2020 Number 2 NBER News
The NBER Reporter 2020 Number 2: News
New Director Elected to NBER Governing Board
The NBER Board of Directors elected Helena Foulkes as a new at-large member at its April 2020 meeting. The former CEO of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), a Toronto-based retail conglomerate, Foulkes led the firm through significant transformation and to a successful privatization in March 2020.
Prior to joining HBC, she spent 25 years at CVS Health, most recently as president of CVS Pharmacy and as executive vice president of CVS Health. She led both the strategic vision and the operations for all aspects of the company's retail business and was the principal architect of the company's becoming a recognized leader in the healthcare industry.
Foulkes graduated from Harvard College and holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School. She has received numerous professional honors, including being named among Fortune magazine's Most Powerful Women in Business and Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business. Foulkes is a director of The Home Depot and serves on the Harvard University Board of Overseers.
Amy Finkelstein and Heidi Williams Named Codirectors of Health Care Program
Amy Finkelstein, the John and Jennie S. MacDonald Professor of Economics at MIT, and Heidi Williams, the Charles R. Schwab Professor of Economics and Professor of Law (by courtesy) at Stanford University, are the new codirectors of the NBER's Health Care Program, succeeding Jonathan Gruber of MIT, who had directed the program since 2009. The program was launched in 2000 under the leadership of Alan Garber, who is currently provost of Harvard University, to study the markets for health care services, health insurance, and the provision of medical care. The new codirectors have studied a wide range of issues related to these program focus areas.
Finkelstein's research straddles the fields of health economics and public finance, focusing on market failures and government intervention in insurance markets, and on the economics of health care delivery. Her work has earned her many honors, including the American Economic Association's Elaine Bennett Research Prize and John Bates Clark Medal, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. An NBER affiliate since 2001, she received her undergraduate degree from Harvard College; an MPhil in economics from Oxford University, where she was a Marshall Scholar; and a PhD in economics from MIT. From 2008–2020, she served as a codirector of the NBER's Public Economics Program, and she is the cofounder and coscientific director of J-PAL North America, a research center at MIT that encourages and facilitates randomized evaluations of important domestic policy issues.
Williams' research combines health economics and the economics of innovation, with a particular focus on the drivers of technological change in the health care sector. She has studied the links between intellectual property protection, market size, and the rate and direction of innovative activity, including the allocation of private-sector R&D spending across potential treatments for various illnesses. Williams is also a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
Williams has been an NBER affiliate since 2010. She received her undergraduate training at Dartmouth College; an MSc in development economics from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar; and a PhD in economics from Harvard University.
Christopher Carpenter Named Director of Health Economics Program
Christopher Carpenter, the E. Bronson Ingram Chair and Professor of Economics at Vanderbilt University, is the new director of the NBER's Health Economics Program. He succeeds Michael Grossman of the City University of New York, who has directed the program for more than four decades.
Carpenter's research focuses on how public policies affect health and family outcomes. He has studied the determinants and consequences of youth substance abuse and a variety of other health-related behaviors, including seatbelt and bicycle helmet use, the take-up of cancer screening, and vaccination. Carpenter has also analyzed the consequences of legal access to same-sex marriage in the United States. He serves on the board of directors of the American Society of Health Economists and chairs the American Economic Association's Committee on the Status of LGBTQ+ Individuals in the Economics Profession.
Carpenter has been an NBER affiliate since 2005. He received his undergraduate degree from Albion College and his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.
The Health Economics Program traces its roots to the activities of the NBER's Center for Economic Analysis of Human Behavior and Social Institutions, which was launched in 1972 under the direction of Victor Fuchs. The program focuses on the determinants of health status and human health capital.
Melissa Dell Wins John Bates Clark Medal
NBER Research Associate Melissa Dell of
Harvard University has been named this year's
recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal, which is
awarded by the American Economic Association
to the American economist under the age of 40
who has made the most substantial contribution
to economic thought and knowledge.
Dell has made path-breaking contributions in political economy and development economics, highlighting the important role that institutions play in economic development. Her research ranges widely, documenting, for example, the centuries- long economic legacy of colonial institutions in Peru, the impact of the Mexican drug war on local economies, and the effects of bombing and other interventions on the military and political activities of insurgents during the war in Vietnam. The award citation notes that "through her pioneering careful and creative data collection and empirical work, Dell has advanced our understanding of the role state and other institutions play in the daily lives and outcomes of ordinary people." The full citation for her award may be found at https://www.aeaweb.org/about-aea/ honors-awards/bates-clark/melissa-dell
Dell is an affiliate of three NBER programs: Development Economics, Development of the American Economy, and Political Economy. A native of Oklahoma, she holds three degrees in economics: an AB from Harvard College, an MPhil from Oxford University where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and a PhD from MIT.
New Research Associates, Faculty Research Fellows Named
The NBER Board of Directors appointed 16 research associates at its April 2020 meeting. Five of the research associate appointees were previously faculty research fellows; one is a former research associate whose appointment was renewed.
Research associates must be tenured faculty members at North American colleges or universities; their appointments are recommended to the board by directors of the NBER’s 20 research programs, typically after consultation with a steering committee of leading scholars. The new research associates are affiliated with 16 different colleges and universities; they received graduate training at 13 different institutions.
Forty-five faculty research fellows were appointed by the NBER president, also on the advice of program directors and steering committees, and following a call for nominations in January. They must hold primary academic appointments in North America. The new faculty research fellows are affiliated with 26 different colleges and universities; they received their PhDs from 25 different institutions.
As of May 1, 2020, there were 1,257 research associates and 341 faculty research fellows.
The names and affiliations of the newly promoted and newly appointed NBER affiliates, along with the names of the universities where they received PhDs, are listed below. Entries in italics indicate research associates who were previously faculty research fellows. * indicates renewed research associate appointment.
NBER Researchers Tapped for Leading Policy Roles
Two NBER research associates have taken leave from their academic and NBER posts to serve in important policy positions.
Kevin Milligan, a professor of economics at the Vancouver School of Economics of the University of British Columbia and a research associate in the Aging and Public Economics programs, has accepted a position advising the Privy Council of Canada, a role that involves advising the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Carmen Reinhart, the Minos A. Zombanakis Professor of the International Financial System at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and a research associate in the International Finance and Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics programs, is the new chief economist of the World Bank. A number of NBER researchers have previously served in this role, including Stanley Fischer, Pinelopi Goldberg, Anne Krueger, Martin Ravallion, Paul Romer, Joseph Stiglitz, and Lawrence Summers.