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.

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.

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