Graziella Bertocchi, Arcangelo Dimico, 14 November 2010

US commentators regularly lament the country’s racial and ethnic inequality. This column presents data from 1870 and 1940-2000 to argue that the divide has its roots in the slave trade and that its legacy persists today through the racial inequality in education.

Priya Nandita Pooran, 14 November 2010

Will the US Dodd-Frank Act work? This column argues that unless institutional oversight shifts from the current fragmented structure to a federal one, the Dodd-Frank reforms could be prevented from having any significant positive effect on the surveillance of the financial system.

Michael Moore, Thomas Prusa, 08 November 2010

Last month the US Department of Commerce announced a series of proposals to strengthen the enforcement of US trade laws. This column argues that these proposals will directly undercut President Obama’s trade commitments announced in his 2010 State of the Union Address – reducing access to critical inputs for US firms and increasing the chances that they face the same treatment abroad. It begs US policymakers to reconsider.

Richard Portes, 04 November 2010

The threat of a currency war between the US and China is one of the main concerns for the G20 ahead of this month’s meeting in Seoul. This column say that while policymakers appear to grasp some of the issues, they underestimate the impact of quantitative easing by large economies on exchange rates worldwide.

Fred Bergsten, 01 November 2010

Yiping Huang recently argued that the US would not win a currency war over global imbalances. This column agrees that a currency or trade war would be lose-lose. But it says that such a conflict is inevitable unless the root causes of the growing imbalances are addressed

Alan Auerbach, Maurice Obstfeld, 23 October 2010

As the debate over China’s exchange-rate policy and the US response intensifies, this column argues that a large Chinese revaluation – whether forced of voluntary – will not be a free lunch for the US. Drawing on a theoretical cost-benefit analysis, it suggests that if the US wants to create jobs at the lowest costs, it should first consider further fiscal expansion.

Yiping Huang, 20 October 2010

On 19 October, the Chinese central bank announced a series of rate hikes. This column argues that the moves were aimed at combating domestic inflation and addressing the risks of an asset bubble.

Yiping Huang, 19 October 2010

The ongoing global imbalances has strengthened calls for the US to declare trade war with China. This column argues that the US did not emerge victorious from the last currency war with Japan, and against China the chances are even slimmer. Instead the upcoming G20 meeting should focus on a broad range of structural adjustments from both sides.

Loukas Karabarbounis, 16 October 2010

Why do Europe and the US, both affluent regions, differ so much in the size of their welfare state? To answer this question, this column examines OECD countries between 1975 and 2001, finding that countries with wealthier rich- and middle-classes are associated with a smaller welfare state while those with a richer poor class are associated with a larger one – supporting the “one dollar, one vote” explanation.

Gérard Roland, 09 October 2010

How should China respond to the threat of tariffs from the US? This column provides a solution that could result in the desired appreciation of the renminbi and at the same time allow China to take the lead on climate change.

Chris Herbst, Erdal Tekin, 09 October 2010

Do subsidies for childcare succeed in getting parents to work and improving the wellbeing of the children? This column presents evidence from the US suggesting that childcare subsidies have an unintended consequence. In the short run, children from low-income families are worse off as their parents go off to work and they receive low-quality childcare.

Chunding Li, John Whalley, Yan Chen, 08 October 2010

As the debate over global imbalances develops, this column asks whether the discussion is based on faulty data. Using data from the US, Japan, Germany, and the Czech Republic, it argues that not taking due account of foreign affiliate sales leads to a warped view of trade in goods and services.

Willem Thorbecke, 06 October 2010

The US-China currency dispute remains heated. This column argues that if a real appreciation in the Chinese currency is not achieved through exchange rate adjustment, it will happen through inflation in China and deflation in the US. It says a better Chinese policy mix would involve nominal appreciation of the renminbi combined with absorption-increasing policies such as developing human infrastructure.

Joshua Aizenman, Rajeswari Sengupta, 05 October 2010

Are China and Germany both responsible for the global imbalances? Using four decades of current-account data, this column argues that the role of the US should not be overlooked. A rise in the US’ current-account deficit is matched one for one with a rise in China and Germany’s surpluses. But this relationship – and the global imbalances with it – may well be coming to an end.

Jordi Blanes i Vidal, Mirko Draca, Christian Fons-Rosen, 28 October 2011

This updated column, first published in October 2010, takes on new resonance following recent scandals in the UK surrounding allegations that lobby groups may have gained undue influence among senior politicians. The column investigates how much former US government officials cash in on their political connections when working as lobbyists. It finds that once the politician for whom they worked leaves office, lobbyists’ revenue falls 20% – suggesting that lobbyists are paid more for who they know than what they know.

Daniel Gros, 08 October 2010

With the US threatening to label China a “currency manipulator”, this column presents a plan to address global imbalances without risking a trade war. It proposes a “reciprocity” requirement – if the US can’t buy Chinese government bonds, then China can’t buy US bonds either.

Yiping Huang, 29 September 2010

How should policymakers deal with global imbalances? This column argues that a return to the Plaza Accord of the 1980s with an exclusive focus on the exchange rate could well dilute the G20’s other agendas and may not even work in practice. The best solution is instead to focus on structural reforms.

William Wheaton, 26 September 2010

Recent estimates suggest as many as 23% of US mortgages are “underwater” –the value of the home collateralising the mortgage has fallen below the loan’s balance. This column outlines a proposal to remove the threat of strategic default in these cases – one that it argues is not only fair but also the most likely to allow the US housing market to recover.

Douglas Irwin, 20 September 2010

A large body of research has linked the gold standard to the severity of the Great Depression. This column argues that while economic historians have focused on the role of tightened US monetary policy, not enough attention has been given to the role of France, whose share of world gold reserves soared from 7% in 1926 to 27% in 1932. It suggests that France’s policies directly account for about half of the 30% deflation experienced in 1930 and 1931.

Kenneth Snowden, 10 September 2010

Was the subprime crisis inevitable? This column looks at how the last mortgage crisis in the 1930s shaped the policy landscape in the US, arguing that it eventually led to the emergence of private securitisation in the 1990s, a surge in homebuilding and homeownership, and a second great mortgage crisis that was just around the corner.

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