NBER and the Evolution of Economic Research, 1920-2020
Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM (PDT)
- Chair: James Poterba, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NBER
National Income and Economic Measurement
AbstractFounded in 1920, the NBER began life as an attempt to bring together the best economic minds of the day and provide them with adequate resources to produce unbiased and accurate estimates of national income and related variables. The economists at the NBER including Wesley Clair Mitchell, the first director of research, and Simon Kuznets identified and in many cases solved a wide range of theoretical and empirical challenges. Their estimates proved valuable in addressing contemporary concerns over the distribution of income and the disruptions produced by the world wars and Great Depression. Eventually the work of producing these statistics was turned over to the federal government, but the NBER continued to play an important role as critic. In this paper I trace the evolution of NBER’s work in this area and discuss some of the main problems that were wrestled with by researchers at the NBER that remain unsolved.
Monetary Economics at the NBER
AbstractThis paper examines lasting contributions to research on monetary economics at the NBER. Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz' Monetary History of the United States and related work on monetary statistics stands out as particularly important. This work dramatically altered the profession's understanding of the Great Depression and the role of money in economic fluctuations. More recently, the NBER has played an important role in the development of the currently prevailing paradigm for monetary analysis.
The Incubator of Human Capital Research
AbstractThe field of human capital was not invented by NBER researchers, but it was nurtured and expanded there. We explore how the NBER was an incubator for human capital research and the manner in which it altered the field of labor economics and economics more generally.
- B2 - History of Economic Thought since 1925
- E3 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles