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David E. Weinstein leads the Center’s research activities and has several individual projects under way supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), and a Google Research Grant. Professor Weinstein’s research and teaching focus on international economics, macroeconomics, corporate finance, the Japanese economy, and industrial policy. In addition to his role as CJEB’s director, he is the director of the NBER Japan Project, cosponsored by CJEB. Professor Weinstein was also the chair of Columbia University’s Economics Department.
Professor Weinstein’s research utilizes extremely detailed databases on various aspects of the Japanese economy. In 2015–2016, Professor Weinstein continued his research on systemic financial risk in Japan. He has a major project under way that aims to illustrate how banking crises affect aggregate investment. In particular, this research will address the importance of problems in individual large financial institutions to understanding aggregate loan volatility in general and what impact bank loan supply has on the investment of firms. He is also working on a project with the Bank of International Settlements on the global demand and supply of bank assets.
His work on Japanese inflation involves examining how problems in the measurement of inflation should affect monetary policy. In particular, Professor Weinstein examines whether central banks should care less about inflation movements when inflation rates become lower. This research has implications for understanding monetary policy in Japan and much of the developed world.
Professor Weinstein has continued his work on “Prices in Space and Time,” a research project using barcode data from the ACNielsen HomeScan (for purchases in the United States), Nikkei-POS, and ACNielsen Scantrak (for retail sales in Japan and several other countries), and Google’s price and click- through information (for all retail products and real estate reported on the Google Product search and Google Maps for several countries). This project aims to measure inflation at a daily frequency and explore how daily price and consumption data respond to macroeconomic shocks. Professor Weinstein expects that the construction of daily price and consumption indexes for major economies will alter our understanding of how policy and economic shocks are transmitted to economies. He has also been using these data to understand the sources of firm success.
In addition, he is pursuing a project with the Rakuten Institute of Technology focusing on the gains to Japanese consumers from Internet purchases.
Professor Weinstein’s research is often cited and discussed in the media, and he is a frequent commentator on Japan.