Martin Feldstein, 1939-2019
Renowned Economist and NBER President Emeritus

Martin Feldstein, president of the NBER for nearly 30 years, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University, chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1984, and one of the most prolific and influential economists of the last half century, passed away on Tuesday, June 11. He was 79.

Feldstein’s leadership of the NBER had a profound and lasting effect on applied economic research. He was appointed president of the NBER in 1977 and, aside from his years of CEA service, served in this role until 2008. He transformed the organization and created the network structure that today encompasses nearly 1,600 affiliated scholars. He moved the NBER headquarters from New York City to Cambridge, launched the NBER Summer Institute and regular meetings of program groups, and promoted NBER working papers as an important channel for dissemination of economic research. Feldstein recognized the value of enhanced communication, at conferences and through sharing pre-publication manuscripts, in advancing research progress. He authored or coauthored 165 NBER working papers and edited 19 NBER books.

The NBER Digest

Subsidies of Electric Vehicle Purchases Mostly
Go to People Who Would Have Bought an EV Anyway

Without federal tax credits, sales of electric vehicles would have fallen by about 29 percent in 2010–-14, according to a study featured in the current issue of The NBER Digest. But EVs attracted relatively high-income consumers, many of whom likely would have bought them even if there had been no subsidy. This edition of the free, monthly Digest also features studiesinvestigating the relationship between automation and the labor share, gauging the impact of investor's expectations on portfolio composition, examining health benefits that accrue when a family includes a medical professional, and identifying the causes of market volatility most cited by journalists, and evaluating an effort to reduce fake news on social media.

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The NBER Bulletin on Health

Union Army Soldiers Severely Wounded in the Civil War
Didn't Suffer Mortality Effects, but their Daughters Did

The first edition of the free Bulletin on Health features a study of the long-term impacts of civil war injuries on the postwar outcomes of veterans and their children. Researchers found that wounded veterans fared worse economically, but did not die earlier than their unwounded counterparts. The daughters of severely wounded veterans experienced lower socioeconomic status and died at younger ages. Also featured in the spring Bulletin on Health are studies of the effects of air pollution on dementia diagnoses and the effects of Medicare Advantage plans on opioid prescribing.

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New NBER Research

25 June 2019

Climate Change and Aggregate Economic Output

Marshall Burke and Vincent Tanutama estimate that since 2000, global warming has cost the United States and the European Union at least $4 trillion in lost output.

24 June 2019

Wages, Experience and Training of Women

Using British data and a lifecycle model,Richard Blundell, Monica Costa Dias, David A. Goll, and Costas Meghir find that training is potentially important in compensating for the effects on women’s wages of raising children, especially for women who left education after completing high school.

21 June 2019

Paid Family Leave and Breastfeeding in California

California’s paid family leave program increases the overall duration of breastfeeding by nearly 18 days, and the likelihood of breastfeeding for at least six months by 5 percentage points, Jessica E. Pac, Ann P. Bartel, Christopher J. Ruhm, and Jane Waldfogel find.
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Non-College-Educated American Men Born in 1960s
Face Shorter Lives, Higher Medical Bills, Lower Wages

Research presented at this year's Annual Conference on Macroeconomics showed that wages of white men born in the 1960s who were not college educated were 9 percent lower than for comparable men born in the 1940s. Mariacristina De Nardi of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and her colleagues explored reasons for the differences between this loss and that of comparably educated women, and other losses experienced by the cohort of the 1960s.

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NBER in the News

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How Big Data Techniques Are Being Used
to Measure the Political Risk Facing Firms

Tarek A. Hassan of Boston University and the NBER explains that he and his colleagues are applying textual analysis to some 30 million pages of transcripts of conversations between firms and analysts to measure the risk businesses face from political developments such as Brexit and mundane concerns such as the effects of government regulation.

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The NBER Reporter

Best-Intended Efforts to Foster Innovation Don’t Always
Achieve Desired Effects, and Can Reduce Development

The patent system supposedly incentivizes research investments into new technologies by allowing investors to capture a large share of the returns from successful investments. But research featured in the current issue of the NBER Reporter finds that in some cases scientific research and product development are reduced by private ownership of intellectual property. Also in this edition of the free quarterly Reporter are articles on charitable-giving behaviors, the NBER Education program, financial misconduct, and survey expectations.

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NBER Names 14 New Research Associates
and 47 New Faculty Research Fellows

The NBER Board of Directors appointed 14 research associates at its April 2019 meeting. New research associates, who must be tenured faculty members at North American colleges or universities, are recommended to the board by the directors of the NBER's 20 research programs, typically after consultation with a steering committee of leading scholars in the program area. Two of the new research associates were previously faculty research fellows.

Faculty research fellows, who are appointed by the NBER president, must hold primary academic appointments in North America. They also are recommended by program directors and their steering committees in the culmination of a highly competitive process that begins with a call for nominations in January. Candidates are evaluated based on their research records and their capacity to contribute to the NBER's activities. This year, 246 researchers were nominated for faculty research fellowships; 47 were appointed.



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