Holiday break message from Team Vox

Richard Baldwin 24 December 2018



Following our usual tradition, takes a break between Christmas and the New Year. Our final column of 2018 will be on 24 December and our first column of 2019 will appear on 2 January.

For your holiday amusement, I’ve put together a list of greatest hits from 2018 blended in with some of my personal favourites. They are arranged by month.  The most popular Vox column among readers was “The missing profits of nations” by Thomas Tørsløv, Ludvig Wier and Gabriel Zucman. Posted in July, it had garnered over 60,000 views as of mid-December 2018. The column presents evidence that the global average tax on corporations fell by half—much of it due to profit shifting to tax havens. 


How to reconcile risk sharing and market discipline in the euro area
Bénassy-Quéré, Brunnermeier, Enderlein, Farhi, Fratzscher, Fuest, Gourinchas, Martin, Pisani-Ferry, Rey, Schnabel, Véron, Weder di Mauro, Zettelmeyer, 17 January 2018, 37489 reads

The euro area continues to suffer from critical weaknesses that are the result of a poorly designed fiscal and financial architecture, but its members are divided on how to address the problems. This column proposes six reforms which, if delivered as a package, would improve the euro area’s financial stability, political cohesion, and potential for delivering prosperity to its citizens, all while addressing the priorities and concerns of participating countries.

The rate of return on everything
Jordà, Knoll, Kuvshinov, Schularick, Taylor, 02 January 2018, 35675 reads

The rate of return on capital plays a pivotal role in shaping current macroeconomic debates. This column presents findings from a new dataset covering returns of major asset classes in the advanced economies over the last 150 years. The data offer new insights on several long-standing puzzles in economics, and uncover new relationships that seem at odds with some fundamental economic tenets. 

Consumption and income inequality in the US since the 1960s
Meyer, Sullivan, 15 January 2018, 15361 reads

Concerns about rising inequality inform important debates on some of our most significant policy issues, but the debate over inequality relies almost exclusively on income data. This column argues that consumption data show how changes in inequality in economic wellbeing are more nuanced than a simple story of rising dispersion throughout the distribution. In the bottom half of the distribution there is little evidence rising consumption inequality, and in the top half of the distribution the rise in consumption inequality has been much more modest than the rise in income inequality, particularly since 2000. 

Immigration in the era of automation
Basso, Peri, Rahman, 12 January 2018, 15095 reads

The US and Europe have both seen wage polarisation in the last three decades, in parallel with increasing technical automation. This column analyses the impact of immigration on this wage divergence via its effect on the labour supply side. It finds that immigration partially reverses natives’ polarisation of employment opportunities and wages by expanding aggregate demand and allowing natives to move to better paying occupations. Policies to reduce low-skilled migration with the aim of favouring native middle-class labour market opportunities may in fact do the opposite.

Robots and jobs: Evidence from the US 
Acemoğlu, 12 January 2018, 10324 reads

Concerns that industrial robots will replace human labour are widespread. Daron Acemoglu discusses how automation creates a displacement and a productivity effect. Furthermore, the effect of automation on employment heavily depends on the sector it is used in.

Tight monetary policy is not the answer to weak productivity growth
Obstfeld, Duval, 10 January 2018, 16743 reads

The widespread and persistent productivity slowdown witnessed since the Global Crisis had already begun in advanced and low-income countries prior to the crisis. This column argues that the crisis amplified the slowdown by creating ‘productivity hysteresis’, and that monetary policy played an ambiguous role. Policymakers must now address the legacies of the crisis through innovation, education policies, and structural reforms.

Reconsidering the ‘China shock’ in trade
Feenstra, Ma, Sasahara, Xu, 18 January 2018, 22352 reads

International trade has become a focus of political debates in the US and around the world, but while previous studies focus on the job-reducing effect of the surging imports from China or other low-wage countries on the US employment, the job-creating effect of exports has receive much less attention. This column employs two approaches – an instrumental variable regression analysis and a global input-output approach – to argue that the negative effects of import competition on US employment are largely balanced out once the country’s job-creating export expansion is taken into account. 

Monetary policy with negative nominal interest rates
Eggertsson, Juelsrud, Getz Wold, 31 January 2018, 17166 reads

Economists disagree on the macroeconomic role of negative interest rates. This column describes how, due to an apparent zero lower bound on deposit rates, negative policy rates have so far had very limited impact on the deposit rates faced by households and firms, and this lower bound on the deposit rate seems to be causing a decline in pass-through to lending rates as well. Negative interest rates thus appear ineffective in stimulating aggregate demand.

Speed under sail during the early Industrial Revolution
Kelly, Ó Gráda, 27 January 2018, 20436 reads

The consensus among economic (but not maritime) historians that maritime technology was more or less stagnant for 300 years until iron steamships appeared in the mid-19th century is largely based on indirect measures, such as changes in the cost of shipping freight or the length of voyages. This column instead looks directly at how the speed of ships in different winds improved over time. The speed of British ships rose by around half between 1750 and 1830 (albeit from a low base) thanks to innovations like the copper plating of hulls and the move from wooden to iron joints and bolts.


Money and monetary stability in Europe, 1300-1914
Karaman, Pamuk, Yıldırım-Karaman, 24 February 2018, 18208 reads

There is a notable lack of long-run analyses of monetary systems and their stability. This column addresses this gap by looking at the monetary systems of major European states between 1300 and 1914. The evidence collected suggests that, despite many switches between standards and systems, fiscal capacity and political regimes ultimately shaped patterns of monetary stability. Theories of monetary stability that rely on the mechanics of monetary systems perform poorly when such a long-run perspective is taken.

CV elements that will get you a job interview
Piopiunik, Schwerdt, Simon, Woessmann, 23 February 2018, 12904 reads

Applicants use CVs to signal cognitive and non-cognitive skills to potential employers, but we know little about how effective those signals are. Based on an experiment in which HR managers chose between CVs, this column argues that signals of cognitive skills, social skills, and maturity matter for successful entry into the labour market. The relevant signals depend on gender and entry stage.

Bank bail-ins: Lessons from the Cypriot crisis
Demetriades, 21 February 2018, 12816 reads

Europe’s new framework for resolving banks includes a ‘bail-in’ mechanism that aims to ensure that banks’ shareholders and creditors pay their share of costs, and which was first used to resolve the 2013 banking crisis in Cyprus. This column, written by the economist who was the country’s central bank governor at the time, examines the unintended consequences of the bail-in, which have proved more toxic than could ever have been imagined, and not just in Cyprus. Several euro area central banks and their governors have found themselves in the eye of political and legal storms when taking actions to resolve failing banks and/or restore stability in their banking systems.

On the link between US pay and productivity
Stansbury, Summers, 20 February 2018, 16656 reads

Since 1973, there has been divergence between labour productivity and the typical worker’s pay in the US as productivity has continued to grow strongly and growth in average compensation has slowed substantially. This column explores the causes and implications of this trend. Productivity growth appears to have continued to push workers’ wages up, with other factors to blame for the divergence. The evidence casts doubt on the idea that rapid technological progress is the primary driver here, suggesting rather that institutional and structural factors are to blame.

Cryptocurrencies don't make sense
Danielsson, 13 February 2018, 26888 reads

Cryptocurrencies are supposedly a new and superior form of money and investments – the way of the future. The author of this column, however, does not see the point of cryptocurrencies, finding them no better than existing fiat money or good investments.

The Chinese banking system
Cerutti, Zhou, 09 February 2018, 22467 reads

Chinese banks have continued to expand rapidly both domestically and abroad. Together, they constitute the largest banking sector in the world by far. This column places the Chinese banking system in a global context. Although very small relative to their domestic claims, Chinese banks’ foreign claims are substantial for many borrower countries in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean in particular. Many of these banking connections are related to Chinese outward foreign direct investment, with fewer related to trade linkages.

The revenge of the places that don't matter
Rodríguez-Pose, 06 February 2018, 34937 reads

Persistent poverty, economic decay and lack of opportunities cause discontent in declining regions, while policymakers reason that successful agglomeration economies drive economic dynamism, and that regeneration has failed. This column argues that this disconnect has led many of these ‘places that don’t matter’ to revolt in a wave of political populism with strong territorial, rather than social, foundations. Better territorial development policies are needed that tap potential and provide opportunities to those people living in the places that ‘don’t matter’.


Causes and consequences of the Sicilian Mafia
Acemoğlu, De Feo, De Luca, 02 March 2018, 57070 reads

The Mafia is often cited as one of the main reasons why Sicily has lagged behind the rest of Italy in economic and social development. This column describes how in an environment with weak state presence, the socialist threat of Peasant Fasci organisations at the end of the 19th century induced landholders, estate managers, and local politicians in Sicily to turn to the Mafia to resist and combat peasant demands. Within a few decades, the presence of the Mafia appears to have significantly reduced literacy, increased infant mortality, limited the provision of a variety of local public goods, and may also have significantly reduced local political competition.

Putting the Greek debt problem to rest
Eichengreen, Avgouleas, Poiares Maduro, Panizza, Portes, Weder di Mauro, Wyplosz, Zettelmeyer, 20 March 2018, 31543 reads

Greece’s third economic programme has been relatively successful, but before it can return to private market financing, the country will require more official debt relief. This column introduces a new CEPR Policy Insight which asks how much debt relief is required and how it should be delivered. Any debt relief package for Greece that wishes to avoid shifting the burden of repayment several generations into the future will need to include some degree of face-value debt relief.

Low risk as a predictor of financial crises
Danielsson, Valenzuela, Zer, 26 March 2018, 20183 reads

Reliable indicators of future financial crises are important for policymakers and practitioners. While most indicators consider an observation of high volatility as a warning signal, this column argues that such an alarm comes too late, arriving only once a crisis is already under way. A better warning is provided by low volatility, which is a reliable indication of an increased likelihood of a future crisis.

Income redistribution through taxes and transfers
Causa, Hermansen, 23 March 2018, 12188 reads

Growing wealth inequality has become a key concern for economists, and tackling it requires a deep understanding of how tax and transfer systems affect the income distribution. Using OECD data, this column argues that taxes and transfers are less effective at reducing inequality today than they were in the mid-1990s. This drop in effectiveness has largely been driven by declining cash transfers, with a smaller, more heterogeneous role for personal income taxes.

The euro area’s deepening political divide
Mody, 21 March 2018, 22299 reads

Two European elections – in Germany on 24 September 2017 and Italy on 4 March 2018 – warn that the peoples of Europe are drifting apart. Much of the recent deepening of these divisions can be traced to Europe’s single currency, the euro. This column argues that the political divide in Europe may now be hard to roll back absent a shift in focus to national priorities that pay urgent attention to the needs of those being left behind.

A Keynesian model of long-run growth
Benigno, Fornaro, 15 March 2018, 15705 reads

Existing research offers little guidance to policymakers who want to understand the interactions between economic fluctuations, growth, and stabilisation policies. This column introduces a Keynesian growth framework that provides a theory of long-run growth, built on a Keynesian approach to economic fluctuations. In the model, pessimistic expectations about future growth can give rise to stagnation traps. It suggests that monetary policy during a stagnation trap is hindered by credibility issues.

The return of regional inequality: Europe from 1900 to today
Rosés, Wolf, 14 March 2018, 21191 reads

A recent literature has explored growing personal wealth inequality in countries around the world. This column explores the widening wealth gap between regions and across states in Europe. Using data going back to 1900, it shows that regional convergence ended around 1980 and the gap has been growing since then, with capital regions and declining industrial regions at the two extremes. This rise in regional inequality, combined with rising personal inequality, has played a significant role in the recent populist backlash.

A new way to measure growth and development
Samans, 06 March 2018, 10945 reads

Recent political developments in many countries suggest that most of their citizens lack confidence in the assumption of the standard growth model that everyone in a society benefits from GDP growth. This column proposes a multidimensional 'Inclusive Development Index', based on a dashboard of indicators in growth and development, inclusion, and intergenerational equity and sustainability. GDP per capita growth is weakly correlated with performance in many of the new index’s indicators, including those pertaining to employment, income and wealth inequality, and carbon intensity.


The professor-student network of Nobel laureates in economics
Tol, 29 April 2018, 21491 reads

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences remains the most prestigious award in the field. This column uses novel data to map the academic genealogy of laureates in economics. Results show that Nobelists are connected, falling into four disjoint graphs, with new winners often being closely related to previous winners. Among a pool of likely candidates for future prizes, more than half trained under a laureate.

Marx and modern microeconomics
Bowles, 21 April 2018, 34412 reads

Few economists doubt that Marx flunked economics, a judgement mostly based on his labour theory of value. But this column argues that Marx’s representation of the power relationship between capital and labour in the firm is an essential insight for understanding and improving modern capitalism. Indeed, this insight is incorporated into standard principal–agent models of labour and credit markets.

Joint ventures and technology transfer in China
Jiang, Keller, Qiu, Ridley, 15 April 2018, 11557 reads

China’s government mandates that foreign investors in certain industries form joint ventures with a domestic Chinese partner. The column uses a dataset accounting for all joint ventures in China from 1998 to 2007 to show that this policy is successful in its aim of encouraging technology transfer from foreign investors to domestic operations. It finds empirical evidence for the existence of at least three channels through which this transfer takes place.

Roman roads and persistence in development
Dalgaard, Kaarsen, Olsson, Selaya, 10 April 2018, 40693 reads

Although spatial differences in economic development tend to be highly persistent over time, this is not always the case. This column combines novel data on Roman Empire road networks with data on night-time light intensity to explore the persistence and non-persistence of a key proximate source of growth – public goods provision. Several empirical strategies all point to the Roman road network as playing an important role in the persistence of subsequent development.

The economic impacts of immigration to the UK
Portes, 06 April 2018, 26206 reads

Much public and policy concern has focused on the distributional impacts of immigration – in particular, potential negative impacts on employment and wages for low-skilled workers. This column summarises evidence and draws conclusions from the now considerable literature on the impact of migration to the UK on the economy and labour market, including the potential economic impacts of Brexit-induced reductions in migration.

A trade war will increase average tariffs by 32 percentage points
Nicita, Olarreaga, da Silva, 05 April 2018, 19432 reads

There are growing signs that a trade war is possible, and that the multilateral trading system may not be able to prevent it. This column asks what would happen with tariffs around the world if countries were to move from cooperative tariff setting within the WTO to non-cooperative tariff setting outside the WTO. It argues that that the resulting trade war with countries exploiting their market power would lead to a 32-percentage point increase in the tariff protection faced by the average world exporter.


Globalisation, government popularity, and the Great Skill Divide
Aksoy, Guriev, Treisman, 08 May 2018, 15190 reads

Attitudes toward globalisation have emerged as a new dimension of political alignment, alongside – or even instead of – the traditional left-right cleavage. This column uses data covering nearly 450,000 individuals in 118 countries over the last ten years to show that highly skilled individuals approve of their government more when high skill-intensive exports increase, but approve of it less when high skill-intensive imports rise. More generally – and contrary to the conventional wisdom – unskilled workers do not oppose imports and blame their leaders for failing to protect markets.

Making (some) sense of cryptocurrencies
Fatás, Weder di Mauro, 07 May 2018, 12561 reads

Economists have been dismissive of cryptocurrencies, but fintech entrepreneurs and enthusiasts continue to see their disruptive potential. This column considers the theoretical and practical arguments on both sides of the debate. Traditional currencies are overwhelmingly superior as forms of money, and cryptocurrencies’ advantage in terms of lax regulation is unlikely to last. There remains, however, ample potential for innovation in payment systems.

Productivity and secular stagnation in the intangible economy
Haskel, Westlake, 31 May 2018, 21092 reads

Many economists have suggested that slowing technical innovation is behind the secular stagnation and slowdown in total factor productivity growth that have plagued many advanced economies since the Global Crisis. This column, first published in January 2018, argues that the recent rise of the intangible economy could play an important role. An assessment of measurement trends and the properties of intangible investment across the globe suggests that total factor productivity growth will continue to be low until governments design the institutions an intangible economy needs, and until its commercial, legal, and ethical norms are worked out.

Tax evasion and inequality
Alstadsæter, Johannesen, Zucman, 09 May 2018, 24566 reads

Tax records are often used to gauge the concentration of wealth and income in a society. However, if the rich dodge taxes more than the poor, tax records will underestimate inequality. This column uses Scandinavia as an example to demonstrate how tax evasion varies with wealth: the top 0.01% richest households in Scandinavia evade about 25% of the taxes they owe by concealing assets and investment income abroad. The very rich are able to do this simply because they have access to wealth concealment services. To reduce top-end evasion, what is essential is to shrink the supply of such services.

The populism backlash: An economically driven backlash
Guiso, Herrera, Morelli, Sonno, 18 May 2018, 13138 reads

There has been some disagreement over the roots of the recent rise of populism in Europe. This column examines variations in exposure to economic shocks and in ability to react to them in different regions of Europe to show that the cultural backlash against globalisation has been driven by economic woes. In regions where globalisation was present but that have benefited economically, there has been no such backlash and the populist message has retreated. The message is clear: if one wants to defeat populism, one must defeat first economic insecurity.


The turnaround of the Portuguese economy
Centeno, Castro Coelho, 06 June 2018, 26743 reads

Portugal has turned a corner. Having gone through a mild boom, a slump, and a severe recession, all packed into less than two decades, the Portuguese economy has re-emerged with a newfound strength. This column examines this recovery in detail, focusing on important structural reforms that have taken place in the last couple of decades in key areas such as skills, investment, export orientation, labour market, financial intermediation, and public finances. The effects of these reforms were compounded by time as well as efforts to reignite demand.

Race and economic opportunity in the United States
Chetty, Hendren, Jones, Porter, 27 June 2018, 25312 reads

The sources of racial disparities in income have been debated for decades. This column uses data on 20 million children and their parents to show how racial disparities persist across generations in the US. For instance, black men have much lower chances of climbing the income ladder than white men even if they grow up on the same block. In contrast, black and white women have similar rates of mobility. The column discusses how such findings can be used to reduce racial disparities going forward.

Digitalisation of money and the future of monetary policy
Bofinger, 12 June 2018, 13990 reads

The digitalisation of money has the potential to change traditional structures of the financial system. This column discusses four areas in which it may have an impact, and argues that while digitalisation will not erode the importance of central banks, banks could be massively challenged by new forms of intermediation. 


The economics of blockchains
Brunnermeier, Abadi, 17 July 2018, 25971 reads

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.

Stable genius: Estimating the 'Trump effect' on the US economy
Born, Müller, Schularick, Sedláček, 18 July 2018, 24787 reads

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’. 

The missing profits of nations
Tørsløv, Wier, Zucman, 23 July 2018, 61348 reads

Between 1985 and 2018, the global average statutory corporate tax rate fell by more than half. This column uses new macroeconomic data to argue that profit shifting is a key driver of this decline. Close to 40% of multinational profits were artificially shifted to tax havens in 2015, and this massive tax avoidance – and the failure to curb it – are in effect leading more and more countries to give up on taxing multinational companies. 

The decline of northern England, 1780–2018
Clark, Cummins, 30 July 2018, 27349 reads

Northern England is now less educated and less productive than the south. This north-south divide is often characterised by policymakers as evidence of market failure. This column uses surname distributions to show that the northern decline can instead be explained by persistent outmigration of talent from the north. People of northern origin perform as well on average as those of southern origin. Talented northerners, however, are now mainly located in the south, where they are an economic elite.

Misperceptions about immigration and support for redistribution
Alesina, Miano, Stantcheva, 31 July 2018, 12225 reads

The debate on immigration is often based on misperceptions about the number and character of immigrants. The column uses data from surveys in six countries to show that such misperceptions are striking and widespread. The column also describes how an experiment in which people were encouraged think about their perception of immigrants made them more averse to redistribution in general, suggesting that the focus on immigration in the political debate – without correcting the misperceptions respondents have about immigrants – could have the unintended consequence of reducing support for redistribution.


Italian risk spreads: Fiscal versus redenomination risk
Gros, 29 August 2018, 17519 reads

Over the last few months, the risk premia on Italian government bonds have increased considerably. This column uses data on sovereign credit default swaps and governments bonds denominated in different currencies to disentangle fiscal risk from redenomination risk (i.e. the risk of Italy leaving the euro). Redenomination risk appears to be responsible for about half of the overall increase in the spread, suggesting that playing with the idea of exiting the euro can be costly even if public finances remain under control.

Trade and growth in the Iron Age
Bakker, Maurer, Pischke, Rauch, 23 August 2018, 28136 reads

Economists often point out the benefits of trade, yet empirical evidence for these benefits has been hard to come by and tends to be recent. This column goes back to the first millennium BC to analyse the growth effects of one of the first major trade expansions in human history: the systematic crossing of the open sea in the Mediterranean by the Phoenicians. A strong positive relationship between connectedness and archaeological sites suggests a large role for geography and trade in development even at such an early juncture in history.

Trends in mortality inequality in the US and France
Currie, Schwandt, Thuilliez, 10 August 2018, 36493 reads

Understanding how inequalities in health are related to inequalities in income is a key issue for policymakers. This column describes how despite increasing income inequality in both countries, the development of mortality has been very different in France compared with the US. The findings show that inequalities in income and health do not necessarily move in tandem, and highlight how public policy helps to break this link. 


The government should target the stock market
Farmer, 17 September 2018, 52105 reads

Originally published in February 2009, this column proposes a new paradigm to reconcile Keynesian economics with general equilibrium theory. It suggests that, just as it sets the fed funds rate to control inflation, the Fed should set a stock market index to control unemployment. This would not let every manufacturing firm and every bank fail at the same time “as a result of speculative movements in markets that serve no social purpose.

Rescuing our jobs and savings: What G7/8 leaders can do to solve the global credit crisis
Eichengreen, Baldwin, 14 September 2018, 115872 reads

Original teaser from the column posted on 9 October 2008: Without rapid and coordinated action by G7/8 leaders, this financial crisis could turn into a jobs crisis, a pension crisis and much more. This column introduces a collection of essays by leading economists on what the G7/8 leaders should do this weekend. The dozen essays present a remarkable consensus on a few points: we need immediate, coordinated global action that includes recapitalisation of the banks.

The rise of populism and the collapse of the left-right paradigm
Algan, Beasley, Cohen , Foucault, 07 September 2018, 9828 reads

The 2017 French presidential election is but one example of the move away from the traditional left-right political axis. This column argues that subjective variables are key to understanding this shift. Votes on the traditional left-right axis are correlated with views on redistribution and predicted by socioeconomic variables such as income and social status. Votes in the 2017 election in France, however, appear to have been driven by individual and subjective variables, with low well-being associated with ‘anti-system’ opinions (on the left or the right) and low interpersonal trust associated with right-wing populism.

Income inequality in France
Garbinti, Goupille-Lebret, Piketty, 05 September 2018, 14966 reads

France is often considered to be an equalitarian country with a low level of inequality. Of course, this is true when compared to the United States, where inequality has skyrocketed recently. But the fact remains that France has also experienced a sharp rise in inequality. This column combines data from different sources to construct distributional national accounts and show the limits of the French myth of egalitarianism.


Cutting the corruption tax: A way out for Greece
Romer, 08 October 2018, 34234 reads

For many, corruption and political cronyism are seen as an inevitable part of Greek politics. This column argues that the same could have been said in the 1970s about Hong Kong, now a beacon of low corruption. Hong Kong managed this turnaround by appointing a non-elected governor accountable to the UK government. Greece could achieve the same by calling on the EU and start counting the benefits.

The Trump doctrine on international trade: Part one
Nordhaus, 08 October 2018, 17819 reads

President Trump’s doctrine on trade represents a radical break with previous US policy. This column, the first of two examining the Trump doctrine, argues that he embraces fallacies as facts, and that the efforts to reform tax are flawed and will make tax law more complex. If enacted, the Auerbach-Ryan Tax Plan would be a mechanism by which the US government collects taxes to benefit rich citizens at the expense of the country's trading partners.

£350 million a week: The output cost of the Brexit vote
Born, Müller, Schularick, Sedláček, 01 October 2018, 56371 reads

It is hard to calculate the current cost of Brexit, because there is no obvious counterfactual. The original version of this column, first published in November 2017, calculated the cost by letting a matching algorithm determine which combination of comparison economies best resembles the pre-referendum growth path of the UK economy. The results suggested a loss of 1.3% of GDP, or close to £300 million per week, since the vote took place. An update using the latest OECD data suggests that the negative drag from the Brexit vote now appears to be roughly £350 million a week.


The Big Con: Reassessing the ‘Great’ Recession and its ‘fix’
Kotlikoff, 28 November 2018, 9538 reads

The general consensus on what caused the Great Recession can be summed up as “bad banks full of bad bankers did bad things”. This column argues, however, that this narrative doesn’t fit the facts. And worse, it diverts attention from the real problem, which was regular use of a bad banking system – a banking system built to fail.

Publishing and promotion in economics: The tyranny of the Top Five
Heckman, Moktan, 01 November 2018, 17920 reads

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the ‘Top Five’ economics journals have a strong influence on tenure and promotion decisions, but actual evidence on their influence is sparse. This column uses data on employment and publication histories for tenure-track faculty hired by the top US economics departments between 1996 and 2010 to show that the impact of the Top Five on tenure decisions dwarfs that of non-Top Five journals. A survey of US economics department faculties confirms the Top Five’s outsized influence.

The changing nature of work
Djankov, Saliola, 23 November 2018, 12478 reads

Over the last century, technology has created more jobs than it has displaced. This column presents an overview of ways in which technology and innovation are changing the nature of work, leading to demand for advanced cognitive skills and greater adaptability among workers. The rise of platform marketplaces is also changing the way people work and the terms on which they work, which requires a rethinking of social protection systems.

Global trends in interest rates
Del Negro, Giannone, Giannoni, Tambalotti, 12 November 2018, 13552 reads

Interest rates are at their lowest levels of the last 150 years in virtually all advanced economies. This column argues that this unprecedented environment reflects secular global forces that have lowered the trend in the world real interest rate by about two percentage points over the past 30 to 40 years. Whatever forces might lift real interest rates in the future must also be global, such as a sustained pickup in world economic growth, or 


The macroeconomic benefits of gender diversity
Lagarde, Ostry, 05 December 2018, 7459 reads

The persistent gap between female and male labour force participation comes at a significant economic cost. This column argues that because women and men complement each other in the production process, the economic benefits from gender diversity are likely to be larger than suggested by previous studies. Gender complementarity also has important implications for the welfare costs from barriers to female labour force participation. The case for gender equity is even more compelling and pressing.

Inheritance taxation and wealth effects on the labour supply of heirs
Kindermann, Mayr, Sachs, 04 December 2018, 5910 reads

Although inheritance taxes are of growing importance for Western economies in raising government revenue, little is known about how inheritance taxation affects individuals’ incentives to work. This column explores how much additional labour income tax revenue from heirs the government can expect to obtain for each euro of revenue raised directly through inheritance taxes. It concludes that additional labour tax payments from heirs, resulting from an increase in bequest taxes, are of sizable magnitude and should be taken into account in fiscal planning and welfare analysis.



Professor of International Economics at The Graduate Institute, Geneva; Founder & Editor-in-Chief of; exPresident of CEPR


CEPR Policy Research