Frontiers of economic research

Carl-Johan Dalgaard, Nicolai Kaarsen, Ola Olsson, Pablo Selaya, 10 April 2018

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.

John Williams, 08 April 2018

Macroeconomic models are an essential part of a monetary policymaker’s toolkit. In this column, taken from a VoxEU ebook, the author gives his personal assessment of the usefulness of DSGE models currently in use at the Federal Reserve and identifies three key issues that the next generation of DSGE models will need to address to be more relevant for policymakers.

Jonas Kolsrud, Camille Landais, Johannes Spinnewijn, 04 April 2018

Household consumption is central to economic and welfare analysis, but it remains difficult to fully measure at an empirical level. Using evidence from Sweden, this column argues the case for using registry-based data to estimate consumption expenditures, particularly at the tails of income distributions. It also argues that previous suggestions that recent rises in income inequality haven’t been matched by rises in consumption inequality may be misguided.

Koen Frenken, Arnoud van Waes, Magda Smink, Rinie van Est, 03 April 2018

The success of Airbnb and Uber has heralded the rise of online platforms and marketplaces for goods and services. This column identifies public interests that are common to most sharing and gig platforms, and presents a policy framework based on four basic policy options: enforce existing regulations, enact new regulations, deregulate, or tolerate.

Jon Danielsson, Marcela Valenzuela, Ilknur Zer, 26 March 2018

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.

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