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  • Author: Joseph Halevi
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: The paper highlights the position of German authorities, showing that they were quite lucid about the fundamental weaknesses inherent in a process that separated monetary from fiscal policies by giving priority to the centralization of the former. Instead of repeating the well known critiques levelled against the EMU – for which readers are referred to the unsurpassed treatment by Stiglitz, the essay highlights the splintering of Europe in the way in which it has unfolded during the 1990s and in the first decade of the present millennium. In particular the early economic and political origins of the terminal crisis of Italy are located between the late 1980s and the 1990s. France is shown to belong increasingly to the so-called European periphery by virtue of a weakening industrial structure and persistent balance of payments deficits. The paper argues that France regains its central role by political means and through its weight as an active nuclear military power centered on maintaining its imperial interests and posture especially in Africa. The first decade of the present millennium is portrayed as the period in which a distinct German economic area had been formed in the midst of Europe with a strong drive to the east with an increasingly powerful gravitational pull towards the People’s Republic of China.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Political Economy, History, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, Asia, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Lance Taylor
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Expansionary macroeconomic policy with a strong redistributive component is an attractive proposition, most recently launched on the basis of Modern Monetary Theory or MMT. The Theory is a synthesis of familiar ideas, newly relevant but scarcely path-breaking. Its basics – Chartalist or fiat money, functional finance, and models based on consistent national accounting – come straight from Maynard Keynes, Abba Lerner, and Wynne Godley. Functional finance is the heart of fiscalist Keynesianism built upon automatic stabilizers for the business cycle. MMT’s job guarantee proposal is one more stabilizer which could be a modest helpful supplement to the system which exists. National accounting comparisons of a possible MMT package with the 2008 crash and the Trump tax cut are presented with emphasis on autonomous shifts in demand. The package could have problems with debt sustainability and external balance. Inflation is unlikely if wage repression in the USA is not reversed. But strong wage increases are presumably a goal of MMT.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Finance, Economic Theory, Macroeconomics, Money
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Catherine Ruetschli, Mark Glick
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: The Big Tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple, have individually and collectively engaged in an unprecedented number of acquisitions.When a dominant firm purchases a start-up that could be a future entrant and thereby increase competitive rivalry, it raises a potential competition issue. Unfortunately, the antitrust law of potential competition mergers is ill-equipped to address tech mergers. We contend that the Chicago School’s assumptions and policy prescriptions hobbled antitrust law and policy on potential competition mergers. We illustrate this problem with the example of Facebook. Facebook has engaged in 90 completed acquisitions in its short history (documented in the Appendix to this paper). Many antitrust commentators have focused on the Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions as cases of mergers that have reduced potential competition. We show the impotence of the potential competition doctrine applied to these two acquisitions. We suggest that the remedy for Chicago School damage to the potential competition doctrine is a return to an empirically tractable structural approach to potential competition mergers.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Communications, Law, Digital Economy, Macroeconomics, Monopoly, Antitrust Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mark Glick
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Since the publication of Robert Bork’s The Antitrust Paradox, lawyers, judges, and many economists have defended “Consumer welfare” (CW) as a standard for decisions about antitrust goals and enforcement priorities. This paper argues that the CW is actually an empty concept and is an inappropriate goal for antitrust. Welfare economists concede that there is no credible measurable link between price and output and human well-being. This means that the concept of CW does not legitimate limited antitrust enforcement, nor does it justify the exclusion of other antitrust goals that require more active enforcement practices. This paper contends that antitrust policy is not welfare based at all, and that if it were, antitrust policy and enforcement would differ significantly from the Chicago School vision. Without the fiction that economists can establish that in the short run lower price and higher output measurably increases welfare more than other goals, recent defenses of the CW standard resolve down to arguments based on unsupported assumptions.
  • Topic: Economics, Law, Legal Theory , Economic Theory, Macroeconomics, Antitrust Law, Microeconomics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: We validate our measure by showing it correctly identifies calls containing extensive conversations on risks that are political in nature, that it varies intuitively over time and across sectors, and that it correlates with the firm’s actions and stock market volatility in a manner that is highly indicative of political risk. Firms exposed to political risk retrench hiring and investment and actively lobby and donate to politicians. These results continue to hold after controlling for news about the mean (as opposed to the variance) of political shocks. Interestingly, the vast majority of the variation in our measure is at the firm level rather than at the aggregate or sector level, in the sense that it is neither captured by the interaction of sector and time fixed effects, nor by heterogeneous exposure of individual firms to aggregate political risk. The dispersion of this firm-level political risk increases significantly at times with high aggregate political risk. Decomposing our measure of political risk by topic, we find that firms that devote more time to discussing risks associated with a given political topic tend to increase lobbying on that topic, but not on other topics, in the following quarter.
  • Topic: Economics, Economy, Business , Risk
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Christian Breuer
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: In this paper we methodologically review and criticize a broad literature of empirical work on the effects of fiscal policy (the ‘conventional approach’). Beyond previous critiques of this approach, we show that the cyclical adjustment strategy as used in this literature entails erroneous assumptions that necessarily produce flawed results in support of expansionary austerity. Specifically, the cyclically-adjusted primary balance (CAPB) strategy this literature employs fails to correct for cyclical effects in the expenditure- GDP-ratio, so that the estimates of the results of expansionary fiscal consolidation are affected by reverse causality, i.e. increasing GDP causally decreases expenditure-GDP- ratios, rather than vice versa. We provide suggestions on how to fix this incomplete cyclical adjustment problem with a new approach. After replicating two famous articles of the conventional literature and controlling for this bias, the expansionary effects of fiscal adjustments disappear or turn into their opposite
  • Topic: Economics, Macroeconomics, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Maxim Ananyev, Michael Poyker
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: We demonstrate that civil conflict erodes self-identification with a nation-state even among non- rebellious ethnic groups in non-conflict areas. We perform a difference-in-difference estimation using Afrobarometer data. Using the onset of Tuareg-led insurgency in Mali caused by the demise of the Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi as an exogenous shock to state capacity, we find that residents living closer to the border with the conflict zone experienced a larger decrease in national identification. The effect was greater on people who were more exposed to local media. We hypothesize about the mechanism and show that civil conflict erodes national identity through the peoples’ perception of a state weakness.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, State Formation, State Actors, State, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Mali
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Finance and the macroeconomy, both policy and industry practices as well as academic research, have evolved substantially in recent years. While the old questions of business cycles, macroeconomic management, financial regulation, and social protection are still being debated, we are now confronted with new developments in the economy, characterized by digital technology, new modes of production and business models, and changing employment relations. Macroeconomics and finance need urgent rethinking as the global economy transforms. Our gathering on March 5, 2019 brought together economists, policymakers, financial regulators, and industry practitioners from around the world. We heard diverse perspectives on multilateralism, pension and labor market reform, international trade, and risks in the world economy, and we grappled with issues on stagnant wages, public debt, fiscal and monetary policy, and banking reforms. Our discussion was by no means exhaustive or conclusive, but we attempted to harness the group’s collective wisdom to address some of the most prominent questions of our day. This document is intended to inform our commissioners as they develop CGET’s final report and to share our timely conversation with policymakers and the general public. Fomenting multidisciplinary, critical discourse is one of the most important responsibilities of this initiative, and we sincerely thank the staff at the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), our dedicated Commissioners, and our outside experts for helping us to promote this dialogue.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, Regulation, Digital Economy, Economic Theory, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Claudia Fontanari, Antonella Palumbo, Chiara Salvatori
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper challenges the mainstream view of potential output, and enquires into the supposed effects of Great Recession on potential growth. We identify in the demand-led growth perspective a more promising theoretical framework both to define the notion and to gauge the long-term effects of a demand slow down. Based on the poor reliability of standard estimates of potential output, we also propose an alternative calculation. This is based on an update of Arthur M. Okun’s original method for estimating potential output, which, differently from the estimation methods currently in use, does not rely on the notion of NAIRU, thus being immune to its theoretical and empirical shortcomings. Our calculation, based on a re-estimation of Okun’s Law on US quarterly data, shows both how far an economy generally operates from its production possibilities, and how much potential growth is affected by the actual growth of demand over time. These wide margins for expansion of actual and potential output growth imply that a determined policy of demand expansion would create, given time, the very capacity that justifies it.
  • Topic: Economics, Global Recession, Economic growth, Macroeconomics, Demand
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Technology has become the most powerful disruptive force in our economy. It bears on the future of work, competition, market power, and national security, and it binds the other major areas of our commission’s investigation: macroeconomics and finance, globalization, and climate change. In essence, technological progress propels global economic transformation. Our gathering on February 6, 2019 brought economists together with leading voices from academia, labor, private industry, and the nonprofit/NGO sector. We heard from industry leaders with deep roots and history in the Silicon Valley technology revolution, academics who have also spent time in the policy arena, and from individuals who are already considering new models and approaches to digital rights and the future of work. Our discussion was by no means exhaustive or conclusive, but we attempted to harness the group’s collective wisdom to address some of the most vexing questions of our day. This document is intended to inform our commissioners as they develop CGET’s final report and to share our timely conversation with policymakers and the general public. Fomenting multidisciplinary, critical discourse is one of the most important responsibilities of this initiative, and we sincerely thank the staff at the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), our dedicated commissioners, and our outside thought leaders for helping us to promote this dialogue.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Global Markets, Digital Economy, Global Political Economy, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Servaas Storm
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Using macroeconomic data for 1960-2018, this paper analyzes the origins of the crisis of the ‘post-Maastricht Treaty order of Italian capitalism’. After 1992, Italy did more than most other Eurozone members to satisfy EMU conditions in terms of self-imposed fiscal consolidation, structural reform and real wage restraint—and the country was undeniably successful in bringing down inflation, moderating wages, running primary fiscal surpluses, reducing unemployment and raising the profit share. But its adherence to the EMU rulebook asphyxiated Italy’s domestic demand and exports—and resulted not just in economic stagnation and a generalized productivity slowdown, but in relative and absolute decline in many major dimensions of economic activity. Italy’s chronic shortage of demand has clear sources: (a) perpetual fiscal austerity; (b) permanent real wage restraint; and (c) a lack of technological competitiveness which, in combination with an overvalued euro, weakens the ability of Italian firms to maintain their global market shares in the face of increasing competition of low-wage countries. These three causes lower capacity utilization, reduce firm profitability and hurt investment, innovation and diversification. The EMU rulebook thus locks the Italian economy into economic decline and impoverishment. The analysis points to the need to end austerity and devise public investment and industrial policies to improve Italy’s ‘technological competitiveness’ and stop the structural divergence between the Italian economy and France/Germany. The issue is not just to revive demand in the short run (which is easy), but to create a self-reinforcing process of investment-led and innovation-driven process of long-run growth (which is difficult).
  • Topic: Economics, Capitalism, Global Political Economy, Macroeconomics, Eurozone
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Michael Poyker
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: I study the economic externalities of convict labor on local labor markets and firms. Using newly collected panel data on U.S. prisons and convict-labor camps from 1886 to 1940, I calculate each county’s exposure to prisons. I exploit quasi-random variation in county’s exposure to capacities of pre-convict-labor prisons as an instrument. I find that competition from cheap prison-made goods led to higher unemployment, lower labor-force participation, and reduced wages (particularly for women) in counties that housed competing manufacturing industries. The introduction of convict labor accounts for 0.5 percentage-point slower annual growth in manufacturing wages during 1880– 1900. At the same time, affected industries had to innovate away from the competition and thus had higher patenting rates. I also document that technological changes in affected industries were capital-biased.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Capitalism, Domestic politics, Macroeconomics, Mass Incarceration, Manufacturing
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Roman Frydman, Søren Johansen, Anders Rahbek, Morten Tabor
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper introduces the Knightian Uncertainty Hypothesis (KUH), a new approach to macroeconomics and finance theory. KUH rests on a novel mathematical framework that characterizes both measurable and Knightian uncertainty about economic outcomes. Relying on this framework and John Muth’s pathbreaking hypothesis, KUH represents participants’ forecasts to be consistent with both uncertainties. KUH thus enables models of aggregate outcomes that 1) are premised on market participants’ rationality, and 2) yet accord a role to both fundamental and psychological (and other non-fundamental) factors in driving outcomes. The paper also suggests how a KUH model’s quantitative predictions can be confronted with time-series data.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Economic Theory, Macroeconomics, Mathematics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Shannon Monnat
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Over the past two decades deaths from opioids and other drugs have grown to be a major U.S. population health problem, but the magnitude of the crisis varies across the U.S., and explanations for widespread geographic variation in the severity of the drug crisis are limited. An emerging debate is whether geographic differences in drug mortality rates are driven mostly by opioid supply factors or socioeconomic distress. To explore this topic, I examined relationships between county-level non-Hispanic white drug mortality rates for 2000-02 and 2014-16 and several socioeconomic and opioid supply measures across the urban-rural continuum and within different rural labor markets. Net of county demographic composition, average non-Hispanic white drug mortality rates are highest and increased the most in large metro counties. In 2014-16, the most rural counties had an average of 6.2 fewer deaths per 100,000 population than large metro counties. Economic distress, family distress, persistent population loss, and opioid supply factors (exposure to prescription opioids and fentanyl) are all associated with significantly higher drug mortality rates. However, the magnitude of associations varies across the urban-rural continuum and across different types of rural labor markets. In rural counties, economic distress appears to be a stronger predictor than opioid supply measures of drug mortality rates, but in urban counties, opioid supply factors are more strongly associated with drug mortality rates than is economic distress. Ultimately, the highest drug mortality rates are disproportionately concentrated in economically distressed mining and service sector dependent counties with high exposure to prescription opioids and fentanyl.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Inequality, Macroeconomics, Drugs
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Servaas Storm
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Strong labor protections for ordinary workers are often portrayed as a ‘luxury developing countries cannot afford’. No study has been more influential in propagating this perversity trope in the context of the Indian economy than the QJE article of Besley and Burgess (2004). Their article provides econometric evidence that pro-worker regulation resulted in lower output, employment, investment and productivity in India’s registered manufacturing sector. This paper reviews existing critiques of Besley and Burgess (2004), which highlight conceptual and measurement errors and uncover econometric weaknesses. The paper takes a step beyond these: it reports a failure to replicate Besley and Burgess’ findings and demonstrate the nonrobustness of their results. My deconstruction is not only about the econometrics, however. I show that Besley and Burgess’ findings are not just inconsistent with their theoretical priors, but also internally contradictory and empirically implausible, taxing any person’s capacity for belief. The paper, written by two ‘useful economists’, exhibits a gratuitous empiricism in which priors trump evidence. On all counts, it fails the test of being useful to the purpose of ‘evidence-based’ public policy advice.mp Evidence and Progress Gets Stalled
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Inequality, Labor Policies
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Enrico Sergio Levrero
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: After briefly mentioning the determinants of the natural rate of interest in the New Keynesian models, the paper discusses the different notions of it that we find in these models and the problems encountered when the natural rate is estimated. It states that these problems are not only related to the difficulties in distinguishing the kind and persistency of economic shocks, but pertain to theory, namely to model specification and the alleged independence of the average or normal interest rate from monetary policy. Following Keynes’s suggestion regarding the monetary nature of interest rates, some final remarks will thus be advanced on their effects on prices and income distribution as well as on the objectives and stance of monetary policies.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Income Inequality, Macroeconomics, Keynes
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Peter Temin
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: It is hard to fit finance into the measurement of national product and of economic growth, and similar problems bedevil efforts to include other intangible investments as well. I describe how our current accounts deal with these problems, and I argue that existing NIPA data fail to describe the future path of growth in our new economy because they lack output data on financial, human and social capital investments. They fail to show that the United States is consuming its capital stock now and will suffer later, rather like killing the family cow to have a steak dinner.
  • Topic: Economics, Finance, Economic growth, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ricardo Perez Truglia, Matias Giaccobasso, Guillermo Cruces, Rodrigo Ceni, Marcelo Bergolo
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: The canonical model of Allingham and Sandmo (1972) predicts that firms evade taxes by optimally trading off between the costs and benefits of evasion. However, there is no direct evidence that firms react to audits in this way. We conducted a large-scale field experiment in collaboration with Uruguay’s tax authority to address this question. We sent letters to 20,440 small- and medium-sized firms that collectively paid more than 200 million dollars in taxes per year. Our letters provided exogenous yet nondeceptive signals about key inputs for their evasion decisions, such as audit probabilities and penalty rates. We measured the effect of these signals on their subsequent perceptions about the auditing process, based on survey data, as well as on the actual taxes paid, based on administrative data. We find that providing information about audits had a significant effect on tax compliance but in a manner that was inconsistent with Allingham and Sandmo (1972). Our findings are consistent with an alternative model, risk-as-feelings, in which messages about audits generate fear and induce probability neglect. According to this model, audits may deter tax evasion in the same way that scarecrows frighten off birds.
  • Topic: Economics, Global Political Economy, Tax Systems, Economic Policy, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina, Global Focus
  • Author: Onil Banerjee, Martin Cicowiez, Renato Vargas, Mark Horridge
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: In 2014, the United Nations published the first International Standard for environmental economic statistics, known as the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA).. As more countries adopt and implement the SEEA, the availability of consistent environmental and economic information increases the need for analytical tools that can use this data to respond to policy relevant questions. In this paper, we present a workflow to develop an environmentally extended social accounting matrix, which can serve as the basic database for the development of environmentally-extended computable general equilibrium models. To illustrate, and given its comprehensive implementation of the SEEA, we apply this workflow to the Guatemalan case and the Integrated Economic-Environmental Modeling (IEEM) Platform.
  • Topic: Economics, United Nations, Basic Data, Accountability, Economic Policy, Statistics
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Central America, Guatemala, Global Focus
  • Author: José Galdo, Bayarmaa Dalkhjavd, Altantsetseg Batchuluun, Soyolmaa Batbekh, Maria Laura Alzúa
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: Because of its high incidence and potential threat to social cohesion, youth unemployment is a global concern. This study uses a randomized controlled trial to analyze the effectiveness of a demand-driven vocational training program for disadvantaged youth in Mongolia. Mongolia, a transitional country whose economic structure shifted from a communist, centrally planned economy to a free-market economy over a relatively short period, offers a new setting in which to test the effectiveness of standard active labor market policies. This study reports positive and statistically significant short-term effects of vocational training on monthly earnings, skills matching, and self-employment. Substantial heterogeneity emerges as relatively older, richer, and better-educated individuals drive these positive effects. A second intervention that randomly assigns participants to receive repetitive weekly newsletters with information on market returns to vocational training shows positive impacts on the length of exposure to and successful completion of the program. These positive effects, however, are only observed at the intensive margin and do not lead to higher employment or earnings outcomes.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, Labor Issues, Employment, Youth, Labor Policies
  • Political Geography: Mongolia, Asia
  • Author: Leonardo Peñaloza Pacheco
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to estimate the causal effect of the migration of Venezuelans to Colombia on the Colombian real wage, since 2016. In the second semester of 2016, the borders between Colombia and Venezuela were reopened after a year of being closed due to a political crisis between the two countries; this re-opening is exploited as an identification strategy. Using data from the Unidad Administrativa Especial de Migraci´on Colombia and the Registro Administrativo de Migrantes Venezolanos in Colombia, it is estimated that the migratory flow of Venezuelans to Colombia increased the Economically Active Population of the border areas of La Guajira and Norte de Santander by approximately 10% and 15%, since its reopening. Differences-in-differences methodology and Synthetic Control Method are implemented and the results show that the increase in labor supply in these regions that resulted from the migratory flow generated a decline in real hourly wages of approximately 6%-9% on average. This decrease in real wages appears to be greater for men as compared to women. There is also evidence of a greater drop in real wages among people with lower levels of qualification and in conditions of informal employment.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Employment, Income Inequality
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: Mariana Marchionni, María Edo, Dolores de la Mata, Lucila Berniell, Inés Berniell
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: Recent work has quantified the large negative effects of motherhood on female labor market outcomes in Europe and the US. But these results may not apply to developing countries, where labor markets work differently and informality is widespread. In less developed countries, informal jobs, which typically include microenterprises and self-employment, offer more time flexibility but poorer social protection and lower labor earnings. These characteristics affect the availability of key inputs in the technology to raise children, and therefore may affect the interplay between parenthood and labor market outcomes. Through an event-study approach we estimate short and long-run labor market impacts of children in Chile, an OECD developing country with a relatively large informal sector. We find that the birth of the first child has strong and long lasting effects on labor market outcomes of Chilean mothers, while fathers remain unaffected. Becoming a mother implies a sharp decline in mothers’ labor supply, both in the extensive and intensive margins, and in hourly wages. We also show that motherhood affects the occupational structure of employed mothers, as the share of jobs in the informal sector increases remarkably. In order to quantify what the motherhood effect would have been in the absence of an informal labor market, we build a quantitative model economy, that includes an informal sector which offers more flexible working hours at the expense of lower wages and weaker social protection, and a technology to produce child quality that combines time, material resources and the quality of social protection services. We perform a counterfactual experiment that indicates that the existence of the informal sector in Chile helps to reduce the drop in LFP after motherhood in about 35%. We conclude that mothers find in the informal sector the flexibility to cope with both family and labor responsibilities, although at the cost of resigning contributory social protection and reducing their labor market prospects.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Political Economy, Women
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Mariana Viollaz
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: This paper quantifies labor law violations and how the enforcement efforts impact on the compliance level by considering the possibility of different labor regulations being violated simultaneously. The findings for the Peruvian labor markets over the period 2004-2013 indicate that: (i) multiple violations of labor regulations are an important feature of Peruvian labor markets; (ii) young workers, workers with low level of education, indigenous workers, workers in micro firms and workers employed in the agricultural sector have higher chances of being deprived of several labor benefits simultaneously; (iii) the enforcement of labor regulations, captured through the number of labor inspections at the region level, is effective in detecting and penalizing extreme situations of multiple violations of the labor law, but the evidence also suggests that firms adjust only partially as an attempt to reduce the amount of a potential fine if discovered, and that laid off workers during the adjustment process moved to the informal sector where firms are not inspected. These findings are useful from a policy perspective indicating that there is space to improve firms’ incentives when facing an increase in the enforcement effort.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Law Enforcement, Law, Regulation, Labor Policies, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Peru
  • Author: David Jaume, Alexander Willén
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: Temporary school closures (TSC) represent a major challenge to policymakers across the globe due to their potential impact on instructional time and student achievement. A neglected but equally important question relates to how such closures affect the labor market behavior of parents. This paper provides novel evidence on the effect of temporary school closures on parental labor market behavior, exploiting the prevalence of primary school teacher strikes across time and provinces in Argentina. We find clear evidence that temporary school closures negatively impact the labor market participation of mothers, in particular lower-skilled mothers less attached to the labor force and mothers in dual-income households who face a lower opportunity cost of dropping out of the labor force. This effect translates into a statistically significant and economically meaningful reduction in labor earnings: the average mother whose child is exposed to ten days of TSCs suffers a decline in monthly labor earnings equivalent to 2.92% of the mean. While we do not find any effects among fathers in general, fathers with lower predicted earnings than their spouses also experience negative labor market effects. This suggests that the parental response to TSCs depend, at least in part, on the relative income of each parent. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggest that the aggregate impact of TSCs on annual parental earnings is more than $113 million, and that the average mother would be willing to forego 1.6 months of labor earnings in order to ensure that there are no TSCs while her child is in primary school.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Markets, Political Economy, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Miriam Berges, Federico Perali, Martina Menon, Lucía Echeverria
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: Are two parents and single parents allocating household resources to children in the same way? Which factors affect intra-household inequality? Do mothers re-distribute more income to children as they are more empowered? We focus on child welfare in the context of two parent and single parent families, which is relevant for policy recommendation. We model households behavior in a collective framework, which allows us to understand the rule governing the allocation process between adults and children. Using consumption data from Argentina from three consecutive expenditures surveys (1996, 2004 and 2012) we analyze intra-household behavior over three different socio-economic contexts. We estimate a collective quadratic demand system following a structural approach to identify the fraction of total household expenditure that is devoted to children and adults, exploiting the observability of assignable goods. We provide the first evidence of intra-household inequality and individual poverty levels for Argentina. Our results indicate that family structure matters in the intra-household distribution. We find a positive gender bias in expenditure when children are females for both types of families, and we document that children fare better when mothers have a higher bargaining power in the allocation process, measured by their employment status. Further, we find several features of intra-household behavior which are persistent in time.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Children, Income Inequality, Child Poverty, Family
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Jorge Tamayo, Anant Nyshadham, Carlos Medina, Gaurav Khanna
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Canonical models of crime emphasize economic incentives. Yet, causal evidence of sorting into criminal occupations in response to individual-level variation in incentives is limited. We link administrative socioeconomic microdata with the universe of arrests in Medellίn over a decade. We exploit exogenous variation in formal-sector employment around a socioeconomic-score cutoff, below which individuals receive benefits if not formally employed, to test whether a higher cost to formal-sector employment induces crime. Regression discontinuity estimates show this policy generated reductions in formal-sector employment and a corresponding spike in organized crime, but no effects on crimes of impulse or opportunity.
  • Topic: Crime, Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Ebaidalla M. Ebaidalla
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Despite the importance of non-farm income in the livelihood of the rural population in Sudan, information available on its size and determinants is scant. This study examined the patterns and determinants of decisions to participate in non-farm activities in rural Sudan. It also investigates whether the determinants of participation in non-farm activities vary across agriculture sub-sectors and income groups as well as among males and females. The data for this study was sourced from the Sudanese National Baseline Household Survey (NBHS) conducted by Sudan’s Central Bureau of Statistics in 2009. The results show that non-farm income is a crucial source of livelihood, contributing about 43% to household income in rural Sudan. The results of multinomial logit and probit estimation methods indicate that educational level, mean of transportation, lack of land and lack of access to formal credit are the most significant factors that push rural farmers to participate in non-farm activities. Surprisingly, the effect of household income was positive and significant, implying that individuals from rich households have higher opportunity to engage in non-farm activities compared to their poor counterparts. Moreover, the analysis revealed some symptoms of gender and location disparities in the effect of factors that influence participation in non-farm activities. The study concluded with some recommendations that aim to enhance the engagement in non-farm activities as an important diversification strategy to complement the role of the agriculture sector in improving rural economy in Sudan.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Gender Issues, Income Inequality, Rural
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Isaac Bentum-Ennin
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Given Ghana’s endowments such as attractive sites; more than 500km of beaches, and World Heritage forts and castles, tourism is seen as an important tool for promoting the socio-economic development in that it generates many economic benefits such as incomes, employment and tax revenue, both within the sector and through linkages with other sectors. This study first, analyses the factors influencing the upward trends in international tourists’ arrivals and receipts and second, quantifies the impact of the tourism sector on the Ghanaian economy. The objective of this policy brief is to inform the Ministers of Interior, Tourism and Finance that the most important factor influencing international tourists’ arrivals in Ghana is the prevailing civil liberties and political rights and that Nigeria is a significant substitute destination. Also, that the tourism sector has had the greatest impact on the whole Ghanaian economy when compared to sectors such as agriculture, industry and other services sectors. It is hoped that appropriate legislations will be passed to deepen these liberties and rights and that policy measures will be put in place to ensure macroeconomic stability in order not to lose competitiveness to Nigeria. Also, it is hoped that the Tourism Ministry would lobby for more investment and more resources from the Finance Ministry in order to expand the sector since it has a huge potential to stimulate economic growth.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, International Political Economy, Tourism, Economic growth, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Ibrahim Okumu, Faizal Buyinza
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Using the 2013 World Bank Enterprise Survey data for Uganda, this paper employs the quintile estimation technique to explain the relationship between innovation and firm performance in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Innovation involves the introduction of a new or significantly improved production process, product, marketing technique or organizational structure. Our results indicate that individual processing, product, marketing and organizational innovations have no impact on labour productivity as proxied by sales per worker. However, the results indicate the presence of complementarity between the four types of innovation. Specifically, the effect of innovation on sales per worker is positive when an SME engages in all four types of innovation. Even then the complementarity is weakly positive with incidences of a negative relationship when using any combination of innovations that are less than the four types of innovation. Policy-wise the results suggest that efforts to incentivize innovation should be inclusive enough to encourage all four forms of innovation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Political Economy, Economic growth, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Janvier Mwisha-Kasiwa
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Health is both a direct component of human well-being and a form of human capital that increases an individual’s capabilities and opportunities to generate income and reduces vulnerability. It is argued that these two views are complementary, and both can be used to justify increased investment in health in developing countries. Therefore, investment in child health constitutes a potential mechanism to end the intergenerational transmission of poverty. This paper examines the empirical impact of household economic well-being on child health, and the gender differences in effects using the Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 2014. A series of econometric tools are used; the control function approach appears to be the most appropriate strategy as it simultaneously removes structural parameters from endogeneity, the sample selection and heterogeneity of the unobservable variables. Results suggest a significant positive effect of household economic well-being on child health. However, the magnitude of the effect varies by gender of household head; children from households headed by males appear healthier compared to those from female-headed households. In the context of DR Congo, female-headed households often have a single parent, therefore, the economic well-being effect on child health in the male sub-sample can be considered to include the unobserved contribution of women. These results have implications for public interventions that enable women to participate in paid labour market activities as a means of improving household economic well-being, which in turn could improve child health.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Gender Issues, Health, Health Care Policy, Children
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Author: Lassana Cissokho
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the productivity effects of power outages on manufacturing Small Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Senegal, using a panel data on manufacturing firms. Productivity is estimated using stochastic frontier models, and power outages measured by their frequency or their duration. We controlled for firms owning a generator as well. The main results are drawn from random effects in a linear panel model. Nonetheless, the results remain consistent to the robustness checks using different models: a double-sided truncated data model and a generalized linear model, and different productivity measures: data envelopment analysis. We find that power outages have negative significant effects on the productivity of SMEs; for example, the manufacturing sector lost up to around 11.6% of the actual productivity due to power outages in 2011, and small firms appear to be affected more than medium ones, 5% against 4.3%. Further, firms with a generator were successful in countering the adverse effect of power outages on productivity. Besides, another outstanding result is the significant positive effect of access to credit on productivity. At last, it appears that productivity increases with firms’ size.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Political Economy, Economic structure, Economic growth, Macroeconomics, Manufacturing
  • Political Geography: Africa, Senegal
  • Author: Eme Dada
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: The objective of this policy brief is to inform the Ministers of Trade and Investment of Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) countries about the importance of the linkage between Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and trade for developing countries. FDI is considered an important means of promoting export of the host countries. This is true of inward FDI, which comes for efficiency reasons. Conversely, there is concern that large flows of outward FDI results in a decline in the host country’s exports and loss of jobs. This in turn assumes that the exports of the source country will fall as FDI substitutes for trade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Gambia
  • Author: Mirriam Muhome-Matita, Takondwa Chauma
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Mobile financial services are gaining prominence and could be a possible avenue for fast-tracking financial inclusion in developing countries, including Malawi. However, adoption and usage of such services remains low among the Malawi population. This study investigates the influence of financial literacy on financial behaviour of individuals in Malawi, specifically use of mobile phone-based financial transactions. Descriptive and econometric analyses were conducted using cross-sectional data obtained from the Reserve Bank of Malawi. Findings reveal that the likelihood of using mobile financial services increases with increasing levels of financial literacy, type of employment and peri-urban residence. Furthermore, men are more likely to transact on mobile phones than females and that although income levels matter in the use of mobile financial transactions, the magnitude of effect is negligible. Results suggest opportunities for expanding access to financial services and products such as differentiation in financial literacy education by characteristics of population including gender of users. Informal settings do not preclude expansion of digital payments, and therefore financial product innovation and addressing rural resident’s constraints to access mobile financial services is crucial.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Labor Issues, Income Inequality, Labor Policies, Banks
  • Political Geography: Malawi
  • Author: Suresh Naidu, Dani Rodrik, Gabriel Zucman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: We live in an age of astonishing inequality. Income and wealth disparities between the rich and the poor in the United States have risen to heights not seen since the gilded age in the early part of the 20th century, and are among the highest in the developed world. Median wages for American workers remain at 1970s levels. Fewer and fewer among newer generations can expect to do better than their parents. Organizational and technological changes and globalization have fueled great wealth accumulation among those able to take advantage of them, but have left large segments of the population behind. U.S. life expectancy has declined for the third year in a row in 2017, and the allocation of healthcare looks both inefficient and unfair. Advances in automation and digitization threaten even greater labor market disruptions in the years ahead. Climate change fueled disasters increasingly disrupt everyday life. Greater prosperity and inclusion both seem attainable, yet the joint target recedes ever further.
  • Topic: Economics, Capitalism, Inequality, Economic Policy, Economic Theory
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anat R. Admati
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: The financial system is fragile and distorted because current rules fail to counter the distorted incentives by banking institutions to borrow excessively and to remain opaque. Better-designed rules to reduce the reliance on debt and ensure that institutions use significantly more equity would enable the financial system to serve society better. Revising counterproductive tax and bankruptcy codes that, together with the extensive safety net offered to the financial system currently encourage dangerous conduct, would also be beneficial.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Finance, Economic Policy, Economic Theory, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sandra E. Black, Jesse Rothstein
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: While private provision of goods often yields the efficient outcome, there are a number of goods that are not efficiently provided in the private market. Here, we outline two such situations: investments in child care and education, and insurance against risks created by business cycles, poor health, and old age. Because private markets work poorly for these goods, and the costs of market failure are large, standard economic reasoning implies a significant role for government provision. The reduction in economic insecurity that this would bring could help to improve political stability as well, by reducing the stakes that people perceive in discussions of trade, immigration, technological change, and countercyclical policy (Inglehart and Norris, 2016). Many observers (e.g, Hacker, 2018) have pointed to economic anxiety as a potential contributor to populist reactions in the U.S. and many European countries; a public sector that acts to reduce the risk that households face could ameliorate this, generating political spillovers and improving the state of the country more broadly.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Health, Health Care Policy, Children, Economic Policy, Economic Theory
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Ethan Kaplan
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: In sum, political institutions in the United States favor higher income individuals over lower income individuals and ethnic majorities over ethnic minorities. This is accomplished through a myriad of policies which impact who votes, allow for differential influence and access by the wealthy, structure voting districts to dilute the impacts of under-represented voters, and allow for oversized influence of pro-business owner ideas through media and membership organizations.
  • Topic: Economics, Law, Elections, Democracy, Economic Policy, Voting
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anton Korinek
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: As technology advanced in recent decades, it increasingly left workers behind and led to sharp increases in inequality. The current wave of progress in artificial intelligence is likely to accelerate these trends. This note lays out three complementary approaches to countering these developments. Firstly, since technological progress generates net gains for society as a whole, the winners could in principle compensate the losers and still be better off. Secondly, progress should be steered to minimize the losses of workers. Thirdly, there is an important role for government intervention in information technology to thwart the rise of monopolies that extract rents from society. The note concludes with some speculations on the impact of artificial intelligence increasingly rivaling human labor.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Economic Policy, Macroeconomics, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Atif Mian
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: There has been a major structural shift in financial markets since the 1980s. The world is awash in credit, and credit is cheaper than ever before. I discuss how increasing financial surpluses within parts of the economy have resulted in an expansion in the supply of credit, which has largely financed the demand-side of the real economy. This increasing reliance on “credit as demand” raises some serious policy questions going forward. I discuss the importance of equitable and inclusive growth, fair taxation system and risk-sharing in creating a financial system that promotes prosperity and stability.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Finance, Economic Policy, Economic Theory
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Suresh Naidu
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: Private sector union density in the United States has fallen below 7%, but new historical evidence shows high union density played an important role in compressing the US income distribution at mid-century and lowering intergenerational income persistence. Other recent evidence on pervasive labor market power suggests that unions may be able raise wages without severe dis-employment effects, and may alleviate inefficient contracting problems. Despite substantial survey evidence indicating latent demand for unions, employers have successfully fought unionization efforts in rising service sectors, and a combination of legal restrictions and economic transformations have impaired the ability of US unions to solve collective action problems at the appropriate scale – an issue that economics may be able to help ameliorate.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Income Inequality, Labor Policies
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jonathan B. Baker, Fiona Scott Morton
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: Rising market power in the U.S. economy is not just a microeconomic problem, as the textbook analysis shows, creating allocative efficiency losses and transferring wealth away from victimized participants in the affected markets. Rising market power also undermines inclusive prosperity by contributing to inequality and slowed economic growth. Modern economic research points to multiple ways to attack market power and enhance competition, including ways of strengthening antitrust enforcement, improving antitrust rules and institutions, and deploying regulation to enhance competition.
  • Topic: Economics, Economic Policy, Economic Theory, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: José Azar, Ioana Marinescu, Marshall Steinbaum
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: Starting with the Chicago School’s influence in the late 1970s and 1980s, antitrust enforcement has been weakened under the assumption that market power is justified by economic efficiency. While consumers are the main focus of antitrust enforcement, the weakening of antitrust enforcement has likely also adversely impacted workers, thus contributing to increasing inequality.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Economic Policy, Economic Theory, Antitrust Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daron Acemoglu
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: Progressive policy proposals that would have appeared radical just a few years ago, including high marginal tax rates, wealth taxes, universal basic income, single-payer health insurance, and free college for all, are now on the agenda. The recognition that we can do more to create shared prosperity — that is, economic growth benefiting society at large, not just corporations and the very well-educated — is a welcome development. But are we targeting the right policies? We are at a critical juncture both economically and politically. We do not have much time left to reverse the trend towards greater inequality and worsening economic prospects for less educated Americans before its social consequences become more deeply ingrained. And the 2020 presidential election may provide a unique opportunity to adopt fundamentally different economic policies. Failing to identify the right policy priorities would not only squander this critical juncture; it could also deepen the rift between the different wings of US politics.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Labor Policies, Economic Policy, Economic Theory
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ilyana Kuziemko
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: My read of the evidence (and my own social welfare weights, which place great weight on the un- and under-insured as well as middle-class workers who are implicitly taxed via expensive health plans) lead me to conclude that Medicare for All would increase welfare in the US. However, I also want to highlight what I consider the biggest risks of such a policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Health Care Policy, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Deming
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: Despite growing public concern about the cost of college, higher education is still the best investment a young person can make. The American public understands that college is both increasingly necessary and increasingly unaffordable. This dynamic explains the growing public conversation around the idea of “free college”.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Economic Policy, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Klenert, Linus Mattauch
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: It is common knowledge among economists that the most efficient instrument to mitigate climate change is a price on carbon. However, current carbon prices around the world are too low to reach global climate targets. This essay assesses the difficulties in designing successful carbon pricing reforms. It discusses how to overcome these difficulties by combining traditional public economics lessons with findings from behavioral and political science. We stress insights from public finance about the “second-best” nature of pricing carbon reforms. Further, we highlight how framing a carbon tax reform around tangible benefits can enhance political support. Finally, we explain how certain countries were successful at introducing high carbon prices and what can be learned from these cases for making progress with climate change mitigation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Science and Technology, Natural Resources, Global Warming, Green Technology, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Maximilian Kasy
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: Decision making based on data - whether by policymakers drawing on empirical research, or by algorithms using machine learning - is becoming ever more widespread. Any time such decisions are made, we need to carefully think about the goals we want to achieve, and the policies we might possibly use to achieve them. Data cannot absolve us of this responsibility. They do not allow us to avoid value judgements, and do not relieve us from taking sides in distributional conflicts. This essay introduces a general framework to clarify this point, and then discusses a series of settings in which the choice of objectives (goals) has far-reaching and maybe unexpected implications.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Labor Policies, Economic Policy, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Şebnem Kalemli-Özcan
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: There has been a large increase in corporate leverage in many countries since the early 2000s. Figure 1 plots corporate debt to GDP since 2002 for different groups of countries. With the exception of the U.S., both advanced economies and emerging markets have corporate debt exceeding GDP since 2005. U.S. corporate debt is also on an increasing trend. The fastest growth in corporate debt has been observed in emerging markets. A closer look will reveal that China and other fast growing emerging countries in Asia drive most of the increase in corporate debt for the emerging markets.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Regulation, Multinational Corporations, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Cristina Flesher Fominaya
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, hundreds of protests spread across the world. Remarkably, despite the diversity of polities, regimes, and socioeconomic status across countries, these protests share two core demands to a varying degree: greater, more meaningful, or “real” democracy; and greater economic justice. While these are two distinct demands, they cannot be sepa- rated from each other. Although initially (and understandably) the protests were interpreted in direct relation to the global economic crash, especially in those countries hit hardest by the crisis and austerity politics, it soon became clear that the protests also reflected a crisis of representative democracy.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis, Protests, Global Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carl Death
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Can protest really make a difference? Can social movements change any- thing? Do campaigns like those for fossil fuel divestment rapidly snowballing across campuses, cities, churches, and institutional investors in North America, Europe, and elsewhere have any real impact on global political economies of energy? This article argues that the answer to all of these questions is a qualified “yes.” The fossil fuel divestment campaign is a specific manifestation of environ- mental protest, which, since emerging in 2011, has changed some things and has the potential to change others more profoundly.1 Considering the case of the fossil fuel divestment campaign in detail can illuminate important insights about the role of protest in contemporary global politics. Protest movements can impact the world, as evidenced by both the fossil fuel divestment campaign and longer histories of other divestment movements that have contributed to significant struggles for structural change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Natural Resources, Protests, Global Warming, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America