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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 4, December 2018

The Reporter

A free quarterly publication featuring program updates, several summaries of affiliates' research, and news about the NBER
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Amid calls for greater attention to the policies and market institutions that affect household financial choices, the NBER Household Finance Working Group was established in 2009 with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It provides a forum for disseminating research and fostering collaboration among those working on household financial decision-making, the structure and operation of markets offering financial products targeted to consumers, and the regulatory policy...

Research Summaries

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Article
Author(s): Simon Gilchrist
The 2008–09 global financial crisis and ensuing worldwide recession have brought renewed attention to the importance of credit conditions for the macroeconomy. From a theoretical perspective, two broad mechanisms link credit conditions to macroeconomic outcomes. First, financial frictions on the side of borrowers imply that their borrowing costs include an external finance premium — the cost of borrowing above and beyond the relevant risk-free interest rate. Theory tells...
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Article
Author(s): Ginger Zhe Jin
It is difficult for patients to perceive the quality of prescription drugs even after they consume them, because they lack medical knowledge and because symptom alleviation depends on comorbidities, diet, and other factors. Additionally, multiple factors, ranging from active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and purity to transportation and storage conditions, affect drug quality. After a pharmaceutical product is approved for the market, ensuring quality in production and...
Article
Government effectiveness in the provision of basic services like education and health directly affects the quality of life of poor people in developing countries. Yet, the quality of such service delivery is quite weak.1 Understanding ways of improving service delivery in developing countries has been a focus of my research over the past 15 years. In this piece, I summarize the main insights from this body of work and discuss implications for both policy and research. My...
Article
Author(s): Alan M. Taylor
Asset returns occupy a special place in the history of economic thought. From John Stuart Mill to Karl Marx, the profession's most influential thinkers have devoted much of their time to the study of interest and profits. Today, the rate of return on capital still plays a pivotal role in shaping current macroeconomic debates. Asset returns encapsulate fundamental features about an economy's dynamics, such as attitudes toward risk and preferences over future consumption,...

News

    Article
    New Research Associates and Faculty Research Fellows for 2018 The NBER Board of Directors appointed 58 research associates at its two meetings in 2018. New research associates (RAs), who must be tenured faculty members at North American colleges or universities, are recommended to the board by the directors of the NBER's 20 research programs. The program directors usually consult with a steering committee of leading scholars in the program. Forty-one of the 58...

Books

    Article
    Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 19 Josh Lerner and Scott Stern, editors This volume focuses on the interaction between public policy and innovation. The first chapter documents the dramatic globalization of R&D and how this development has affected the efforts of U.S. multinationals to operate on the global technology frontier. The next chapter synthesizes research on the impact of trade shocks on innovation and explains how these shocks' effects...

Meetings & Conferences, Fall 2018

Meetings

  • Article
    Economic Fluctuations and Growth Members of the NBER's Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program met October 19 in New York City. Research Associates Raquel Fernández of New York University and Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé of Columbia University organized the meeting. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed: Chris Edmond, University of Melbourne; Virgiliu Midrigan, New York University and NBER; and Daniel Xu, Duke University and NBER, "How Costly...

Conferences

  • Article
    Economics of Artificial Intelligence An NBER conference on Economics of Artificial Intelligence took place in Toronto September 13–14. Research Associates Ajay K. Agrawal, Joshua S. Gans, and Avi Goldfarb of University of Toronto and Catherine Tucker of MIT organized the meeting, which was sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and the Creative Destruction Lab. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed...

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