Benjamin Born, Gernot Müller, Moritz Schularick, Petr Sedláček, 18 July 2018

Growth and employment in the US have been robust over the past 18 months, and President Trump frequently takes personal credit for these trends. This column explores how the US economy would have evolved without Trump. An analysis shows no difference between the post-election performance of the US economy under Trump and a synthetic ‘doppelganger’ US economy without Trump, suggesting that there has been no ‘Trump effect’.  

Sumit Agarwal, J. Bradford Jensen, Ferdinando Monte, 18 July 2018

Although the internet has greatly reduced the travel frictions that consumers face, for many goods and services, consumers’ willingness to travel is still a key factor influencing firms’ decisions. This column explores consumer mobility and purchases using credit card transaction data. Predictably, consumers travel further for more durable and less frequently consumed goods. The results suggest that consumer mobility may be relevant at the individual level and in the formation of local equilibrium outcomes.

Markus K Brunnermeier, Joseph Abadi, 17 July 2018

Cryptocurrencies and the underlying distributed ledger technology have exploded into public consciousness over the last few years, with devotees insisting that the technology will revolutionise financial transactions and ownership data. This column identifies a ‘blockchain trilemma’ whereby no ledger can fully satisfy the three desirable properties of decentralisation, correctness, and cost-efficiency. It further explains how distributed ledgers enhance competition but introduce costs above and beyond the well-known electricity costs.

Michael Casey, Jonah Crane, Gary Gensler, Simon Johnson, Neha Narula, 16 July 2018

The idea of a new software system that powers a consensus-driven form of shared record keeping has already had a profound effect, encouraging rapid and substantial investment in what is now commonly referred to as blockchain technology. This column introduces the latest Geneva Report on the World Economy, which assesses the available evidence and likely impact for this technology across a wide range of applications and explores the potential use cases for the financial sector, and the ways in which the organisation of these activities may change over time.

Guido Tabellini, 16 July 2018

A key question in the debate on the reform of the euro area concerns the right mix between risk sharing and market discipline. This column, part of the VoxEU debate on the topic, argues that proposals to enhance market discipline in the euro area are counter-productive, because they increase the vulnerabilities of countries with high legacy debts. 

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