Sunday, September 23, 2018

NBER WP's Hit 25,000



A few weeks ago the NBER released WP25000, What a great NBER service -- there have been 7.6 million downloads of NBER WP's in the last year alone. 


This milestone is 
of both current and historical interest. The history is especially interesting. As Jim Poterba notes in a recent communication:
This morning's "New this Week" email included the release of the 25000th NBER working paper, a study of the intergenerational transmission of human capital by David Card, Ciprian Domnisoru, and Lowell Taylor.  The NBER working paper series was launched in 1973, at the inspiration of Robert Michael, who sought a way for NBER-affiliated researchers to share their findings and obtain feedback prior to publication.  The first working paper was "Education, Information, and Efficiency" by Finis Welch.  The design for the working papers -- which many will recall appeared with yellow covers in the pre-digital age -- was created by H. Irving Forman, the NBER's long-serving chart-maker and graphic artist.
Initially there were only a few dozen working papers per year, but as the number of NBER-affiliated researchers grew, particularly after Martin Feldstein became NBER president in 1977, the NBER working paper series also expanded.  In recent years, there have been about 1150 papers per year.  Over the 45 year history of the working paper series, the Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program has accounted for nearly twenty percent (4916) of the papers, closely followed by Labor Studies (4891) and Public Economics (4877).