Ernesto Zedillo, 22 April 2016

Illegal drugs are one of the planet’s most pressing problems. They shatter hundreds of millions of lives and wreak untold social, economic and political damage in both consuming and producing nations. In this column - originally published 22 May 2012 -- the ex-President of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo, introduces an eBook he edited on the issue that points very strongly in the direction of a serious reconsideration of drug policy.

Joshua Aizenman, Menzie Chinn, 15 May 2012

Might more inflation be good for the US and Europe? This column looks at the housing market in the US and argues that, with houses dropping in price, buyers are playing a waiting game. And as buyers keep delaying, the price drops further. Given the importance of property in many economies, the knock-on effects are severe. Yet one way to break this vicious cycle is with inflation.

Peter Stella, Manmohan Singh, 14 May 2012

Much of the debate over public finances in the US relates to the amount of debt, this column explores the type of debt. It criticises the recent suggestion that the US Treasury should start issuing floating rate notes.

Richard Evans, Laurence Kotlikoff, Kerk Phillips, 04 May 2012

The sustainability of government finances is very much the topic of the day. But the issue poses serious questions for the future, particularly how well off today’s younger generations will be compared with their parents. This column argues that the Ponzi scheme being played by the US government amounts to "fiscal child abuse" and is close to game over. For today's children the American dream will be just that – a dream.

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.

Alberto Alesina, Daniel Nadler, 28 April 2012

The divergence in sovereign spreads across Eurozone members has been the object of much attention. This column looks at divergence across US states and finds that unexpected deficits are correlated with higher state bond yields across all states. This effect is larger for states with left-leaning political systems, suggesting that bond-market participants view political variables as relevant in assessing the risk characteristics of sub-sovereign bonds.

Jialan Wang, 07 April 2012

In 2005, the US Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act raised the costs to households of filing for bankruptcy by 60%. While the law was designed to prevent abuse by wealthy debtors, this column presents evidence that the higher costs inhibit filings by financially distressed households who cannot afford the fees, adding “insult to injury for households that are already broke”.

Michael Bordo, Christopher Meissner, 24 March 2012

Did inequality in the US lead to the global financial crisis? This column presents evidence from 14 countries between 1920 and 2008 and argues that while inequality can be blamed for many things, the global crisis is not one of them.

Noboru Kawahama, 22 March 2012

Competition may drive down prices but it also drives down profits – and some would argue innovation as well. How should policymakers balance the short-term need for competition with the the long-term need for innovation? This column explores the idea of ‘innovation and competition policy’ rather than just ‘competition poliicy’.

Romain Rancière, Amine Ouazad, 16 March 2012

Did the rise in subprime mortgages – predominantly to black and Hispanic borrowers – lead to a fall in racial segregation as people were able to move to more desirable neighbourhoods? This column looks at extensive data on mortgages and changes in the ethnic mix at local schools. It finds that the credit boom that precipitated the global financial crisis may actually have increased racial segregation.

C Randall Henning, Martin Kessler, 25 January 2012

In the last few months, several Vox columns have drawn parallels between Europe today and an emerging – and even less stable – United States in the eighteenth century. This column stresses that Europe’s leaders in search of a fiscal union need not seek to replicate the US experience but they should at least learn from it.

Thibault Fally, 10 January 2012

As the oft-cited iPhone example illustrates, production has become increasingly fragmented across countries. This column presents recent research, however, suggesting that this trend may be reversing for manufacturing plants in the US. It shows that intermediate goods account for a decreasing fraction of output value, while industries that are closer to the final consumer contribute to an increasing share of GDP.

Sheldon Garon, 06 January 2012

Sheldon Garon of Princeton University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his book, ‘Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves’. He contrasts continental European and East Asian countries, which have over many decades encouraged their citizens to save, with the US, which has promoted mass consumption and reliance on credit, culminating in the global financial meltdown. The interview was recorded in London in November 2011. [Also read the transcript]

Carlo Altomonte, Filippo di Mauro, Gianmarco Ottaviano, Vincent Vicard, Armando Rungi, 04 January 2012

Trade in today’s global economy is not a simple game of exchange-rate muddling. The complex web of global value chains ensures that products marked “Made in China” are often in fact made all over the world. This column looks at firm-level data from French firms between 2007 and 2009 and explores how their structure affects their behaviour, with insights for policymakers the world over.

Hans Gersbach, 03 January 2012

Incumbent politicians have a host of advantages in US elections; members of the US Congress are typically re-elected about 90% of the time. This column argues that such a head start can often be bad for the country, with leaders focusing on short-term populist policies rather than the greater good. It suggests raising the bar for incumbent candidates.

Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, Stefanie Stantcheva, 08 December 2011

The top 1% of US earners now command a far higher share of the country's income than they did 40 years ago. This column looks at 18 OECD countries and disputes the claim that low taxes on the rich raise productivity and economic growth. It says the optimal top tax rate could be over 80% and no one but the mega rich would lose out.

Valentina Bosetti, Jeffrey Frankel, 28 November 2011

The signatories of the UN Convention on Climate Change will meet again this week in Durban, South Africa. But time is running out if they are to come up with a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, especially with the US at loggerheads with China and India. This column proposes a novel yet pragmatic solution.

Bruce Blonigen, Lindsay Oldenski, Nicholas Sly, 26 November 2011

The most recent G20 summit led to a multilateral agreement to facilitate information sharing between tax agencies, with the US currently negotiating bilateral tax treaties with the tax havens of Switzerland and Luxembourg. But before celebrations begin, this column points out that cracking down on tax evasion comes at a cost. International investment may well suffer.

William Kerr, William Lincoln, Prachi Mishra, 22 November 2011

Lobbying is a primary avenue through which firms attempt to change policy. But only a few big firms lobby and lobbying is highly persistent over time. This column argues that entry costs to the political process help explain these facts. It provides evidence from a change in immigration policy that induced firms that were already lobbying and were sensitive to the policy changes to switch from lobbying on other issues towards immigration while other firms did not enter the lobbying process.

Heleen Mees, Philip Hans Franses, 20 November 2011

Are the Chinese prone to money illusion? This column uses a unique Chinese dataset and finds that, unlike their American counterparts, Chinese people are more likely to base decisions on the real value and not be fooled by inflation.

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