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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 4, December 2021

The Reporter

A free quarterly publication featuring program updates, several summaries of affiliates' research, and news about the NBER
Program Report Figure 1 Reporter 2021 number 4
For much of the last decade, policymakers in advanced economies have grappled with challenges resulting from the Great Recession of 2007–09 and sovereign debt problems in Europe. During this time, inflation was persistently below targets set by central banks in the United States, Europe, and Japan. As a consequence, a major focus of research and practice was how to further stimulate these economies through unconventional monetary policy and raise their rates of inflation...

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Front page of the Reporter 2021 number 4

Research Summaries

Figure 1 Moffit Reporter 2021 number 4
Article
Author(s): Robert A. Moffitt
Economists have been concerned about the volatility of earnings and income for decades because it creates uncertainty for families and individuals and makes it more difficult for them to plan future consumption. Volatility may discourage investments financed by loans that have to be paid off by a future income stream. Education and training, which can be very costly at the college level, may be forestalled due to uncertainty about future earnings payoffs. Sociologists and...
Figure 1 Schmidt Shore-Sheppard Watson Reporter 2021 number 4
Article
The US safety net is a patchwork of interacting programs providing cash and in-kind transfers to low-income individuals and families. Our research investigates how these programs interact with one another and how the generosity of the full safety net package affects well-being, taking into account these interactions. The United States has a long history of federalism in its means-tested tax and transfer programs, as in other domains. The safety net includes a number of...
Article
Climate change is an unintended consequence of the industrialization of the world economy. The evidence that human activity has released large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, leading to rising global temperatures, is by now uncontroversial. However, so far, the scientific and political recognition of this reality has not translated into a commitment to emissions reductions sufficient to stop further global warming. As a result, economists are tasked with evaluating the...
Article
Every asset pricing model starts with assumptions about investors’ preferences, beliefs, and constraints, and firms’ technology or cash flows. Market equilibrium requires that investors’ asset demands be equal to the supply of various assets. Thus, asset demand systems play a critical role in determining asset prices. In recent years, the availability of portfolio-holdings data and progress on longstanding identification challenges have revealed an important fact: asset...

News

2021_NobelPrizewinners_Angrist_Card_Imbens
Article
Long-time NBER research associates Joshua Angrist, David Card, and Guido Imbens have been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in recognition of their contributions to labor economics and the analysis of natural experiments. In announcing the prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences explained that “Card’s studies of core questions for society, and Angrist and Imbens’ methodological contributions, have shown that natural experiments are a rich source of...
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Article
Three NBER researchers have joined the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) as senior economists, and a fourth has been appointed the director of the Division of Trading and Markets at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). All have taken leave from the NBER for the duration of their public service. Gopi Shah Goda of Stanford University, an affiliate of the Economics of Aging Program, Susan Helper of Case Western Reserve University, a Productivity Program...
Gita Gopinath
Article
Gita Gopinath, the former director of the NBER’s International Finance and Macroeconomics Program, has been tapped to become the first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund in early 2022. Gopinath has been on leave from the NBER, where she is a research associate, and from Harvard University, where she is the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics, since 2019, when she became Chief Economist at the IMF. The first deputy managing...

Conferences and Meetings

  • Article
    Tax Policy and the Economy An NBER conference on Tax Policy and the Economy took place September 23 online. Research Associate Robert A. Moffitt of Johns Hopkins University organized the meeting, which was supported by Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation Grant 20211142. These researchers’ papers were presented and discussed: Natasha Sarin, University of Pennsylvania; Lawrence H. Summers, Harvard University and NBER; Owen M. Zidar, Princeton University and NBER; and...

  • Article
    Chinese Economy Members of the NBER’s Chinese Economy Working Group met October 7–9 online. Research Associates Hanming Fang of the University of Pennsylvania, Zhiguo He of the University of Chicago, Shang-Jin Wei of Columbia University, and Wei Xiong of Princeton University organized the meeting. These researchers’ papers were presented and discussed: Hanming Fang; Jing Wu and Rongjie Zhang, Tsinghua University; and Li-An Zhou, Peking University, “Anticorruption...

Books

  • Article
    Austan Goolsbee and Benjamin F. Jones, editors In advanced economies like the United States, innovation has long been recognized as a central force for increasing economic prosperity and improving human health. The US government promotes innovation through various mechanisms, from tax credits for private sector research, to grant support for basic and applied research, to institutions like the Small Business Innovation Research Program of the National Science...

  • Article
    Katharine G. Abraham, Ron S. Jarmin, Brian C. Moyer, and Matthew D. Shapiro, editors The existing infrastructure for production of key economic statistics relies heavily on data collected through sample surveys and periodic censuses, together with administrative records generated in connection with tax administration. The increasing difficulty of obtaining survey and census responses threatens the viability of these approaches. The growing availability of new...
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