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.

Uri Dadush, William Shaw, 28 June 2011

American policy discourse is notoriously preoccupied with the country's loss of competitiveness. This column argues that these fears are misplaced. Instead, faulty fiscal policies are to blame for the perception that the US has lost its edge.

Yonatan Ben-Shalom, Robert Moffitt, John Karl Scholz, 27 June 2011

What is happening to the US welfare state? According to this column, and contrary to the views of many, the US welfare state has not been going through a significant retrenchment over the last two decades but has in fact been growing. However, it adds that there has been a shift in who benefits over that period, with several types of families left behind.

Heleen Mees, 21 June 2011

With the US economy still faltering, some are suggesting it may be time for a third round of quantitative easing. This column explores the transmission mechanism of monetary policy and how it has broken down in recent years. It argues that, in this climate, the Fed would be wise to avoid another bond-buying programme.

Anupam Jena, Jonathan Skinner, Amitabh Chandra, 19 June 2011

How much healthcare to provide and how to pay for it are two questions at the heart of the public sector. This column argues that by using comparative effectiveness research, policymakers can better understand those healthcare initiatives that work and those that do not. In doing so, the research can give rise to the often-cited but rarely-seen efficiency gains.

Eliana La Ferrara, Alberto Alesina, 27 May 2011

Southern US states have long been accused of discrimination against racial minorities – particularly blacks and Hispanics. This column looks for racial bias in criminal murder trials. It finds that a murder by an ethnic minority criminal against a white victim systematically receives harsher punishment than if the murder had been committed by a white criminal.

Drew Keeling, 17 May 2011

Mass international migration is inherently controversial. This column looks at how the US immigration policies before 1914 sought to manage mass migration across the North Atlantic. It suggests that, with migration today seemingly neither well-controlled nor well-managed, the managed laissez-faire approach of a century ago is regaining relevance.

Richard Baldwin, 17 May 2011

Most observers in Geneva expect the Doha round to fail. If that happens, this column argues that the prospects for US market-access policy will be grim. New multilateral tariff cutting is unlikely before 2020 and special interest groups in the US will hold back free trade agreements, leaving the country to fall behind in the bilateral market-access game.

Richard Baldwin, 16 May 2011

Two decades of spectacular growth and industrialisation in emerging economies has transformed the world economy, presenting US trade policy with new challenges. This is the first of two columns that consider one aspect of the new challenges – the ways in which the Obama Administration can secure better access for American exporters.

Viral Acharya, Matthew Richardson , Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, Lawrence White, 12 May 2011

At the centre of the global financial crisis was a housing boom and bust. This column continues the description of how flaws in the US housing finance sector made the crisis inevitable. Here the authors outline a reform plan to avoid this outcome and contrast it to the US Treasury proposals.

Viral Acharya, Matthew Richardson , Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, Lawrence White, 11 May 2011

At the centre of the global financial crisis was a housing boom and bust. A New York University team has produced an excellent book on the flaws in the design of US housing finance that opened the door for the mayhem that followed. This column, the first of a series of two, describes the race to the bottom that occurred among Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the too-big-to-fail private financial institutions.

Uri Dadush, Bennett Stancil, 09 May 2011

Between 2000 and 2009, developing countries added almost $5 trillion to their foreign-exchange reserves – a number deemed too high by many, prompting accusations of protectionism. But this column argues that developed countries are equally to blame – as well as failures in international coordination. It concludes that remedies therefore require action by both groups.

Paolo Surico, Kanishka Misra, 06 May 2011

What are the macroeconomic effects of a tax rebate? This column takes a novel approach by estimating the effects on a range of different individuals rather than just the typical person. Looking at the 2001 income tax rebates in the US, it finds evidence of a heterogeneous response to tax cuts and an economic effect $9 billion below what linear models suggest.

Anne Krueger, 28 April 2011

The Doha Round is in peril. This essay argues that if the impasse is intractable, world leaders face three choices: to quickly finish the low-ambition package on the table, to explicitly terminate the Doha Round, or to let it die a slow death. It says the last option would be by far the worst – even if it is the most likely.

Philip Levy, 28 April 2011

The Obama Administration seems to view Doha delay as a minor issue since they view the export gains from the current package as small. This column argues that this calculation is based on a false premise that the status quo would continue even if the Round dragged on for years. Nations respect the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism verdicts in order to remain as members in good standing; this allows them to reap the benefits of the WTO as a negotiating forum. If the WTO collapses as a negotiating forum, nations may move towards a crass calculus that assesses verdicts only on the basis of the threats that back them. This would be a deeply regrettable move away from a rules-based global trading regime.

Antonello D’Agostino, Paolo Surico, 18 April 2011

What does inflation predictability reveal about the conduct of monetary policy? This column examines the ability of money growth and output growth to forecast inflation across a century of US data. It uncovers a robust link between the nature of the monetary regimes and the ability to predict inflation several quarters ahead.

Yuqing Xing, 10 April 2011

What can the iPhone tell us about the trade imbalance between China and the US? This column argues that current trade statistics greatly inflate the value of China’s iPhone exports to the US, since China's value added accounts for only a very small portion of the Apple product's price. Given this, the renminbi’s appreciation would have little impact on the global demand for products assembled in China.

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