New NBER Research

25 July 2017

Stock Volatility and the Great Depression

A study by Gustavo S. Cortes and Marc D. Weidenmier suggests that the largest stock volatility spike in American history, which occurred during the Great Depression, can largely be accounted for by an increase in the volatility of building permit growth in 1928-38. Markets appear to have factored in a forthcoming economic disaster based on uncertainty about growth based on future expected rents.

24 July 2017

What Best Relieves Financial Distress?
Experimental Evidence from Credit Card Borrowers

In a study of targeted debt relief, Will Dobbie and Jae Song find that providing borrowers with long-term debt write-downs significantly improved both financial and labor market outcomes, even though these write-downs do not take effect for three to five years. Immediate payment reductions that increased short-run liquidity had no positive effects.

21 July 2017

Effects of Cash Injections in 1980s Farm Debt Crisis

Exploiting county-level variation arising from random weather shocks during the 1980s farm debt crisis, Nittai K. Bergman, Rajkamal Iyer, and Richard T. Thakor show that cash injections during the crisis positively affected land markets, the financial sector, and labor markets, and ultimately translated into increases in county-level per-capita income. A one dollar cash injection on average raised county income by $1.63.
More Research

New in the NBER Reporter

Development of the American Economy Program
Probes Historical Trends and Turning Points

In recent years, economic historians have refined our understanding of infant mortality, the Industrial Revolution, the Age of Mass Migration, and the Great Depression. Leaders of the NBER's Development of the American Economy Program review that work and more in the latest edition of The NBER Reporter. Also featured in the quarterly publication are economist' reports on their research on energy efficiency policies, the asset management industry, price dispersion and bargain hunting in the macroeconomy, and impacts of air pollution.

Download the PDF

NBER in the News

Follow us on
Twitter RSS facebook

Frequently Requested Items

Business Cycle (Recession & Recovery) Page
This Week's Working Papers

New in the NBER Digest

When Interest Rate Was Near Zero Lower Bound,
The Fed's Alternative Tools Proved Effective

From 2009 to 2015, the Federal Reserve’s target short-term interest rate was close to zero and could not be used to boost the economy. Research reported in the July edition of The NBER Digest shows that forward guidance and large-scale asset purchases — the alternative tools employed by the central bank — were effective. Also featured this month's Digest are studies exploring how shifting of corporate profits offshore can affect calculation of the U.S. growth rate, examining bias in financial industry misconduct penalties, comparing the effectiveness of decision making in decentralized and centralized firms during the Great Recession, linking childhood lead exposure to later anti-social behavior, and analyzing growth in the gender pay gap as workers age.

Download the PDF

New in the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health

U.S. Regions Found to Differ Substantially
in Degree of Fragmentation of Health Care

Health care fragmentation occurs when delivery of care is spread across an excessively large number of poorly coordinated providers. It is considered a potentially significant source of inefficiency in the U.S. health care system. Research summarized in the current edition of the NBER's Bulletin on Aging and Health finds that there are substantial regional differences in the degree of fragmentation.

Download the PDF

NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us