Jan Bakker, Stephan Maurer, Jörn-Steffen Pischke, Ferdinand Rauch, 23 August 2018

Economists often point out the benefits of trade, yet empirical evidence for these benefits has been hard to come by and tends to be recent. This column goes back to the first millennium BC to analyse the growth effects of one of the first major trade expansions in human history: the systematic crossing of the open sea in the Mediterranean by the Phoenicians. A strong positive relationship between connectedness and archaeological sites suggests a large role for geography and trade in development even at such an early juncture in history.

Linda Yueh, 05 August 2018

Between 1960 and 2008, only a dozen or so middle-income countries became prosperous. This column explores the factors affecting how and why some countries become prosperous, while others fail. Consistent with the theories of New Institutional Economics, economies that adopted the economic policies and institutional reforms of successful countries enjoyed the largest increases in prosperity. These successes point to the advantages of looking beyond the economic staples of capital, labour, and technology in fashioning growth policies.

Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Debora Revoltella, Jan Svejnar, Christoph Weiss, 25 July 2018

Many barriers keep resources from flowing to the most efficient firms in the EU. This column uses firm-level data from all EU countries to explore how the dispersion of resources affects macroeconomic performance. Harmonising the business environment – and thus easing the flow of resources – across countries and industries could increase aggregate EU growth by 18%. The findings also demonstrate how firm-level characteristics can help us understand distortions in the allocation of resources across firms. 

Moreno Bertoldi, Paolo Pesenti, Hélène Rey, Petr Wagner, 20 July 2018

Ten years after the global crisis, transatlantic relationships are at a crossroads. This column summarises a conference jointly organised by the New York Fed, the European Commission, and CEPR at which the participants discussed the strength of current growth prospects and the likelihood of inflation remaining subdued in advanced economies, and whether the current regulatory and policy frameworks are well suited to supporting financial stability and growth. One conclusion was while an escalation in trade tensions between the US and EU would have significant economic consequences on both sides of the Atlantic, this is not a foregone conclusion and there is room to uphold and strengthen the transatlantic relationship.

Benjamin Born, Gernot Müller, Moritz Schularick, Petr Sedláček, 18 July 2018

Growth and employment in the US have been robust over the past 18 months, and President Trump frequently takes personal credit for these trends. This column explores how the US economy would have evolved without Trump. An analysis shows no difference between the post-election performance of the US economy under Trump and a synthetic ‘doppelganger’ US economy without Trump, suggesting that there has been no ‘Trump effect’.  

Marco Buti, András Chabin, Björn Döhring, João Leal, 13 July 2018

Next week, after ten days of swift, flat riding, the Tour de France reaches the Alps. The European economy, meanwhile, has been pedalling uphill since the beginning of this year. 2017 was easy riding as strong global growth boosted domestic investment, but economic growth has had to move into lower gear in the first half of 2018 as this transmission is no longer working properly, and escalating trade conflicts could derail it. This column presents the European Commission’s Summer 2018 Interim Forecast, which suggests that a tightening of global financial conditions could add to the headwinds, though central banks' balance sheets will remain large for a long time, and domestic fundamentals in the euro area remain strong. 

Paul Schmelzing, 24 May 2018

Growth rates have been stubbornly low since the financial crisis, and many have noted that the interest rate environment has been weakening since the 1980s. This column places recent episodes in the context of longer-term economic history, going back to the 14th century. Trends over recent decades are generally in line with a long-term ‘suprasecular’ trend of declining real rates. Negative real rates could become a more frequent phenomenon, and indeed constitute a ‘new normal’.

Finn Tarp, 16 April 2018

In economies like Viet Nam, policy agendas are increasingly data-driven. In this video, Finn Tarp shares five key policy goals for the country, based on data-rich household surveys. A combination of all five, including increasing productivty and innovation in and out of the agricultural sector, are needed to promote long-term growth.

Thorsten Beck, Maria Soledad Martinez Peria, Maurice Obstfeld, Andrea Presbitero, 12 April 2018

Research has shown that financial inclusion is closely linked to economic development and growth. However, more work is needed to establish the magnitude and channels of this effect and to pinpoint the types of financial services that have a stronger payoff without threatening financial stability. This column tackles these questions by presenting new evidence from a recent IMF-DFID conference on financial inclusion. It also suggests avenues for future research on the topic.

Antonio de Lecea, 14 March 2018

Some in the West argue that the emerging countries have prospered from globalisation at the expense of low- and middle-income classes in advanced countries by abusing open trade. Others in the East counter that the problem is the unfair distribution in Western countries of the benefits derived from global integration. This column argues that Europe's stance on globalisation – a combination of enforcement of a level playing field at home and abroad and a welfare state that mitigates polarisation and empowers middle classes – is capable of overcoming these zero-sum stories by reconciling higher growth with a fairer distribution of income and opportunities and a multidimensional concept of sustainability and well-being.

Richard Samans, 06 March 2018

Recent political developments in many countries suggest that most of their citizens lack confidence in the assumption of the standard growth model that everyone in a society benefits from GDP growth. This column proposes a multidimensional 'Inclusive Development Index', based on a dashboard of indicators in growth and development, inclusion, and intergenerational equity and sustainability. GDP per capita growth is weakly correlated with performance in many of the new index’s indicators, including those pertaining to employment, income and wealth inequality, and carbon intensity.

Jonathan D. Ostry, Andrew Berg, Siddharth Kothari, 19 February 2018

While there is consensus that structural reforms can increase growth, there is also a fear that certain reforms can exacerbate inequality. This column argues – based on a dataset covering financial, institutional, and real sector reforms – that certain reforms do indeed increase inequality but despite this, the net effect on growth remains positive.

Daisuke Fujii, Yukiko Saito, Tatsuro Senga, 10 February 2018

Firms develop inter-firm networks throughout their lifecycles, continually adding and dropping trading partners. This column examines the role that the dynamics of these networks play in firm growth. The findings point to the importance of searching for potential trading partners and learning match-specific productivity for younger firms. Surviving older firms, in contrast, tend to enjoy a stable set of customers and suppliers to keep their operations.

Alex Bell, Raj Chetty, Xavier Jaravel, Neviana Petkova, John Van Reenen, 24 December 2017

Relatively little is known about the factors that induce people to become inventors. Using data on the lives of over one million inventors in the US, this column sheds light on what policies can be most effective in increasing innovation. In particular, it shows that increasing exposure to innovation among women, minorities, and children from low-income families may have greater potential to spark innovation and growth than traditional approaches such as reducing tax rates.

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Viola von Berlepsch, 10 November 2017

Research on the economic impact of migration on hosts and the migrants themselves has tended to focus on the short term. This column traces the economic impact of population diversity in the US resulting from the Age of Mass Migration of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. High levels of population fractionalisation have had a strong, positive influence on economic development, while high levels of polarisation have undermined development. Despite a stronger effect on income levels in the first 30 years following the initial migration shock, the relationships are found to be extremely long-lasting.

Catherine Mann, 23 October 2017

For the first time since the financial crisis, no country is showing contraction. However, Catherine Mann points out that there is a need for more investment, trade and globalisation in order to have sustained growth. This video was recorded at the "10 years after the crisis" conference held in London, on 22 September 2017.

Jörg Mayer, 11 October 2017

Most of the current debate on the threat of robots focuses on developed countries, but robotisation clearly also concerns developing countries. This column examines whether robots will reduce the familiar benefits of industrialisation as a development strategy. It argues that robots are not yet suitable for a range of labour-intensive industries, leaving the door open for developing countries to enter industrialisation processes along traditional lines. At the same time, it suggests ways that developing countries should embrace the digital revolution.

Antonin Bergeaud, Gilbert Cette, Rémy Lecat, 04 September 2017

Over the 20th century, GDP growth was mainly driven by total factor productivity growth. Since the mid-2000s, however, productivity growth has been in decline. This column explores the history and future of growth focusing on four developed economies: the US, the Eurozone, the UK, and Japan. Simulated scenarios for the 21st century show a wide range of potential growth outcomes, dependent on whether total factor productivity growth stays indefinitely low, and whether the digital economy delivers a new productivity growth wave.

Joshua Aizenman, Yothin Jinjarak, Gemma Estrada, Shu Tian, 19 July 2017

The impact of the Global Crisis of 2008 played out differently in middle-income countries compared to developed countries. This column argues that the associations of growth level, growth volatility, shocks, institutions, and macroeconomic fundamentals have changed in important ways after the crisis. Educational attainment, share of manufacturing output in GDP, and exchange rate stability appear to increase the level of economic growth. Exchange rate flexibility, education attainment, and lack of political polarisation reduce the volatility of economic growth.

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