The NBER Reporter 2014 Number 4: Books
America's expansion to one of the richest nations in the world was partly due to a steady increase in labor productivity, which in turn depended on the invention and deployment of new technologies and on investments in both human and physical capital. The accumulation of human capital - the knowledge and skill of workers - has featured prominently in American economic leadership over the past two centuries.
Human Capital in History brings together contributions from leading researchers in economic history, labor economics, the economics of education, and related fields. Building on Claudia Goldin's landmark research on the labor history of the United States, the authors consider the roles of education and technology in contributing to American economic growth and well-being, the experience of women in the workforce, and how trends in marriage and family affected broader economic outcomes. The volume provides important new insights on the forces that affect the accumulation of human capital.
The recent financial crisis had a profound effect on both public and private universities, which faced shrinking endowments, declining charitable contributions, and reductions in government support. Universities responded to these stresses in different ways. This volume presents new evidence on the nature of these responses, and on how the incentives and constraints facing different institutions affected their behavior.
The studies in this volume explore how various practices at institutions of higher education, such as the drawdown of endowment resources, the awarding of financial aid, and spending on research, responded to the financial crisis. The studies examine universities as economic organizations that operate in a complex institutional and financial environment. The authors examine the role of endowments in university finances and the interaction of spending policies, asset allocation strategies, and investment opportunities. They demonstrate that universities' behavior can be modeled using economic principles.
More than half a decade has passed since the bursting of the housing bubble and the collapse of Lehman Brothers. In retrospect, what is surprising is that these events and their consequences came as such a surprise. What was it that prevented most of the world from recognizing the impending crisis and, looking ahead, what needs to be done to prevent a recurrence?
Measuring Wealth and Financial Intermediation and Their Links to the Real Economy identifies measurement problems associated with the financial crisis and improvements in measurement that may prevent future crises, taking account of the dynamism of the financial marketplace in which measures that once worked well can become misleading. In addition to advances in measuring financial activity, the contributors also investigate the effects of the crisis on households and nonfinancial businesses. They show that households' experiences varied greatly and some even experienced gains in wealth, while nonfinancial businesses' lack of access to credit in the recession may have been a more important factor than the effects of policies stimulating demand.