At its September 2016 meeting, the NBER Board of Directors elected Dr. Lisa Jordan to a five-year membership term as an at-large director. Jordan is director of education and membership development for the United Steelworkers of America. She and her staff create and coordinate the union;s education program throughout North America and in the United Kingdom.
Jordan is engaged in a range of applied economic research. Her primary areas of interest are labor economics, industrial relations, and race and gender economics. She currently serves as an adviser to the AFL-CIO's Commission on Race and is a past board member of the Labor and Employment Relations Association.
Jordan graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Ph.D. in labor economics. She served as a labor educator and assistant professor at the University of Illinois and at the University of Minnesota before becoming the director of the School of Business at Brevard College.
The NBER hosted its 39th annual Summer Institute during a three-week period in July 2016. There were 2,763 registered participants, taking part in 54 distinct meetings led by 124 organizers. About one in five participants—554 researchers—were attending their first Summer Institute. There were 169 graduate student participants. Two thirds of the participants were not NBER affiliates.
Caroline Hoxby, who is the Scott and Donya Bommer Professor of Economics at Stanford University and the director of the NBER's Education Program, delivered the 2016 Martin Feldstein Lecture on "The Dramatic Economics of the U.S. Market for Higher Education." Her talk described the heterogeneity in the cost of delivering undergraduate education at different institutions, the differences in student test scores across schools, and the correlation between educational resources and student scores. Her analysis suggested that for a broad range of selective colleges and universities, the marginal productivity of additional resources devoted to undergraduate education is similar. An edited text of the lecture appears earlier in this issue of The NBER Reporter.
A panel discussion on the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and its implications for global financial markets and economic growth drew a large turnout and provided participants with new insights on the consequences of this important change in international economic relations.
A group of five researchers—Al Roth of Stanford, Parag A. Pathak of MIT, Atila Abdulkadiroglu of Duke University, Nikhil Agarwal of MIT, and Itai Ashlagi of Stanford—presented the 2016 Methods Lectures on "The Theory and Practice of Market Design." They described the deferred acceptance algorithm that is widely used in designing rules for matching markets and explained how a number of such markets operate in practice.
All of the presentations—the Feldstein Lecture, the Brexit Panel, and the Methods Lectures—have been videotaped and can be accessed on the NBER website under the NBER Videos tab on the left side of the homepage.
Jonathan Skinner, the James O. Freedman Presidential Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College and a professor of family and community medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine, is the new director of the Economics of Aging Program. A member of the Institute of Medicine and an NBER research associate since 1989, Skinner is one of the most active and influential researchers in the fields of health economics and the economics of aging.
Skinner received his B.A. from the University of Rochester and his Ph.D. from UCLA. He was a faculty member at the University of Virginia for 14 years before joining the Dartmouth faculty in 1995.
Skinner's research spans the many different topics that come together in the Economics of Aging Program: health status, saving behavior, the role of the public and private sectors in providing old age security, the operation of insurance markets, and intergenerational linkages that affect older households. Skinner chairs the American Economic Association's Committee on Government Relations, is on the steering committee of the Health and Retirement Study, and has been a member of the editorial boards of journals in both economics and medicine.
He is well known for his work on precautionary saving and social insurance, and for his contributions to the "Dartmouth Atlas" research program on the explanation of regional variations in health care costs in the United States.
Catherine Wolfram, the Cora Jane Flood Professor of Business Administration at the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, is now director of the Environment and Energy Economics Program. A member of the Berkeley faculty since 2000, Wolfram received her A.B. from Harvard and her Ph.D. from MIT. She was an assistant professor at Harvard for several years before moving to Berkeley.
An NBER research associate since 2006, she has been a member of the Environment and Energy Economics Program steering committee since its inception.
Wolfram's research interests span a range of energy and environment topics. She has studied electricity markets, climate policy, U.S. air pollution regulations, and energy demand in the developing world. A faculty director of Berkeley's Energy Institute at Haas, she is also the principal investigator on several large grants, including one from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to support research on energy efficiency and one from the U.K.'s Department for International Development to fund research on energy in the developing world.
After spending over two years based in Manila as chief economist of the Asian Development Bank, Shang-Jin Wei has returned to Columbia University and resumed his role as director of the NBER's China Working Group. While Wei was on leave, Hanming Fang of the University of Pennsylvania served as interim director and provided outstanding leadership.
Wei is the N.T. Wang Professor of Chinese Business and Economy and professor of finance and economics at the Columbia Graduate School of Business. He is a research associate in the NBER's Development Economics, International Finance and Macroeconomics, and International Trade and Investment programs.
Liran Einav is a professor of economics at Stanford, where he has taught since 2002. He received his B.A. from Tel Aviv University and his Ph.D. from Harvard.
An NBER research associate since 2008, he has been a co-director of the Bureau's Working Group on Insurance Economics since 2012.
Einav has made important contributions to a range of topics in industrial organization and applied microeconomics more generally, including the role of competition and imperfect information in consumer credit and health insurance markets. He has developed empirical models of both insurance demand and insurance pricing, and explored the implications of both adverse selection and moral hazard. He has also studied the economics of online markets, such as peer-to-peer internet markets, and the economic performance of the motion picture industry.
He is widely sought-after for his editorial expertise: In June 2017 he will complete a term as co-editor of Econometrica, and he will become a co-editor of the American Economic Review in 2018.
Benjamin Handel, an associate professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Motohiro Yogo, a professor of economics at Princeton, have become co-directors of the Insurance Working Group.
Handel, who has taught at Berkeley since 2010, received his A.B. from Princeton and his Ph.D. from Northwestern. He was named an NBER faculty research fellow in industrial organization in 2011 and became a research associate in 2016.
Yogo received his A.B. from Princeton in 2000 and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 2004. He became a junior faculty member at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and, after a period as a research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, joined the Princeton faculty in 2015. Yogo was an NBER faculty research fellow from 2006 until 2011 and has been a research associate since 2015.
Handel's work is primarily concerned with the economic analysis of health insurance markets. He has studied the role of adverse selection, the nature of competition between insurance providers, and the role of behavioral economics in explaining insurance plan choice. His 2015 Econometrica paper with Igal Hendel and Michael Whinston on "Equilibria in Health Exchanges" was awarded the Econometric Society’s Frisch Medal. Handel is a recent recipient of an NSF CAREER Award.
Yogo's research focuses on insurance markets, financial economics, and econometrics. He has been particularly interested in how regulatory policy affects insurance companies and in the supply of and demand for insurance products.
Stephen Redding is the Harold T. Shapiro '64 Professor of Economics in the department of economics and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, where he has taught since 2010. He was a member of the faculty at the London School of Economics and at Yale University before moving to Princeton.
Redding received his undergraduate and graduate training at Oxford University and was a research economist at the Bank of England before beginning his academic career. He is an associate editor of Econometrica.
Redding has been an active member of the International Trade and Investment Program since his appointment as an NBER research associate in 2011. He has made important research contributions to a wide range of questions in international trade, economic geography, and growth and productivity analysis. His work spans traditional questions in international trade as well as emerging issues in spatial economics.
Jeffrey Brown, the Josef and Margot Lakonishok Professor and dean of the business school at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is the new director of the NBER Retirement Research Center. Brown’s work has touched on many issues related to retirement security, saving, and the provision of lifetime income.
Assistant directors of the center are James Choi, professor of finance at Yale University’s School of Management, and Courtney Coile, the professor of economics and director of the Knapp Social Science Center at Wellesley College. Choi has done pioneering work on how defaults and other plan design features affect retirement saving. Coile has made important contributions to understanding the interplay between labor market conditions, Social Security, and retirement well-being. She is the editor of The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health.
Jeffrey Liebman, the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, is senior adviser to the Center. He previously served as associate director.
David Autor, the Ford Professor of Economics and associate economics department head at MIT, is the new director of the NBER Disability Research Center. Autor has written seminal papers on disability policy and previously served as the associate director of the Center. Nicole Maestas, associate professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, is now associate director. She previously was a senior economist at the RAND Corporation, and has done important work on labor market effects of disability insurance. Jeffery Liebman is senior adviser to the Center.