Emi Nakamura

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Emi Nakamura
BornOctober 1980 (age 38)
Alma materPrinceton University, Harvard University
AwardsJohn Bates Clark Medal, 2019

Elaine Bennett Research Prize, 2014
Eccles Research Award in Finance and Economics, 2015
2014 IMF Generation Next: Top 25 Economists under 45

Sloan Research Fellowship 2014-2016
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Berkeley, Columbia University
Doctoral advisorRobert Barro and Ariel Pakes

Emi Nakamura is Chancellor's Professor of Economics at University of California, Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research,[1] and a Co-Editor of the American Economic Review.[2] She was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal[3] and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019. She has been awarded an NSF Career Grant and Sloan Research Fellowship, was the 2014 recipient of the Elaine Bennett Research Prize,[4][5] and was named one of the top 25 economists under 45 in 2014 by the IMF.[6] She received her PhD in Economics from Harvard and her AB from Princeton.[7]


Nakamura's research focuses on empirical issues in macroeconomics, including price stickiness, the impact of fiscal shocks, and measurement errors in official statistics. Her citation for the John Bates Clark Medal from the American Economic Association states that Nakamura has "greatly increased our understanding of price-setting by firms and the effects of monetary and fiscal policies", noting her "creativity in suggesting new sources of data to address long-standing questions.[8]". In her most cited work, "Five facts about prices", she and Jón Steinsson showed that many measured price changes are due to temporary sales, scheduled far in advance, rather than happening as dynamic responses to economic conditions. This suggested that even though economic data features frequent price changes, this can be compatible with macroeconomic models featuring substantial price rigidity.[9] In another highly cited work, "Fiscal stimulus in a monetary union", she and Jón Steinsson use variation in US government military spending across states to estimate the open-economy government spending multiplier, finding values substantially higher than one. This confirms the prediction of Keynesian macroeconomic models that fiscal stimulus can have substantial effects on output, particularly at the zero lower bound.[9]


Nakamura is married to fellow economist and frequent co-author Jón Steinsson, with whom she has two children[10] and is the daughter of economists Alice Nakamura and Masao Nakamura[11][12] and the granddaughter of economist Guy Orcutt

Selected works[edit]

Inflation and price dispersion[edit]

  • "Five facts about prices: A reevaluation of menu cost models" (with Jón Steinsson) This paper analyzes detailed microeconomic price data in the U.S. They document that, outside of sales, prices change relatively infrequently, giving support to macroeconomic models which feature price rigidity: the median frequency of price changes is 9-12% per month. They show that previous work finding more frequent price adjustment failed to take into account the effect of sales (which change prices, but do not constitute price flexibility in the sense relevant for macroeconomic models). They use their data firms' price-setting behavior to test the menu cost model of price rigidity and find mixed support. Full citation: Nakamura, Emi; Steinsson, Jón (2008). "Five facts about prices: A reevaluation of menu cost models". The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 123 (4): 1415–1464. JSTOR 40506213.
  • "The Elusive Costs of Inflation: Price Dispersion during the U.S. Great Inflation" (with Jón Steinsson, Patrick Sun and Daniel Villar) This paper attempts to measure the costs of inflation. In the commonly used New Keynesian macroeconomic models, the social costs of inflation arise from inefficient price dispersion. In typical models, higher inflation implies higher price dispersion, and therefore higher welfare losses. Nakamura et al. digitize price data from the era of high inflation in the US in the 1970s and 1980s to test this hypothesis. They find "no evidence that the absolute size of price changes rose during the Great Inflation", and conclude that "This suggests that the standard New Keynesian analysis of the welfare costs of inflation is wrong and its implications for the optimal inflation rate need to be reassessed". Full citation: Nakamura, Emi; Steinsson, Jón; Sun, Patrick; Villar, Daniel (2018). "The Elusive Costs of Inflation: Price Dispersion during the U.S. Great Inflation" (PDF). Quarterly Journal of Economics. 133(4): 1933–1908.

Monetary policy[edit]

  • "High-Frequency Identification of Monetary Non-Neutrality: The Information Effect" This paper uses financial market data in the thirty-minute window after Federal Reserve rate announcements to demonstrate that financial market expectations of real variables (the real interest rate, and economy growth) are responsive to news about monetary policy. In response to an interest rate hike, expectations of both nominal and real interest rates respond roughly one-for-one several years into the term structure. Forecasts of economic growth also increase, contrary to typical predictions of economic models. The paper argues that these facts are consistent with a model where Federal Reserve rate announcements provide information not only about monetary policy but also about economic fundamentals, and that this is an important causal channel of the effects of monetary policy on output. Full citation: Nakamura, Emi (2018). "High-Frequency Identification of Monetary Non-Neutrality: The Information Effect" (PDF). Quarterly Journal of Economics. 133(3): 1283–1330.
  • "The Power of Forward Guidance Revisited" (with Alisdair McKay and Jón Steinsson) Standard models imply that forward guidance has an extremely large effect on current real economic outcomes. This paper argues that the effects of forward guidance are likely to be substantially reduced (relative to this benchmark) if financial markets are incomplete in two plausible ways: specifically, if agents face borrowing constraints and uninsurable income risk. Full citation: McKay, Alisdair; Nakamura, Emi; Steinsson, Jón (2016). "The Power of Forward Guidance Revisited" (PDF). American Economic Review. 106(10): 3133–3158.
  • "Monetary non-neutrality in a multisector menu cost model" (with Jón Steinsson) This paper shows that two alterations to the typical menu cost model - introducing heterogeneity in the frequency of firm price changes, and intermediate inputs - triple the real effects of nominal shocks relative to the benchmark model. This was able to reconcile a puzzle in prior work: the monetary policy transmission mechanism was thought to work through price rigidity, yet typical menu cost models calibrated to empirical evidence on price changes could not generate large effects of nominal shocks on real variables. Full citation: Nakamura, Emi; Steinsson, Jón (2010). "Monetary non-neutrality in a multisector menu cost model". The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 125 (3): 961–1013. JSTOR 27867504.
  • "Accounting for incomplete pass-through" (with D Zerom) Full citation: Nakamura, Emi; Zerom, D (2010). "Accounting for incomplete pass-through". The Review of Economic Studies. 77 (3): 1192–1230. JSTOR 40835861.

Fiscal policy[edit]

  • "Fiscal stimulus in a monetary union: Evidence from US regions" (with Jón Steinsson) This paper uses regional variation in US military spending to estimate an "open economy multiplier" to fiscal policy shocks of 1.5. This empirical evidence "indicates that demand shocks can have large effects on output", particularly at the zero lower bound.[13] Full citation: Nakamura, Emi; Steinsson, Jón (2014). "Fiscal stimulus in a monetary union: Evidence from US regions". The American Economic Review. 104 (3): 753–792. JSTOR 42920719.

Economic crises[edit]


  1. ^ "C.V. of Emi Nakamura" (PDF).
  2. ^ "American Economic Association". www.aeaweb.org. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  3. ^ "American Economic Association". www.aeaweb.org. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  4. ^ Emi Nakamura Recipient of the 2014 Elaine Bennett Research Prize. American Economic Association. aeaweb.org
  5. ^ "Emi Nakamura Receives AEA's Elaine Bennett Research Prize | Columbia University - Economics". econ.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  6. ^ "NBER Reporter 2015 Number 1: Research Summary". www.nber.org. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  7. ^ Affairs, Public; November 14, UC Berkeley|; 2018December 10; 2018 (2018-11-14). "Meet our new faculty: Emi Nakamura, economics". Berkeley News. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  8. ^ "American Economic Association". www.aeaweb.org. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  9. ^ a b "Interview: Emi Nakamura" (PDF). Econ Focus--A publication of the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank. 2015.
  10. ^ Rampell, Catherine (2013-11-05). "Outsource Your Way to Success". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  11. ^ "An Interview with Emi Nakamura". CSWEP News. 2015.
  12. ^ CSWEP Talks. aeaweb.org
  13. ^ Nakamura, Emi; Steinsson, Jón (2011-10-02). "Does fiscal stimulus work in a monetary union? Evidence from US regions". VoxEU.org. Retrieved 2019-04-18.