Major NBER Programs
Program Abbreviations, Directors, and Brief Descriptions
Aging (AG), David A. Wise, Director
The Economics of Aging Program involves research on the health and
economic circumstances of individuals as they age, and on the implications of
population aging on the well-being of older persons. The NBER is one of nine
Centers for Aging Research funded by the
National Institute on Aging.
Asset Pricing (AP), Monica Piazzesi, Director
The Asset Pricing Program
examines the sources and nature of
fluctuations in the prices of financial assets including stocks, bonds, and
foreign currency. In addition, members of the program analyze the international
transmission of fluctuations in asset prices.
Children (CH), Janet Currie, Director
The Program on Children
focuses on the health of children and on their economic and social well
Corporate Finance (CF), Malcolm Baker, Director
The NBER Corporate Finance
Program concentrates on the causes and
effects of financing arrangements used by corporations. The group also studies
corporate governance, relations between banks and corporations in different
countries, and the effects of leveraged buyouts on profits, spending on
research and development, and employment.
Development Economics (DEV) , Duncan Thomas, Director
The NBER Development Economics Program focuses broadly on questions related to economic development and the behavior of households, firms and institutions in developing nations, in part to understand key factors that affect economic growth, poverty
alleviation and inequality.
Development of the American Economy (DAE), Claudia Goldin, Director
Economics of Education (ED), Caroline Hoxby, Director
The NBER Program on the Economics of Education studies all aspects of the
intersection between economics and education: human capital, school
finance, education and markets, education production, evaluation of
education reforms, and how economic growth and development depend on
Economic Fluctuations and Growth (EFG), Robert E. Hall, Director
Fluctuations and Growth Program concentrates on the U.S.
economy as a whole, considering the aggregate behavior of employment, output,
and prices with a general focus on the nature of business cycles. Program
members also study the effects of monetary and fiscal policy on economic
performance. One ongoing activity of this program is the Business Cycle Dating
Committee, which decides the official dates for the beginning and end of
recessions and expansions.
Energy and the Environment (EEE), Don Fullerton, Director
The Energy and the Environment program studies all aspects of the energy sector and the environment,
focusing particularly on their interdependence. Topics include non-energy
environmental and natural resource issues, but particular attention is
paid to policies that affect all sources of energy, due to that sector's
role in national security and as a primary emitter of local, regional, and
Health Care (HC), Jonathan Gruber, Director
The Health Care
Program explores the dramatic
consolidation of health care organizations, the
expansion of managed care, and the increased price competition among
health care providers, all of which have transformed the landscape of health
care delivery today. Members of the program
study the phenomena now occurring in health care markets,
work to understand the factors leading to changes in health
care markets, and analyze the consequences of alternative policy
Health Economics (HE), Michael Grossman, Director
Industrial Organization (IO), Jonathan Levin, Director
The Industrial Organization Program
conducts empirical studies of firm behavior and government regulation.
Members of the program also examine competition and pricing behavior in specific industries.
International Finance and Macroeconomics (IFM), Jeffrey Frankel, Director
Finance and Macroeconomics Program tackles the traditional problems
of international finance, the nature of international capital flows, and
the international aspects of long-run growth, political economy, regional
trading blocks, and fiscal policy.
International Trade and Investment (ITI), Robert Feenstra, Director
The International Trade
and Investment Program's most active recent involvement has been in
researching the decline in the relative wages of unskilled workers in the
United States and other industrial countries. In addition, members study
trade and growth; regional trade agreements; the impact of trade policies,
including political economy, "strategic" trade policy, and antidumping
policy; and a relatively new area dealing with trade, resources, and the
Labor Studies (LS), David Card, Director
Labor Studies Program
looks at issues of employment and compensation, including the determinants
of unemployment, the effects of labor unions, and the role of fringe benefits
as part of a worker's compensation.
Law and Economics (LE),Christine Jolls, Director
Monetary Economics (ME), David Romer and Christina Romer, Directors
Monetary Economics Program
studies the mechanisms through which monetary policy operates and the effects
of alternative approaches to formulating monetary policy. It also examines the
effects of monetary policy on prices, output, exchange rates, and wages,
both in the United States and in other countries.
Political Economy(POL), Alberto Alesina, Director
The Political Economy program focuses on the interaction between economic policies and outcomes and political institutions broadly defined. It is by now common for economists to recognize that purely economic forces alone cannot explain complex phenomena such as different degrees of economic development, quality and types of economic policies, income distribution, and quality of government organization such as corruption, protection of property right etc. Political institutions are important determinants of these economic outcomes. In turn, the state of the economy affects political outcomes, both in the long run and in the short. Economic development affects the evolution of institutions and short run economic conditions affect political change and elections. We will interpret "political institutions" in a broad sense and we will also be interested in related issues such as the role and evolution of legal and administrative institutions, and issues concerning social interactions. The program focuses both on developed and developing economies and both on "macroeconomic" and "microeconomic" issues including international trade and international relations.
Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program (PR), Nicholas Bloom and Josh Lerner, Directors
Public Economics (PE), Raj Chetty and Amy Finkelstein, Directors
NBER Program on Public Economics
studies the effects of taxation and government expenditure programs at the
federal, state, and local levels. One ongoing
activity of this program is the NBER TAXSIM model, a
computer simulation model that uses annual data on 100,000 individual
taxpayers to project the effects of alternative tax rules.