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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 1, March 2021

The Reporter

A free quarterly publication featuring program updates, several summaries of affiliates' research, and news about the NBER
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Author(s): David Autor & Alexandre Mas
The Labor Studies Program is one of the largest and most active in the NBER. Its nearly 190 members produce more than 300 working papers in an average year. The breadth and depth of questions addressed by Labor Studies members is immense. Research touches on macroeconomic topics such as unemployment and productivity; institutional factors such as minimum wage regulations, labor unions, and globalization; and technological developments including robotics, artificial...

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Research Summaries

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Article
Author(s): Andrew Atkeson
During the first half of the 20th century, Americans enjoyed tremendous gains in health and life expectancy as large investments in sanitation, public health, and medicine resulted in the conquest of infectious diseases. Crude annual mortality rates from infectious disease in the United States fell by an order of magnitude: from nearly 800 per 100,000 in 1900 to fewer than 50 per 100,000 by 1960, with the steady downward trend interrupted dramatically by the Great Influenza...
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Article
In recent decades, global flows of assets and goods have grown rapidly relative to GDP and have shifted aggressively during crises such as the global financial crisis and the current pandemic. Corporations and governments increasingly borrow from foreign investors, who face more options for allocating their capital in terms of asset class, currency, and geography. A sense of “who owns what” around the world, and why, is required to understand what these trends mean for the...
Article
Researchers have long understood that social interactions can shape many aspects of social and economic activity, including migration, trade, job-seeking, investment behavior, product adoption decisions, and social mobility.1 Traditionally, however, it has been challenging to analyze and quantify the economic effects of social interactions, in large part because of the absence of large-scale and representative data on social networks. Over the past years, we have worked...
Article
Author(s): Tatyana Deryugina
Direct economic damage from extreme weather events has been growing faster than GDP for decades, and projections indicate that this trend will continue. The impacts of natural disasters clearly extend beyond the physical damage they cause. They can have both short- and long-term effects on income, health, family formation, and many other aspects of victims’ lives. In the aggregate, natural disasters could affect fiscal outcomes and the functioning of important services such...

News

Cecilia Rouse
Article
The US Senate on February 2 confirmed Cecilia Rouse, an active member of the NBER community for the past three decades, as chair of President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). Rouse was  an NBER Research Associate from 1992 until 2014 and a member of the NBER Board of Directors from 2014 until her resignation this week.  Her nomination won overwhelming bipartisan support, passing by a vote of 95-4.  At the time of her nomination by the...
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Article
Three NBER research associates from the University of California, Berkeley have been tapped for substantial economic policy roles in the new administration in Washington.  Adair Morse of the Haas School of Business, a Corporate Finance Program affiliate, is serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Capital Access at the Department of the Treasury. Catherine Wolfram, also a Haas School faculty member, has joined the Treasury Department as Deputy Assistant...
Article
John M. Abowd was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, recognizing his contributions to the statistical understanding of US population dynamics. Katharine Abraham was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was also named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association. Viral Acharya won the Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) Top Article Award 2020 for his paper “Whatever It Takes...

Book

Article
Measuring innovation is challenging both for researchers and for national statisticians, and it is increasingly important in light of the ongoing digital revolution. National accounts and many other economic statistics were designed before the emergence of the digital economy and the growing importance of intangible capital. They do not yet fully capture the wide range of innovative activity that is observed in modern economies. This volume examines how to measure...

Conferences and Meetings

  • Article
    Machine Learning in Health Care An NBER conference on Machine Learning in Health Care, supported by the National Institute on Aging, took place online on January 15. Research Associate David M. Cutler and Faculty Research Fellow Timothy Layton of Harvard University organized the meeting. These researchers’ papers were presented and discussed: Suproteem Sarkar, Harvard University; N. Meltem Daysal, University of Copenhagen; Sendhil Mullainathan, University of Chicago...

  • Article
    Industrial Organization Members of the NBER’s Industrial Organization Program met February 12–13 online. Faculty Research Fellow Thomas R. Covert of the University of Chicago and Research Associates Ginger Zhe Jin of the University of Maryland and Ali Yurukoglu of Stanford University organized the meeting. These researchers’ papers were presented and discussed: Andrew Butters and Jackson Dorsey, Indiana University, and Gautam Gowrisankaran, University of Arizona and...
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