National Bureau of Economic Research Working Papers

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Patent Quality: Towards a Systematic Framework for Analysis and Measurement -- by Kyle W. Higham, Gaétan de Rassenfosse, Adam B. Jaffe

The 'quality' of novel technological innovations is extremely variable, and the ability to measure innovation quality is essential to sensible, evidence-based policy. Patents, an often vital precursor to a commercialised innovation, share this heterogeneous quality distribution. A pertinent question then arises: How should we define and measure patent...

Marginal Effects of Merit Aid for Low-Income Students -- by Joshua Angrist, David Autor, Amanda Pallais

Financial aid from the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) provides exceptionally generous support to a college population similar to that served by a host of state aid programs. In conjunction with STBF, we randomly assigned aid awards to thousands of Nebraska high school graduates from low-income, minority, and first-generation college households....

The Economics of Currency Risk -- by Tarek Alexander Hassan, Tony Zhang

This article reviews the literature on currency and country risk with a focus on its macroeconomic origins and implications. A growing body of evidence shows countries with safer currencies enjoy persistently lower interest rates and a lower required return to capital. As a result, they accumulate relatively more capital than countries with currencies...

A Satellite Account for Health in the United States -- by David M. Cutler, Kaushik Ghosh, Kassandra Messer, Trivellore Raghunathan, Allison B. Rosen, Susan T. Stewart

Estimating medical care productivity is a central economic challenge. This paper develops a satellite account for the US health sector that appropriately measures health care productivity and applies that to the elderly population between 1999 and 2012. The central output of the satellite account is health. The primary input is medical care; we also...

Fifty Shades of QE: Conflicts of Interest in Economic Research -- by Brian Fabo, Martina Jančoková, Elisabeth Kempf, Ľuboš Pástor

Central banks sometimes evaluate their own policies. To assess the inherent conflict of interest, we compare the research findings of central bank researchers and academic economists regarding the macroeconomic effects of quantitative easing (QE). We find that central bank papers report larger effects of QE on output and inflation. Central bankers are...

History and Urban Economics -- by W. Walker Hanlon, Stephan Heblich

This article reviews recent literature using insights from history to answer central questions in urban economics. This area of research has seen rapid growth in the past decade, thanks to new technologies that have made available increasingly rich data stretching far back in time. The focus is to review innovative methods to exploit historical information...

Crisis Innovation -- by Tania Babina, Asaf Bernstein, Filippo Mezzanotti

The effect of financial crises on innovation is an unsettled and important question for economic growth, but one difficult to answer with modern data. Using a differences-in-differences design surrounding the Great Depression, we document that local distress caused a sudden and persistent decline in patenting by the largest organizational form of innovation...

Institutional Change and Institutional Persistence -- by Daron Acemoglu, Georgy Egorov, Konstantin Sonin

In this essay, we provide a simple conceptual framework to elucidate the forces that lead to institutional persistence and change. Our framework is based on a dynamic game between different groups, who care both about current policies and institutions and future policies, which are themselves determined by current institutional choices, and clarifies...

What Is CEO Overconfidence? Evidence from Executive Assessments -- by Steven N. Kaplan, Morten Sorensen, Anastasia A. Zakolyukina

We use detailed assessments of CEO personalities to explore the option-based measure of CEO overconfidence, Longholder, introduced by Malmendier and Tate (2005a) and widely used in the behavioral corporate finance and economics literatures. Longholder is significantly related to several specific characteristics and is negatively related to general ability....

War, Socialism and the Rise of Fascism: An Empirical Exploration -- by Daron Acemoglu, Giuseppe De Feo, Giacomo De Luca, Gianluca Russo

The recent ascent of right-wing populist movements in many countries has rekindled interest in understanding the causes of the rise of Fascism in inter-war years. In this paper, we argue that there was a strong link between the surge of support for the Socialist Party after World War I (WWI) and the subsequent emergence of Fascism in Italy. We first...

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