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The Origin and Evolution of the
NBER Working Paper Series
James Poterba, MIT and NBER
July 2014
The Beginning
Bob Michael seeks an outlet for research from the NBER
Center for Economic Analysis of Human Behavior and
So...
The Prototype by H. Irving Forman
Working Paper #1
The Launch: June 1973
Paper #1: Finis Welch, “Education, Information, and
Efficiency”
Paper #2: Barry Chiswick, “Hospital ...
The Great Expansion: Post 1978
1978: 55 Papers
1981: 221 Papers
Milestones:
WP1000: October 1982
WP2000: August 1986
WP500...
NBER WPs Today
1110 papers in 2013
869 academic institution subscribers, 168 non-academic
subscribers
Approximately 25,000...
Percent of 1st
Year Downloads by Days Since Release
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
Day
0
1 2 3 Day
4
5 6 7 8 Day
9
10 11 12 13 Day
14
Cumulative % Year 1 Downloads by Days Since Release
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
Day
0
1 2 3 Day
4
5 6 7 8 Day
9
10 11 1...
Working Papers by Program, 1972-2014
Top Working Paper Authors, 1973-2014
Author Paper Count
Martin Feldstein 161
Joshua Aizenman 157
Richard Freeman 142
James...
Top Working Paper Authors, 2004-2014
Author Paper Count
Daron Acemoglu 81
Joshua Aizenman 68
James Heckman 61
John List 60...
Most Downloaded Papers, 2005-2014
Author WP
Number
Title
Taylor 14631 (2009) The Financial Crisis and the Policy
Response:...
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The NBER Working Paper Series at 20,000 - James Poterba

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The NBER Working Paper Series at 20,000

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  1. 1. The Origin and Evolution of the NBER Working Paper Series James Poterba, MIT and NBER July 2014
  2. 2. The Beginning Bob Michael seeks an outlet for research from the NBER Center for Economic Analysis of Human Behavior and Social Institutions (December 1972) The Vision: “What I have in mind is simply a new heavy paper cover for manuscripts much like that used by many departments of economics and university research institutes …” Key Design Feature: “… [working papers have] not undergone the full critical review accorded the National Bureau’s studies…”
  3. 3. The Prototype by H. Irving Forman
  4. 4. Working Paper #1
  5. 5. The Launch: June 1973 Paper #1: Finis Welch, “Education, Information, and Efficiency” Paper #2: Barry Chiswick, “Hospital Utilization: An Analysis of SMSA Differences” (published in Explorations) Paper #3: Swarnjit Arora, “Error Component Regression Models and Their Applications” (published in Annals) 3 WPs in first month, took 26 months to reach #100 About 175 Papers before Martin Feldstein becomes NBER President in April 1977
  6. 6. The Great Expansion: Post 1978 1978: 55 Papers 1981: 221 Papers Milestones: WP1000: October 1982 WP2000: August 1986 WP5000: January 1995 (22 Years Post-Launch) WP10000: October 2003 WP20000: March 2014
  7. 7. NBER WPs Today 1110 papers in 2013 869 academic institution subscribers, 168 non-academic subscribers Approximately 25,000 recipients of “New This Week” email “Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded…” feature Roughly 5.5 million downloads per year, of which 1.8 million are non-OECD users and 40% are for papers more than three years old About 75% of visitors find NBER papers from a Google search
  8. 8. Percent of 1st Year Downloads by Days Since Release 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Day 0 1 2 3 Day 4 5 6 7 8 Day 9 10 11 12 13 Day 14
  9. 9. Cumulative % Year 1 Downloads by Days Since Release 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 Day 0 1 2 3 Day 4 5 6 7 8 Day 9 10 11 12 13 Day 14
  10. 10. Working Papers by Program, 1972-2014
  11. 11. Top Working Paper Authors, 1973-2014 Author Paper Count Martin Feldstein 161 Joshua Aizenman 157 Richard Freeman 142 James Poterba 122 Andrei Shleifer 121 James Heckman 121 Michal Bordo 119 Assaf Razin 115 Ed Glaeser 115 Daron Acemoglu 114
  12. 12. Top Working Paper Authors, 2004-2014 Author Paper Count Daron Acemoglu 81 Joshua Aizenman 68 James Heckman 61 John List 60 Ed Glaeser 58 John Whalley 58 Michael Bordo 53 Shang-Jin Wei 50 Andre Shleifer 44 Olivia Mitchell 44 Rene Stulz 44
  13. 13. Most Downloaded Papers, 2005-2014 Author WP Number Title Taylor 14631 (2009) The Financial Crisis and the Policy Response: An Empirical Analysis of What Went Wrong Reinhart & Rogoff 15639 (2010) Growth in a Time of Debt Reinhart & Rogoff 13882 (2008) This Time is Different: A Panoramic view of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises Barro 5698 (1996) Determinants of Economic Growth Reinhart & Rogoff 13761 (2008) Is the 2007 US Sub-Priime Financial Crisis so Different? Reinhart & Rogoff 14656 (2009) The Aftermath of Financial Crises Shleifer & Vishny 5554 (1996) A Survey of Corporate Governance Sachs & Warner 5398 (1995) Natural Resource Abundance & Economic Growth Rajan 11728 (2005) Has Financial Development Made the World Riskier? B. Hall, Jaffe, & 8498 (2001) The NBER Patent Citation Data File
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