Founded in 1920, the NBER is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to conducting economic research and to disseminating research findings among academics, public policy makers, and business professionals. NBER-affiliated researchers study a wide range of topics and they employ many different methods in their work. Key focus areas include developing new statistical measurements, estimating quantitative models of economic behavior, and analyzing the effects of public policies.
Over the years the NBER's research agenda has encompassed a wide variety of issues that confront our society. Early research focused on the aggregate economy, examining in detail the business cycle and long-term economic growth. Simon Kuznets' pioneering work on national income accounting, Wesley Mitchell's influential study of the business cycle, and Milton Friedman's research on the demand for money and the determinants of consumer spending were among the early studies done at the NBER. A summary of the NBER's early development can be found at:
Toward a Firmer Basis of Economic Policy: The Founding of the National Bureau of Economic Research, Solomon Fabricant, 1984
The NBER Today
The NBER is the nation's leading nonprofit economic research organization. Thirty Two Nobel Prize winners in Economics and thirteen past chairs of the President's Council of Economic Advisers have held NBER affiliations. The more than 1,400 professors of economics and business now teaching at colleges and universities in North America who are NBER researchers are the leading scholars in their fields. Most NBER-affiliated researchers are either Faculty Research Fellows (FRFs) or Research Associates (RAs). Faculty Research Fellows are typically junior scholars. Research Associates, whose appointments are approved by the NBER Board of Directors, hold tenured positions at their home institutions. The NBER is supported by research grants from government agencies and private foundations, by investment income, and by contributions from individuals and corporations. Our corporate associates are acknowledged below.
Organization of the NBER
The NBER is governed by a Board of Directors with representatives from the leading U.S. research universities and major national economics organizations. Other prominent economists from business, trade unions, and academe also sit on the NBER Board. James Poterba is the NBER's President and Chief Executive Officer. In addition to the Research Associates and Faculty Research Fellows, the NBER employs a support staff of 45. The NBER's main office is in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It has a branch office in New York City.