Tamim Bayoumi, Barry Eichengreen, 27 March 2017

Asymmetric aggregate supply and demand disturbances across its regions prevent the smooth functioning of a currency union. This column argues that the disturbances in peripheral regions of the US show more symmetry with those in the anchor region than is the case for the Eurozone. Moreover, disturbances to the GIPPS, which previously were in Europe’s periphery, have become more correlated with disturbances to the anchor (Germany) compared to other Eurozone countries. Hysteresis operating via the financial sector may provide an explanation for this development.

Rui Albuquerque, Zicheng Lei, Jörg Rocholl, Chendi Zhang, 09 July 2016

As US states amass control of business through public pension funds, important questions about potential agency conflicts are raised. This column uses a landmark ruling, which in effect created a new channel of corporate political activism, to investigate this agency conflict. Firms with high institutional ownership have seen lower returns following the ruling. The findings suggest that political connections are an important mechanism of political activism by corporations with state public pension fund ownership.

Robert Margo, 08 June 2016

Racial income inequality continues to be a major problem in the US. To devise a coherent policy response, this persistent inequality must be understood in its historical context. This column uses data from over 130 years to suggest a model in which income in the US is a function of racial identity and human capital. While racial identity is transmitted inter-generationally, human capital is also affected by race, for example through educational attainment. Furthermore, shifts in labour market prices inhibit the convergence of wages across race. 

Markus Poschke, Barış Kaymak, 17 April 2016

Recent decades have seen a remarkable increase in the concentration of wealth in the hands of the wealthiest in the US. This column examines which factors may have driven this increase. The evidence points to higher wage inequality, often attributed to new developments in the technology of production, as the main driving force, followed by tax cuts for top earners and more generous public transfers as secondary factors.

Charles Manski, 22 November 2011

Policymakers and the media often rely on official estimates. But with policies that are so complex and often untested, these estimates are at best rough guesses – so why not be honest about it? This column calls for confidence intervals to be used in future policy debates.

Gary Hufbauer, Jeffrey Schott, 05 February 2009

The “Buy American” provision in the US stimulus package would violate US trade obligations, damage the US' reputation, and have almost no real impact on US jobs. Moreover, the provisions will be read as an Obama trade policy that leans toward protectionism – with severe consequences abroad.

Richard Murnane, 17 March 2008

The poor state of America’s urban public school systems is one of the nation’s most pressing domestic policy problems. Two improvement approaches vie for attention in policy circles: changing central office management strategies, and improving incentives. While the two approaches compete for influence, they are in fact complementary. Alone, neither one will make much of a difference. Together they can improve urban school systems.