Barbara Petrongolo, 27 April 2014

Long-term unemployment in the UK increased substantially after the recent recession. Many policy interventions have attempted to address this problem. The UK’s long-term unemployed face tougher requirements in return for their benefits – community work, training programmes, or daily visits to the Jobcentre. This column tries to assess the likely success of the UK government’s strategy by surveying the effectiveness of the ‘sticks’ and ‘carrots’ of active labour market policies.

Antonio Fatás, Ilian Mihov, 14 August 2013

The last recession in the US ended in June 2009. Yet, three years on, unemployment remains high. This column argues that we need to better understand how business cycles of recession and expansion work. Detailed evidence from the US suggests that recoveries are not simply mirror images of recessions. Because of its policy relevance, economists and policymakers must acknowledge that the pattern of recession/recovery has significantly changed over the last half century.

Laurence Kotlikoff, 16 December 2012

A ‘self-fulfilling recession’ is a long-established idea in economics. This column argues that the US’s economic malaise continues to be caused by leaders’ hysteria rather than by actual engrained economic problems. Obama and Congress need to stop scaring the nation about the ‘fiscal cliff’ because, ultimately, they are coordinating expectations on there being a recession. Tackling the right policies now, and sending out the right message, will help more than hysteria.

Lucrezia Reichlin, Domenico Giannone, Jasper McMahon, Saverio Simonelli, 02 May 2012

According to official statistics, the UK and Europe are heading for recession, while the US is recovering. This has led some to suggest that European economies are moving in the opposite direction to the US. This column, written by the co-founders of Now-Casting, presents new now-casting estimates that put Europe and the US even further apart.

Douglas Irwin, 11 September 2011

The swift policy response to the recent financial crisis helped the world economy avoid a replay of the Great Depression of 1929-32. But can we avoid a replay of 1937-38? With the world economy weakening once again, this column addresses the question with a renewed urgency and comes up with an oft-overlooked explanation – the Treasury Department's decision to sterilise all gold inflows starting in December 1936.

Erik Hurst, Loukas Karabarbounis, Mark Aguiar, 17 August 2011

When jobs are scarce, what else is there to do? This column looks at data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and finds that roughly 30% to 40% of time not spent working is put towards increased “home” production, 30% of time is allocated to increased sleep time and increased television watching, while other leisure activities make up a further 20% of the foregone market work hours.

Harald Uhlig, 08 October 2010

CEPR’s Euro Area Business Cycle Dating Committee has announced that the recession that began in the first quarter of 2008 came to an end in the second quarter of 2009. Harald Uhlig of the University of Chicago, who chairs the committee, talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about how this recession compares with previous recessions and with the US recession, and about the components of GDP that are driving recovery. The interview was recorded in a telephone press conference on 4 October 2010.

Harald Uhlig, 04 October 2010

Identifying recessions is crucial to guiding policymaking. This column reports the findings of the CEPR Business Cycle Dating Committee for the Eurozone for the last recession. It reports that the trough in economic activity occurred in the second quarter of 2009, marking the end of the recession that began in the first quarter of 2008. The recession lasted 6 quarters and the total decline in output from peak to trough was 5.5%. April 2009 marked a clear trough in industrial production, following the peak in January 2008.

Roger Farmer, 05 October 2009

Has the US recession already ended? This column says that it very likely has, based on evidence from the last fourteen recessions. It predicts that the NBER will declare that the recession ended in May 2009. But that doesn't rule out the dangers of a double dip or jobless recovery.

Justin Wolfers, 24 July 2009

Justin Wolfers of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about happiness economics – the state of knowledge; the explosion of data; the debate about the Easterlin paradox; the impact of inequality and the business cycle on people’s happiness; and the implications for public policy. The interview was recorded at the Centre for Economic Performance in London in June 2009.

Tito Boeri, 10 July 2009

Tito Boeri of Bocconi University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his research on public perceptions of migrants in Europe, which, in the middle of a recession, are increasingly seeing migrants as a fiscal burden and are pressing governments to reduce their access to welfare and tighten immigration policies. The interview was recorded at the Centre for Economic Performance in London in June 2009.

Morris Goldstein, 19 February 2009

The global crisis has laid bare the inadequacies of the existing global financial architecture. Absent a grand bargain to address the need for major reforms, countries will resort to beggar-thy-neighbour policies. This column outlines a major package – including increased IMF lending, significant IMF governance reform, coordinated fiscal stimulus, and greater WTO discipline – that could meet the needs of both developed and developing economies. Negotiations should start at the London summit.

Mike Elsby, Bart Hobijn, Aysegul Sahin, 14 February 2009

Unemployment is rising – job losses are up 30% in the US and 50% in the UK since 2007. How bad will it get? This column uses data on unemployment inflows and duration to predict labour market trends. A conservative estimate says that unemployment will reach at least 5% in Britain and 13.5% in Spain.

Axel Leijonhufvud, 13 February 2009

This recession is different. Balance sheets of consumers, firms, and banks are under strain. The private sector is bent on reducing debt and this offsets Keynesian stimulus more than standard flow calculations would suggest. Bank deleveraging is by far the most dangerous. Fiscal stimulus will not have much effect as long as the financial system is deleveraging.

Nicholas Bloom, Max Floetotto, 12 January 2009

A key source of the today’s economic weakness is uncertainty that led firms to postpone investment and hiring decisions. This column, by the authors whose model forecast the recession as far back as June 2008, report that the key measures of uncertainty have dropped so rapidly that they believe growth will resume by mid-2009. This means any additional economic stimulus has to be enacted quickly. Delaying to the summer may mean the economic medicine is administered just as the patient is leave the hospital.

Nicholas Bloom, 18 November 2008

Every economist is predicting a macabre 2009, but no one knows for sure how bad things will get or who will survive. This column, by comparing the current crisis to uncertainty shocks of the last 40 years, predicts GDP growth could be reduced by as much as 4.5%. But, if politicians protect free markets, growth should be back in 2010.

Marco Terrones, M. Ayhan Kose, Stijn Claessens, 07 October 2008

The house and equity price busts on top of a credit crunch make this an unprecedented crisis for the modern US economy; its real economy effects are thus difficult to assess. This column provides insights based on evidence from 122 recessions in 21 advanced nations since 1960. Findings suggest recessions in such circumstances are much costlier and slightly longer. But the outcome can be affected by policy, and it’s high time that policymakers act swiftly and decisively.

Barry Eichengreen, 28 September 2008

The Paulson Plan, whatever its final form, will not end the crisis quickly. Unemployment will rise but will the most serious credit crisis since the Great Depression bring about a new depression? Here one of the world’s leading economic historians identifies the relevant Great-Depression lessons. We won’t see 25% unemployment as in the 1930s, but double digits are not out of the question.

Tito Boeri, 03 August 2008

Italy may be headed for recession. The government's fiscal position would allow it to use prudent tax cuts to prevent recession, but its new budget plan only signals trouble.

John Muellbauer, 20 July 2008

Recent empirical estimates of the housing wealth effect suggest that a UK recession will be hard to avoid. With the housing-wealth decline compounded by falling equity prices and inflation-eroded real incomes, a drop in consumption is in the offing. The US situation could be even worse.

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