Kris Mitchener, Se Yan, 12 February 2010

How is the global trade boom affecting wages in developing countries? Evidence from China’s first widespread experience with globalisation suggests that, under certain conditions, the skill premium can decline when developing countries open up to trade.

Arvind Subramanian, 11 February 2010

What is the consequence of China’s exchange rate policy? This column argues that focusing on global imbalances clouds the real costs, and that China’s exchange rate regime is a mercantilist trade policy whose costs are mainly borne by other developing and emerging market countries.

Susan Ariel Aaronson, 09 February 2010

Is the WTO doomed? This column argues that the WTO’s credibility is waning and that to get it back it needs to reign in China’s erratic governance. China’s failure to enforce trade laws threatens the concept of mutual benefit that underpins the WTO. China is broken, and a broken China could break the WTO.

Shang-Jin Wei, 06 February 2010

What is the connection between China’s one-child policy and its savings glut? This column provides a pioneering explanation. China’s surplus of men has produced a highly competitive marriage market, driving up China’s savings rate and, therefore, global imbalances.

Matthew Kahn, Siqi Zheng, 19 January 2010

China’s economic growth has profound environmental implications. This column estimates the household carbon emissions of China’s major cities. Even in China’s most polluting city, per household emissions are just one-fifth of those in San Diego, the greenest city in the US.

Carlo Carraro, Massimo Tavoni, 05 January 2010

China has promised to lower its carbon intensity by 40%–45% by the year 2020. This column says that standard estimates imply that China could meet that target simply by continuing its long-term historical trend. But China’s recent experience of a lower income elasticity of carbon intensity suggests additional efforts and leadership could be required.

Nathan Porter, TengTeng Xu, 23 December 2009

China’s financial liberalisation remains incomplete. The behaviour of short-term market-determined interest rates is influenced by regulated rates. This column says that China should further liberalise its retail interest rates to allow all interest rates to better reflect liquidity conditions and the scarcity of capital.

Dani Rodrik, 17 December 2009

Policymakers blame the undervalued RMB for the global imbalances. Here one of the world’s leading development economists argues that the undervalued currency boosts China’s growth, and this, in turn, is good for the world’s recovery and the alleviation of poverty. China could maintain its growth without trade imbalances if it could introduce industrial subsidies to offset a rising yuan. It is better to subsidise tradables directly than to subsidise them indirectly through the exchange rate. This may run afoul of WTO rules, but that doesn’t diminish the economic case for the policy.

Markus Jäger, 26 September 2009

Can the BRICs replace the much-touted US consumer as the world’s main growth engine? This column says the Chinese economy will continue to increase relative to all others, while the US share of global output will stagnate. But while China’s relative contribution to global growth will increase, it won’t be “driving” growth in the developed economies.

Adrian Wood, Jörg Mayer, 28 July 2009

Did China’s engagement with the global economy de-industrialise other developing countries? This column uses a factor-endowment approach to assess the magnitude of its impact. China’s opening to trade diminished labour-intensive manufacturing in other developing economies, primarily in East Asia, but its impact was not massive, and other developments often swamped its influence.

Domingo Cavallo, Joaquín Cottani, 12 May 2009

Economists’ opionions diverge greatly on how to resolve China’s “dollar trap”. This column suggests all US creditors need to do is demand that the US government swap nominal US Treasury bills, notes, and bonds for inflation-adjusted instruments. This will reduce the incentive of the US government to “inflate its way out of debt”, protect the value of emerging market reserves and redcue the risk of a resurgence in world inflation.

Matthew Kahn, Siqi Zheng, 14 April 2009

What should China do about its noted pollution problems? This column shows that Chinese cities with less air pollution have higher home prices, suggesting that “green amenities” enter housing prices. Moreover, this marginal valuation of clean air is rising over time. China’s major cities may be becoming cleaner as their inhabitants demand improved environmental conditions.

Robert Staiger, Alan Sykes, 30 January 2009

Many critics argue that Chinese currency undervaluation amounts to an export subsidy and import tariff responsible for global trade imbalances. This column cautions against that equivalence. In the long run, currency devaluation does not alter export volumes, and in the short run, its effects depend on firms’ invoicing decisions. Policymakers should take care before turning to trade sanctions as a remedy.

Carlo Carraro, Valentina Bosetti, Massimo Tavoni, 01 October 2008

Policymakers seeking to fight global warming need to reach an international agreement for post-2012 climate change policy, but developing countries seem unlikely to immediately participate. This column explains the importance of full global participation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and proposes means of inducing developing countries, most notably China, to participate in an international agreement.

Menzie Chinn, Yin-Wong Cheung, Eiji Fujii, 12 September 2008

For years, policy analysts and policy makers asserted that the Chinese currency was substantially undervalued. This column shows that statistical and data uncertainties should humble those making strong claims about the renminbi’s value.

Arvind Subramanian, 29 August 2008

Growth begets further growth, which is good news for both China and India. But this column argues that it is easier to create or improve a market than to build state capacity, which means that China, with its lagging private sector, is likely to fare better than India, which has deteriorating institutions.

Philippe Gugler, 23 August 2008

Chinese enterprises are making high profile forays into foreign markets. While these firms’ motivations are explained by traditional theories of multinational enterprises, this column identifies notable characteristics of many Chinese companies that make them distinct. China’s cultural context, market structures, and resources may necessitate changing our thinking about multinational enterprises’ strategies and motives.

Esther Duflo, 18 August 2008

China’s one-child policy led to an explosion of the boy-girl ratio in the ‘80s and ‘90s. As this “only child” generation reaches adulthood, problems – including rising crime rates – are starting to appear.

Robert Koopman, Zhi Wang, Shang-Jin Wei, 08 August 2008

Many policy assessments, such as the effect of a currency revaluation on trade balances, are sensitive to the share of domestic content in a country’s exports. The current method might be problematic for countries with a high share of processing exports, such as China, Mexico and Vietnam. This column introduces a new method for calculating domestic content shares and presents some striking estimates for China. The share of domestic content in China’s exports is about 50%, much lower than most other countries: this implies that an exchange rate appreciation is likely to have a smaller effect on China’s trade surplus than for other countries.

Joseph Francois, 01 August 2008

The WTO talks were as much a distraction as an opportunity. The agenda was aimed at a world that no longer exists. Negotiations of some form should and will resume: the questions are "where?" and "between whom?" Success will require a different game, with different rules and different players. This column considers the options.

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