24 August 2015

The Methods Lectures, 2015

What Economists Can Learn from Machine Learning

Susan Athey of Stanford University and the NBER discusses the benefits to economics of using machine learning methodology to deal with heterogeneity, and the benefits to computer science of the social sciences' approach to causal inference.

New NBER Research

3 September 2015

Capital Allocation and Productivity in South Europe

Following the introduction of the euro in 1999, countries in Southern Europe experienced large capital inflows and low productivity. Gita Gopinath, Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Loukas Karabarbounis, and Carolina Villegas-Sanchez analyze data on Spanish manufacturing firms and document a coincident increase in the dispersion of the return to capital across firms, and a significant increase in productivity losses from inter-firm misallocation over time.

2 September 2015

Long-Run Impact of the Dissolution
of the English Monasteries

Catholic parishes most impacted by King Henry VIII’s dissolution of monasteries in England and Wales in 1535 were more likely to develop a commercial agricultural sector, and three centuries later had more textile mills and employed a greater share of population outside agriculture, according to a study by Leander Heldring, James A. Robinson, and Sebastian Vollmer. The results link local social circumstances to the location of the Industrial Revolution.
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NBER in the News

New Innovation Policy Volume
Examines the Impact of
High-skilled Immigrants

High-skilled immigration to the United States is the focus of a new volume of Innovation Policy and the Economy. The 15th volume in a series, it includes research on the impact of immigration to the United States of Russian mathematicians as the Soviet Union collapsed and the changing nature of postdoctoral positions in science departments, which are disproportionately held by immigrant researchers. Other studies examine the role of US firms in high-skilled immigration and the strong growth in global scientific and technological knowledge production, which has fostered cross-border collaborations for U.S. scientists. Available from The University of Chicago Press.

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New in the NBER Digest

On the Distribution of Alternative Energy Incentives

Higher-income Americans are receiving the lion's share of alternative energy incentives in programs ranging from federal clean energy tax credits to California's promotion of residential solar, according to research reported in the new edition of the NBER Digest. The September Digest also features studies of the effects of fracking technology on wages and dropout rates, signaling behavior among online sellers, diagnostic trends in Medicare, the impact of Chinese graduate students on U.S. professors, and the decline in public stock listings in America.

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On the News

Developments in China Not So Shocking

NBER research associates Lant Pritchett and Lawrence H. Summers, in a working paper posted on this site last October, wrote that there were substantial reasons that China and India might grow much less rapidly than was commonly anticipated. History, the two Harvard Kennedy School professors pointed out, teaches that abnormally rapid growth is rarely persistent, and that regression to the mean is the empirically most salient feature of economic growth. They suggested that salient characteristics of China—high levels of state control and corruption along with high measures of authoritarian rule—made a discontinuous decline in growth even more likely than general experience would suggest.

NBER China Studies Focus on Labor Issues,
Science and Engineering, Economic Policy

Richard B. Freeman of Harvard University and the NBER discusses China's emergence as a global player in science and technology, the evolution of its labor force, US-China affinities, and the range of NBER China research. See a selection of that research, by Freeman and others.

NBER Reporter

How Powerful Are Fiscal Multipliers?

Recent analysis suggests that a $1 increase in government spending or decrease in taxes stimulates $1.50 to $2 in output during recessions, but only about $0.50 during expansions, Alan Auerbach and Yuriy Gorodnichenko write in the current issue of the NBER's quarterly Reporter. Also featured in this issue are reports on the rising interest in macroprudential policies, the democracy/development relationship, the economics of happiness, and the effects of early childhood interventions.

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