Major NBER Programs

Program Abbreviations, Directors, and Brief Descriptions

Aging (AG), Jonathan Skinner, Director
    The Economics of Aging Program involves research on the health and economic circumstances of individuals as they age, and on the implications of population aging on the well-being of older persons. The NBER is one of nine Centers for Aging Research funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Asset Pricing (AP), Ralph Koijen and Sydney Ludvigson, Co-Directors
    The Asset Pricing Program examines the sources and nature of fluctuations in the prices of financial assets including stocks, bonds, and foreign currency. In addition, members of the program analyze the international transmission of fluctuations in asset prices.

Children (CH), Janet Currie and Anna Aizer, Co-Directors
    The Program on Children focuses on the health of children and on their economic and social well being.

Corporate Finance (CF), Amir Sufi and Antoinette Schoar, Co-Directors
    The NBER Corporate Finance Program concentrates on the causes and effects of financing arrangements used by corporations. The group also studies corporate governance, relations between banks and corporations in different countries, and the effects of leveraged buyouts on profits, spending on research and development, and employment.

Development Economics (DEV) , Seema Jayachandran and Ben Olken, Co-Directors

    The NBER Development Economics Program focuses broadly on questions related to economic development and the behavior of households, firms and institutions in developing nations, in part to understand key factors that affect economic growth, poverty alleviation and inequality.

Development of the American Economy (DAE), Leah Boustan and William Collins, Co-Directors
Economics of Education (ED), Caroline Hoxby, Director
    The NBER Program on the Economics of Education studies all aspects of the intersection between economics and education: human capital, school finance, education and markets, education production, evaluation of education reforms, and how economic growth and development depend on education.

Economic Fluctuations and Growth (EFG), Mark Gertler and Pete Klenow, Co-Directors
    The Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program concentrates on the U.S. economy as a whole, considering the aggregate behavior of employment, output, and prices with a general focus on the nature of business cycles. Program members also study the effects of monetary and fiscal policy on economic performance. One ongoing activity of this program is the Business Cycle Dating Committee, which decides the official dates for the beginning and end of recessions and expansions.

Energy and the Environment (EEE), Catherine Wolfram, Director
    The Energy and the Environment program studies all aspects of the energy sector and the environment, focusing particularly on their interdependence. Topics include non-energy environmental and natural resource issues, but particular attention is paid to policies that affect all sources of energy, due to that sector's role in national security and as a primary emitter of local, regional, and global pollutants.

Health Care (HC), Amy Finkelstein and Heidi Williams, Co-Directors
    The Health Care Program explores the dramatic consolidation of health care organizations, the expansion of managed care, and the increased price competition among health care providers, all of which have transformed the landscape of health care delivery today. Members of the program study the phenomena now occurring in health care markets, work to understand the factors leading to changes in health care markets, and analyze the consequences of alternative policy options.

Health Economics (HE), Christopher Carpenter, Director
Industrial Organization (IO), Liran Einav, Director
    The Industrial Organization Program conducts empirical studies of firm behavior and government regulation. Members of the program also examine competition and pricing behavior in specific industries.

International Finance and Macroeconomics (IFM), Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, Director
    The International Finance and Macroeconomics Program tackles the traditional problems of international finance, the nature of international capital flows, and the international aspects of long-run growth, political economy, regional trading blocks, and fiscal policy.

International Trade and Investment (ITI), Stephen Redding, Director
    The International Trade and Investment Program's most active recent involvement has been in researching the decline in the relative wages of unskilled workers in the United States and other industrial countries. In addition, members study trade and growth; regional trade agreements; the impact of trade policies, including political economy, "strategic" trade policy, and antidumping policy; and a relatively new area dealing with trade, resources, and the environment.

Labor Studies (LS), David Autor and Alexandre Mas, Co-Directors
    The Labor Studies Program looks at issues of employment and compensation, including the determinants of unemployment, the effects of labor unions, and the role of fringe benefits as part of a worker's compensation.

Law and Economics (LE), Christine Jolls, Director
Monetary Economics (ME), Emi Nakamura and Jón Steinsson, Co-Directors
    The Monetary Economics Program studies the mechanisms through which monetary policy operates and the effects of alternative approaches to formulating monetary policy. It also examines the effects of monetary policy on prices, output, exchange rates, and wages, both in the United States and in other countries.

Political Economy(POL), TBD, Director

    The Political Economy program focuses on the interaction between economic policies and outcomes and political institutions broadly defined. It is by now common for economists to recognize that purely economic forces alone cannot explain complex phenomena such as different degrees of economic development, quality and types of economic policies, income distribution, and quality of government organization such as corruption, protection of property right etc. Political institutions are important determinants of these economic outcomes. In turn, the state of the economy affects political outcomes, both in the long run and in the short. Economic development affects the evolution of institutions and short run economic conditions affect political change and elections. We will interpret "political institutions" in a broad sense and we will also be interested in related issues such as the role and evolution of legal and administrative institutions, and issues concerning social interactions. The program focuses both on developed and developing economies and both on "macroeconomic" and "microeconomic" issues including international trade and international relations.

Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program (PR), Nicholas Bloom and Josh Lerner, Co-Directors
Public Economics (PE), Raj Chetty, Director
    The NBER Program on Public Economics studies the effects of taxation and government expenditure programs at the federal, state, and local levels. One ongoing activity of this program is the NBER TAXSIM model, a computer simulation model that uses annual data on 100,000 individual taxpayers to project the effects of alternative tax rules.