Thomas Philippon, Aude Salord, 22 March 2017

Failed financial firms should not be bailed out by the taxpayers. Europe, unfortunately, has a weak track record of following this principle of good governance and sound economic policy. The banking union, with its new approach to supervision and resolution, is meant to improve this matter. This column introduces a new Geneva Special Report on the World Economy which reviews the resolution side of the banking union. 

Willem Buiter, 22 March 2017

A border tax adjustment from origin-based taxation to destination-based taxation is under consideration for corporate profit tax in the US. This column investigates the implications of such an adjustment for the nominal exchange rate, assuming the real equilibrium of the economy is unchanged. While conventional wisdom is that the currency of the country implementing the adjustment will appreciate by a percentage equal to the VAT or corporate profit tax rate, a depreciation of the same magnitude is just as likely. 

Rachel Griffith, Martin O'Connell, Kate Smith, 21 March 2017

Governments have long used taxation to correct for the socially costly overconsumption of alcohol, but as the external cost of overconsumption varies across drinkers, a single tax rate is not optimal. This column argues that variation in preferences for different products and in price responsiveness across heavy and light drinkers provides scope to improve welfare by varying tax rates across alcohol products. The proposed framework is well suited to addressing other sources of external costs, such as obesity.

David Autor, David Dorn, Gordon Hanson, Gary P. Pisano, Pian Shu, 20 March 2017

The discussion of the decline in US manufacturing during the 2016 presidential election campaign largely focused on job losses. This column examines the effects of Chinese import competition on another metric for the health of the US manufacturing sector – innovation.  Firms whose industries were exposed to a greater surge of Chinese import competition from 1991 to 2007 experienced a significant decline in their patent output as well as their R&D expenditures. While politicians’ ‘obsession’ with manufacturing is primarily due to job losses, an accompanying reduction in innovation may well affect economic growth in the longer term.

Marion Jansen, Valentina Rollo, Olga Solleder, 19 March 2017

Standards and regulations form an inherent part of international trade. This column presents evidence – based on two novel datasets – that suggests that for firms the distinction between voluntary standards and government regulations is blurred, that export revenues of small firms are hit twice as hard by burdensome regulations as those of large firms, and that firms active in larger markets have access to a higher number of voluntary standards.

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