Georg Duernecker, Berthold Herrendorf, Akos Valentinyi, 16 May 2018

Baumol argued that structural change may lead to a productivity slowdown due to a reallocation of production to service industries with low productivity growth. This column uses a new framework to estimate the effects of Baumol’s disease on future productivity growth in the US. The results suggest that future structural change will not reduce productivity much further thanks to substitutability within the broader service sector.

Kevin Lansing, Agnieszka Markiewicz, 21 April 2018

The increase in US income inequality since 1970 largely reflects gains made by households in the top 20% of the income distribution. The framework presented in this column shows that households outside of this group have suffered significant losses from forgone consumption, measured relative to a scenario that holds inequality constant. A substantial mitigating factor for these losses has been the dramatic rise in government redistributive transfers, which have doubled as a share of US output over the same period.

Hélène Rey, 23 April 2018

There are significant commonalities between the movements of credit aggregates, credit flows, and asset prices - referred to as the global financial cycle. Helene Rey explains how this cycle is impacted by US monetary policy. Raising interest rates by the Fed will tighten credit in dollar-dependent economies, leading to capital outflows. To withstand such impact, policymakers must employ macroprudential tools to hit their domestic targets.

Stéphanie Brunelin, Jaime de Melo, Alberto Portugal-Perez, 27 April 2018

Rules of origin play a crucial role in preferential trade agreements, and they can also deny intended market access for preference receivers. This column examines a relaxation by the EU of the origin requirements for selected products from Jordan, which is intended to create 200,000 job opportunities for Syrian refugees. While the relaxation decision may have an effect on the refugee crisis in Jordan, further simplifications in RoO requirements are called for.

Jihad Dagher, 22 March 2018

Three hundred years of financial regulation offer a cautionary tale to today’s push against yesterday’s regulations. This column revisits the political economy of financial crises and documents a consistent pattern of politically driven procyclical regulations. These regulatory cycles have a poor track record.  

Anna Stansbury, Lawrence H. Summers, 20 February 2018

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.

Jonathan Parker, Nicholas S Souleles, Aaron Goodman, 04 February 2018

The most accurate way to determine how people respond to an economic policy is to observe how they did in fact respond to that policy, but this approach is not always possible. This column uses a 2008 tax rebate in the US to compare the traditional revealed preference approach and a reported preference approach where people are simply asked how they would, or did, behave. The results suggest that reported spending data are valuable in predicting behaviour and in estimating population aggregates, but are not sufficiently accurate to provide reliable quantitative measurements of household-level spending responses.

Colin Mayer, 24 January 2018

Following the 2008 financial crisis, investments recovered quicker in the US than in Europe. Colin Mayer discusses how taxation and regulation have exacerbated companies' long-term debt problem. This video was recorded at the RELTIF book launch held in London in January 2018.

Brian Kovak, Lindsay Oldenski, Nicholas Sly, 15 January 2018

The impact of offshoring on domestic employment is hotly debated as the US looks to renegotiate trade treaties, but the existing literature is conflicting in its conclusions. This column employs the variation in the timing of US treaties to infer the causal effect of tax treaty-induced changes in foreign affiliate employment on changes in US domestic employment. Employment declines at some firms are offset by expanded employment at others, yielding a modest positive net effect of offshoring on US employment, albeit with substantial employment dislocation and reallocation of workers.

Bruce Meyer, James Sullivan, 15 January 2018

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. 

Brandy Lipton, Kerry Anne McGeary, Dhaval Dave, Timothy Roeper, 11 January 2018

Many regions in the US have enacted 100% smoke-free laws in public places to reduce harmful second-hand smoke exposure, but if these laws simply displace smoking to the home, the children of smokers may suffer. The column uses data on infant and child health since the first ban in 1990 to show that children are healthier in many dimensions when there is a 100% smoke-free law. Partial smoking bans have a much smaller impact.

Pierre Cahuc, Stéphane Carcillo, Thomas Le Barbanchon, 09 January 2018

Despite their widespread use in the US and across Europe during the Global Crisis, the empirical evidence on the effectiveness of hiring credits is unclear, particularly in the context of recessions. This column uses the French hiring credit programme of 2008-09 to show that credits can be very effective at boosting job creation at low cost when they are unanticipated and temporary.

Samuel Bazzi, Martin Fiszbein, Mesay Gebresilasse, 23 December 2017

More Americans than Europeans oppose redistribution and government intervention in areas such as healthcare, gun control, the minimum wage, and pollution control. This column argues that the longstanding American culture of 'rugged individualism' is rooted in the history of the frontier. Even accounting for individual-level support for the Republican Party, areas in the US with greater historical frontier experience still exhibit greater opposition to redistribution and government regulation today.

Joshua Aizenman, Yothin Jinjarak, Nam Ngo, Ilan Noy, 11 December 2017

The Global Crisis and its aftermath has focused attention on increasing inequality, and specifically on declining real incomes of the working poor. Comparing the US to Germany, this column argues that pushing more students to degree-granting colleges may no longer be the most efficient way to deal with the challenges caused by the decline in manufacturing employment affecting, in particular, lower-income households. Well-resourced, well-targeted vocational training can prove to be a better long-term investment in skill acquisition to help ameliorate the difficulties faced by workers whose prospects look to be quite bleak.

Graziella Bertocchi, Arcangelo Dimico, Francesco Lancia, Alessia Russo, 07 December 2017

Voter turnout in modern democracies tends to be lowest among the young, and politicians are likely to be less responsive to their demands as a result. This column focuses on preregistration, a reform aimed at facilitating voter registration among young Americans. Examining the link between the political participation of various age groups and policy decisions, it shows that adopting preregistration has shifted government spending toward higher education and increased student financial aid, and has promoted an episode of youth enfranchisement.

Anna Chorniy, Janet Currie, Lyudmyla Sonchak, 24 November 2017

Diagnoses of asthma and ADHD among children in the US have increased over recent years. This column argues that one contributor to this increase has been a change in Medicaid from a fee-for-service model to a managed care model. This change created incentives that reward higher diagnosis and prescription rates, while not necessarily improving health outcomes.

Sijbren Cnossen, Arjan Lejour, Maarten van ’t Riet, 24 November 2017

Some US multinationals have displayed a willingness to relinquish their American nationality and move their headquarters abroad. Such ‘inversions’ generally aim to avoid and minimise taxes. This column argues that the new Trump tax plan is likely to halt tax inversions by US multinationals. However, the plan will increase treaty shopping, incentivising multinationals to redirect dividends through third-party countries with generous tax treaties.

David Neumark, 09 October 2017

Studies of the employment effects of minimum wages have been wide-ranging, but a consensus proves elusive. This column summarises the existing literature and proposes some key questions to better inform policy in the context of minimum wages across different states in the US. Future areas for research should include understanding why different approaches yield different answers, as well as a recognition that there is not one minimum wage effect, but several across different contexts.

Gordon Hanson, Chen Liu, Craig McIntosh, 04 October 2017

Rising inequality and stagnating manufacturing wages have many in the Western world questioning whether immigration may be responsible. This column takes a close look at data for the US, and reveals that tighter immigration controls are unlikely to improve the fortunes of low-skilled workers. Long-term demographic changes in the Americas imply that the pressure from illegal immigrants on US labour markets is already abating and will continue to do so.

Justin Cook, Jason Fletcher, 17 September 2017

While diversity can lead to more innovation and better problem solving, it can also cause competition and conflict. This column examines the effect of genetic diversity among high school students in Wisconsin on their socioeconomic outcomes later in life. Genetic diversity is associated with more years of schooling, and higher job prestige and income. Students from more genetically diverse schools score higher on indexes of openness and extraversion.

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