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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 3, October 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): Alan J. Auerbach
The 2021 Martin S. Feldstein Lecture It is a great pleasure to give the Martin Feldstein Lecture at the NBER Summer Institute.  Marty was my dissertation adviser and a coauthor, and I learned a lot from him over the years. Indeed, I want to begin with a couple of Marty’s contributions to the topic of my lecture, not simply to remind us how versatile Marty was in his research, but also because the points he made in these papers inform my discussion. The first of...

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Research Summaries

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Article
Author(s): Alberto Cavallo
For over a decade, my research has explored the use of high-frequency microdata to measure inflation and other economic statistics in real time in an effort to make academic macroeconomic research more timely and useful for policymakers. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to test this methodology, particularly around the topic of inflation. After the crisis started, the United States experienced a relatively small decline in inflation in 2020, followed...
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Article
In the mid-1800s, mortality rates in US and Western European cities were much higher than those in rural areas. Since then, urban mortality rates have fallen dramatically. Driven by reductions in infectious diseases and diseases of infancy and childhood, this phenomenon is often referred to as the mortality transition and has been recognized as one of the most significant developments in the history of human welfare.1 By the 1940s, the mortality “penalty” from living in a...
Article
For nearly a century, the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs) have provided policymakers, investors, academics, and the lay public with essential indicators of economic performance. However, since their inception, it has been widely acknowledged, especially among economists, that the NIPAs are an incomplete gauge of output and growth. Critical omissions include the value of home production, leisure time, environmental pollution damage, and natural resources in situ...
Article
Author(s): Donna K. Ginther
The textbook model of the labor market posits that workers are paid their marginal products. In this setting, equally productive workers should be paid and promoted at the same rate. While in the general labor market we are able to observe individual education, industry, occupation, and earnings, in most cases it is difficult to link individuals’ capital investments and productivity outcomes. My research has focused on academic labor markets because capital — in the form of...

News

Maureen O'Hara, Christopher Sims, Richard Steckel
Article
Maureen O'Hara, Christopher Sims, and Richard H. Steckel were elected to the NBER Board of Directors at the board’s September 2021 meeting. O'Hara is the Robert W. Purcell Professor of Finance at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. She is the board representative of the American Finance Association. Her research focuses on market microstructure, most recently including issues such as how exchange-traded funds affect market stability, liquidity in...
Article
The NBER Board of Directors promoted 40 faculty research fellows to research associates at its September 2021 meeting. Research associates must be tenured faculty members at North American colleges or universities; their appointments are recommended to the board by directors of the NBER’s 20 research programs, typically after consultation with a steering committee of leading scholars. The new research associates are affiliated with 34 different colleges and universities;...
Benjamin Jones and Heidi Williams
Article
Benjamin Jones and Heidi Williams are the new codirectors of the NBER Innovation Policy Working Group. Jones is the Gordon and Llura Gund Family Professor in Entrepreneurship and Professor of Strategy at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. Williams is the Charles R. Schwab Professor of Economics at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute of Economic Policy Research. They succeed Scott Stern, the David Sarnoff Professor of...
Mitchell Hoffman
Article
Mitchell Hoffman, an associate professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and a research associate at the NBER, is a new codirector of the Personnel Economics Working Group. Hoffman’s research focuses on the determinants of workplace productivity and human resource economics, in particular on the hiring process and the role of various sources of information, including employee referrals, in contributing to hiring outcomes....

Conferences and Meetings

  • Article
    The Economics of Caregiving An NBER conference on the Economics of Caregiving took place online on June 4. Research Associates Claudia Goldin of Harvard University, Claudia Olivetti of Dartmouth College, Rohini Pande of Yale University, and Alessandra Voena of Stanford University organized the meeting, which was supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. These researchers’ papers were presented and discussed: Rebecca Thornton, University of Illinois at...

  • Article
    Economic Fluctuations and Growth Members of the NBER’s Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program met online on July 17. Faculty Research Fellow Jennifer La’O of Columbia University and Research Associate Giovanni L. Violante of Princeton University organized the meeting. These researchers’ papers were presented and discussed: Cecilia R. Caglio and Matthew Darst, Federal Reserve Board, and Şebnem Kalemli-Özcan, University of Maryland and NBER, “Risk-Taking and...

Books

  • Article
    Edward L. Glaeser and James M. Poterba, editors Policymakers often call for increasing public spending on infrastructure, which includes a broad range of investments from roads and bridges that facilitate moving people and goods to digital networks that will expand access to high-speed broadband. Some point to near-term macroeconomic benefits and job creation, while others focus on long-term effects on productivity and economic growth. This volume explores the links...

  • Article
    Petra Moser, editor With constraints tightening on water, arable land, and other natural resources, feeding the world’s growing population is a critical challenge for the 21st century. Agricultural innovation can help meet the needs of future generations. However, the returns to agricultural R&D are difficult to measure. Many wealthy countries have reduced their share of GDP devoted to agricultural R&D. Dwindling public support leaves universities —...
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