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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): Caroline Hoxby
The enterprise of education has a supply side, where institutions produce education, and an investment side, where people acquire education. I say an "investment side" and not a "demand side" because education is largely an investment and not a form of consumption. Because it is an investment, the economics of education is guided by a great deal of theory that would not apply if education were a consumption good like, say, bread. Education economists study both the supply of...

Research Summaries

Author(s): Gregor Matvos & Amit Seru
Financial advisers in the United States manage over $30 trillion in investible assets, and plan the financial futures of roughly half of U.S. households. At the same time, trust in the financial sector remains near all-time lows. The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer ranks financial services as the least trusted sector by consumers, finding that only 54 percent of consumers "trust the financial services sector to do what is right."1 The distrust of finance is perhaps not...
Figure 1
Author(s): Andrei Shleifer
The use of survey expectations data was a key feature of macroeconomics in the 1950s and 1960s, and an important part of research at the NBER during that period. Yet this work slowly ground to a halt in the aftermath of the rational expectations revolution. Under rational expectations, economic agents forecast the future by optimally using the true structure of the economy they operate in. This means that the structure of the economy itself dictates what beliefs they should...
Author(s): Heidi Williams
Academics and policymakers have long recognized that competitive markets may under-incentivize innovation. This concern has motivated the design of public policies such as the patent system, which aims to encourage research investments into new technologies by allowing inventors to capture a higher share of the social returns to their research investments. A well-developed theoretical literature has analyzed optimal patent policy, with a focus on the trade-off between...
Author(s): James Andreoni
The basic hypothesis of crowding out is simple: Suppose individuals care only about their own private consumption and the charity's capacity to spend. In particular, they are indifferent to whether their own gift is voluntary or is involuntarily paid through taxes. As a result, any effort by policymakers to support this charity through more involuntary taxes would be met with equal reductions of voluntary gifts as donors work to reestablish their optimal total contributions...


    Katherine Baicker was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Lucian Bebchuk received the 2018 IRRC Institute Award for work in corporate governance for his research with Scott Hirst on "Index Funds and the Future of Corporate Governance: Theory, Evidence, and Policy." Roland J. Bénabou was elected as a corresponding member of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques, one of the five national academies that collectively constitute...


    Economic Dimensions of Personalized and Precision Medicine Ernst R. Berndt, Dana P. Goldman, and John W. Rowe, editors Personalized and precision medicine (PPM) — the targeting of therapies according to an individual's genetic, environmental, or lifestyle characteristics — is becoming an increasingly important approach in health care treatment and prevention. The advancement of PPM is a challenge in traditional clinical, reimbursement, and regulatory landscapes...

Meetings & Conferences, Winter 2019


  • Industrial Organization Members of the NBER's Industrial Organization Program met February 8–9 at Stanford. Research Associates Eric Budish of the University of Chicago and Jean-François Houde of the University of Wisconsin-Madison organized the meeting. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed: Thomas G. Wollmann, University of Chicago and NBER, "How to Get Away with Merger: Stealth Consolidation and Its Effects on U.S. Healthcare" Sumit Agarwal,...


  • Economics of Infrastructure An NBER conference on the Economics of Infrastructure took place March 1 in Cambridge. Research Associates Edward L. Glaeser of Harvard University and James M. Poterba of MIT organized the meeting, which was sponsored by the Smith Richardson Foundation. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed: Abhishek Nagaraj, University of California, Berkeley, "The Private Impact of Public Information: Landsat Satellite Maps and Gold...

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