Orley Ashenfelter, Olivier Gergaud, Victor Ginsburgh, Karl Storchmann, 01 March 2013

Does terroir really affect a wine’s quality? This column argues that alleged experts repeatedly cannot tell a superstar wine from a cheaper bottle. Like many cultural commodities, it seems that the quality of wine is not an objective trait. Rather, these commodities become whatever we want them to become.

Willem Thorbecke, 26 February 2013

Policymakers everywhere are concerned about currency wars. Are quantitative easing and managed exchange rates bad for the global economy? This column looks at the hard empirical evidence, arguing that, in fact, Japan is behaving rather responsibly and that other strong economies have themselves benefited from undervalued currencies. That said, it is true that politicians’ short time horizons often lead to stealthy policy and large swings in exchange rates. Economists should therefore aim to promote longer-run cosmopolitan interests rather than shorter-run nationalistic agendas where possible.

Harold James, Hans-Werner Sinn, 26 February 2013

Can the euro exist without fiscal or political union? This column draws on the history of the US – especially its assumption of states’ debt after the War of Independence – to investigate which path might best serve the Eurozone. History tells us that unions require a well-constitutionalised system of restraint on fiscal behaviour, both at the federal level and at that of individual states.

Pelin Ilbas, Øistein Røisland, Tommy Sveen, 13 February 2013

Economists everywhere recognise the Taylor rule’s importance in monetary policymakers’ decisions. But exactly how important is it? This column aims to analyse the Taylor rule’s influence on US monetary policy by estimating the policy preferences of the Fed. There is a high degree of reluctance to let the interest rate deviate from the Taylor rule and, contrary to the literature and current policy debates, it seems large deviations from the Taylor rule between 2001 and 2006 were in fact due to negative demand-side shocks. During this period, there is in fact no evidence to support the notion of a decreased weight on the Taylor rule.

Paolo Manasse, 17 January 2013

All G7 economies are struggling in the post-crisis climate, but US GDP has recovered to pre-crisis levels, while the Eurozone simply hasn’t. This column portrays the global crisis as a transitory shock for the US, but as a quasi-permanent shock for Europe. The policies that are needed get the Eurozone back on track do not seem to be politically feasible. As tension rises with every quarter of stagnation, prospects for the survival of the euro are not only not improving, they are actually getting worse.

Paola Conconi, Giovanni Facchini, Max Steinhardt, Maurizio Zanardi, 07 January 2013

As populations in rich nations continue to age and skill shortages begin to emerge, concern over getting immigration policy right is set to intensify. This column discusses new research on US policymaking, showing that many of the determinants of policymakers’ attitudes towards trade are also in operation when it comes to migration. Using the Heckscher-Ohlin model, it finds that US House members from districts where skilled labour is abundant are more likely to support both trade liberalisation and a more open policy for unskilled immigration.

Rand Ghayad, William Dickens, 05 January 2013

US unemployment seems stuck at an unusually high level of 8%, prompting some to suggest a widespread skills mismatch. This column argues that a skills mismatch is not supported by the evidence. Rather, out of the possible explanations, it seems that any shift in the ratio between unemployment and vacancies is driven by either lower search efforts by the long-term unemployed or by a reduction in their employability.

Mika Maliranta, Niku Määttänen, Vesa Vihriälä, 19 December 2012

Do the ‘cuddly’ Nordic countries free ride on the ‘cut-throat’ incentives for innovation in US-style economies? Don’t PCs, the internet, Google, Windows, iPhones and the Big Mac speak for themselves? This column argues that, despite a higher overall tax burden and more generous safety nets, the Nordics have generated at least as much – if not more – innovation than the US. So far, ‘cut-throat’ capitalism has not been the only road to an innovative economy.

Casey Mulligan, 31 October 2012

What has happened to marginal tax rates in the US? This column argues that marginal tax rates vary so much among different groups in the US that redistributive taxes have actually damaged and interfered with the incentives and make up of the workforce.

Zack Cooper, 30 October 2012

With over 40 million Americans uninsured and the costs of care at an all time high, healthcare has become a major issue in this year’s presidential race. This column evaluates the ramifications of both candidates’ respective policies.

Jacob Kirkegaard, 13 October 2012

Youth unemployment in the Eurozone looks like a social and economic disaster in the making – 30%, 40%, even 50% of young people sitting on their hands instead of building skills and experience. This column argues the headline numbers are misleading. While youth unemployment is a serious problem, a large share of EZ youth are not in the labour force, so the headline figures overstate the labour-market ‘scar tissue’ that will be left over from the crisis.

Jeffrey Frankel, 02 October 2012

Cultural generalisations are dangerous. Sometimes, however, statistical relationships are so strong that it is worth pondering their significance. Are some groups more likely to take responsibility for their personal behaviour than others with respect to their sexual behaviour, physical fitness, financial dependency on the federal government? The fearless social scientist will not shrink from confronting these questions.

Linda Lim, Ronald Mendoza, 24 September 2012

There has been much talk among economists of ‘global rebalancing’, with the focus on China and the US rebalancing their current accounts. But this column argues that the type of rebalancing that will bring real gains to the global economy is one that will be shaped by many countries, both industrial and developing.

Simon Johnson, Peter Boone, 21 September 2012

Industrialised countries today face serious risks – for their financial sectors, for their public finances, and for their growth prospects. This column explains how, through our financial systems, we have created enormous, complex financial structures that can inflict tragic consequences with failure and yet are inherently difficult to regulate and control. It explains how this has happened and why there are more and worse crises to come.

Simon Luechinger, Christoph Moser, 27 September 2012

The presidential election campaign is in full swing in the US. Whoever wins the presidential race will face the challenge of filling top positions in the federal administration. Since some political appointees traditionally come from the private sector, allegations of conflicts of interest will emerge. But are connected firms really expected to profit? This column sheds light on this issue.

Richard Dobbs, Anu Madgavkar, 19 September 2012

Unemployment in the US and UK is over 8% and in many Eurozone countries is far higher. This column argues that we can’t just blame the recession – this is also symptomatic of long-term trends that, without a concerted effort by policymakers, will continue to stunt growth, deepen income inequality, weigh on public budgets, and cause living standards in many countries to stagnate.

Marco Annunziata, 17 September 2012

As the Fed announces a third round of quantitative easing, this column argues that it is unlikely to work. Investment and hiring are held back by huge uncertainty over the long-term outlook and the stimulus provides a monetary bridge over the election gap but little more.

Karen Macours, Patrick Premand, Renos Vakis, 12 September 2012

Droughts in the US, India, and the Sahel are making headlines, with the farmers themselves often the first to lose out. This column presents findings from a randomised control trial exploring whether providing households with training and capital to diversify their incomes can cushion the shock of severe weather.

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Viola Von Berlepsch, 02 September 2012

This paper examines the extent to which the distinct settlement pattern of migrants arriving in the US during the big migration waves of the late 19th and early 20th centuries has left a legacy on the economic development of the counties where they settled and whether this legacy can be traced until today.

Robert J. Gordon, 11 September 2012

CEPR Policy Insight 63 argues that innovation does not have the same potential to create growth in the future as in the past in the US.



CEPR Policy Research