Researchers from 17 countries and 427 institutions participated in the NBER's 41st annual Summer Institute, which was held in Cambridge during a three-week period in July. More than 2,800 participants took part in 51 distinct meetings arranged by 120 organizers.
There were 185 graduate student participants, and 545 participants who were attending their first Summer Institute. More than 65 percent of the participants were not NBER affiliates. Researchers submitted 5,819 papers, of which 563 were selected for presentation.
Raghuram Rajan, the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, a former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, delivered the 2018 Martin Feldstein Lecture on "The Two Faces of Liquidity." His presentation described the role of credit access for households and firms in both the run-up to the 2008 global financial crisis and in the years following the crisis. Excessive liquidity prior to the crisis permitted mortgage lending with relatively weak standards and boosted asset prices. The sharp decline in credit after the crisis constricted both investment and consumer spending, placing an important drag on the pace of recovery. An edited text of the lecture appears earlier in this issue of the NBER Reporter.
The 2018 Methods Lectures, on "Weak Instruments and What to Do About Them," were presented by NBER Research Associates and Harvard faculty members Isaiah Andrews and James Stock. The so-called "weak instruments" problem arises when researchers apply instrumental variable methods in settings in which the variation in the exogenous variables accounts for only a small part of the variation in the explanatory variables. Andrews and Stock described how to diagnose this problem, and how to conduct inference when it arises.
Recognizing that the global financial crisis began a decade ago, the 2018 Summer Institute also included a day-long meeting on "The Global Financial Crisis @ 10." The conference included presentations on the role of extrapolative expectations in inflating pre-crisis asset bubbles, the weaknesses of the pre-crisis financial system, post-crisis lessons on the stabilization role of fiscal policy, and lessons learned about macroprudential financial policy.
The 2018 Feldstein Lecture, Methods Lectures, and the presentations at the Global Financial Crisis @ 10 conference and several other Summer Institute meetings were videotaped.