Yiping Huang, 29 September 2010

How should policymakers deal with global imbalances? This column argues that a return to the Plaza Accord of the 1980s with an exclusive focus on the exchange rate could well dilute the G20’s other agendas and may not even work in practice. The best solution is instead to focus on structural reforms.

William Wheaton, 26 September 2010

Recent estimates suggest as many as 23% of US mortgages are “underwater” –the value of the home collateralising the mortgage has fallen below the loan’s balance. This column outlines a proposal to remove the threat of strategic default in these cases – one that it argues is not only fair but also the most likely to allow the US housing market to recover.

Douglas Irwin, 20 September 2010

A large body of research has linked the gold standard to the severity of the Great Depression. This column argues that while economic historians have focused on the role of tightened US monetary policy, not enough attention has been given to the role of France, whose share of world gold reserves soared from 7% in 1926 to 27% in 1932. It suggests that France’s policies directly account for about half of the 30% deflation experienced in 1930 and 1931.

Kenneth Snowden, 10 September 2010

Was the subprime crisis inevitable? This column looks at how the last mortgage crisis in the 1930s shaped the policy landscape in the US, arguing that it eventually led to the emergence of private securitisation in the 1990s, a surge in homebuilding and homeownership, and a second great mortgage crisis that was just around the corner.

John Komlos, Marek Brabec, 31 August 2010

More than one billion adults across the globe are overweight, and at least 300 million are clinically obese. This column argues that the obesity epidemic in the US has been creeping up throughout the twentieth century, much earlier than the official account acknowledges. Current US standards thereby mislead many overweight and obese youth into believing that their weight is normal when it is not.

Edward Glaeser, Joshua Gottlieb, Joseph Gyourko, 28 August 2010

The debate over the cause of the US housing boom and bust is far from concluded. This column questions the explanation that low interest rates were a critical factor, arguing that it sits uneasily alongside theories of household behaviour and historical evidence. With the causes remaining uncertain, the authors call for more research in this area.

Michael Ferrantino, Danielle Trachtenberg, Alison Weingarden, 05 August 2010

Can increasing US exports create US jobs? Manufactures dominate US exports, but US manufacturing employment is declining. This column suggests that increased US exports are unlikely to lead to dramatic manufacturing employment gains, but employment in related services sectors may improve.

Luis Servén, Ha Nguyen, 29 July 2010

Global imbalances have taken centre stage in the debate on the global economic outlook. This column surveys the debate over the roots of global imbalances and argues that asymmetries in the supply and demand for assets, rather than goods, are responsible. With this interpretation, global imbalances are unlikely to go away any time soon.

William Kerr, William Lincoln, 15 July 2010

How does high-skilled immigration affect innovation in receiving countries? This column examines how large fluctuations in the admissions levels of H-1B visa holders between 1995 and 2008 influenced US patenting. It suggests higher H-1B admissions increased US innovation through the direct contributions of the immigrants without crowding out those of natives.

Robert Lawrence, Gary Hufbauer, 06 July 2010

Originally scheduled to end in 2005, Doha negotiations have dragged into their ninth year. This column argues that, while many observers assign blame to the complexity of 153 members reaching a consensus, the heart of the matter is far simpler. It says that if the US and China come up with new offers, the momentum for a speedy agreement will be unstoppable.

Simon Evenett, 11 June 2010

Simon Evenett of the University of St Gallen talks to Viv Davies about his recent Vox e-book on the US-Sino currency dispute, which brings together the latest research on the behaviour of the renminbi, the role it has played in global imbalances and the potential responses of China and its trading partners to the dispute over balances and exchange rate policies. Evenett discusses the key policy messages for the US and China - and the implications for the EU. The interview was recorded in June 2010.

Dora Costa, Matthew Kahn, 19 May 2010

How should households be encouraged to reduce electricity consumption? This column presents evidence from the US of a randomised “nudging” strategy – providing energy saving tips as well as information on electricity usage relative to neighbours. It finds that while energy conservation nudges work with liberals, they backfire with conservatives. Certain pockets of Republican registered voters actually increased their electricity consumption in reaction to the nudge.

Robert Baldwin, 17 May 2010

Since the end of the Second World War, the US has been the world leader in promoting the reduction of trade barriers and establishing international trading rules. This column argues that by remaining on the sidelines of the Doha Round negotiations, the US risks losing influence over how important international economic matters are decided. This loss of economic influence will be followed by a loss of political influence.

Joseph Gagnon, 30 April 2010

This column argues that a 10% revaluation of the Chinese currency would likely increase US employment by at least 670,000. This is in stark contrast to recent Vox contributions by Simon Evenett and Joseph Francois claiming that an appreciation of the Chinese currency would reduce US employment by 400,000 to 600,000 jobs.

Jeffrey Frankel, 16 April 2010

Much of the debate over China’s exchange-rate policy has focused on the effect on the US and other western economies. This column provides a comprehensive summary of China’s exchange-rate policy over the last five years and argues that it would also be in China’s interest to let its currency appreciate – and now is as good a time as any.

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.

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