Emi Nakamura, Jón Steinsson, 02 October 2011

A major question facing many governments in the rich world today is whether we should try to stimulate the economy by increasing government spending. This column exploit variation in military spending across US states and identifies a fiscal multiplier of around 1.5. It then suggests that aggregate fiscal stimulus should have large output multipliers when the economy is at the zero lower bound.

Owen Humpage, Michael Bordo, 03 October 2011

The Great Recession has resulted in sharp exchange-rate changes and threats of ‘currency wars’ linger. Some countries – notably Japan and Switzerland – have shown an interest in foreign-exchange intervention. This column argues that sterilised intervention does not afford monetary authorities a means of systematically affecting their exchange rates independent of their domestic policy objectives. Countries that engage in currency wars run a real risk of shooting themselves in the foot.

Charles Wyplosz, 16 September 2011

Europe’s debt crisis is unfolding while Japanese and US debt problems are on hold. The problem of public debt in advanced economies will be with us for decades. This column introduces a new Geneva Report on the World Economy that addresses the nuts, bolts, and worries surrounding the issue.

Barry Eichengreen, Jürgen von Hagen, Charles Wyplosz, Jeffrey Liebman, Robert Feldman, 16 September 2011

The 13th CEPR/ICMB Geneva Report on the World Economy takes a long-term perspective on debt sustainability, arguing that fiscal stabilisation is easier the faster the economy is growing.

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.

Riccardo Puglisi, James Snyder, 01 September 2011

Is the US media biased? According to a controversial new book, it is – and, perhaps surprisingly, to the left. This column takes a different analytical approach and argues that the press is actually much closer to the average voter’s sentiments than we might think. Might all these claims that the media is biased in one direction or the other be adding a whole new set of distortions?

Robert J. Gordon, 22 August 2011

The US is missing millions of jobs. This column argues that the total is 10.4 million. It claims that 3 million of these can be traced to the weakened bargaining position of labour and the growing assertiveness of management in slashing costs to maintain share prices. Moreover, this employment gap is not shrinking because of the ‘double hangover’ effect—an excess housing supply and besieged consumers unwilling to spend.

John Muellbauer, Keiko Murata, 21 August 2011

The global crisis of 2008-2009 has refocused attention on the lessons of Japan’s lost decade, with many suggesting that Europe and the US are heading the same direction. This makes a thorough understanding of the Japanese case an urgent matter. But this column argues that pushing the analogies too far is a mistake that could prolong the economic pain.

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.

David Neumark, Hans Johnson, Marisol Cuellar Mejia, 14 August 2011

The impending retirement of the baby-boom cohort represents the first time in the history of the US that such a large and well-educated group of workers will exit the labour force. Despite the gloomy outlook of recent research, this column suggests there is little likelihood of large-scale skill shortages emerging by the end of this decade.

Deniz Igan, Prachi Mishra, 11 August 2011

Did anti-regulation lobbying fuel the subprime crisis? This column shows that there is a strong relationship between financial industry lobbying and favourable financial regulation legislation. It argues that the financial industry fought, and defeated, measures that might have curbed some of the reckless lending practices that many think played a pivotal role in igniting the crisis.

Heleen Mees, 08 August 2011

As fears mount of another phase in the global crisis, this column points out that despite the growing uncertainty, US Treasury and German Bund yields have actually declined in recent weeks. The reason, it argues, is the global saving glut theory.

Çağlar Özden, Christopher Parsons, Maurice Schiff, Terrie Walmsley, 06 August 2011

Migration is an issue not helped by misleading statistics and poor data. This column presents a study bringing together over 1,000 national censuses and population registers for 226 countries and regions between 1960 and 2000.

Craig Doidge, George Karolyi, René Stulz, 03 August 2011

Over the past two decades, there has been a dramatic change in initial public offering (IPO) activity around the world. The importance of IPOs in the US relative to the world has not kept up with the economic importance of the US. This column analyses nearly 30,000 IPOs from almost 90 countries between 1990 and 2007 to examine why this might be.

Thorsten Drautzburg, Harald Uhlig, 31 July 2011

The debt crises in the Eurozone and the US are reminders that all government expenditures must eventually be financed by tax revenues. This column analyses the effect of the US fiscal stimulus programme and argues that abstracting from financing decisions presents a skewed version of the net benefits to society.

Amanda Goodall, 21 July 2011

Are hospitals better run by former doctors or by specialist managers? This column looks at the top-ranking hospitals in the US and finds that hospital-quality scores are about 25% higher in physician-run hospitals than in the average hospital.

James Banks, Zoë Oldfield, James P Smith, 21 July 2011

How much of our health in adulthood and old age is determined by our childhood? Using decades of data from the US and England, this column shows that the US excess in disease is common throughout the age distribution of the population. Moreover, poor childhood health tends to worsen adult health more in the US.

Peter Lindert, Jeffrey Williamson, 15 July 2011

When did America begin its gallop towards economic supremacy? Was it only after the American civil war? Did it start earlier during the antebellum period or even before 1776? This column digs up new evidence from the archives to find out.

Philip Cook, John MacDonald, 10 July 2011

In the US, more people work in private security than in all police forces combined, yet public debate about crime prevention typically looks at the use of public resources to deter, incapacitate, or rehabilitate criminals. This column calls for more discussion of how private action can make policing more effective and reduce the profitability of crime. One such experiment – “business improvement districts” in Los Angeles – has generated remarkable social benefits.

Willem Buiter, Ebrahim Rahbari, 28 June 2011

The strong-dollar rhetoric of the US government contrasts with a weak-dollar reality. This column argues that talking a strong-dollar talk while walking a weak-dollar walk has damaged the reputational capital of the US monetary and fiscal authorities. That has reduced their ability to use statements of intent or announcements of future policy actions to influence markets.

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