The NBER Reporter Winter 2005: NBER Books

Winter 2005

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The Inflation-Targeting Debate

The Inflation-Targeting Debate, edited by Ben S. Bernanke and Michael Woodford, is available from the University of Chicago Press for $85.00.

Over the past fifteen years, a significant number of industrialized and middle-income countries have adopted inflation targeting as a framework for monetary policymaking. As the name suggests, in such regimes the central bank is responsible for achieving a publicly announced target for the inflation rate. While the objective of controlling inflation enjoys wide support among both academic experts and policymakers, and while the countries that have followed this model generally have experienced good macroeconomic outcomes, many important questions about inflation targeting remain.

For this volume, the result of an NBER conference, a distinguished group of contributors explore the many under-examined dimensions of inflation targeting - its potential, its successes, and its limitations - from both a theoretical and an empirical standpoint, and for both developed and emerging economies. The volume opens with a discussion of the optimal formulation of inflation-targeting policy and continues with a debate about the desirability of such a model for the United States. The concluding chapters discuss the special problems of inflation targeting in several countries, including the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary.

Bernanke, the Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, is currently on leave from the NBER as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Woodford is a research associate in the NBER's Program on Monetary Economics and a professor of economics at Columbia University.

Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century

Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century, edited by Richard B. Freeman, Joni Hersch, and Lawrence Mishel, is available from the University of Chicago Press for $65.00

Private-sector unionism, which historically has represented and advocated on behalf of workers in capitalist economies, is in decline in the United States. As a result, labor advocates, community groups, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals concerned with the well-being of workers have sought to develop alternative ways to represent workers' interests. And, unions have undertaken new campaigns and initiatives to arrest the decline in their organizations and to strengthen their ability to help workers. This NBER Conference Volume provides the first in-depth assessment of how effectively labor market institutions are responding to this drastically altered landscape.

The contributors to this volume provide case studies of new labor market institutions and new directions for existing institutions. The evidence suggests that while non-union institutions are unlikely to fill the gap left by the decline of unions, emerging groups and unions together might improve some dimensions of worker well-being. Ultimately, this volume tells a story of workers and institutions in flux, searching for ways to represent labor in the new century and its attendant new economies.

University. He is also a senior research fellow at the Centre for Economic Performance of the London School of Economics. Hersch is an adjunct professor and codirector of the Program on Empirical Legal Studies at Harvard Law School. Mishel is president of the Economic Policy Institute.

Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 5

Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, edited by Adam B. Jaffe, Josh Lerner, and Scott Stern, will be available from the MIT Press this January. The paperback volume price is $30.00, the clothbound volume is $60.00.

This volume is the latest in an annual NBER conference series. It covers such topics as the implications of software outsourcing for American technology leadership; the complementary roles of large corporations and entrepreneurs in developing innovative technology; city-level policy and planning that establishes a "jurisdictional advantage" in the value of local resources; the effect of taxes on entrepreneurship; and how to incorporate innovation into the analysis of business mergers. These papers highlight the role of economic theory and empirical analysis in evaluating policies and programs regarding research, innovation, and the commercialization of new technologies.

Jaffe is the Fred C. Hecht Professor of Economics and Dean of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis University. Lerner is the Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in the Finance and Entrepreneurial Units. Stern is an Associate Professor of Management and Strategy at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. All three are also Research Associates in the NBER's Program on Productivity.

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