National Bureau of Economic Research

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National Bureau of Economic Research
Founded 1920
Headquarters Home office in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Products Nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization with the aim of educating about how the economy works
Web site

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization founded in 1920 to promote a greater understanding of how the economy works. Sixteen of the 31 American Nobel Prize winners on the subject of economics and six of the past chairmen of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers have been researchers at the NBER.[1]

The NBER depends on funding from individuals, corporations, and private foundations to maintain its independence and its flexibility in choosing its research activities. It concentrates on the development of statistical measures of the economy, the estimation of quantitative models of human behavior, the analysis of how existing government policies are impacting the economy, and the analysis of how proposed government policies are likely to impact the economy.

The NBER is the official arbiter of when recessions begin.[2]

The bureau's main office is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with additional offices in Palo Alto, California, and New York City.[3]

Key People[edit]

The NBER is governed by a board of directors with representatives from the leading U.S. research universities, major national economics organizations, business, trade unions, and academe. Dr. James Poterba is the NBER's president and chief executive officer. In addition to the research associates and faculty research fellows, the bureau employs a support staff of 45.

Board of Directors[edit]




  1. Press Release. NBER.
  2. Recession Is Here, Economist Declares. Boston Globe.
  3. NBER Information. National Bureau of Economic Research.