Global economy

Nadav Ben Zeev, Evi Pappa, 06 September 2017

Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship has grabbed the attention of the whole world with its nuclear brinkmanship – and global markets have responded with a flight to safe-haven assets. This column reports research showing that such an escalation in international tensions can also have real effects for the US economy in the short to medium run. According to the authors’ analysis of the macroeconomic effects of anticipated increases in defence spending, North Korea’s insistent and rapid test-firing of missiles could boost the US economy.

Yusuf Soner Baskaya, Julian di Giovanni, Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Mehmet Fatih Ulu, 01 September 2017

Most models assume capital flows are endogenous to the business cycle, and that inflows increase during an economy’s ‘boom’ periods. This column shows that the international no-arbitrage condition in fact does not hold, and that capital flows are pushed into an economy due to high global risk appetite. Controlling for domestic monetary policy responses to capital flows and changes in the exchange rate, exogenous capital inflows lower real borrowing costs and fuel credit expansion.

Ricardo Caballero, Alp Simsek, 30 August 2017

Interest rates continue to decline across the globe, while returns to capital remain constant or increasing. The reasons for this widening risky-safe gap are wide-ranging. This column illustrates the secular rise of risk intolerance in the global economy, and summarises a new macroeconomic framework suitable for this environment. It uses this framework to discuss the current global macroeconomic context, its underlying fragility, and the coexistence of low equilibrium interest rates and high speculation.

Wim Boonstra, 25 August 2017

Measured in dollars, the US is by far the most indebted country in the world. As this column describes, however, the country still has a positive capital income in spite of its high net debt position, and its external debt position is much smaller than one would expect based on cumulated current account deficits. Furthermore, fluctuations in the dollar exchange rates have a strong direct effect on the country’s international investment position. As long as it can finance its external obligations in dollars, its international debt position is no cause for concern for the US. For the rest of the world, however, the story may be different.

Hugo Erken, Philip Marey, Maartje Wijffelaars, 15 August 2017

Since taking office, US President Donald Trump has been an increasingly vocal proponent of protectionist measures. This column presents five reasons why he is unlikely to resort to full-blown protectionism: political motivations, WTO membership, the possibility of retaliation, the existence of global value chain integration and revenue streams, and the fact that automation rather than trade has caused most job losses in the US. If Trump does resort to protectionism, however, and other countries retaliate, US GDP could face cumulative losses of up to 4.5% over two years.

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