Richard Blundell, Luigi Pistaferri, Itay Saporta Eksten, 18 December 2017

Households can insure their living standards against shocks to wages or employment through the allocation of goods and time. This column presents a model for couples’ decisions on how much to consume or save and how to allocate their available time to three activities – work, leisure, and the care of children – and uses the model to simulate behaviour in response to new policies. The results suggest that the reduction of the mother's childcare time should be an important part of any analysis of the consequences of policies or external shocks that incentivise mothers with young children into work.

Assaf Razin, Efraim Sadka, 18 December 2017

The ongoing advance of globalisation has created a genuine need for international tax reforms. This column explores potential reforms and their likely effects, using a model with flexible prices. Residence-based income taxation is shown to have welfare advantages over source-based taxation, though at the cost of a larger trade deficit. Non-transitory border taxes are shown to be ineffective at reducing this deficit.

Hideaki Tomita, 17 December 2017

Driverless vehicles are expected to become a reality on our roads in the near future. This column reviews research into the effects this will have on the economy and on society. New business models for truck operators and delivery companies, commuters putting the time they would have been driving to more productive use, and fewer accidents and greater efficiency on the road are among the developments that will benefit the economy. At the same time, driverless cars will become a major means of transport for elderly people in rural areas, while in urban areas the number of cars owned for personal use will drop sharply.

Gur Huberman, Jacob Leshno, Ciamac C. Moallemi, 16 December 2017

Cryptocurrencies have caught the attention of industry, academia, and the public at large. This column analyses an economic model of a cryptocurrency system featuring user-generated transaction fees, focusing on Bitcoin as the leading example. The Bitcoin system requires significant congestion to raise revenue and fund infrastructure or risk collapse in the long term. Moreover, the current design of the system – specifically the processing of large but infrequent blocks of transactions – makes it less efficient at raising revenue.

Lukas Kuld, John O'Hagan, 16 December 2017

Many theories have been posited for the growth in co-authorship in economic research output. This column uses new findings to assess the viability of the different explanations. Lower costs of global communication and increased pressure to produce greater research output play a role, but more information on hiring, promotional, and funding practices is required to assess the relative importance of the various factors behind the trend.

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