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The Reporter

A free quarterly publication featuring program updates, several summaries of affiliates' research, and news about the NBER
The Program on Industrial Organization (IO) was founded in 1990, and grew steadily under the leadership of Nancy Rose, who led the program from its inception until 2014. Jonathan Levin served as program director from 2014 until 2016, when he became dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and was succeeded by Liran Einav. The IO program currently has 83 members and holds a winter meeting on the West Coast and a summer meeting during the NBER Summer Institute. Program...

Research Summaries

Author(s): David J. Deming
Economists are increasingly focused on the importance of so-called "soft skills" for labor market success. The evidence is overwhelming that these skills — also called "non-cognitive skills" — are important drivers of success in school and in adult life.1 Yet the very term soft skills reveals our lack of understanding of what these skills are, how to measure them, and whether and how they can be developed. And the term "non-cognitive" is simply used to mean "not predicted by...
Author(s): Andrei A. Levchenko
The international business cycle exhibits two prominent features. The first is significant positive comovement among countries. Figure 1 illustrates this by plotting the GDP growth rates for the G-7 countries. The tendency of GDP growth rates to move together is evident. Second, country pairs that are more closely linked through trade in goods and multinational production exhibit greater comovement. Figure 2 illustrates this with a scatterplot of the GDP correlation and the...
Author(s): Sandra E. Black
What determines a child's success? We know that family matters — children from higher socioeconomic status families do better in school, get more education, and earn more. However, even beyond that, there is substantial variation in success across children within families. This has led researchers to study factors that relate to within-family differences in children's outcomes. One that has attracted much interest is the role played by birth order, which varies...
The distribution of national income between capital and labor and the determinants of that split are important for many reasons. The evolution of factor shares over time affects income inequality across households. Changes in factor shares inform economists' assumptions about aggregate production technologies and their understanding of the state of product and labor markets. The behavior of factor shares influences conclusions about the implications of progress in computing...


    Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, an NBER research associate for more than 25 years, was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his research in behavioral economics. The award was announced in October, and Thaler delivered his prize lecture, "From Cashews to Nudges: The Evolution of Behavioral Economics," on December 8 in Stockholm.     [Lecture slides] The Royal Swedish Academy of...


    Edited by Naomi R. Lamoreaux and John Joseph Wallis $130 Modern developed nations are rich and politically stable in part because their citizens are free to form organizations and have access to the relevant legal resources. Yet in spite of the advantages of open access to civil organizations, it is estimated that 80 percent of people live in countries that do not allow unfettered access. Why have some countries disallowed the formation of civic organizations as part...

Meetings & Conferences, Fall 2017


  • Article
    Market Design The NBER's Working Group on Market Design met in Cambridge October 20–21. Working Group Co-Directors Michael Ostrovsky of Stanford University and Parag A. Pathak of MIT organized the meeting. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed: Haluk Ergin, University of California, Berkeley and Tayfun Sönmez and Utku Unver, Boston College, "Efficient and Incentive Compatible Liver Exchange" Nikhil Agarwal, MIT and NBER; Itai...


  • Article
    Financial Market Regulation A conference on financial market regulation sponsored by the Puelicher Center for Banking Education at the University of Wisconsin took place in Cambridge on October 6. Research Associates Dean Corbae of the University of Wisconsin and Robert Townsend of MIT organized the meeting. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed: Greg Buchak, University of Chicago; Gregor Matvos, University of Texas at Austin and NBER; ...

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