You can sort your results in different ways. The default shows you the papers that have been downloaded the most—i.e., the papers that are most popular (and therefore might be most influential).
For example, a recent* search for "affordable care act" retrieved 1,154 papers. The most downloaded was Taxation Without Representation: The Illegal IRS Rule to Expand Tax Credits Under the PPACA, by Jonathan H. Adler and Michael F. Cannon, which had been downloaded 6,462 times.
You can also sort by abstract title or by date—e.g., so you can see newest papers on top. The most recent paper from the "affordable care act" search was Health Insurance and the Earnings Stability of Low-Income Households, posted to SSRN the day before the search.
* Jan. 13, 2018
From the results list, click on a paper title to see its abstract. Your search terms will be highlighted.
Abstract for Taxation Without Representation paper
Clicking on an author's name takes you to a page listing all of his or her papers.
The results list indicates whether a paper is:
UW users note: you might have access to papers even if there's a fee indicated. For example, the University Libraries subscribe to the working papers from the National Bureau of Economic Research, so you can download them as a subscriber.
MyBriefcase can help you keep track of your research.
During a research session, you might skim dozens of abstracts. To spare you the bother of downloading each one that might be relevant as soon as you see it, SSRN gives you the option of saving it to a list of favorites. Click the star in the upper right corner of the abstract to turn it from white to gold.
Now that abstract will be saved for you. (Of course you have to be logged in to use this feature.)
MyBriefcase lists all the papers you've marked as favorites:
You can also view a list of papers you have downloaded.