What can the iPhone tell us about the trade imbalance between China and the US? This column argues that current trade statistics greatly inflate the value of China’s iPhone exports to the US, since China's value added accounts for only a very small portion of the Apple product's price. Given this, the renminbi’s appreciation would have little impact on the global demand for products assembled in China.
Yuqing Xing, 10 April 2011
Aoife Hanley, Wan-Hsin Liu, Andrea Vaona, 24 March 2011
A decade ago economic theory might have suggested that Chinese innovation would be “piggybacking” on the West, taking advantage of the widely available machines and equipment imported from those economies. But using data for 2001 to 2008, this column finds that while foreign investment may once have fuelled technological advancement, it has lost ground to domestic financing channelled within a stronger and ever-improving Chinese financial system.
Heleen Mees, 24 March 2011
Is US easy monetary policy in the early 2000s to blame for the global saving glut? This column argues that the Federal Reserve’s policy triggered the refinancing boom and ensuing spending spree, which spurred economic growth and savings in China. The prolonged decline in long-term interest rates in the mid-2000s is largely to blame for the housing boom in the US.
Klaus Desmet, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 12 March 2011
Are the world’s megacities becoming a sprawling, overfed, and uncontrollable mass that needs to be restrained for the good of society and the environment? This column suggests that policies aimed at reducing the dispersion in city sizes will hardly improve the wellbeing of the people who live there. If anything, in some developing countries, such as China, large cities may actually be too small.
Julien Martin, Isabelle Méjean, 11 March 2011
With exports from low-wage countries like China on the rise, the question of what this means for trade and jobs in developed countries is a furious war of words. This column, using firm-level data for France between 1995 and 2005, shows that competition from low-wage markets actually boosts the sales of high-quality goods – but it concedes the benefits are not universal.
Uri Dadush, Vera Eidelman, 06 March 2011
Global imbalances and their effects on the global economy are much discussed. This column says that discussing global imbalances is popular because it is the easy way out. It says that policymakers should target the illness rather than the symptoms by reforming their domestic economies and focusing on sustainable growth.
Helmut Reisen, Moritz Schularick, Marcus Kappler, Edouard Turkisch, 02 March 2011
If China only allowed its currency to appreciate, the global economy would rebalance and stabilise – or so the argument goes. This column studies the historical record of large exchange-rate revaluations. It supports the idea that currency appreciations have an impact on the current account but argues that this can come at a cost – the reduction in exports risks putting the brakes on global growth.
Uri Dadush, Vera Eidelman, 26 February 2011
Reform of the international monetary system tops France’s agenda as G20 chair. But what is it about the international monetary system that needs to change? This column says that the exchange-rate system is in relatively good shape.
Raphael Auer, 21 February 2011
This column says that low US inflation over the last 15 years is partly attributable to cheap Chinese imports. It argues that if the US trade deficit is reduced – via either Chinese inflation or a nominal appreciation of the renminbi – this disinflationary effect will be reduced. It says that the resulting inflationary impulse could be severe.
James Reade, Ulrich Volz, 18 February 2011
China is grappling with rising inflation. This column argues that the Chinese government, instead of focusing on micro-managing the economy, should grant its central bank room for further reform of its monetary policy. To make more efficient use of the interest-rate instrument, China's policymakers will need to further loosen the dollar peg.
Domingo Cavallo, Fernando Díaz, 17 February 2011
With growing inflation in China, policymakers are facing tough decisions. This column argues that if the government is to curb inflation without allowing for the deflation of the tradables, it should do so though sector focused policies. Monetary policy is already committed to the objective of preventing deflation of the tradables and to dampen the credit cycle that is behind asset bubbles.
Avinash Persaud, 16 February 2011
Criticism of China’s exchange-rate policy continues throughout the US. This column argues that the US is in fact the exchange rate manipulator, due to its ongoing quantitative easing. What the US needs to do for a sustainable turnaround is to learn from other successful economies like China and Germany – not de-rail them.
Nicholas Bloom, Mirko Draca, John Van Reenen, 03 February 2011
Chinese exports are often blamed for job losses and firm closures in developed economies. This column tracks the performance of more than half a million manufacturing firms in 12 European countries over the past decade. It finds that competition with Chinese exports is directly responsible for around 15% of technical change and an annual benefit of almost €10 billion in these countries – the wider productivity effects may well be larger.
Jan Luiten van Zanden, 26 January 2011
China has been one of the world’s most dynamic economies in recent decades, but how did it fall so far behind? This column argues that the industrial revolution occurred in Europe rather than China because European entrepreneurs were eager to adopt machines to cut down on high labour costs. China didn’t “miss” the industrial revolution – it didn’t need it.
Marcos Chamon, Kai Liu, Eswar Prasad, 18 January 2011
In an effort to reduce its sizeable current-account surplus, the Chinese government has made it a priority to “rebalance” growth in China by stoking private consumption. This column examines the determinants of the high household saving rate that keeps Chinese consumption so low.
Uri Dadush, Vera Eidelman, 20 December 2010
Today’s currency tensions are the result of a complex set of forces arising from the Great Recession. This column presents lessons from the break-up of the gold standard and of the fixed-rate dollar standard. While competitive devaluations are less likely today than is commonly feared, there is no room for complacency.
Wolfgang Keller, Ben Li, Carol Shiue, 19 December 2010
The growing power of Chinese trade is almost daily news. This column argues that China’s role in world trade today is shaped in part by the post-1978 market reforms and in part by the Western invasion in the 19th century. Following the Opium Wars, China was forced to open its borders, providing the bedrock of technology and infrastructure that supported its future growth.
Uri Dadush, Shimelse Ali, 09 December 2010
If China appreciates its currency, who will gain and who will lose out? This column argues that the single greatest beneficiary from a gradual renminbi revaluation, accompanied by measures to stimulate demand, will be China itself. Ironically, the US, which has been leading the charge on renminbi appreciation, would likely be among the losers. Certainly, a very large one-off revaluation that disrupts China’s growth hurts everyone.
Raphael Auer, Andreas Fischer, 05 December 2010
Over the past two decades, Western European trade has become increasingly integrated with emerging economies. This column uses a novel empirical technique to show that import competition from East Asian low-wage countries – in particular China – has dampened inflation in five Western European nations. Increased integration with Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe, meanwhile, has had little effect on inflation.
Venkatachalam Shunmugam, Debojyoti Dey, 03 December 2010
Politicians, public servants, and commentators have been queuing up in recent months to raise their concerns about global imbalances, particularly the China-US imbalance. This column argues that while the two economies may present opposing public stances, they are quietly playing a tango that neither can step out of.