Lutz Kilian, Xiaoqing Zhou, 09 November 2017

Global commodity prices surged across the board after 2003, with some observers claiming that this reflected a permanent increase in global real economic activity. This column argues that this was a persistent but transitory phenomena tied to rising commodity demand from Asia. It presents evidence of a global economic slowdown since 2011, with low real commodity prices likely to persist.

Ewout Frankema, Jeffrey Williamson , Pieter Woltjer, 14 July 2015

The partitioning of Africa by European imperial powers in the late 19th century irreversibly transformed the long-term development trajectories of African economies. Yet, the motives for, and timing of, the scramble remain poorly understood. This column argues that the changes in African international trade over the course of the 19th century created an economic rationale for the African scramble. This episode offers insights that are relevant for current African economic development.

Anders Åslund, 04 September 2013

Emerging markets are under pressure. This column argues that this is not a mere headwind but that the BRICs’ party is over. Their ability to get going again rests on their ability to carry through reforms in grim times for which they lacked the courage in a boom.

Anne-Laure Delatte, Claude Lopez, 04 August 2013

Commodities are usually advertised as having the same returns and less volatility than equities. This column presents the results of a recent CEPR working paper showing that previous studies based on rather restrictive assumptions produced biased results that favoured commodities over equities. Using an alternative methodology, co-movement between traditional asset and commodity markets seems to be symmetric and occurs most of the time. What changes is the strength of the relationship. The returns of equities and commodities have become more integrated in the aftermath of the subprime crisis, a result that questions the diversification benefits of commodities.

Roland Beck, Arnaud Mehl, 26 July 2013

The intensification of the crisis has led to concerns about a possible shortage of global safe assets. At the same time, major reserve-currency issuers are losing their AAA-rating. This column considers new evidence on the recent rise of non-traditional currencies such as the Australian and Canadian dollars in global reserve portfolios. Evidence suggests that sovereign risk in advanced economies typically considered as safe is a key determinant of the growing importance of non-traditional reserve currencies.

Gustavo Adler, Nicolas Magud, 04 July 2013

Commodity exporters have been both blessed and cursed by the boom-and-bust nature of commodity-price and demand swings. This column presents a new metric that computes the additional income arising from changes in the real purchasing value of output as a result of changes in relative prices. Focusing on Latin America, it’s clear that although its recent terms-of-trade boom is of similar magnitude to that seen in the 1970s, the associated income windfall has been much larger. The current weakening of external current-account balances in Latin America – even if driven by higher domestic investment – warrants close monitoring.

Ke Tang, Wei Xiong, 30 November 2010

In recent years, hundreds of billions of dollars of investment has flowed into commodities markets. This column describes why and how commodities markets have grown so rapidly and discusses some policy implications.

Ataman Aksoy, Bernard Hoekman, 08 October 2010

The contributions in this latest book from CEPR and the World Bank review trends in international prices and trade patterns of key food commodities, and assess the incidence of food price changes in a number of developing countries using household level data on sources of incomes and consumption patterns.

Antonio Ciccone, 07 January 2008

Since World War II, civil wars have killed more people than interstate conflicts. Poverty and low income growth have long been suspected as important causal factors, and new evidence suggests that drops in income raise the likelihood of civil war. However, democratic institutions may significantly alleviate such dangers.