Marc Melitz, Stephen Redding, 10 March 2014

Recent research has sought to quantify the magnitude of the welfare gains from trade. One of the main findings from this literature is that the gains from trade are relatively modest. This column suggests a channel that the standard approach typically abstracts from. It argues that trade induces changes in domestic productivity through a more efficient organisation of production within the supply chain.

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.

Fabrice Defever, Alejandro Riaño, 04 January 2013

The West perennially complains about China subsidising industry geared towards its domestic market. But what will happen when China enacts its latest Five Year Plan’s emphasis on domestic growth? This column argues that ending ‘pure-exporter subsidies’ – subsidies that boost Chinese exports while simultaneously protecting the least efficient, domestically oriented firms – will benefit Chinese consumers, but will cost the rest of the world.

Bruno S. Frey, Jana Gallus, 02 October 2011

Is religion a ‘crutch for the weak’? This column looks at data on religion and life satisfaction from across the globe and argues that it might just be insurance for the unhappy.

Jesse Cunha, Giacomo De Giorgi, Seema Jayachandran, 26 September 2011

Should governments pay entitlements in cash or in kind to help reduce poverty? The authors of CEPR DP8581 find that cash transfers increase prices, especially in remote areas where the poorest consumers often live. In-kind transfers lower local prices, helping consumers at the expense of producers with a benefit equal to 11% of value of the transfer.

Tito Boeri, 23 June 2009

Public opinion is turning against migration during the recession, as generous European welfare states make migrants a potential fiscal burden. This column warns against the excessively exclusionary solutions to which voters are turning and suggests decoupling migration and the welfare state.

Fritz Foley, 05 August 2008

Crime rises when US welfare recipients run short of cash at the end of the month. This column discusses research that links the timing of financially-motivated crime and the timing of welfare payments. Cities that make monthly welfare payments see a clear monthly crime cycle, whereas cities that spread out the payments do not.

Karen Kopecky, Jeremy Greenwood, 03 March 2008

Since 1900, consumers have enjoyed a dramatic explosion in the number and quality of goods available. This column discusses a simple method for quantifying welfare gains from the introduction of new goods into the economy and their subsequent quality improvements using the personal computer as an example.

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