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Austan D. Goolsbee Named Chair of the Chicago Fed

Austan D. Goolsbee Named Chair of Chicago Fed

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Austan D. Goolsbee, a research associate in the NBER Public Economics Program and the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, has been named the next president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He will take up this new role in January, and will be a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee.

Goolsbee is an expert on macroeconomics and public finance who has taught at Chicago since 1995. He chaired the President's Council of Economic Advisers 2010-11 and was a member of the Chicago Board of Education 2018-19.  He has served on the Economic Advisory Panel to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Panel of Economic Advisers to the Congressional Budget Office, the US Census Advisory Commission, and as a special consultant for internet policy to the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.

Goolsbee received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Yale University and his PhD from MIT, all in economics. He was a Fulbright Scholar and Sloan Fellow, and became an NBER affiliate in 1997. He will resign his NBER affiliation when he takes up his new position.

A research summary from the monthly NBER Digest

The Real Interest Rate Decline in Long Historical Perspective

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The real interest rate has dropped sharply in the twenty-first century. To what extent is this likely to be temporary, rather than persistent? In Long-Run Trends in Long-Maturity Real Rates 1311–2021 (NBER Working Paper 30475), Kenneth Rogoff, Barbara Rossi, and Paul Schmelzing examine a rich dataset on long-maturity sovereign debt over the past seven centuries and find that long-term global real interest rates…

From the NBER Reporter: Research, program, and conference summaries

The Value of Intangible Capital

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Intangible capital has become a large and increasingly important part of firms’ capital stocks and assets, especially over the last three decades. Intangibles include data, patents, copyrights, software, audio and video material, brands, and organization capital. Shares of these assets have risen while the share of physical capital, such as plants and equipment, has fallen, despite an increase in profitability and the return to business capital. This shift has occurred in concert with other major trends, including rising industry concentration and weak productivity growth. The research agenda on these trends that I describe in more detail below includes several coauthors, principally Nicolas Crouzet, and more recently, Andrea Eisfeldt and Dimitris Papanikolaou.

In addition to intangibles’ increasing prevalence, we emphasize that they are also fundamentally different from physical capital. Usually, this difference is defined by their lack of physical presence...

From the NBER Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

The 24th Annual Meeting of the Retirement and Disability Research Consortium

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) convened its 2022 Retirement and Disability Research Consortium (RDRC) Meeting virtually on August 4–5. The meeting was organized by the NBER RDRC and featured research funded through the NBER RDRC as well as through other RDRC centers based at Boston College, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin.

Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of SSA, provided welcoming remarks. She pronounced, “the SSA is initiating a systems approach to research. … A systems approach examines the effects of structural barriers on economic and social well-being. These barriers include policies, programs, and institutional practices that facilitate the security and mobility of some groups while impeding that of others.” She added, “research plays an…

From the NBER Bulletin on Health

Prenatal Insurance Coverage for Undocumented Immigrants Improves Birth Outcomes

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Medicaid coverage for prenatal care has expanded considerably in recent decades. But in many states, undocumented immigrants remain ineligible for this coverage. This exclusion is consequential because one in thirteen births in the United States is to an undocumented immigrant. In Covering Undocumented Immigrants: The Effects of a Large-Scale Prenatal Care Intervention (NBER Working Paper 30299), researchers Sarah Miller and Laura Wherry evaluate the effects of California’s decision to expand prenatal Medicaid coverage to undocumented immigrants in...

From the NBER Bulletin on Entrepreneurship

The graph is a bar chart titled "Spillovers to Neighboring Startups by Proximity and Access to Common Areas."    It shows the percentage point increase in the probability of startups adopting peer web technology by physical proximity to neighboring startups and whether startups have access to a common area shared with another startup.  For startups within 20 meters of each other, and for those both with and without a common area, the increase in probability is between around 3 and 3.5 percentage points. How

Startup Chemistry and the Coworking Environment

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Startups located in coworking hubs can benefit from knowledge spillovers from their startup neighbors.  In (Co-)Working in Close Proximity: Knowledge Spillovers and Social Interactions (NBER Working Paper 30120), Maria P. Roche, Alexander Oettl,  and Christian Catalini find that knowledge spillovers are greatest among startup workers who socialize but are in moderately dissimilar enterprises.

The researchers studied one of the five largest technological coworking hubs in the nation, where 251 startups were randomly assigned office space in a five…

Featured Working Papers

Grandsons descended down a male line from grandfathers who experienced captivity and starvation during the US Civil War faced a roughly 25% greater risk of dying every year after age 45 relative to grandsons of non-POWs combatants, in part due to being overweight, according to Dora Costa.

Regulatory changes between 2016 and 2019 that increased administrative burdens on families applying for Medicaid reduced program coverage by an average of 5.4% within a year, according to Iris ArbogastAnna Chorniy, and Janet Currie.

Firms authorized to employ more low-skill immigrants significantly increase production with no clear decrease in US employment, implying very low substitutability of native labor for foreign labor in policy-relevant occupations, according to Michael A. Clemens and Ethan G. Lewis.

Cross-country data on more than 100 nations indicates that the adoption of emissions trading systems reduced greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions by 12.1% and 18.1%, respectively, Jennie Bai and Hong Ru demonstrate.

In 2013, the average American did not have access to electricity for 240 minutes during the year, compared to 390 minutes in 2020, a development due in part to a greater number of natural disasters, as well as rising green power mandates,  according to Robert Huang and Matthew E. Kahn.

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Research Spotlights

NBER researchers discuss their work on subjects of wide interest to economists, policymakers, and the general public. Recordings of more-detailed presentations, keynote addresses, and panel discussions at NBER conferences are available on the Lectures page.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected different subgroups of the population, based on race, ethnicity, and income, in...
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The COVID-19 pandemic affected businesses in different industries in disparate ways.  Those in customer contact...
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The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was one of the central elements of the pandemic stimulus program. It was designed...
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