National Bureau of Economic Research

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Coronavirus Pandemic Research

Tracking the COVID-19 Economy in Real Time

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented fiscal actions in many nations, as governments have increased spending and provided tax relief to firms and households during a period of economic shutdown.  Even after the pandemic recedes, its fiscal effects will continue, since most countries will face higher debt burdens as a result of their expansionary fiscal policies and the path of economic activity will take time to return to its pre-pandemic track.  Gita Gopinath, the Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund, on leave from her role as an NBER research associate, summarized the fiscal impact of COVID-19 on both developed and developing nations in a plenary address at the NBER's Tax Policy and the Economy meeting in late September.  Her presentation may be viewed in the video below. An archive of NBER videos on pandemic-related topics may be found here.

Four NBER working papers distributed this week investigate the COVID-19 pandemic, its economic effects, and public health and economic responses to it. One study analyzes the rise of precautionary saving in the early months of the pandemic (27964). A second explores how various local attributes, such as occupational mix and the degree of income inequality, affected the spread of the virus (27965). A third study describes new challenges that the pandemic poses for emerging markets (27966). The last new paper analyzes survey data from 15 countries and finds that respondents are prepared to trade off some civil liberties during the COVID-19 crisis in return for more favorable public health outcomes (27972).

More than 280 NBER working papers have presented pandemic-related research. These papers are open access and have been collected for easy reference. Like all NBER papers, they are circulated for discussion and comment, and have not been peer-reviewedThey may be viewed in reverse chronological order or by topic area.

New Officers, Directors, and Affiliates Named

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At its meeting in September, the NBER Board of Directors elected John Lipsky chair and Peter Blair Henry vice chair of the NBER. Four new directors joined the board and 44 researchers were named NBER research associates or faculty research fellows research associates.

From the NBER Digest

...a free monthly publication of non-technical summaries of research on topics of broad public interest

Job-finding rates and wages fell for new graduates entering the labor market in 2009 and 2010, but poorer prospects for young workers actually began before the recession and continued through the recovery. There has been a substantial deterioration in the employment prospects of recent college graduates, Jesse Rothstein finds in The Lost Generation? Labor Market Outcomes for Post Great Recession Entrants (NBER Working Paper 27516). Cohorts that graduated during...

From the NBER Reporter

..a free quarterly featuring affiliates writing about their research, program updates, and NBER news

Members of older households face the prospect of living longer than expected and incurring large medical expenses. My research on old age aims at better quantifying these risks, studying their implications for savings, consumption, and welfare, and evaluating the extent to which current government programs insure older people. The first part of my research on these topics focuses on elderly singles, who comprise about 50 percent of people aged 70 or older. The second part...

From the Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

...a free quarterly summarizing research in the NBER's Retirement and Disability Research Center

The 2020 NBER Summer Institute's Economics of Social Security meeting featured a panel discussion on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for Social Security in the US. NBER President James Poterba introduced the panel by noting that COVID-19 may affect Social Security in many ways, including effects on the economy, health, and mortality, while also acknowledging the current early state of research with respect to the pandemic and its long-term effects. James Stock (...
Facing rising life expectancies and falling birth rates, many countries have raised retirement ages in their public pension programs to ameliorate long-run fiscal deficits. In the US, the normal retirement age has gradually been rising from age 65 and will reach age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Public pension retirement ages — including the early retirement age (ERA) when benefits are first available and the normal retirement age (NRA) around which the benefit...

From the Bulletin on Health

...summarizes recent NBER Working Papers on health topics. Distributed three times a year and is free

The reformulation of OxyContin had the unintended consequence of increasing overall overdose rates in locations where OxyContin had initially been misused. Fatal drug overdoses in the United States have risen dramatically in the past decade, but the trend has been far worse in some states than in others. Between 2009 and 2017, the growth of fatal overdoses was 27 per 100,000 residents in the 10 most severely affected states, in contrast to less than one per 100,...
The implied magnitudes of the reductions in infant mortality from Medicaid are quite large: approximately 1.4 fewer infant deaths per 1,000 live births in the severely affected counties. What role can health insurance play in ameliorating the health effects of a pandemic? In The Value of Health Insurance during a Crisis: Effects of Medicaid Implementation on Pandemic Influenza Mortality (NBER Working Paper 27120), researchers Karen Clay, Joshua A. Lewis, Edson R....

Featured Working Papers

For emerging market economies, the decade after an inflation stabilization is associated with a 2.2 percentage point increase in growth, and a trade liberalization, a 2.7 percentage point increase, Anusha Chari, Peter Blair Henry, and Hector Reyes find.

In cohorts of workers born in the 1940s and 1950s, there is a negative association between union membership and job satisfaction, but the association turns positive for those born between the 1960s and 1990s, according to a study by David G. Blanchflower and Alex Bryson.  

From 1990 to 2015, achievement gaps related to income and race narrowed substantially in 4th grade reading and math and in 8th grade math, while the gaps remained stable in 8th grade reading, according to an analysis by Shirin A. Hashim, Thomas J. Kane, Thomas Kelley-Kemple, Mary E. Laski, and Douglas O. Staiger.

US counties with higher subscription rates to the Liberty Bond drives of World War I experienced an increase in the number of investment banks, stronger local competition between investment banks and commercial banks, and a relative contraction in commercial bank assets, Eric Hilt, Matthew S. Jaremski, and Wendy Rahn find.

WWII defense production contracts led to occupational upgrading of Black men to skilled occupations, resulted in significant increases in the earnings of Black workers and declines in the racial wage gap, Anna Aizer, Ryan Boone, Adriana Lleras-Muney, and Jonathan Vogel find.

In the News

Recent citations of NBER research in the media

Source: Grist
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Books & Chapters

Through a partnership with the University of Chicago Press, the NBER publishes the proceedings of four annual conferences as well as other research studies associated with NBER-based research projects.


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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented fiscal actions in many nations, as governments have increased spending...
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a particularly heavy toll on the elderly in the United States and other nations,...
The speed and geographic variation of the COVID-19 economic decline has placed a premium on higher-frequency...
The COVID-19 pandemic led primary and secondary schools across the US to close their doors and shift to on-line...
In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic roiled both financial markets and the real economy, US companies increased...
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