NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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The NBER Reporter 2019 Number 1: Conferences


Big Data for 21st Century Economic Statistics
Big Data: Long-Term Implications for Financial Markets and Firms
Economics of Digitization
Economics of Infrastructure
Transforming Rural Africa

Economics of Infrastructure

An NBER conference on the Economics of Infrastructure took place March 1 in Cambridge. Research Associates Edward L. Glaeser of Harvard University and James M. Poterba of MIT organized the meeting, which was sponsored by the Smith Richardson Foundation. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed:

    Abhishek Nagaraj, University of California, Berkeley, "The Private Impact of Public Information: Landsat Satellite Maps and Gold Exploration"
    Shoshana Vasserman and Valentin Bolotnyy, Harvard University, "Scaling Auctions as Insurance: A Case Study in Infrastructure Procurement"
    Christoph Boehm, University of Texas at Austin, "Government Consumption and Investment: Does the Composition of Purchases Affect the Multiplier?"
    Pablo Fajgelbaum, University of California, Los Angeles and NBER, and Stephen J. Redding, Princeton University and NBER, "Trade, Structural Transformation, and Development: Evidence from Argentina 1869–1914"
    Daniel Leff Yaffe, University of California, San Diego, "The Interstate Multiplier"
    Aleksandar Andonov, University of Amsterdam; Roman Kräussl, University of Luxembourg; and Joshua Rauh, Stanford University and NBER, "The Subsidy to Infrastructure as an Asset Class" (NBER Working Paper No. 25045)
    Christopher Severen, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, "Commuting, Labor, and Housing Market Effects of Mass Transportation: Welfare and Identification"
    Nicolas Campos, Eduardo Engel, and Ronald Fischer, Universidad de Chile, and Alexander Galetovic, Stanford University, "Renegotiations and Corruption: The Odebrecht Case"

Summaries of these papers are at www.nber.org/conferences/2019/EIs19/summary.html

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Transforming Rural Africa

An NBER conference on Transforming Rural Africa took place February 28–March 1 in Cambridge. Christopher B. Barrett of Cornell University, Abebe Shimeles and Hanan Morsy, both of the African Development Bank, and Research Associates Michael Carter of the University of California, Davis, Tavneet Suri of MIT, and Christopher R. Udry of Northwestern University, organized the meeting, which was sponsored by the African Development Bank. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed:

    Fo Kodjo Dzinyefa Aflagah, International Food Policy Research Institute; Tanguy Bernard, International Food Policy Research Institute and Bordeaux IV; and Angelino Viceisza, Spelman College, "Cheap Talk and Coordination in the Lab and in the Field: Collective Commercialization in Senegal"
    Kibrom A. Abay, International Livestock Research Institute; Leah Bevis, Ohio State University; and Christopher B. Barrett, Cornell University, "Measurement Error Mechanisms Matter: Agricultural Intensification with Farmer Misperceptions and Misreporting"
    Tilman Graff, Busara Center for Behavioral Economics, "Spatial Inefficiencies in Africa's Trade Network"
    Toyin Samuel Olowogbon and Raphael O. Babatunde, University of Ilorin, Nigeria, and Edward Asiedu, University of Ghana/University of Passau, "How Can Inclusive Agricultural Health Policy Intervention Promote Shared Agricultural Productivity in Nigeria? Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial"
    Denise Hörner and Meike Wollni, University of Goettingen; Adrien Bouguen, University of California, Berkeley; and Markus Frölich, University of Mannheim, "The Effects of Decentralized and Video-based Extension on the Adoption of Integrated Soil Fertility Management — Experimental Evidence from Ethiopia"
    Aminou Arouna, AfricaRice; Jeffrey D. Michler, University of Arizona; and Jourdain Lokossou, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, "Contract Farming and Rural Transformation: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Benin"
    Ameet Morjaria and Richard Merton Peck, Northwestern University, "Entry, Growth, and Exit: Theory and Evidence from Ethiopia's Cut-Flower Exporters"
    Rute Martins Caeiro, Nova School of Business and Economics, "From Learning to Doing: Diffusion of Agricultural Innovations in Guinea-Bissau"
    Esther Delesalle, Institute of Economic and Social Research, Université catholique de Louvain, "The Impact of the Universal Primary Education Program on Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Tanzania"
    Michael Carter, University of California, Davis and NBER; Rachid Laajaj, University of Los Andes; and Dean Yang, University of Michigan and NBER, "Temporary Subsidies and the Adoption of Green Revolution Technologies by Mozambican Farmers and Their Social Networks"
    Shilpa Aggarwal, Indian School of Business; Brian J. Giera, Amazon Research; Dahyeon Jeong and Alan Spearot, University of California, Santa Cruz; and Jonathan Robinson, University of California, Santa Cruz and NBER, "Market Access, Trade Costs, and Technology Adoption: Evidence from Northern Tanzania"
    Joshua Deutschmann and Emilia Tjernström, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Maya Duru, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab; and Kim Siegal, One Acre Fund, "Information, Credit, and Inputs: The Impacts and Mechanisms of a Program to Raise Smallholder Productivity"

Summaries of these papers are at www.nber.org/conferences/2019/TRAs19/summary.html

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Big Data: Long-Term Implications for Financial Markets and Firms

An NBER conference on Big Data: Long-Term Implications for Financial Markets and Firms took place March 8 in Cam-bridge. Itay Goldstein of the University of Pennsylvania, Research Associate Chester S. Spatt of Carnegie Mellon University, and Faculty Research Fellow Mao Ye of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign organized the meeting, which was supported by the National Science Foundation in conjunction with the The Review of Financial Studies. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed:

    Zheng Tracy Ke, Harvard University; Bryan T. Kelly, Yale University and NBER; and Dacheng Xiu, University of Chicago, "Predicting Returns with Text Data"
    Amber Anand, Syracuse University; Mehrdad Samadi and Kumar Venkataraman, Southern Methodist University; Jonathan Sokobin, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, "Institutional Order Handling and Broker-Affiliated Trading Venues"
    Michael Gofman, University of Rochester; Sajjad Jafri, Queen's University; and James T. Chapman, Bank of Canada, "High-Frequency Analysis of Financial Stability"
    David Easley, Cornell University; Marcos López de Prado, AQR Capital Management; Maureen O'Hara, Cornell University; and Zhibai Zhang, NYU Tandon, "Microstructure in the Machine Age"
    Jura Liaukonyte, Cornell University, and Alminas Zaldokas, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, "Background Noise? TV Advertising Affects Real Time Investor Behavior"
    Hedi Benamar and Clara Vega, Federal Reserve Board, and Thierry Foucault, HEC Paris School of Management, "Demand for Information, Uncertainty, and the Response of U.S. Treasury Securities to News"
    Robert P. Bartlett III, Richard Stanton, and Nancy Wallace, University of California, Berkeley, and Adair Morse, University of California, Berkeley and NBER, "Consumer-Lending Discrimination in the FinTech Era"
    Isil Erel, Ohio State University; Léa H. Stern, University of Washington; Chenhao Tan, University of Colorado Boulder; and Michael S. Weisbach, Ohio State University and NBER, "Selecting Directors Using Machine Learning" (NBER Working Paper No. 24435)
    Bo Cowgill, Columbia University, and Eric Zitzewitz, Dartmouth College and NBER, "Stock Compensation and Employee Attention"

Summaries of these papers are at www.nber.org/conferences/2019/BDFMs19/summary.html

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Big Data for 21st Century Economic Statistics

An NBER conference on Big Data for 21st Century Economic Statistics met in Washington on March 15–16. Research Associates Katharine G. Abraham of the University of Maryland and Matthew D. Shapiro of the University of Michigan; Ron S. Jarmin of the U.S. Census Bureau; and Brian Moyer of the Bureau of Economic Analysis organized the meeting, which was sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed:

    Carol Robbins, National Science Foundation; Jose Bayoan Santiago Calderon, Claremont Graduate University; Gizem Korkmaz, Daniel Chen, Sallie Keller, Aaron Schroeder, and Stephanie S. Shipp, University of Virginia; Claire Kelling, Pennsylvania State University, "The Scope and Impact of Open Source Software as Intangible Capital: A Framework for Measurement with an Application Based on the Use of R and Python Packages"
    Katharine G. Abraham, University of Maryland and NBER; Margaret Levenstein, University of Michigan; and Matthew D. Shapiro, University of Michigan and NBER, "Securing Commercial Data for Economic Statistics"
    W. Erwin Diewert, University of British Columbia and NBER, and Robert C. Feenstra, University of California, Davis and NBER, "Estimating the Benefits of New Products"
    David Copple, Bradley J. Speigner, and Arthur Turrell, Bank of England, "Transforming Naturally Occurring Text Data into Economic Statistics: The Case of Online Job Vacancy Postings"
    Edward L. Glaeser, Harvard University and NBER, and Hyunjin Kim and Michael Luca, Harvard University, "Nowcasting the Local Economy: Using Yelp Data to Measure Economic Activity" (NBER Working Paper No. 24010)
    Rishab Guha, Harvard University, and Serena Ng, Columbia University and NBER, "A Machine-Learning Analysis of Seasonal and Cyclical Sales in Weekly Scanner Data"
    Gabriel Ehrlich and David Johnson, University of Michigan; John C. Haltiwanger, University of Maryland and NBER; Ron S. Jarmin, U.S. Census Bureau; and Matthew D. Shapiro, University of Michigan and NBER, "Re-Engineering Key National Economic Indicators"
    Andrea Batch, Jeffrey C. Chen, Alexander Driessen, Abe Dunn, and Kyle K. Hood, Bureau of Economic Analysis, "Off to the Races: A Comparison of Machine Learning and Alternative Data for Predicting Economic Indicators"
    Tomaz Cajner, Leland D. Crane, Ryan Decker, Adrian Hamins-Puertolas, and Christopher Kurz, Federal Reserve Board, "Improving the Accuracy of Economic Measurement with Multiple Data Sources: The Case of Payroll Employment Data"
    J. Bradford Jensen, Georgetown University and NBER; Shawn D. Klimek, Andrew L. Baer, and Joseph Staudt, U.S. Census Bureau; and Lisa Singh and Yifang Wei, Georgetown University, "Automating Response Evaluation for Franchising Questions on the 2017 Economic Census"
    Sudip Bhattacharjee and Ugochukwu Etudo, University of Connecticut, and John Cuffe, Justin Smith, and Nevada Basdeo, U.S. Census Bureau, "Using Public Data to Generate Industrial Classification Codes"
    Jeremy Moulton, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Marina Gindelsky and Scott A. Wentland, Bureau of Economic Analysis, "Valuing Housing Services in the Era of Big Data: A User Cost Approach Leveraging Zillow Microdata"
    Shifrah Aron-Dine, Stanford University, and Aditya Aladangady, Wendy Dunn, Laura Feiveson, Paul Lengermann, and Claudia R. Sahm, Federal Reserve Board, "From Transactions Data to Economic Statistics: Constructing Real-Time, High-Frequency, Geographic Measures of Consumer Spending"
    David Friedman, Crystal G. Konny, and Brendan K. Williams, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Big Data in the U.S. Consumer Price Index: Experiences & Plans"
    Don Fast and Susan Fleck, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Measuring Export Price Movements with Administrative Trade Data"
    Rebecca J. Hutchinson, U.S. Census Bureau, "Investigating Alternative Data Sources to Reduce Respondent Burden in United States Census Bureau Retail Economic Data Products"
    Abe Dunn, Bureau of Economic Analysis; Dana Goldman and Neeraj Sood, University of Southern California and NBER; and John Romley, University of Southern California, "Quantifying Productivity Growth in Health Care Using Insurance Claims and Administrative Data"

Summaries of these papers are at www.nber.org/conferences/2019/CRIWs19/summary.html

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Economics of Digitization

An NBER conference on the Economics of Digitization met at Stanford on March 22. Research Associate Shane Greenstein of Harvard University, Program Director Josh Lerner of Harvard Business School, and Research Associate Scott Stern of MIT organized the meeting, which was sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Amazon, and The Tides Foundation. These researchers' papers were presented and discussed:

    Alberto Cavallo, Harvard University and NBER, "More Amazon Effects: Online Competition and Pricing Behaviors" (NBER Working Paper No. 25138)
    Charles I. Jones and Christopher Tonetti, Stanford University and NBER, "Nonrivalry and the Economics of Data"
    John M. Barrios, University of Chicago; Yael Hochberg, Rice University and NBER; and Livia Hanyi Yi, Rice University, "The Cost of Convenience: Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities"
    Abhishek Nagaraj, University of California, Berkeley, and Imke C. Reimers, Northeastern University, "Digitization and the Demand for Physical Works: Evidence from the Google Books Project"
    Timothy J. DeStefano, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and Richard Kneller and Jonathan D. Timmis, University of Nottingham, "Cloud Computing and Firm Growth"
    Shuang Wang, Boston University; Jacob LaRiviere, Microsoft; and Aadharsh Kannan, Amazon, "Spatial Competition and Missing Data: An Application to Cloud Computing"
    Ben T. Leyden, Cornell University, "There's an App (Update) for That: Understanding Product Updating under Digitization"
    Hunt Allcott, New York University and NBER; Luca Braghieri and Sarah Eichmeyer, Stanford University; and Matthew Gentzkow, Stanford University and NBER, "The Welfare Effects of Social Media" (NBER Working Paper No. 25514)

Summaries of these papers are at www.nber.org/conferences/2019/EoDs19/summary.html

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