The NBER Reporter 2013 Number 1: Conferences

Fourteenth Annual Conference in India

On December 14-16, 2012 the NBER, along with India's National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), sponsored a meeting that included NBER researchers as well as economists from Indian universities, research institutions, and government departments. NBER Research Associates Abhijit Banerjee of MIT and Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago organized the conference jointly with Shekhar Shah and Anil Sharma of NCAER.

The NBER participants, in addition to the organizers, were: Nick Bloom, Stanford University; Markus Brunnermeier, Princeton University; Ricardo Caballero and Heidi Williams, MIT; Douglas Diamond, University of Chicago; Martin Feldstein, Harvard University; Daniel Fetter, Wellesley College; Pinelopi Goldberg, Yale University; Anne Krueger, Johns Hopkins University; and Karthik Muralidharan, University of California, San Diego. NBER Directors Jacob Frenkel of JP Morgan Chase and John Lipsky of Johns Hopkins University also participated in the meeting.

The topics discussed included the prospects for financial regulatory reform;the role of media in governance; India's position in the world economy; the determinants of long-term productivity growth; and the economic consequences of urbanization.

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NBER's Africa Project Confers Again

The NBER Africa Project, organized by Research Associates Sebastian Edwards of the University of California, Los Angeles, Simon Johnson of MIT, and David Weil of Brown University brought together academic economists and East African policymakers in Zanzibar on December 18-19, 2012 for a policy-oriented discussion on "Meeting the Next Macroeconomic Challenges in Africa." This conference was sponsored in collaboration with the Bank of Tanzania. The following topics were discussed:

    Robert Lawrence, Harvard University and NBER, "Regional Integration: What Does Europe Teach Us?"

    Stephen O'Connell, Swarthmore College, "Fiscal Foundations of Monetary Union in East Africa"

    Christopher Adam, Oxford University, "East African Transport Costs in the Short-run and the Long-run"

    S. Kal Wajid, IMF, "Financial Integration in the East African Community"

    Alan Taylor, University of Virginia and NBER, "The Great Leveraging"

    Simon Johnson, "The Next Financial Crisis"

    Jeffrey Frankel, Harvard University and NBER, "Dealing with the Resource Curse: How Can Commodity Exporters Reduce Procylicality?"

    Andrew Berg, IMF, "The Macroeconomic Management of External Resources"

More information about this meeting is available at

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Economics of Digitization

An NBER Conference on the Economics of Digitization took place at Stanford University on March 8, 2013. NBER Research Associates Shane Greenstein of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, Josh Lerner of the Harvard Business School, and Scott Stern of MIT's Sloan School of Management organized the meeting. These papers were discussed:

    Miguel Godinho de Matos, Pedro Ferreira, Rahul Telang, and Michael Smith, Carnegie Mellon University, "The Impact of Popularity on the Sales of Movies in Video-on-Demand: a Randomized Experiment"

    Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova, and Konstantin Sonin, New Economic School, "Do Political Blogs Matter? Corruption in State-controlled Companies, Blog Postings, and DDoS Attacks"

    Garrett Johnson, Northwestern University, and Randall Lewis and David Reiley, Jr., Google, Inc., "Location, Location, Location: Proximity and Repetition Increase Effectiveness of Display Ads in Controlled Experiments"

    Tom Blake and Steven Tadelis, eBay Research Labs, and Chris Nosko, University of Chicago, "Consumer Heterogeneity and Paid Search Effectiveness: A Large Scale Field Experiment"

    Joel Waldfogel, University of Minnesota and NBER, and Imke Reimers, University of Minnesota, "Storming the Gatekeepers: Digital Disintermediation in the Market for Books"

    Peter DiCola, Northwestern University, "Money from Music: Survey Evidence on Musicians' Revenue and Lessons about Copyright Incentives"

    Avi Goldfarb and Brian Silverman, University of Toronto; Ryan McDevitt, University of Rochester; and Sampsa Samila, National University of Singapore, "The Effect of Social Interaction on Economic Transactions: An Embarrassment of Niches?"

Summaries of these papers are available at

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Economics of Religion and Culture

An NBER Conference on "Economics of Religion and Culture", organized by Research Associate Daniel Hungerman of University of Notre Dame, took place in Cambridge on March 8 and 9, 2013. These papers were discussed:

    Thomas Triebs and Justin Tumlinson, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, "Learning Capitalism the Hard Way---Evidence from Germany's Reunification"

    Saumitra Jha and Aprajit Mahajan, Stanford University, "Trade, the State and Inter-Religious Trust: Evidence from South Asia"

    Asaf Zussman, Hebrew University, "The Effect of Political Violence on Religiosity: Evidence from Israel"

    Elaine Liu, University of Houston; Juanjuan Meng, Peking University; and Tao-Yi Wang, National Taiwan University, "Confucianism and Preferences: Evidence from Lab Experiments in Taiwan and China"

    Angela Dills and Rey Hernandez-Julian, Metropolitan State University of Denver, "Religiosity and State Welfare"

    Daniel Chen, ETH Zurich, and Susan Yeh, George Mason University, "How Do Rights Revolutions Occur? Theory and Evidence from First Amendment Jurisprudence, 1958-2008"

    Sanjeev Kumar, Yale University, and Jason Fletcher, Yale University and NBER, "Religion and Risky Health Behaviors among U.S. Adolescents and Adults"

    Daniel Hungerman, "The Effect of Education on Religion: Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws"

    Sonia Bhalotra, University Bristol; Guilhem Cassan, University of Namur; Irma Clots-Figueras, Universidad Carlos III Madrid; and Lakshmi Iyer, Harvard University, "Politician Identity and Health Outcomes: Does Religion Matter?"

Summaries of these papers may be found at

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