2017 Summer Institute Methods Lectures Focus
on Research Avenues Opened by Data Linking
The increasing availability of large administrative data sets from both the public and private sectors has placed new emphasis on the tools and techniques for linking data from multiple sources. NBER Research Associates Martha Bailey (above) of the University of Michigan, John M. Abowd of Cornell University and the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and Joseph Ferrie of Northwestern University explained the possibilities and challenges of data linking in the Methods Lectures series at the 2017 NBER Summer Institute. Videos of the full presentations
Greg Kaplan, Kurt Mitman, and Giovanni L. Violante find that a large-scale debt forgiveness program would have done little to temper the collapse of house prices and consumer spending associated with the Great Recession, but would have dramatically reduced foreclosures and induced a small, but persistent, increase in consumption during the recovery.
Unskilled workers in the nations that joined the European Union (EU) in the 2004 EU enlargement benefited substantially from this policy, according to Lorenzo Caliendo, Luca David Opromolla, Fernando Parro, and Alessandro Sforza. The previous members, the EU-15, would have been worse off as a result of the enlargement if not for coincident changes in trade policies, which generated benefits for them.
The quality upgrading associated with China's tariff reductions when it acceded to the World Trade Organization was concentrated among the least productive exporters, Haichao Fan, Yao Amber Li, and Stephen R. Yeaple find. These firms, previously quality laggards, aggressively redirected their exports toward markets where demand for high quality goods was strong.
Analyses have consistently found that individuals and firms often fail to adopt significant privately profitable energy efficiency investments, creating what's known as the energy efficiency gap. But why? Hunt Allcott explores possible reasons in his research, and writes about it in the latest edition of The NBER Reporter. Also featured in the quarterly publication are economists' reports on their work on the asset management industry, price dispersion and bargain hunting in the macroeconomy, the impacts of air pollution, and the development of the American economy.
Download the PDF
Focus on Hurricanes and Climate Change Echoes
Decade-old Research on Storms' Economics
The recent devastation spread by hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the Caribbean, Texas, and Florida, has revived public and media attention to the possible impacts of climate change on weather. (Read about it in The New York Times and The Washington Post.) In a 2006 analysis of the numerous hurricanes and record damage 2005,
William D. Nordhaus, in NBER Working Paper No. 12813,
documented a rise in the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic, found "substantial vulnerabilities" to intense hurricanes along America's Atlantic coast, and projected billions of dollars in increased costs of annual U.S. hurricane damage.
Innovations in recreational computing and video games since 2004 can explain on the order of half the increase in leisure for younger men, and could explain a decline in work hours of 1.5 to 3 percent, or 30 to 60 hours per year, researchers of a study featured in the September issue of The NBER Digest estimate. Other studies featured in the monthly Digest include an exploration of the direct effects of home purchases on household spending, an analysis of scientists' and engineers' roles in U.S. industry, a calculation of which colleges best prepare low-income students for high-earning careers, an examination of the impact of high-speed internet's arrival in Africa, and a look at hiring of women in venture capital firms whose senior partners have more daughters.
The U.S. Acid Rain Program introduced in 1995 initially regulated sulfur dioxide output of only the 110 highest emitting power plants, making it possible for researchers to identify long-term effects of pollution exposure on otherwise similar populations. A study summarized in the current edition of the NBER's Bulletin on Aging and Health finds that trends in mortality changed significantly after the onset of the Acid Rain Program between populations near to and far from affected plants, linking reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions to a decline in mortality.
Robert Merton, Pioneer in Continuous-Time Finance,
Speaks at Long-Term Asset Management Conference
Nobel laureate Robert Merton delivered the keynote address at the second annual NBER Conference on New Developments in Long-Term Asset Management. The conference series, sponsored by Norges Bank Investment Management, the asset management unit of Norway's central bank, explores issues of risk measurement and portfolio selection facing long-horizon investors such as pension funds, endowments, and sovereign wealth funds.