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  • Author: Adam S. Posen, Nicolas Veron
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Given no generally accepted framework for financial stability, policymakers in developing Asia need to manage, not avoid, financial deepening. This paper supports Asian policymakers' judgment through analysis of the recent events in the United States and Europe and of earlier crisis episodes, including Asia during the 1990s. There is no simple linear relationship between financial repression and stability—financial repression not only has costs but, so doing can itself undermine stability. Bank-centric financial systems are not inherently safer than systems that include meaningful roles for securities and capital markets. Domestic financial systems should be steadily diversified in terms of both number of domestic competitors and types of savings and lending instruments available (and thus probably types of institutions). Financial repression should be focused on regulating the activities of financial intermediaries, not on compressing interest rates for domestic savers. Cross-border lending should primarily involve creation of multinational banks' subsidiaries in the local economy—and local currency lending and bond issuance should be encouraged. Macroprudential tools can be useful, and, if anything, are more effective in less open or less financially deep economies than in more advanced financial centers.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Politics
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Philip Saure
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: With its cost- and time-intensive research and development, the pharmaceutical sector can generate large trade imbalances. These imbalances may arise because investment and output occur in different years; they are sizable if pharmaceuticals account for a large and growing share of exports. Switzerland's recent trade surplus results from this effect, which also explains why the Swiss trade surplus is exceptionally resilient. The Swiss trade surplus is, therefore, a poor indicator for exchange rate assessments.
  • Topic: Foreign Exchange, Health, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Switzerland
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the US economy has been plagued by sluggish wage growth and rising income inequality. The debate over inequality in the 1980s and 1990s focused on the growing disparity between the earnings of skilled and unskilled workers and the earnings of the super-rich. Growing inequality between capital and labor income has now been added to these concerns. Remarkably, the growth in real GDP per worker over the decade of the 2000s, which averaged 1.7 percent annually, was actually more rapid than in the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s, yet in the 2000s workers saw almost no increase in their take-home pay. Consistent with this gap between labor productivity and wage growth was a pronounced decline in the share of US national income earned by workers. As labor's share has declined, the share of capital has risen and has been especially concentrated in corporate profits. As profits are far less equally distributed than wages, this increase has contributed to rising income inequality. There are several plausible reasons for this development—globalization, automation, weak bargaining power of labor, political capture, higher markups—but the natural starting point for explaining factor income shares is the neoclassical theory of the functional distribution of income enumerated by John Hicks and Joan Robinson in the 1930s. In this framework there are two possible explanations for labor's recent declining share. The first is that capital and labor are gross substitutes, and the second is that capital and labor are gross complements. Several papers have explained the recent decline in labor's share in income by claiming that capital has been substituted for labor. Lawrence puts forward the alternative "gross complements" explanation for the declining US labor share. He shows that despite a rise in measured capital-labor ratios, labor-augmenting technical change in the United States has been sufficiently rapid that effective capital-labor ratios have actually fallen in the sectors and industries that account for the largest portion of the declining labor share in income since 1980. In combination with estimates that corroborate the consensus in the literature that the elasticity of substitution is less than 1, these declines in the effective capital-labor ratio can account for much of the recent fall in labor's share in US income at both the aggregate and industry level. Paradoxically, these results also suggest that increased capital formation, ideally achieved through a progressive consumption tax, would raise labor's share in income.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Some advocates of far higher capital requirements for banks invoke the Modigliani-Miller theorem as grounds for judging that associated costs would be minimal. The M&M theorem holds that the average cost of capital to the firm does not depend on its capital structure (ratio of equity finance to debt finance), because any reduction in capital cost from switching to higher leverage using lower-cost debt is exactly offset by an induced increase in the unit cost of higher-cost equity capital as a consequence of the associated rise in risk. Statistical tests for large US banks in 2002–13 find that less than half of this M&M offset attains in practice. Higher capital requirements would thus impose increases in lending costs, with associated output costs from lower capital formation. These costs to the economy would need to be compared with benefits from lower risk of banking crises to arrive at optimal levels of capital requirements.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Politics, Budget
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ajai Chopra
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Growth in developing Asia will need to rely more on improvements in productivity growth and less on capital deepening. Although there is no single reform path to spur productivity growth, financial system deepening is central to a more efficient allocation of capital across sectors and can facilitate innovation and technology transfer. But malfunctioning financial systems can also result in the misallocation of resources, making it important that policymakers focus less on increasing the size of the financial sector and more on improving its intermediation function. Chopra discusses the steps to mobilize Asia's ample private savings for long-term financing, especially to tackle the region's infrastructure deficit and improve access to financing for small and medium enterprises, which can help raise productivity. As many countries in Asia shift from a development model based on technology absorption to one that promotes innovation, specialized finance and investors can play a critical role in allowing innovative firms to conduct research, adopt technologies necessary for inventions, and ultimately commercialize innovations.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Nicholas Borst, Nicolas R. Lardy
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China's banking system is now the largest in the world, and its capital markets are rapidly approaching the size of those in the advanced economies. Borst and Lardy trace the evolution of China's financial system away from a traditional bank-dominated and state-directed financial system toward a more complex, market-based system. They analyze and outline the optimal sequence of financial reforms needed to manage the new risks accompanying this evolution.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: David G. Blanchflower, David N. F. Bell
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper examines the amount of slack in the UK labor market and finds the downward adjustments made by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to both unemployment and underemployment invalid. Without evidence to support its assessment of the output gap, the MPC reduces the level of unemployment based on its claim that long-term unemployment does not affect wages. The authors produce evidence to the contrary and present arguments on why the MPC's halving of the level of underemployment in the United Kingdom is inappropriate. Bell and Blanchflower set out arguments on why they believe the level of slack is greater than the MPC calibrates. Consistent with that is the fact that real wages in the United Kingdom continue to fall.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: David G. Blanchflower, David N. F. Bell
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: One of the factors that may inhibit reductions in unemployment as the economy recovers is the extent to which existing workers would like to work more hours and employers may prefer to let them work longer hours before making new hires. This phenomenon suggests that the unemployment rate does not capture the full extent of excess capacity in the labor market. But how should it be measured? In this paper we argue that the United States does not have the necessary statistical tools to calibrate this form of underemployment. We describe an index that captures the joint effects of unemployment and underemployment and provides a more complete picture of labor market excess capacity. We show how this index can be implemented using British data and describe its evolution over the Great Recession. Comparisons of our index with unemployment rates suggest that unemployment rates understate differences in labor market excess capacity by age group and overstate differences by gender. We also show that being unable to work the hours that one desires has a negative effect on well-being. Finally, we recommend that the Current Population Survey conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics might be extended to enable the construction of an equivalent US index.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian, Martin Kessler
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper describes seven salient features of trade integration in the 21st century: Trade integration has been more rapid than ever (hyperglobalization); it is dematerialized, with the growing importance of services trade; it is democratic, because openness has been embraced widely; it is criss-crossing because similar goods and investment flows now go from South to North as well as the reverse; it has witnessed the emergence of a mega-trader (China), the first since Imperial Britain; it has involved the proliferation of regional and preferential trade agreements and is on the cusp of mega-regionalism as the world's largest traders pursue such agreements with each other; and it is impeded by the continued existence of high barriers to trade in services. Going forward, the trading system will have to tackle three fundamental challenges: In developed countries, the domestic support for globalization needs to be sustained in the face of economic weakness and the reduced ability to maintain social insurance mechanisms. Second, China has become the world's largest trader and a major beneficiary of the current rules of the game. It will be called upon to shoulder more of the responsibilities of maintaining an open system. The third challenge will be to prevent the rise of mega-regionalism from leading to discrimination and becoming a source of trade conflicts. We suggest a way forward—including new areas of cooperation such as taxes—to maintain the open multilateral trading system and ensure that it benefits all countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Nicolas Véron
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper aims to take stock of global efforts towards financial reform since the start of the financial crisis in 2007–08, and to provide a synthetic (if simplified) picture of their status as of January 2012. Underlying dynamics are described and analyzed both at the global level (particularly G-20, IMF, and FSB) and in individual jurisdictions, as well as the impact the crisis has had on these regions. The possible next steps of financial reform are then reviewed, including: the ongoing crisis management in Europe, the new emphasis on macroprudential approaches, the challenges posed by globally integrated financial firms, the implementation of harmonized global standards, and the links between financial systems and growth.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Over the past 10 years, central banks and governments throughout the developing world have accumulated foreign exchange reserves and other official assets at an unprecedented rate. This paper shows that this official asset accumulation has driven a substantial portion of the recent large global current account imbalances. These net official capital flows have become large relative to the size of the industrial economies, and they are a significant factor contributing to the weakness of the economic recovery in the major industrial economies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian, Aaditya Mattoo, Prachi Mishra
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper estimates the impact of China's exchange rate changes on exports of competitor countries in third markets, known as the "spillover effect." Recent theory is used to develop an identification strategy in which competition between China and its developing country competitors in specific products and destinations plays a key role. The variation is used—afforded by disaggregated trade data—across exporters, importers, product, and time to estimate this spillover effect. The results show robust evidence of a statistically and quantitatively significant spillover effect. Estimates suggest that, on average, a 10 percent appreciation of China's real exchange rate boosts a developing country's exports of a typical 4-digit Harmonized System (HS) product category to third markets by about 1.5 to 2 percent. The magnitude of the spillover effect varies systematically with product characteristics as implied by theory.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: J. Bradford Jensen
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper argues that developing Asia is overlooking an opportunity for increased growth and development through trade in business services. Developing Asia would benefit from liberalizing services trade as it has benefited from liberalizing goods trade. This argument rests on these key findings: business services are important for growth, developing Asia is relatively under-endowed with business services, many business services are tradable, and developing Asia has relatively high barriers to services trade.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia
  • Author: Donghyun Park, Kwanho Shin
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The underdeveloped services sector in Asia has the potential to become a new engine of economic growth in developing Asia, which has traditionally relied on export-oriented manufacturing to power its growth. In this paper, Park and Shin empirically analyze the prospects for the services sector in Asia. Their analysis of 12 Asian countries indicates that the services sector has already contributed substantially to the region's growth in the past. Somewhat surprisingly, in light of the difficulty of achieving productivity gains in services, they also find that services labor productivity grew at a healthy pace in much of the region. Overall their analysis provides substantial cause for optimism about the role of the services sector as an engine of growth in Asia. However, they caution that some Asian countries where the services sector is currently struggling, such as Korea and Thailand, will find it more challenging to develop the sector.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott, Julia Muir, Minsoo Lee
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Trade and investment in services are difficult to measure, and the regulatory barriers that inhibit the free flow of services are hard to quantify. As a result, very little attention has been paid to dismantling barriers to services trade and investment. Rather, free trade negotiations tend to focus on liberalizing merchandise trade. This paper examines what has been achieved in both regional and multilateral compacts by surveying international precedents involving Asian countries in which services reforms have been included in bilateral and regional trade pacts. The authors then assess the prospects for services trade negotiations and explore how services trade negotiations could be pursued over the next decade through two distinct channels: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a plurilateral approach among groups of WTO countries. The authors find that in the case of developing Asia, free trade agreements have largely excluded services or have only committed to "lock in" current practices in a narrow subset of service sectors. This is also the case in agreements negotiated between developing countries, which have produced less substantial commitments to liberalize services than those negotiated between developing and developed countries. Multilateral negotiations on services have also underperformed, as substantive negotiations on services in the Doha Round never really got underway. To that end, the authors advocate a stronger effort by developing Asian countries to prioritize services negotiations in their regional arrangements and to expand coverage of services in those pacts to a broad range of infrastructure services that are included in other FTAs in force or under construction in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper introduces a new probabilistic approach to sovereign debt projections and presents new estimates of debt ratios through 2020 for Italy and Spain. The new approach takes account of likely correlations across 243 alternative scenarios with three states (good, baseline, bad) for five key variables (growth, interest rate, primary surplus, bank recapitalization, and privatization). The 25th and 75th percentile scenarios are reported, as are the baseline and probability-weighted outcomes. The results suggest sovereign debt is sustainable in both Italy (where debt ratios are likely to decline because of a high primary surplus) and Spain (where the ratios rise but at a decelerating pace and from relatively low levels).
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Spain, Italy
  • Author: Olivier Jeanne
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Has the US dollar delivered the benefit that the rest of the world is expecting from its holdings of international liquidity? US government debt has been liquid and safe, and it is supplied in sufficient quantity. But it has given a low return to the countries that accumulated the most reserves, especially when those returns are measured in terms of the countries' own consumption. Jeanne argues that countries that accumulate the most reserves should expect a low return in terms of their own consumption and that international monetary reform can do little to change that fact.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The response of the ten new eastern members of the European Union to the global financial crisis has valuable lessons of crisis resolution for the euro area. These countries were severely hit by the crisis in the fall of 2008 and responded with extensive reforms. Crisis made the unthinkable possible. This paper outlines the main reform measures that the ten Central and East European (CEE) countries carried out. It then quantifies to what extent the CEE countries resolved the macroeconomic crisis and explores the effects of the reforms on future growth prospects. The fourth and major section discusses how the political economy of the crisis resolution actually worked. Finally, the author examines what lessons euro area countries can learn from the crisis resolution of the newest members of the European Union.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Political Economy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Joseph Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper finds statistically robust and economically important effects of fiscal policy, external financial policy, net foreign assets, and oil prices on current account balances. The statistical model builds upon and improves previous explanations of current account balances in the academic literature. A key advance is that the model captures the effect of external financial policies, including exchange rate policies, through data on net official financial flows. Based on current and expected future policies, current account imbalances in major G-20 economies are likely to widen much more in the next five years than projected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This paper concludes with a discussion of appropriate policies to prevent widening imbalances.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Author: Carmen M. Reinhart, Nicolas E. Magud, Kenneth S. Rogoff
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The literature on capital controls has (at least) four very serious apples-to-oranges problems: (i) There is no unified theoretical framework to analyze the macroeconomic consequences of controls; (ii) there is significant heterogeneity across countries and time in the control measures implemented; (iii) there are multiple definitions of what constitutes a "success" and (iv) the empirical studies lack a common methodology-furthermore these are significantly "overweighted" by a couple of country cases (Chile and Malaysia). In this paper, we attempt to address some of these shortcomings by: being very explicit about what measures are construed as capital controls. Also, given that success is measured so differently across studies, we sought to "standardize" the results of over 30 empirical studies we summarize in this paper. The standardization was done by constructing two indices of capital controls: Capital Controls Effectiveness Index (CCE Index), and Weighted Capital Control Effectiveness Index (WCCE Index). The difference between them lies in that the WCCE controls for the differentiated degree of methodological rigor applied to draw conclusions in each of the considered papers. Inasmuch as possible, we bring to bear the experiences of less well known episodes than those of Chile and Malaysia. Then, using a portfolio balance approach we model the effects of imposing capital controls on short-term flows. We find that there should exist country-specific characteristics for capital controls to be effective. From this simple perspective, this rationalizes why some capital controls were effective and some were not. We also show that the equivalence in effects of price- vs. quantity-capital control are conditional on the level of short-term capital flows.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Carmen M. Reinhart
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Historically, periods of high indebtedness have been associated with a rising incidence of default or restructuring of public and private debts. A subtle type of debt restructuring takes the form of "financial repression." Financial repression includes directed lending to government by captive domestic audiences (such as pension funds), explicit or implicit caps on interest rates, regulation of cross-border capital movements, and (generally) a tighter connection between government and banks. In this paper, the authors describe some of the regulatory measures and policy actions that characterized the heyday of the financial repression era. In the heavily regulated financial markets of the Bretton Woods system, several restrictions facilitated a sharp and rapid reduction in public debt/GDP ratios from the late 1940s to the 1970s. Low nominal interest rates help reduce debt servicing costs while a high incidence of negative real interest rates liquidates or erodes the real value of government debt. Thus, financial repression is most successful in liquidating debts when accompanied by a steady dose of inflation. Inflation need not take market participants entirely by surprise and, in effect, it need not be very high (by historical standards). For the advanced economies in Reinhart and Sbrancia's sample, real interest rates were negative roughly half of the time during 1945–80. For the United States and the United Kingdom, their estimates of the annual liquidation of debt via negative real interest rates amounted on average to 3 to 4 percent of GDP a year. For Australia and Italy, which recorded higher inflation rates, the liquidation effect was larger (around 5 percent per annum).
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom
  • Author: Adam S. Posen, Kenneth N. Kuttner
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper takes up the issue of the flexibility of inflation targeting regimes, with the specific goal of determining whether the monetary policy of the Bank of England, which has a formal inflation target, has been any less flexible than that of the Federal Reserve, which does not have such a target. The empirical analysis uses the speed of inflation forecast convergence, estimated from professional forecasters' predictions at successive forecast horizons, to gauge the perceived flexibility of the central bank's response to macroeconomic shocks. Based on this criterion, there is no evidence to suggest that the Bank of England's inflation target has compelled it to be more aggressive in pursuit of low inflation than the Federal Reserve.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: England
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Against the backdrop of the recent financial crisis and the ongoing rapid changes in the world economy, the fate of the dollar as the premier international reserve currency is under scrutiny. This paper attempts to answer whether the Chinese renminbi will eclipse the dollar, what will be the timing of, and the prerequisites for this transition, and which of the two countries controls the outcome. The key finding, based on analyzing the last 110 years, is that the size of an economy—measured not just in terms of GDP but also trade and the strength of the external financial position—is the key fundamental correlate of reserve currency status. Further, the conventional view that sterling persisted well beyond the strength of the UK economy is overstated. Although the United States overtook the United Kingdom in terms of GDP in the 1870s, it became dominant in a broader sense encompassing trade and finance only at the end of World War I. And since the dollar overtook sterling in the mid-1920s, the lag between currency dominance and economic dominance was about 10 years rather than the 60-plus years traditionally believed. Applying these findings to the current context suggests that the renminbi could become the premier reserve currency by the end of this decade, or early next decade. But China needs to fulfill a number of conditions—making the reniminbi convertible and opening up its financial system to create deep and liquid markets—to realize renminbi preeminence. China seems to be moving steadily in that direction, and renminbi convertibility will proceed apace not least because it offers China's policymakers a political exit out of its mercantilist growth strategy. The United States cannot in any serious way prevent China from moving in that direction.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian, Aaditya Mattoo
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Until recently, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been an effective framework for cooperation because it has continually adapted to changing economic realities. The current Doha Agenda is an aberration because it does not reflect one of the biggest shifts in the international economic and trading system: the rise of China. Even though China will have a stake in maintaining trade openness, an initiative that builds on but redefines the Doha Agenda would anchor China more fully in the multilateral trading system. Such an initiative would have two pillars. First, a new negotiating agenda that would include the major issues of interest to China and its trading partners, and thus unleash the powerful reciprocal liberalization mechanism that has driven the WTO process to previous successes. Second, new restraints on bilateralism and regionalism that would help preserve incentives for maintaining the current broad non-discriminatory trading order.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Cullen S. Hendrix
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Rock phosphate is a critical, nonrenewable resource for which there is no known substitute in agriculture. Cordell, Drangert, and White (2009) use Hubbert methodology (1956) to estimate the peak—the year after which production will monotonically decline—of world rock phosphate production at 2033–34. This note assesses the applicability of Hubbert's (1949) peak methodology to world rock phosphate production, based on (a) the ability of the model to produce accurate in-sample and out-of-sample forecasts and stable estimates of ultimately recoverable reserves, and (b) the degree to which the rock phosphate market approximates the theoretical conditions underpinning the Hubbert model. In both respects, the application of Hubbert methodology to rock phosphate is found to be problematic.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Author: Jeffrey A. Frankel, Daniel Xie
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: A new technique for estimating countries' de facto exchange rate regimes synthesizes two approaches. One approach estimates the implicit de facto basket weights in an ordinary least squares (OLS) regression of the local currency value rate against major currency values. Here the hypothesis is a basket peg with little flexibility. The second estimates the de facto degree of exchange rate flexibility by observing how exchange market pressure is allowed to show up. Here the hypothesis is an anchor to the dollar or some other single major currency, but with a possibly substantial degree of exchange rate flexibility around that anchor. It is important to have available a technique that can cover both dimensions: inferring anchor weights and the flexibility parameter. We test the synthesis technique on a variety of fixers, floaters, and basket peggers. We find that real world data demand a statistical technique that allows parameters and regimes to shift frequently. Accordingly we estimate de facto exchange rate regimes: endogenous estimation of parameter breakpoints, following Bai and Perron (1998).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: J. Bradford Jensen, Andrew B. Bernard, Peter K. Schott, Stephen J. Redding
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: International trade models typically assume that producers in one country trade directly with final consumers in another. In reality, of course, trade can involve long chains of potentially independent actors who move goods through wholesale and retail distribution networks. These networks likely affect the magnitude and nature of trade frictions and hence both the pattern of trade and its welfare gains. To promote further understanding of the means by which goods move across borders, this paper examines the extent to which US exports and imports flow through wholesalers and retailers versus producing and consuming firms.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence, Lawrence Edwards
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Concerns that growth in developing countries could worsen the US terms of trade and that increased US trade with developing countries will increase US wage inequality both implicitly reflect the assumption that goods produced in the United States and developing countries are close substitutes and that specialization is incomplete. In this paper we show on the contrary that there are distinctive patterns of international specialization and that developed and developing countries export fundamentally different products, especially those classified as high tech. Judged by export shares, the United States and developing countries specialize in quite different product categories that, for the most part, do not overlap. Moreover, even when exports are classified in the same category, there are large and systematic differences in unit values that suggest the products made by developed and developing countries are not very close substitutes—developed country products are far more sophisticated.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Adam S. Posen
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Japan's Great Recession was the result of a series of macroeconomic and financial policy mistakes. Thus, it was largely avoidable once the initial shock from the bubble bursting had passed. The aberration in Japan's recession was not the behaviour of growth, which is best seen as a series of recoveries aborted by policy errors. Rather, the surprise was the persistent steadiness of limited deflation, even after recovery took place. This is a more fundamental challenge to our basic macroeconomic understanding than is commonly recognized. The UK and US economies are at low risk of having recurrent recessions through macroeconomic policy mistakes—but deflation itself cannot be ruled out. The United Kingdom worryingly combines a couple of financial parallels to Japan with far less room for fiscal action to compensate for them than Japan had. Also, Japan did not face poor prospects for external demand and the need to reallocate productive resources across export sectors during its Great Recession. Many economies do now face this challenge simultaneously, which may limit the pace of, and their share in, the global recovery.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, United Kingdom
  • Author: J. Bradford Jensen, Andrew B. Bernard, Peter K. Schott, Stephen J. Redding
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Recent research in international trade emphasizes the importance of firms' extensive margins for understanding overall patterns of trade as well as how firms respond to specific events such as trade liberalization. In this paper, we use detailed US trade statistics to provide a broad overview of how the margins of trade contribute to variation in US imports and exports across trading partners, types of trade (i.e., arm's length versus related party) and both short and long time horizons. Among other results, we highlight the differential behavior of related-party and arm's-length trade in response to the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: J. Bradford Jensen, Andrew B. Bernard, Peter K. Schott, Stephen J. Redding
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper examines the determinants of intra-firm trade in US imports using detailed country-product data. We create a new measure of product contractibility based on the degree of intermediation in international trade for the product. We find important roles for the interaction of country and product characteristics in determining intra-firm trade shares. Intra-firm trade is high for products with low levels of contractibility sourced from countries with weak governance, for skill-intensive products from skill-scarce countries, and for capital-intensive products from capital-abundant countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Stephan Haggard, Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The penal system has played a central role in the North Korean government's response to the country's profound economic and social changes. As the informal market economy has expanded, so have the scope of economic crimes. Two refugee surveys—one conducted in China, one in South Korea—document that the regime disproportionately targets politically suspect groups, particularly those involved in market-oriented economic activities. Levels of violence and deprivation do not appear to differ substantially between the infamous political prison camps, penitentiaries for felons, and labor camps used to incarcerate individuals for a growing number of economic crimes. Such a system may also reflect ulterior motives. High levels of discretion with respect to arrest and sentencing and very high costs of detention, arrest, and incarceration encourage bribery; the more arbitrary and painful the experience with the penal system, the easier it is for officials to extort money for avoiding it. These characteristics not only promote regime maintenance through intimidation, but may facilitate predatory corruption as well.
  • Topic: Crime, Economics, Markets, Prisons/Penal Systems
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Leszek Balcerowicz
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper distinguishes four alternative sovereign debt resolution mechanisms: pure market solutions, modified market solutions, crisis lending by the IMF and other institutions, and the proposed Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanism (SDRM). It is hard to find—at the general level of analysis—the unique advantages of SDRM. The assessment of the European Stabilization Mechanism will ultimately depend on its operation, especially whether it will be a tool of subsidizing countries in debt distress or an instrument of fiscal crisis lending. The present fiscal problems in the eurozone are due to the erosion of fiscal discipline and not to the lack of strong compensatory transfers within the eurozone. The right model to look at the conditions for the stability of the eurozone is not a single state but the gold standard–type system, a system of sovereign states with a (de facto) single currency. Based on this analogy and considering modern developments, three types of measures are needed to safeguard the stability of the eurozone: (1) measures that would reduce the procyclicality of the macroeconomic policies and of the economy; (2) reforms that would help the eurozone economies grow out of increased public debt; and (3) steps to increase the flexibility of the economy so that it can deal with the future shocks in a better way.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Jared C. Woollacott
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This study covers the history of Sino-US trade relations with a particular focus on the past decade, during which time each has been a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Providing a brief history of 19th and 20th century economic relations, this paper examines in detail the trade disputes that have arisen between China and the United States over the past decade, giving dollar estimates for the trade flows at issue. Each country has partaken in their share of protectionist measures, however, US measures have been characteristically defensive, protecting declining industries, while Chinese measures have been characteristically offensive, promoting nascent industries. We also cover administrative and legislation actions within each country that have yet to be the subject of formal complaint at the WTO. This includes an original and comprehensive quantitative summary of US Section 337 intellectual property rights cases. While we view the frictions in Sino-US trade a logical consequence of the rapid increase in flows between the two countries, we caution that each country work within the WTO framework and respect any adverse decisions it delivers so that a protracted protectionist conflict does not emerge. We see the current currency battle as one potential catalyst for such conflict if US and Chinese policymakers fail to manage it judiciously.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Dan Magder
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Mortgage defaults and home foreclosures remain a growing problem that undermines the nascent US economic recovery. Delinquencies continue to skyrocket, up 300 percent since the beginning of the crisis, and the contagion has spread to prime loans where delinquencies have risen to over 11 percent of outstanding loans. The resulting foreclosures have broad consequences: Individuals lose their homes, banks take losses on the loans, neighbors suffer as area prices go down, and localities lose on property taxes. The economics of modifying loans to avoid defaults appear strong: Lenders lose an average of $145,000 during a foreclosure compared with less than $24,000 on a modified loan. Yet the track record of modification programs has been surprisingly poor. Potential lawsuits over modifying loans in securitization trusts may be a less important obstacle than many claim. More significant are misaligned incentives that put mortgage servicers in opposition to both investors and borrowers, conflicts between investors holding different tranches of mortgage-backed securities (MBS), operational impediments, and problems in loan modification design that contribute to redefaults. Policymakers should improve reporting metrics to highlight servicers' conflicts of interest, shift the emphasis of loan modifications from short-term fixes to making the new loans more sustainable, and use government resources to drive operational/capacity improvements in the industry.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Th is paper expands on the methodology of Groshen and Potter (2003) for studying cyclical and structural changes in the US economy and analyzes the net structural and cyclical employment trends in the US economy during the last 10 trough-to-trough business cycles from 1949 to the present. It illustrates that the US manufacturing sector and an increasing number of services sectors, including parts of the fi nancial services sector, are experiencing structural employment declines. Structural employment gains in the US labor market are increasingly concentrated in the healthcare, education, food, and professional and technical services sectors and in the occupations related to these industries. Th e paper concludes that the improved operation of the US labor market during the 1990s has reversed itself in the 2000s, with negative long-term economic eff ects for the United States.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Theodore H. Moran
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The 2008 election rekindled debate about whether US multinationals shift technology across borders and relocate production in ways that might harm workers and communities at home. President Obama now pledges to end tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas. The preoccupation about the behavior of American multinationals takes three forms: (1) that US-based multinational corporations may follow a strategy that leads them to abandon the home economy, leaving the workers and communities to cope on their own with few appealing alternatives after the multinationals have left; (2) worse, that US-based multinational corporations may not just abandon home sites but drain off capital, substitute production abroad for exports, and “hollow out” the domestic economy in a zero-sum process that damages those left behind; and (3) worst, that US-based multinational corporations may deploy a rent-gathering apparatus that switches from sharing supranormal profits and externalities with US workers and communities to extracting rents from the United States. Each of these concerns contains a hypothetical outcome that can be compared with contemporary evidence from the United States and other home countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Matthew Adler, Gary Clyde Hufbauer
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Over the last three decades the global economy has expanded in a remarkable fashion. While nominal world GDP has increased four times, world bilateral trade flows have grown more than six-fold, and the stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) has grown by roughly 20 times since 1980. The sources of global trade and investment growth are well known—general economic expansion, policy liberalization, and better communications and technology—but the impact of each source is unclear. In this paper we attempt to uncover the contribution of policy liberalization to the rising ratios of US inward and outward FDI stocks to GDP over the last three decades.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Stephan Haggard, Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: North Korea's international transactions have grown since the 1990s famine period. Illicit transactions appear to account for a declining share of trade. Direct investment is rising, but the county remains significantly dependent on aid to finance imports. Interdependence with South Korea and China is rising, but the nature of integration with these two partners is very different: China's interaction with North Korea appears to be increasingly on market-oriented terms, while South Korea's involvement has a growing noncommercial or aid component. These patterns have implications for North Korea's development, the effectiveness of UN sanctions, and its bargaining behavior in nuclear negotiations.
  • Topic: Markets, United Nations
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Adam S. Posen, Kenneth N. Kuttner
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the effects of central bank governor appointments on financial market expectations of monetary policy. To measure these effects, we assemble a new dataset of appointment announcements from 15 countries, and conduct an event study analysis on exchange rates, bond yields, and stock prices. The analysis reveals a significant reaction of exchange rates and bond yields to unexpected appointments. The reactions are not unidirectional, and thus do not suggest new governors suffer from a generic credibility problem. Federal Reserve chairman appointments stand out in terms of their unusually pronounced effects on financial markets.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Politics