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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): Duncan Thomas
The Development Economics Program, the youngest NBER program, was formed in 2012 to bring together scholars working on fundamental questions related to economic development and the behavior of individuals, families, firms, and institutions in developing countries. Program researchers undertake a wide array of studies to improve understanding of economic growth and productivity, poverty, inequality, and population well-being across the globe. Of about 125 program members...

Research Summaries

Segregation by race is a central and persistent characteristic of American cities, and there is a broad consensus among economists that this spatial separation of racial groups is a key driver of socioeconomic outcomes for urban Americans. Researchers have documented that segregation contributes to poverty, adverse educational outcomes, and reduced intergenerational mobility.1 These findings naturally give rise to a focus on the origins of segregation. Attention has...
Author(s): David Yermack
Digital currencies such as bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology are among the most exciting recent innovations in finance. During 2017, surging interest in cryptocurrencies drove their total market value above $600 billion, an increase of more than 700 percent for the year, and major corporations and governments launched blockchain projects in diverse areas such as shipping and logistics, electric power distribution, and real estate title registration. Blockchain...
Charitable giving plays an important role in the U.S. economy. In 2016, individuals gave $282 billion to churches, museums, universities, and myriad other institutions.1 A variety of issues pertaining to donative behavior have been covered in the economics literature. Two of the more important ones have arisen in discussions of the motivations for giving. The first is reciprocity: do people donate because they expect something in return? The second is affinity: what factors...
Author(s): Bruce D. Meyer
Concerns about rising inequality inform important debates on some of our most significant issues, including income tax design, immigration, and globalization. The debate over inequality relies almost exclusively on income data that indicate that inequality has increased sharply in recent decades. Yet economists generally prefer using consumption rather than income to measure well-being.1 For this reason, and because consumption is better reported than income for some...


    Awards Susan Athey was elected a vice president of the American Economic Association. Jonathan Berk and the late Richard Green were awarded the Stephen Ross Prize, a biannual award from the Foundation for the Advancement of Research in Financial Economics for a paper in financial economics published in the last 15 years, for "Mutual Fund Flows and Performance in Rational Markets." John Beshears, James Choi, David Laibson, and Brigitte...


    Measuring and Modeling Health Care Costs Edited by Ana Aizcorbe, Colin Baker, Ernst R. Berndt, and David M. Cutler 512 pages, 62 line drawings, 113 tables $130 (cloth) Health care costs represent nearly 18 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and 20 percent of government spending. While there is detailed information on where these health care dollars are spent, there is much less evidence on how this spending affects health. The research in Measuring...

Meetings & Conferences, Winter 2018


  • Article
    Industrial Organization Members of the NBER's Industrial Organization Program met at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research on February 9–10. Faculty Research Fellow Myrto Kalouptsidi of Harvard University and Research Associate Jesse M. Shapiro of Brown University organized the meeting. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed: John Asker, University of California, Los Angeles and NBER; Allan Collard-Wexler, Duke University and NBER...


  • Article
    Economics of Digitization A conference on "Economics of Digitization" took place at Stanford University on March 1–2. Research Associates Shane Greenstein and Josh Lerner of Harvard University and Scott Stern of MIT organized the meeting, which was sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed: Ananya Sen, MIT, and Catherine Tucker, MIT and NBER, "Information Shocks and Internet Silos: Evidence from...

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