to create a Housing Innovation Lab to study how to help achieve Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s goal of creating 53,000 new units of housing by 2030. It will be staffed by an “innovation team,” described in a press release as “in-house consultants” who will operate out of the mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development. The three-year grant is from Bloomberg Philanthropies, a nonprofit established by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
3. Bus startup Bridj will reconfigure route system
Bridj, the startup that runs private buses along five routes in Boston and Cambridge, will overhaul its routes early next year as part of a move toward “dynamic service.” The company, which began running upscale buses earlier this year and drew more than $3 million in investments, will change from offering service along fixed routes to modifying its routes according to user demand. That was the original goal, one delayed by regulatory and technological concerns. “Launching Bridj in Boston has been incredibly successful, and because of that success we’re able to take our next step,” said Ryan Kelly, marketing manager. Bridj’s service began without a hitch in Boston and Brookline, but Cambridge initially refused to grant a jitney license because of concerns about traffic congestion. In November, the company reached an agreement with Cambridge to assess its impact over a six-month trial period. The company will suspend service Dec. 19 and resume it Jan. 6. All riders will need the company’s app. Currently, fares are $1 to $3. New pricies are due Jan. 5.
4. With an offer pending, Carbonite buys another data-storage company
The Boston data-backup company Carbonite Inc. said it would pay $20 million for Mailstore, a German e-mail backup company. The deal is one of the first major events for Carbonite under chief executive Mohamad Ali, named to the top spot the day after Carbonite got a $366 million takeover offer from the cloud-storage company J2 Global. According to a securities filing, negotiations began in July.
5. Fed likely to note gains but signal no rate hike
WASHINGTON — A resurgent US economy has emerged from a long struggle with high unemployment and weak growth. And the Federal Reserve seems poised to recognize that. After its policy meeting ends Wednesday, the Fed may no longer say it plans to keep a key interest rate near zero for a ‘‘considerable time.’’ If so, the Fed would be signaling that it’s closer to raising interest rates. Yet few envision any imminent rate hike. Most economists think the Fed will wait until June to raise short-term rates for the first time since it cut them to record lows in 2008 during the financial crisis. And some think that as long as inflation stays below the Fed’s target rate of 2 percent, it could wait longer. Low rates can encourage borrowing and spending and fuel growth. But if left too low for too long, they can accelerate inflation. Economists say the Fed might be less concerned now about a negative reaction from investors, especially if it stresses that any rate hike would hinge on the economic data. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, foresees growth of 3.3 percent next year — which would be the best showing since 2005 — up from 2.2 percent expected this year.
6. Mass. gas prices drop to $2.68 a gallon
According to AAA of Southern New England, the price has dropped 25 cents in the past month, hitting its lowest point since October 2010. Some surveys suggest lower prices steering car buyers away from fuel-efficient vehicles. But according to the US Energy Information Administration, they’re not making people drive more. Gas prices in Massachusetts were 13 cents higher than the national average.
7. Death toll from GM ignition switches rises to 42
DETROIT — At least 42 people have died and 58 have been injured in crashes involving General Motors cars with defective ignition switches. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, hired by GM to compensate victims, updated the totals Monday. He has received 251 death claims and 2,075 injury claims since August. The fund so far has deemed 100 claims eligible for compensation. GM knew about faulty ignition switches in Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars for more than a decade but didn’t recall them until February. Feinberg will accept claims until Jan. 31.
8. Sales of macadamias soar in Korea after nut rage
SEOUL — Nut rage imploded the career of a Korean Air Lines executive and embarrassed her family and country. Now South Korean retailers are experiencing the unexpected upside: a boom in sales of macadamias. The nut was unfamiliar to many South Koreans until Cho Hyun-ah, daughter of Korean Air’s chairman, ordered a flight attendant off a Dec. 5 flight after she was served them in a bag instead of on a plate. She resigned from executive roles amid a storm of criticism about the tantrum, which forced the flight to return to the gate. But macadamias are now a household name in South Korea. Auction, a South Korean unit of eBay, said sales surged nearly 12-fold in five days.
9. Billerica company fined $2.4 million for China bribes
Bruker Corp., a Billerica maker of scientific instruments, agreed to pay $2.4 million to settle federal charges it bribed Chinese officials to land contracts with state-owned businesses. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bruker was penalized for having insufficient internal controls that did not detect $230,000 in improper payments. The government said Bruker reported the violation itself. Todd Cronan, the attorney who represented Bruker, said the $375,000 penalty part of Bruker’s fine was small compared with the $1.7 million in profits it agreed to turn over.
10. Paris taxis block highway to urge ban on Uber
PARIS — Taxi drivers blocked some roads around Paris and its airports to urge the French government to ban ride-hailing service Uber. The demonstration Monday came as France’s Interior Ministry said UberPop, the company’s low-cost service, will be outlawed Jan. 1, when a new law tightens regulations for chauffeured rides. France is the latest of several places where Uber has faced challenges to its service, which matches riders with drivers through a cell phone app.