The NBER Reporter 2016 Number 3:


•  Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar on Social Insurance
•  East Asian Seminar on Economics
•  International Seminar on Macroeconomics
•  The Economics of Asset Accumulation and Poverty Traps

•  Japan Project
•  Economics of Commodity Markets
•  Energy Policy Tradeoffs between Economic Efficiency and Distributional Equity
•  Tax Policy and the Economy

Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar on Social Insurance

The NBER's bi-annual Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar met in Mannheim, Germany, on June 13–15. The meeting was organized by Research Associate Roger Gordon of the University of California, San Diego, Andreas Peichl of the University of Mannheim, and NBER President James Poterba of MIT. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed:

    Anna Raute, University of Mannheim, "Can Financial Incentives Reduce the Baby Gap? Evidence from a Reform in Maternity Leave Benefits"

    Itzik Fadlon, University of California, San Diego, and NBER, and Torben Heien Nielsen, University of Copenhagen, "Household Labor Supply Responses to Severe Health Shocks and the Gains from Social Insurance"

    Stefan Pichler, ETH Zurich, and Nicolas R. Ziebarth, Cornell University, "The Pros and Cons of Sick Pay Schemes: Testing for Contagious Presenteeism and Shirking Behavior"

    Mathias Dolls, Philipp Doerrenberg, Andreas Peichl, and Holger Stichnoth, ZEW (Mannheim), "Labor Market and Savings Responses to Pension Reforms—Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Germany"

    Stuart Adam, David Phillips, and Barra Roantree, Institute for Fiscal Studies (London), "35 Years of Reforms: A Panel Analysis of the Incidence of, and Employee and Employer Responses to, Social Security Contributions in the U.K."

    Bruce D. Meyer, University of Chicago and NBER, and Wallace K.C. Mok, Chinese University of Hong Kong, "Disability, Earnings, Income, and Consumption" (NBER Working Paper No. 18869)

    Liran Einav, Stanford University and NBER; Amy Finkelstein, MIT and NBER; and Paul Schrimpf, University of British Columbia, "Bunching at the Kink: Implications for Spending Responses to Health Insurance Contracts" (NBER Working Paper No. 22369)

    Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither, University of California, San Diego, "Is Tinkering with Safety Net Programs Harmful to Beneficiaries? Evidence from the Medicaid Notch and the Minimum Wage"

    Torben Fischer, Markus Frölich, and Andreas Landmann, University of Mannheim, "Adverse Selection in Micro-Health Insurance Markets: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Pakistan"

    Andreas Lichter, IZA Institute for the Study of Labor (Bonn), "Benefit Duration and Job Search Effort: Evidence from a Natural Experiment"

    Thomas Le Barbanchon, Bocconi University (Milan), "Optimal Partial Unemployment Insurance: Evidence from Bunching in the U.S."

    Ioana Marinescu, University of Chicago and NBER, "The General Equilibrium Impacts of Unemployment Insurance: Evidence from a Large Online Job Board" (NBER Working Paper No. 22447)

Summaries of these papers are at:

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East Asian Seminar on Economics

The NBER, the Australian National University, the Peking University China Center for Economic Research, the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (Taipei), the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Korea Development Institute, the National University of Singapore, the Tokyo Center for Economic Research, and Tsinghua University (Beijing) jointly sponsored the NBER's 27th Annual East Asian Seminar on Economics. It took place in Singapore on June 23–24. Research Associates Takatoshi Ito of Columbia University and Andrew K. Rose of the University of California, Berkeley, organized the conference. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed:

    Benjamin J. Keys and Amit Seru, University of Chicago and NBER; Tomasz Piskorski, Columbia University and NBER; and Vincent Yao, Georgia State University, "Mortgage Rates, Household Balance Sheets, and the Real Economy" (NBER Working Paper No. 20561)

    Mathias Hoffmann, University of Zurich, and Iryna S. Stewen, University of Mainz, "Holes in the Dike: The Global Savings Glut, U.S. House Prices and the Long Shadow of Banking Deregulation"

    Sumit Agarwal, Georgetown University, and Cristian Badarinza and Wenlan Qian, National University of Singapore, "The Effectiveness of Housing Collateral Tightening Policy"

    Sumit Agarwal; Gene Amromin, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; Souphala Chomsisengphet, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; Tomasz Piskorski; Amit Seru; and Vincent Yao, "Mortgage Refinancing, Consumer Spending, and Competition: Evidence from the Home Affordable Refinancing Program" (NBER Working Paper No. 21512)

    Sumit Agarwal; Changcheng Song, National University of Singapore; and Vincent Yao, "Banking Competition and Shrouded Attributes: Evidence from the U.S. Mortgage Market"

    Brent Ambrose and Jiro Yoshida, Pennsylvania State University, and N. Edward Coulson, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, "Inflation Rates Are Very Different When Housing Rents Are Accurately Measured"

    Hanming Fang, University of Pennsylvania and NBER; You Suk Kim, Federal Reserve Board; and Wenli Li, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, "The Dynamics of Adjustable-Rate Subprime Mortgage Default: A Structural Estimation" (NBER Working Paper No. 21810)

    Daisuke Miyakawa and Iichiro Uesugi, Hitotsubashi University (Tokyo), and Chihiro Shimizu, National University of Singapore, "Geography and Realty Prices: Evidence from International Transaction-Level Data"

    Peter Chinloy, American University, and Man Cho and Inho Song, Korea Development Institute, "The Asset Price of a House"

    Bo Zhao, Peking University (Beijing), "Too Poor to Retire? Housing Prices and Retirement"

    Wen-Chieh Wu, National Chengchi University (Taipei), and Yu-Chun Ma and Jiann-Chyuan Wang, Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (Taipei), "Childhood Housing Environment and Young Adulthood Health Status"

Summaries of these papers are at:

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International Seminar on Macroeconomics

The NBER's 39th International Seminar on Macroeconomics took place in Sofia, Bulgaria on June 24–25. The seminar was organized by Research Associates Richard H. Clarida of Columbia University, Jeffrey Frankel of Harvard University, and Hélène Rey and Lucrezia Reichlin of London Business School. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed:

    Enrique Alberola, Bank for International Settlements, and Gianluca Benigno, London School of Economics, "Revisiting the Commodity Curse: A Financial Perspective"

    Yusuf Soner Baskaya and Mehmet Fatih Ulu, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey; Julian di Giovanni and José-Luis Peydró, Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona); and Şebnem Kalemli-Özcam, University of Maryland and NBER, "International Spillovers and Local Credit Cycles"

    Luca Dedola and Livio Stracca, European Central Bank, and Giulia Rivolta, University of Brescia, "If the Fed Sneezes, Who Catches a Cold?"

    Vania Stavrakeva, London Business School, "Optimal Capital Flows in a Model with Financial Frictions and Imperfectly Competitive Banking Sector"

    Luis Céspedes, Adolfo Ibáñez University (Chile); Roberto Chang, Rutgers University and NBER; and Andrés Velasco, Columbia University and NBER, "Financial Intermediation, Exchange Rates, and Unconventional Policy in an Open Economy" (NBER Working Paper No. 18431)

    Kathryn Holston and Thomas Laubach, Federal Reserve Board, and John Williams, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, "Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest: International Trends and Determinants"

    Andrés Fernández, Inter-American Development Bank, and Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé and Martín Uribe, Columbia University and NBER, "World Shocks, World Prices, and Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation"

    Karen K. Lewis, University of Pennsylvania and NBER, and Edith Liu, Federal Reserve Board, "Disaster Risk and Asset Returns: An International Perspective"

Summaries of these papers are at:

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The Economics of Asset Accumulation and Poverty Traps

An NBER conference, "The Economics of Asset Accumulation and Poverty Traps," took place in Washington, D.C., on June 28–29. The meeting was organized by Christopher B. Barrett of Cornell University, Research Associate Michael Carter of the University of California, Davis, and NBERR Board Member Jean-Paul Chavas of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed:

    Duncan Thomas and Elizabeth Frankenberg, Duke University and NBER, "Shocks and Nutrition, Health, and Human Capital"

    Emma Boswell Dean and Heather Schofield, University of Pennsylvania, and Frank Schilbach, MIT and NBER, "Poverty and Cognitive Function"

    Jonathan de Quidt, Institute for International Economic Studies (Stockholm), and Johannes Haushofer, Princeton University, "Depression for Economists"

    Travis Lybbert, University of California, Davis, and Bruce Wydick, University of San Francisco, "Poverty, Aspirations, and the Economics of Hope: A Framework for Study with Preliminary Results from the Oaxaca Hope Project"

    Francisco J. Buera, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; Joseph P. Kaboski, University of Notre Dame and NBER; and Yongseok Shin, Washington University in St. Louis and NBER, "Taking Stock of the Evidence on Micro-Financial Interventions" (NBER Working Paper No. 22674)

    Michael Carter; Munenobu Ikegami, International Livestock Research Institute (Nairobi); and Christopher B. Barrett, "Poverty Traps and the Social Protection Paradox"

    Paulo Santos, Monash University (Melbourne), and Christopher B. Barrett, "Heterogeneous Wealth Dynam-ics: On the Roles of Risk and Ability" (NBER Working Paper No. 22626)

    Jean-Paul Chavas, "Agro-Ecosystem Productivity and the Dynamic Response to Shocks" (NBER Working Paper No. 22624)

    Karen Macours, Paris School of Economics, and Renos Vakis, The World Bank, "Medium-Term Impacts of a Productive Safety Net on Aspirations and Human Capital Investments"

    Norbert Schady, Caridade Araujo, and Mariano Bosch, Inter-American Development Bank, "Cash Transfers and Poverty Traps: A Tale of Two Generations"

    Oriana Bandiera, Robin Burgess, and Munshi Sulaiman, London School of Economics; Narayan Das, BRAC University (Bangladesh); Selim Gulesci, Bocconi University (Milan); and Imran Rasul, University College London, "Labor Markets and Poverty in Village Economies"

Summaries of these papers are at:

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Japan Project

The NBER held a meeting on the Japanese economy in Tokyo on August 1. The seminar was organized by Shiro Armstrong of the Australian National University, Research Associate Charles Horioka of the Asian Growth Research Institute (Kitakyushu), Research Associate Takeo Hoshi of Stanford University, Tsutomu Watanabe of the University of Tokyo, and Research Associate David Weinstein of Columbia University. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed:

    Robert Dekle, University of Southern California; Atsushi Kawakami, Teikyo University (Tokyo); Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, Princeton University and NBER; and Tsutomu Miyagawa, Gakushuin University (Tokyo), "Product Dynamics and Aggregate Shocks: Evidence from Japanese Product and Firm Level Data"

    David Cashin, Federal Reserve Board, and Takashi Unayama, Hitotsubashi University (Tokyo), "The Impact of a Permanent Income Shock on Consumption: Evidence from Japan's 2014 VAT Increase"

    Jess Diamond, Hitotsubashi University (Tokyo), and Kota Watanabe and Tsutomu Watanabe, University of Tokyo, "The Formation of Consumer Inflation Expectations: Evidence from Japan's Deflation Experience"

    Mark Koyama, George Mason University; Chiaki Moriguchi, Hitotsubashi University (Tokyo); and Tuan-Hwee Sng, National University of Singapore, "Geopolitics and Asi's Little Divergence: A Comparative Analysis of State Building in China and Japan After 1850"

    Gauti Eggertsson, Brown University and NBER; Neil Mehrotra and Sanjay Singh, Brown University; and Lawrence Summers, Harvard University and NBER, "A Contagious Malady? Open Economy Dimensions of Secular Stagnation" (NBER Working Paper No. 22299)

    Hiroshi Fujiki, Chuo University (Tokyo), and Hajime Tomura, Waseda University (Tokyo), "Fiscal Cost to Exit Quantitative Easing: The Case of Japan"

Summaries of these papers are at:

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Economics of Commodity Markets

The NBER, supported by the Bank of Canada, held its annual Universities Research Conference, "The Economics of Commodity Markets," in Cambridge on September 16–17. Jing Yang of the Bank of Canada and Research Associates Kenneth Singleton of Stanford University and Wei Xiong of Princeton University organized the meeting. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed:

    Farid Farrokhi, Purdue University, "Global Sourcing in Oil Markets"

    Frank Wolak, Stanford University and NBER, "Assessing the Impact of the Diffusion of Shale Oil and Gas Technology on the Global Coal Market"

    Martijn Boons and Melissa Porras Prado, Nova School of Business and Economics (Lisbon), "Basis-Momentum in the Futures Curve and Volatility Risk"

    Ignacia Mercadal, University of Chicago, "Dynamic Competition and Arbitrage in Electricity Markets: The Role of Financial Players"

    Reinhard Ellwanger, Bank of Canada, "Driven by Fear? The Tail Risk Premium in the Crude Oil Futures Market"

    Daniele Bianchi, University of Warwick, and Jacopo Piana, Cass Business School (London), "Expected Spot Prices and the Dynamics of Commodity Risk Premia"

    Steffen Hitzemann, Ohio State University, "Macroeconomic Fluctuations, Oil Supply Shocks, and Equilibrium Oil Futures Prices"

    Michael Brandt, Duke University and NBER, and Lin Gao, University of Luxembourg, "Macro Fundamentals or Geopolitical Events? A Textual Analysis of News Events for Crude Oil"

    Jorge Fornero and Markus Kirchner, Central Bank of Chile, "Learning About Commodity Cycles and Saving-Investment Dynamics in a Commodity-Exporting Economy"

    Niko Jaakkola, Ifo Institute for Economic Research (Munich); Daniel Spiro, University of Oslo; and Arthur van Benthem, University of Pennsylvania and NBER, "Finders, Keepers?" (NBER Working Paper No. 22421)

Summaries of these papers are at:

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Energy Policy Tradeoffs between Economic
Efficiency and Distributional Equity

An NBER conference, "Energy Policy Tradeoffs between Economic Efficiency and Distributional Equity," took place in Durham, North Carolina, on September 16–17. Faculty Research Fellow Tatyana Deryugina and Research Associate Don Fullerton, both of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Research Associate William A. Pizer of Duke University organized the meeting. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed:

    Chris Bruegge, Stanford University; Tatyana Deryugina; and Erica Myers, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, "The Distributional Effects of Building Codes"

    Sébastien Houde, University of Maryland, and Joseph Aldy, Harvard University and NBER, "Efficiency and Distributional Consequences of Heterogeneous Behavioral Responses to Energy Fiscal Policies"

    Mar Reguant, Northwestern University and NBER, "The Distributional Impacts of Large-Scale Renewable Policies"

    Lucas Davis, University of California, Berkeley, and NBER, and Christopher Knittel, MIT and NBER, "Are Fuel Economy Standards Regressive?"

    Stephen Holland, University of North Carolina at Greensboro and NBER; Erin Mansur, Dartmouth College and NBER; Nicholas Muller, Middlebury College and NBER; and Andrew Yates, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "Distributional Effects of Air Pollution from Electric Vehicle Adoption"

    Arik Levinson, Georgetown University and NBER, "Are Energy Efficiency Standards Less Regressive Than Energy Taxes?"

    Julie Anne Cronin, U.S. Treasury Department; Don Fullerton; and Steven Sexton, Duke University, "Carbon Tax Rebates and Redistribution"

    Carolyn Fischer, Resources for the Future, and William A. Pizer, "Equity versus Efficiency in Energy Regulation"

Summaries of these papers are at:

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Tax Policy and the Economy

An NBER conference, "Tax Policy and the Economy," took place in Washington, D.C., on September 22. Research Associate Robert Moffitt of Johns Hopkins University organized the meeting. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed:

    Alan J. Auerbach, University of California, Berkeley, and NBER; Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Boston University and NBER; Darryl R. Koehler, Economic Security Planning; and Manni Yu, Boston University, "Is Uncle Sam Inducing the Elderly to Retire?"

    Gizem Kosar, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Robert Moffitt, "Trends in Cumulative Marginal Tax Rates Facing Low-Income Families, 1997–2007"

    Emmanuel Saez, University of California, Berkeley, and NBER, "Taxing the Rich More: Preliminary Evidence from the 2013 Tax Increase"

    Louis Kaplow, Harvard University and NBER, "A Distribution-Neutral Perspective on Tax Expenditure Limitations"

    Conor J. Clarke, Yale University, and Wojciech Kopczuk, Columbia University and NBER, "Business Income and Business Taxation in the United States since the 1950s"

Summaries of these papers are at:

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