NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The NBER Reporter Fall 2006: Books

The following volumes may be ordered directly from:

University of Chicago Press
Order Department
11030 South Langley Avenue
Chicago, IL 60628-2215; (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 also available to univerity faculty; orders must be sent on university stationery

Health Care Issues in the United States and Japan

Health Care Issues in the United States and Japan, an NBER Conference Report edited by David A. Wise and Naohiro Yashiro, is available from the University of Chicago Press for $65.00. Wise directs the NBER's Program of Research on Aging and is the John F. Stambaugh Professor of Political Economy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Yashiro is affiliated with the Japan Center for Economic Research and International Christian University.

Recent data show wide disparity in the effectiveness of the health care systems of Japan and the United States. Japan spends close to the lowest percentage among OECD countries of its gross domestic product on health care, the United States spends the highest percentage, and yet life expectancies in Japan are among the world's longest. Clearly, there is much to be learned from a comprehensive comparative analysis of health care issues in these two countries.

In Health Care Issues in the United States and Japan, contributors explore the structural characteristics of the health care systems in both nations, the economic incentives underlying the systems, and how they operate in practice. Japan's system, they show, is characterized by generous insurance schemes, a lack of gatekeepers, and fee-for-service mechanisms. The U. S. structure, on the other hand, is distinguished by for-profit hospitals, privatized health insurance, and managed care. But despite its relative success, an aging population and a general shift from infectious diseases to more chronic maladies are forcing the Japanese to consider a model more closely resembling that of the United States. In an age when rising health care costs and aging populations are motivating reforms throughout the world, this timely study will prove invaluable.

Monetary Policy with Very Low Inflation in the Pacific Rim

Monetary Policy with Very Low Inflation in the Pacific Rim, an NBER-East Asia Seminar on Economics volume edited by Takatoshi Ito and Andrew K. Rose, is available from the University of Chicago Press for $85.00.

Extremely low inflation rates have moved to the forefront of monetary policy discussions. In Asia, a number of countries -- most prominently Japan, but also Taiwan and China -- have actually experienced deflation over the last fifteen years. This conference volume explores the factors that have contributed to these circumstances and forecasts some of the potential challenges faced by these nations.

The editors of this volume attribute low inflation and deflation in the region to a number of recent phenomena. Some of these episodes, they argue, may be linked to rapid growth on the supply side of economies. Others are due to inadequate demand policy, sometimes resulting in a "liquidity trap." In such a trap, nominal interest rates hit a "zero-lower bound" so that conventional loosening of monetary policy is ineffective. The expectation of falling prices can encourage agents to defer costly purchases, thereby discouraging growth. The current practice of inflation-targeting may make this phenomenon possible if inflation targets are set quite low, so that a few bad shocks lead to deflation.Ito and Rose are NBER Research Associates in the Program on International Finance and Macroeconomics. Ito is also a professor of economics at the University of Tokyo. Rose is a professor of economics at The Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.

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The following volumes may be ordered from:

MIT Press
c/o Triliteral
100 Maple Ridge Drive
Cumberland, RI 02864

Order by phone: TOLL FREE in the US and Canada: 1-800-405-1619 (9 am - 5 pm EST/EDT) or 401-658-4226
Order by Fax: TOLL FREE in the US and Canada: 1-800-406-9145 or 401-531-2801

Order by e-mail: mitpress-orders@mit.edu

Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 6

Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 6, edited by Adam B. Jaffe, Josh Lerner, and Scott Stern, is available from the MIT Press for $25.00.

This annual series of conferences on innovation, sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research, brings the work of leading academic researchers to the broader policy community. This volume considers such topics as the diversity of patent protection and the implications of weak patents for innovation and competition; reforms in U.S. patent policy that will encourage innovation; the multifaceted benefits of the Internet for consumers, including price competition and novel forms of communication; the drug development and approval process; the "offshoring" of research and development; and the advantages of industry-specific studies of the relationship between innovation and competition. The papers highlight the role of economic theory and empirical analysis in evaluating current and prospective innovation policy alternatives.

All three editors are NBER Research Associates in the Program on Productivity. Jaffe is also the Fred C. Hecht Professor in Economics and Dean of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis University. Lerner is the Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in the Finance and Entrepreneurial Units. Stern is an Associate Professor of Management and Strategy at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004

The NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004, edited by Richard H. Clarida, Jeffrey A. Frankel, Francesco Giavazzi, and Kenneth D. West, is available from the MIT Press for $0030.00 for paperback and $60.00 for cloth-bound. This annual conference volume is an international companion to the more American-focused NBER Macroeconomics Annual.

The individual papers in this volume examine such topics as whether rule-based monetary policy should target price levels or inflation rates; how much cyclical correlation across countries can be attributed to transmission between multinational companies and their international affiliates; the different effects of monetary policy in high-debt and low-debt countries; and the prospects for the ten 2004 entrants to the European Union, based on the experiences of EU entrants of the 1980s.

Clarida is a Research Associate in the NBER's Program on International Finance and Macroeconomics (IFM) and the C. Lowell Harriss Professor of Economics at Columbia University. Frankel directs the NBER's IFM Program and is the James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Economic Growth at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Giavazzi is an NBER Research Associate in IFM and a Professor of Economics at Bocconi University.

Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 20

Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 20, edited by James M. Poterba, is available from the MIT Press for $25.00 for paperback and $58.00 for cloth-bound. This NBER series on taxation and government spending includes papers that provide important background information for policy analysts in government and the private sector without making specific policy recommendations. This twentieth anniversary volume addresses issues relevant to current policy debates as well as questions that are of longer-term interest, including: the distribution of the corporate income tax burden; tax incentives for entrepreneurship; the effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit on labor supply; refund-splitting as a way to encourage saving by low-income households; the concentration of variable annuity ownership households in high tax brackets; and new evidence on the fiscal health of the federal government that takes the Medicare prescription drug benefit into account.

Poterba has been Director of the NBER's Public Economics Program since 1991 and has edited Volumes 6-20 of Tax Policy and the Economy. He is also the Mitsui Professor in the Department of Economics at MIT.

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