Alan Blinder is the recipient of the 2023 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize, awarded by the American Academy of Political and Social Science. His most recent book, A Monetary and Fiscal History of the United States, 1961–2021, was recognized as a finalist for the Association of American Publishers 2023 PROSE Award for Excellence in Economics. Blinder’s research continues to focus on central banking, the latest work being a co-authored paper (with Michael Ehrmann, Jakob de Haan, and David-Jan Jansen) which surveys progress with and prospects for central bank communication with the general public—as opposed to with market participants and other “experts.” Blinder’s other ongoing (and very new) project (with Dennis Peskoff, Brandon Stewart, and Adam Visokay) analyzes Federal Reserve communication using natural language processing. The next project, which is still conjectural at this stage, may be to turn a course into a book. For many years Blinder has taught a pretty unique course on central banking (now labeled SPI 524) to a mixture of MPA students, MFin students, a smattering of undergraduates, and the very rare PhD student in economics. Over the years, many people have suggested that he write this material up as a book, and one of the first things he plans to do in 2023-2024 is to think seriously about what such a book would look like.
Sylvain Chassang is an applied microeconomist whose research interests are in game theory, industrial organization, and development. His recent publications include: “Regulating Collusion,” with Juan Ortner (Annual Review of Economics, 2023); “Robust Screens for Non-Competitive Bidding in Procurement Auctions,” with Kei Kawai, Jun Nakabayashi, and Juan Ortner (Econometrica, 2022); and “Data-Driven Incentive Alignment in Capitation Schemes,” with Mark Braverman (Journal of Public Economics, 2022). Chassang’s current research examines monitoring harassment in organizations with Laura Boudreau, Ada Gonzales-Torres, and Rachel Heath; valuing the time of the self-employed with Daniel Agness, Travis Baseler, Pascaline Dupas, and Erik Snowberg; and methods to improve tax collection with Lucia Del Carpio and Sam Kapon.
Ellora Derenoncourt works on inequality and labor markets. One of her research agendas focuses on the long-run determinants of racial inequality in the US. Derenoncourt’s article “Can you move to opportunity? Evidence from the Great Migration” (American Economic Review, 2022) showed that the Great Migration of Black Americans from the South to northern and western cities US marked a pivotal moment in the geography of opportunity for Black families. As backlash to the Migration intensified, areas once distinguished for high rates of upward mobility for Black children subsequently transformed into mobility deserts. Derenoncourt and Montialoux’s “Minimum wages and racial inequality” (Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2021) uncovered the first-order role historical federal minimum wage policy played in the trajectory of the Black-white earnings gap. Most recently, her working paper “Wealth of two nations: the US racial wealth gap, 1860-2020,” with Chi Hyun Kim, Moritz Kuhn, and Moritz Schularick, traces the US’s large and persistent racial wealth gap to its origins under slavery and Jim Crow. Future work in this area explores questions raised by this previous body of work, including the role of other labor market and social insurance policies in Black-white income and wage inequality; the link between the Great Migration and mass incarceration; and finally, the study of concrete historical policies in shaping variation in the Black-white wealth gap across the US. A second research agenda explores determinants of wages in low-wage labor markets. If workers in these markets are sufficiently mobile across jobs, wage policies of large labor market actors, from national private retailers to the federal government, ought to ripple throughout the broader economy and affect competitor employers. With collaborators David Weil and Clemens Noelke, Derenoncourt explores this in the context of large retailers’ voluntary minimum wages and the federal contractor minimum wage. In related work with Lorenzo Lagos, François Gerard, and Claire Montialoux, she is exploring the link between wage setting institutions, informality, and inequality in Brazil.
William Dudley‘s recent research has focused on digital finance, sovereign debt, U.S. monetary policy, and banking regulation and supervision. With respect to digital finance, he has led the Digital Finance Project Team of the Bretton Woods Committee (with Carolyn Wilkins) and initiated a series of policy briefs that examine the dangers and opportunities in crypto markets and the potential positive use cases of the blockchain technology and decentralized finance (DeFi). He is a member of the BWC sovereign debt working group, which has published three papers on sovereign debt issues and the BWC Multilateral Reform Working Group, which is evaluating how the multilateral institutional structure needs to be reformed in order to address pressing global problems such as climate change. With respect to monetary policy, he has critiqued the current operating regime of the Federal Reserve and argued that how the Fed’s 2 percent average inflation targeting regime has been implemented ensured that the Fed would be slow to tighten monetary policy and that inflation would rise as a consequence. Looking forward over the next two years, his research will continue to be focused on digital finance, sovereign debt, and U.S. monetary policy. He is also heading a working group for the Group of Thirty that will evaluate what regulatory and supervisory changes are needed to address the shortcomings exposed by the 2023 U.S. banking crisis.
Seema Jayachandran is a development economist whose research focuses on environmental conservation, gender equality, health, and other microeconomic topics in developing countries. Her recent publications include “Detecting Mother-Father Differences in Spending on Children: A New Approach Using Willingness-to-Pay Elicitation,” with Rebecca Dizon-Ross (American Economic Review: Insights, forthcoming), “Think Globally, Act Globally: Opportunities to Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” with Rachel Glennerster (Journal of Economic Perspectives, forthcoming), and “The Inherent Trade-Off Between the Environmental and Anti-Poverty Goals of Payments for Ecosystem Services” (Environmental Research Letters, 2023). Jayachandran’s current research focuses on understanding how financial incentives for farmers can reduce agricultural burning in India (with Kelsey Jack, Namrata Kala, and Rohini Pande), and examining the long-run effects of a school curriculum in India that aimed to erode students’ support of restrictive gender norms (with Diva Dhar and Tarun Jain).
Ilyana Kuziemko‘s research focuses on US economic inequality and in particular its interaction with political and labor-market institutions. “Local Economic and Political Effects of Trade Deals: Evidence from NAFTA” (2021, with Jiwon Choi, Ebonya Washington, and Gavin Wright) argues that the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement lead to large employment losses in counties with industries dependent on pre-NAFTA tariffs and led voters in these counties to punish the Democrats in future elections. “Mobility for All: Representative Intergenerational Mobility Estimates over the 20th Century” (2021, with Elisa Jacome and Suresh Naidu) documents large increases in intergenerational relative mobility for the cohorts who entered the labor market in the low-inequality post-World War II decades, while mobility declined thereafter. “Compensate the Losers? Economy-policy preferences and partisan realignment in the US” (2022, with Nicolas Longuet Marx and Suresh Naidu) argues that, at least in the US, the Democratic Party’s evolution on economic issues has played an important role.
Stephen Redding‘s research interests include international trade, economic geography, urban economics, and productivity growth. Recent work has been concerned with heterogeneous firms and international trade, the distributional consequences of globalization, agglomeration forces, and transport infrastructure improvements. The paper “Globalization and Pandemics” (joint with Pol Antràs and Esteban Rossi-Hansberg and published in the American Economic Review in 2023) provides theory and evidence on the relationship between globalization and pandemics. The paper “Dynamic Spatial General Equilibrium” (joint with Benny Kleinman and Ernest Liu and published in Econometrica in 2023) shows that the interaction between forward-looking capital accumulation and migration decisions plays a central role in shaping the speed of the economy’s dynamic response to shocks. The paper “Quantitative Urban Models: From Theory to Data” (published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives in 2023) summarizes the recent development of quantitative urban models that connect directly with observed data on real world cities, and can be used to undertake realistic policy counterfactuals, such as for the construction of new transport infrastructure.
Christopher Sims‘ research is on macroeconomic theory and policy, and monetary-fiscal coordination. His recent paper, “Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy with Distorting Taxes,” discusses government debt finance when interest rates are low. It shows that there can be a substantial fiscal cost from expanding debt, even when the rate of growth of the economy exceeds the interest rate. The cost comes through the likelihood that debt expansion will raise rates. Even if this leaves the interest rate below the growth rate, the increased interest expense can be burdensome. A second strand of his research examines the relation among aggregate private debt, spreads of risky over less risky interest rates, and economic activity. He explored this, with three co-authors, in the paper “Feedbacks: Financial Markets and Economic Activity,” which appeared in the June 2021 issue of the American Economic Review. Disturbances originating in the financial sector are an important source of business cycle variation, but they seem to be characterized initially by rises in spreads. Credit aggregates react passively to these disturbances, rather than generating them. A current project explores whether historical US data on inflation and fiscal variables in the US can shed light on the possible consequences of current very large fiscal deficits for future inflation.
Carolyn Wilkins is conducting research with Yasuo Terajima and Shirley Ren on the implications of monetary policy and the distribution of income. Wilkins is also working with James Chapman to understand issues related to the structure of crypto markets, using relatively new micro data sets. In a collaboration with William Dudley, she is co-chairing the Bretton Woods Digital Currency Project Team, Wilkins is co-chairing the Bretton Woods Digital Currency Project Team, which is tasked with identifying key outstanding issues and risks across the decentralized finance regime. Wilkins was one of three experts selected in July 2022 to conduct an independent review of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), the first wide‑ranging review of the RBA since current monetary policy arrangements were put in place in the 1990s. The final report, An RBA Fit for the Future, was presented to the Treasurer in March 2023.
Leeat Yariv’s research focuses on political economy, market design, social and economic networks, and experimental economics. One of her recent papers, “Who Cares More? Allocation with Diverse Preference Intensities” (with Pietro Ortoleva and Evgenii Safonov) characterizes optimal allocation rules when individual preferences are known and when they are not. Goods and services—public housing, medical appointments, schools—are often allocated to individuals who rank them similarly but differ in their preference intensities. When preference intensities are private information, second-best allocations always involve such lotteries and, crucially, may coincide with first-best allocations.
Owen Zidar‘s work focuses on tax policy and inequality. One strand of his recent research uses full-population US Treasury tax return data to study the role of firms in generating inequality. Nearly half of the rise of reported income of the top 1 percent since 1980 and the decline in the aggregate labor share results from business profit growth of closely-held private firms. The prominence of these private firm-owners at the top of the income distribution motivated further exploration of the nature of top incomes and top wealth. Zidar will continue working on topics related to tax policy and inequality. With Raj Chetty, John van Reenen, and Eric Zwick, he is investigating the links between entrepreneurship and opportunity using US tax data. With Zwick and Amy Finkelstein, he is quantifying the effect of rising health costs on inequality. Danny Yagan, Eric Zwick, and Zidar are working on a contract with the IRS to evaluate the tax cuts and jobs act as well as prior tax reforms. Our goal is to research the efficiency and equity impacts of different proposals to try to inform policymakers about the design of the US tax system. Zidar and Zwick are considering writing a book on the rich, their origins, and their influence on economic, financial, and political life.