Charles Wyplosz, 30 April 2010

The current debate in the US over Chinese exchange-rate policy can be viewed as a rerun of the 1970s and ‘80s, with China taking Japan’s role. This column, which first appeared in the Vox's latest eBook, argues that while there is a relationship between current-account deficits and surpluses, causality is difficult to establish. Politics aside, even if China does not choose to appreciate its currency, inflation will eventually finish the job.

Katherine Eriksson, Leah Boustan, Ran Abramitzky, 18 February 2010

The Age of Mass Migration (1850-1913) was one of the largest migration episodes in history. Unlike today, during this era the US maintained an open border. This column suggests that, unhindered by entry restrictions, Europeans migrants to the US during this period were more likely to be workers with lower-productivity and poorer economic prospects.

Kris Mitchener, Se Yan, 12 February 2010

How is the global trade boom affecting wages in developing countries? Evidence from China’s first widespread experience with globalisation suggests that, under certain conditions, the skill premium can decline when developing countries open up to trade.

Claude Barfield, Philip Levy, 28 January 2010

The future of Asian regionalism is in extreme flux, presenting President Obama with both opportunities and dangers. This column argues Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations present an opportunity to trigger a wholesale reconfiguration of Asian commercial alliances in a way that would meet important and long-held US goals.

Viral Acharya, Matthew Richardson, 24 January 2010

Obama’s sweeping proposal for financial regulation took the world by surprise. Here two of the world’s leading professors of finance explain why it is step in the right direction from the standpoint of addressing systemic risk. They also point out a number of drawbacks that should be fixed.

Joshua Aizenman, Nancy Marion, 18 December 2009

As the US debt-to-GDP ratio rises towards 100%, policymakers will be tempted to inflate away the debt. This column examines that option and suggests that it is not far-fetched. US inflation of 6% for four years would reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio by 20%, a scenario similar to what happened following WWII.

Francesco D'Amuri, Juri Marcucci, 16 December 2009

The demand for up-to-date economic indicators has led researchers to use Google to improve the predictive power of their models. This column presents evidence from the US and Italy that using search trends on Google significantly increases the accuracy of forecasting unemployment.

Alison Felix, James Hines, 14 December 2009

Painful tax increases will be necessary to restore fiscal balance after exiting the crisis. This column shows that wages are higher in US states with lower corporate income taxes – a reminder that efforts to tax firms more heavily create burdens that will be distributed among stakeholders, including many groups that governments otherwise attempt to help, such as workers.

Alan Blinder, 09 October 2009

Fear of offshoring may force its way back onto policy agendas soon. This column uses a survey of individual workers to measure the offshorability of particular jobs and says that about 25% of US jobs are offshorable. Surprisingly, routine tasks are not more offshorable but those held by more educated workers are.

Sergi Jiménez-Martín, Hugo Benítez-Silva, Selcuk Eren, Frank Heiland, 30 June 2009

How did we get a housing bubble? This column describes how well households predict the market values of their homes. Most homeowners overestimate the value of their properties by 5% to 10%, primarily due to the large expected capital gains implicit in the self-reported home values. Overly optimistic expectations about the evolution of house prices may have planted the seed of the current mortgage crisis in the US.

Bradford DeLong, 16 March 2009

There are legitimate reasons to fear that deficit-spending fiscal boost programs will not work well enough and have high enough longer-term costs to be not worth doing. This column says we do not need to fear bottleneck-driven inflation, capital flight-driven inflation, crowding-out of investment spending, nor reaching the limits of debt capacity because we will see them coming in time.

Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 04 February 2009

This column proposes ending six policies that hamper the US automotive industry. It suggests replacing discretionary environmental policies with a CO2 tax, addressing legacy costs, ending the distinction between right-to-work and other states, levelling the investment subsidy playing field, resolving uncertainty surrounding the future powertrain, and allowing direct sales to the public.

Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 28 January 2009

The crisis has produced a number of highly unusual macroeconomic effects. Preliminary estimates suggest that the US net international investment position deteriorated by over $2 trillion over 2008 − some 15% of GDP. This column explores the reasons for this unprecedented worsening.

Gilbert Metcalf, 26 January 2009

This column explains how US tax policies have induced greater investment in renewable energy production and an electricity grid unable to harness it. It argues for a tax code that offers financial incentives to make new grid investments, lest the US find itself with a power grid that can't transport green electricity to the nation's growth centres – the ultimate bridge to nowhere.

Janet Currie, 04 January 2009

Critics argue that in-kind welfare programmes do not work and foster widespread administrative fraud and abuse. In fact, they are remarkably effective in improving the lives of poor children. This column proposes incremental reforms of existing programmes in the US.

Gilles Saint-Paul, 24 December 2008

This column surveys evidence describing the brain drain from Europe to the US. Europeans living in the US are exceptional – they are more educated, earn higher wages, are more likely to be employed, and more entrepreneurial than their American or European counterparts. Europe's growth prospects may be dramatically reduced by its best and brightest living in the US.

Carmen Reinhart, Vincent Reinhart, 09 May 2010

First posted 17 November 2008, this column's analysis is more relevant than ever. It asks why investors rush to government securities when the US was at the epicentre of the financial crisis? This column attributes the paradox to key emerging market economies’ exchange practices, which require reserves most often invested in US government securities. America’s exorbitant privilege comes with a cost and a responsibility that US policy makers should bear in mind as they address financial reform.

Barry Eichengreen, 30 August 2008

Policy makers must learn from history, but they should know which historical episodes to look to. Central bankers seem to have been focusing on the 1930s, but here one of the world’s leading macroeconomists suggests that the 1970s provides more appropriate lessons.

Dale Jorgenson, 08 August 2008

Dale Jorgenson of Harvard University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his projections for the growth of the US economy over the next 10 to 25 years, focusing particularly on the impact of information technology and labour supply. The interview was recorded at the American Economic Association meetings in New Orleans in January 2008.

Betsey Stevenson, Justin Wolfers, 04 August 2008

Surveys that have attempted to measure the level of happiness in US citizens by means of a subjective response have unveiled decreases in happiness inequality. The authors of CEPR DP6929 have used these responses to analyse the level and dispersion of happiness within and between demographic groups over the period of 1972-2006.

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