Eduardo Levy Yeyati, 20 January 2011

The global crisis has reignited debate on the desirability of capital controls. This column examines evidence from Argentina and Chile and argues that capital controls can be effective, but that their effectiveness and efficiency varies. It adds that controls need to be considered as part of a macro-prudential toolkit to prevent asset inflation and overvaluation that is costly to revert in the down cycle.

Barry Eichengreen, 10 January 2011

The dollar’s key role in international markets is once again in the spotlight. This column introduces a new book by Barry Eichengreen: Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System. As the author puts it, “If you were worried by talk of currency war late last year, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

Uri Dadush, Vera Eidelman, 20 December 2010

Today’s currency tensions are the result of a complex set of forces arising from the Great Recession. This column presents lessons from the break-up of the gold standard and of the fixed-rate dollar standard. While competitive devaluations are less likely today than is commonly feared, there is no room for complacency.

Patrick Gaulé, 14 December 2010

Brain drain can be a good thing for the source country; one benefit is that some skilled workers eventually return. Unfortunately, there is little evidence on the incidence and nature of such return migration. This column presents new data on the return-migration decisions of foreign faculty based in US chemistry departments.

Uri Dadush, Shimelse Ali, 09 December 2010

If China appreciates its currency, who will gain and who will lose out? This column argues that the single greatest beneficiary from a gradual renminbi revaluation, accompanied by measures to stimulate demand, will be China itself. Ironically, the US, which has been leading the charge on renminbi appreciation, would likely be among the losers. Certainly, a very large one-off revaluation that disrupts China’s growth hurts everyone.

John Cochrane, 07 December 2010

Last month, the US Federal Reserve announced a new quantitative easing programme, in which it will inject money into the economy by buying up to $600 billion in long-term government bonds. This column argues that now is not the time to be buying back long-term debt. Given exceptionally low long-term rates, the US government should be issuing it instead.

Venkatachalam Shunmugam, Debojyoti Dey, 03 December 2010

Politicians, public servants, and commentators have been queuing up in recent months to raise their concerns about global imbalances, particularly the China-US imbalance. This column argues that while the two economies may present opposing public stances, they are quietly playing a tango that neither can step out of.

Carmine Guerriero, 21 November 2010

When is regulation more efficient than competition? This column provides a theoretical framework for thinking about these issues and explores its implications using electricity data from the US. It argues regulation can be more efficient than competition when investment inducement is salient, and that deregulation can be inefficiently implemented when consumer groups are too politically powerful.

Gianmarco Ottaviano, Giovanni Peri, Greg Wright, 18 November 2010

Manufacturing production and employment in the US has been in decline over recent decades, often with the finger pointed at immigration and globalisation. This column presents evidence from the US between 2000 and 2007 to show that immigrant and native workers are more likely to compete against offshoring than against each other. Moreover, offshoring's productivity gains can spur greater demand for native workers.

Jacques Melitz, 16 November 2010

Earlier this year, the fiscal situation in Greece caused turmoil across Europe. This column examines why the financial difficulties of several state governments in the US are not having similar impacts on its economy.

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.

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