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The Reporter

A free quarterly publication featuring program updates, several summaries of affiliates' research, and news about the NBER
Author(s): Robert C. Feenstra
The research of the International Trade and Investment (ITI) Program, which includes 90 current members, covers a wide range of topics, such as explaining patterns of international trade, foreign direct investment, and immigration, and improving our understanding of the impact of trade policies. In addition, specialized ITI conferences cover such topics as "Globalization and Poverty" and "China's Growing Role in World Trade."1 These two projects illustrate that a good deal...

Research Summaries

Author(s): James D. Hamilton
The first decade of the new millennium brought a dramatic increase in the real price of crude petroleum. The price (in 2009 dollars) rose from about $30 a barrel in 2003 to an average of nearly $100 a barrel in 2008 (see the far right panel of Figure 1). Such a rapid price increase was not unprecedented, though. The price of oil rose similarly during the 1970s (middle panel) and during the U.S. Civil War (left panel). The oil price increase during the 1970s was spurred by...
Author(s): Eric M. Leeper
There is growing concern that inflation worldwide is rising. Among the factors that are cited as potential contributors are expansionary monetary policies in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Euro Area; rapid economic growth in emerging economies; and increases in value-added taxes and commodity prices. In a sequence of recent papers, I suggest another potential culprit: looming fiscal stress and uncertainty about how policies will adjust to resolve that stress...
Author(s): Kevin Milligan
Although pressing issues, from immigration to national security, can capture the attention of policymakers from year to year, the problems associated with the fiscal consequences of an aging population are always looming in the background. The eventual impact of Social Security and Medicare on the long-run budget in the United States is likely to be substantial. But, the problems facing other OECD countries are perhaps even more severe. Birth rates elsewhere are lower,...
Trust, Social Capital, and Financial Development Our first contribution in this area introduces the concept of trust into financial economics. One paper investigates how social norms affect financial development. 1 The term "social capital" has been widely used in the social sciences outside of economics and is defined as "features of social life - networks, norms, trust, that enable participants of a given community to act together to pursue shared objectives." 2 As such...


    Levin Receives John Bates Clark Medal NBER Research Associate Jonathan D. Levin received the American Economics Association's John Bates Clark Medal for 2011. This annual award recognizes the American economist under the age of 40 who has made the most substantial contribution to economic thought and knowledge. This year's prize highlights Levin’s research contributions on contracting, the organization and design of markets, sub-prime lending, and the design of empirical...


    The Changing Body The Changing Body -- Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World since 1700, by Roderick Floud, Robert W. Fogel, Bernard Harris, and Sok Chul Hong, is available from Cambridge University Press. The paperback price is $32.99 and the hardcover price is $90.00. Humans have become much taller and heavier, and are experiencing healthier and longer lives than ever before in human history. However, only recently have historians, economists...

Meetings & Conferences, Spring 2011


  • Article
    Law and Economics The NBER's Program on Law and Economics, directed by Christine Jolls of Yale Law School, met in Cambridge on March 25, 2011. These papers were discussed: Jonathan B. Cohn and Jay C. Hartzell, University of Texas at Austin, and Stuart L. Gillan, Texas Tech University, "On the Optimality of Shareholder Control: Evidence from the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act" Kenneth Ayotte, Northwestern University, and Henry Hansmann, Yale...


  • Article
    Twenty-sixth Annual Conference on Macroeconomics The NBER's Twenty-sixth Annual Conference on Macroeconomics, organizer by Research Associates Daron Acemoglu of MIT and Michael Woodford of Columbia University, took place in Cambridge on April 8 and 9. These papers were discussed: Andreas Fuster and Ben Hebert, Harvard University, and David Laibson, Harvard University and NBER, "Natural Expectations, Macroeconomic Dynamics, and Asset Pricing" Klaus...

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