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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 3, September 2018

The Reporter

A free quarterly publication featuring program updates, several summaries of affiliates' research, and news about the NBER
Author(s): Raghuram Rajan
It has been about 10 years since the global financial crisis. What have we learnt about it? The behavior of financial-sector participants was clearly aberrant, and needed to be rectified. We have had a tremendous amount of regulation since then, especially focused on banks. Whether this will solve the underlying problems is an issue that is much debated. Yet we have at least attempted to tackle the problems of poor incentives and distorted financial firm capital...

Research Summaries

Author(s): Matthew J. Kotchen
Economists are fascinated with unintended consequences. A policy designed to accomplish a particular objective will sometimes have the opposite effect, or create new problems apart from the one it originally sought to correct. Well-intentioned individuals will sometimes make choices that are counterproductive to the very causes they seek to support. Understanding the full impact of policy interventions and individual choices is critical for the design, implementation, and...
Innovation is the source of technological progress and, ultimately, the main driver of long-run economic growth. In recent work with several co-authors, we have shown that the U.S. states that produced the most innovations also grew fastest over the 100-year period from 1900 to 2000.1 We also have documented that innovation is strongly associated with social mobility. U.S. regions that experienced more innovation also witnessed much stronger intergenerational and social...
Author(s): Craig Garthwaite
Pricing and competition in pharmaceutical markets is an area of great debate and controversy, much of which stems from the fact that patent protection allows firms to charge high prices for potentially life-saving treatments. In the absence of patents, other firms would be attracted by the large profits earned by incumbent firms and enter the market. Such entry would likely raise current period welfare by reducing prices and increasing access to valuable medications....
Author(s): Fernando Ferreira
At the onset of the last housing crisis, it was widely believed that the lenders who extended subprime mortgages and the homeowners who had taken out those loans were responsible for the housing boom, bust, and ensuing economic crisis. With the benefit of hindsight — and aided by much better data and research designs — academic researchers now have a clearer view. The credit expansion during the housing boom was not concentrated in the subprime sector, and the majority of...


      41st Annual NBER Summer Institute 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...

Meetings & Conferences, Summer 2018


  • Article
    Economic Fluctuations and Growth Members of the NBER's Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program met July 14 in Cambridge. Research Associates Virgiliu Midrigan of New York University and Hélène Rey of London Business School organized the meeting. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed: Alessandra Fogli, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and Veronica Guerrieri, University of Chicago and NBER, "The End of the American Dream? Inequality and...


  • Article
    Machine Learning in Health Care An NBER conference on Machine Learning in Health Care took place June 4 in Cambridge. Research Associates David M. Cutler and Sendhil Mullainathan, both of Harvard University, and Ziad Obermeyer of Harvard Medical School organized the meeting. The conference was partially funded by a grant from the National Institute on Aging. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed: Sendhil Mullainathan and Ziad Obermeyer, "...

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