NBER Reporter: Fall 2000

Bureau Books

See also: NBER Books In Progress

Frontiers in Health Policy Research, Volume 3

Frontiers in Health Policy Research, Volume 3, edited by Alan M. Garber, is now available from the MIT Press. This series presents economic research on health care and health policy issues. This volume contains five papers presented at an annual conference held in Washington, D.C. Topics covered include: why firms spend so much on medical care; the costs and benefits of neonatal care; how regional differences in spending can inform the process of Medicare reform; how to measure HMO market share in evaluating managed care; and how to evaluate the quality of health care providers.

Contributors to the current volume include Laurence C. Baker and Mark McClellan, NBER and Stanford University; David M. Cutler and David A. Wise, NBER and Harvard University; Matthew Eichner, NBER and Columbia University; Ellen Meara, NBER and Harvard Medical School; Jonathan S. Skinner and Douglas O. Staiger, NBER and Dartmouth College; and John E. Wennberg, Dartmouth Medical School.

The clothbound volume costs $40.00; the paperback is $20.00. They can be ordered directly from the MIT Press, Five Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142; or by phone, 617-625-8569 or 1-800-356-0343; or by email at The MIT Press also has a web site:

The following volumes may be ordered directly from the University of Chicago Press, Order Department, 11030 South Langley Avenue, Chicago, IL 60628-2215; 1-800-621-2736. Academic discounts of 10 percent for individual volumes and 20 percent for standing orders for all NBER books published by the University of Chicago Press are available to university faculty; orders must be sent on university stationery.

Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform

Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform, edited by John Y. Campbell and Martin Feldstein, will be available from the University of Chicago Press this fall for $69.00. This NBER conference volume includes papers discussed at a conference in 1999.

Since our current Social Security system operates on a pay-as-you-go basis, benefits are paid almost entirely out of current revenues. But as the ratio of retirees to taxpayers increases, concern about the high costs of providing benefits in the current system has led economists to explore other options. One involves "prefunding," in which some of a person's payroll tax payments are invested in financial instruments, such as stocks and bonds, the eventual returns from which would help to fund his or her retirement.

The risks introduced by such a system -- such as the volatility in the market prices of investment assets -- are the focus of this volume. The book's contributors explore the issues involved in measuring risk and develop models to reflect the risks of various investment-based systems. They also evaluate the magnitude of the risks that both retirees and taxpayers would assume, concluding that these risks are actually moderate relative to the improved return, as well as being balanced by the ability of an investment-based system to adapt to differences in individual preferences and conditions.

Campbell is a Research Associate in the NBER's Programs on Asset Pricing, Monetary Economics, and Economic Fluctuations and Growth, and the Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics at Harvard University. Feldstein is President and CEO of the NBER and the George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University.

Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy

Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy, edited by Carlo Carraro and Gilbert E. Metcalf, is available this fall from the University of Chicago Press for $52.00

This NBER conference volume examines the trade-offs involved in designing policies to deal with environmental problems. Reflecting the broad nature of the subject, the contributors include leading economists in the areas of public finance, industrial organization, and trade theory, as well as environmental economists. They examine environmental policy design as it relates to location decisions, compliance costs, administrative costs, effects on research and development, and international factor movements. Shedding light on an extraordinarily complex and important topic, this collection will be of interest to all those involved in designing effective environmental policy.

Carraro is Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Venice and Research Director of the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei. Metcalf is a Research Associate in the NBER's Program on Public Economics and a professor of economics at Tufts University.

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