Project that Originated in the Early 2000s Yields
Four Volumes of Research on African Successes

The NBER Africa Project, a multi-year initiative supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, explored key economic issues in African development and created partnerships among leading American economists, experts on Africa, and researchers in the field. Together they have produced in-depth examinations of the state of modernization, the challenges to human capital, the contributions of government, and the prospects for sustainable growth.

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Oliver Hart, Bengt Holmström Win Nobel Prize
in Economic Sciences for Research on Contract Theory

              Oliver Hart
               Bengt Holmström
Oliver Hart of Harvard and Bengt Holmström of MIT, both of whom have been NBER research associates for more than two decades, were awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for their contributions to analyzing incentives, institutions, and organizations in the field of economics known as "contract theory."

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NBER in the News

The 2016 Economics Methods Lectures:
Matching Markets and Market Design

Each year at the NBER Summer Institute, leading practitioners in a specialized area of economics explain what they do and how they do it, and the NBER makes their presentations available to the public. Al Roth (above) won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2012 for his pioneering work in market design. This summer, he led a group which delivered five lectures on the theory and practice of game theory, market design, and matching markets. The full presentations may be viewed and downloaded on the Summer Institute 2016 Methods Lectures page.

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This Week's Working Papers

New in the NBER Digest

Fast-reacting Fossil Fuel Generation Systems
Necessary for Renewable Energy Use to Spread

Peak demand for electricity may not coincide with peak production of wind and solar energy, and the most successful transitions to renewable energy have been made by countries that use fast-reacting fossil fuel systems for backup, according to a study featured in the October edition of The NBER Digest. This month's Digest also summarizes research into the health effects of licensing midwives, the benefits of change, the impact of "ban the box" legislation on employment of minority males, the dynamics of the secondary market in private equity investments, and the possibility of using tax-hike announcements to stimulate consumption.

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New NBER Research

21 October 2016

Public School Quality Valuation over the Business Cycle

Homes in areas with good schools always command a price premium; Stuart Gabriel, Owen Hearey, Matthew E. Kahn, and Ryan K. Vaughn find that this premium grows during economic downturns. The authors hypothesize that consumers may be "trading down" from private to public schools during recessions, and that reduced household mobility during downturns may raise the value of the public school option.

20 October 2016

The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements

The percentage of workers engaged in alternative work arrangements – defined as temporary help agency workers, on-call workers, contract workers, and independent contractors or freelancers – rose from 10.7 percent in February 2005 to 15.8 percent in late 2015, a survey by Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger shows. The percentage of workers hired out through contract companies showed the largest increase, more than doubling.

19 October 2016

Consequences of Long- Term Unemployment:
Evidence from Matched Employer-Employee Data

Results of a study by Katharine G. Abraham, John C. Haltiwanger, Kristin Sandusky, and James Spletzer support the theory that longer unemployment duration has a strongly negative effect on the likelihood of subsequent employment. Earnings, conditional on finding a subsequent job, are much less sensitive to unemployment spell duration than the job-finding probability.
More Research

New in the NBER Reporter

Why Have Governments Needed Trade Agreements,
and Have Those Needs Changed with the Times?

Eliminating the cost-shifting behavior associated with the terms-of-trade externality has been the sole rationale for a trade agreement in imperfectly competitive settings, Kyle Bagwell and Robert W. Staiger write in an article on their research in The NBER Reporter. But the rise of offshoring and global supply chains may be creating new problems for trade agreements to address. Other articles in the quarterly Reporter trace the evolution of gender gaps in developed economies, give an overview of research in the NBER's Environmental and Energy Economics program, examine how consumers react to economic shocks, and analyze how firms respond to changes in taxation.

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