The Pandemic Public-Debt Dilemma
Much of the conventional wisdom about how governments should manage the COVID-19 economic fallout is perfectly appropriate for advanced economies, but dangerous elsewhere. Even if developing and emerging economies could simply borrow and spend more to weather the storm, doing so could jeopardize their long-term economic prospects.
Can China’s Economy Withstand the Coronavirus?
The COVID-19 epidemic’s tail risks are significant and frightening, but as of now, they do not seem particularly likely to materialize. Instead, the outbreak’s economic consequences will probably be substantial but transitory.
The Challenging Arithmetic of Climate Action
All strategies to mitigate climate change have distributive implications that cannot be overlooked. If left unaddressed, such implications will fuel persistent headwinds to progress on the climate change and sustainability agenda.
What My Younger Self Never Expected
At the start of a new year and a new decade, it is both humbling and illuminating to reflect on major global developments that no one saw coming just a few decades ago. For those who grew up during the Cold War or in the ensuing period of American primacy, the economic and geopolitical rise of the developing world must rank high on the list.
Which Wealth Tax?
Steadily rising income and wealth inequality, along with declining social mobility, is contributing to political polarization. Fortunately, If there is growing demand for some type of tax-policy response to the problem, we have ways to determine which measures would be most effective, depending on the specific objective.
The End of Shareholder Primacy?
The recent decision by America's Business Roundtable to abandon its support for shareholder primacy was a long time coming, and reflects a broader shift toward socially conscious investment. Now that the multi-stakeholder model is receiving the attention it deserves, it will be incumbent on governments to create space for it to succeed.
The Inequality of Nations
Markets are mechanisms of social choice, in which dollars effectively equal votes; those with more purchasing power thus have more influence over market outcomes. Governments are also social choice mechanisms, but voting power is – or is supposed to be – distributed equally, regardless of wealth.
In modern economies, people may have jobs, but they still harbor major concerns in a wide range of areas, including security, health and work-life balance, income and distribution, training, mobility, and opportunity. By focusing solely on the unemployment rate, policymakers are ignoring the many dimensions of employment that affect welfare.
The Economic Consequences of Global Uncertainty
With new sources of uncertainty seemingly proliferating by the day, a broad economic slowdown should come as no surprise. And as long as the rules and institutions governing the global economy remain in doubt, continued underperformance is to be expected.
Stock Buybacks Are the Wrong Target
Legislation banning companies from purchasing their own shares, or conditioning buybacks on investment in workers, would not significantly alter the distribution of wealth. What it would do is undermine the broad cooperation needed to tackle income inequality and a fast-changing labor environment.
The Long Sino-American Trade War
If governments are going to engage in trade wars, they should have a clear and pragmatic vision of where they want to end up. Yet the trade war initiated by the Trump administration seems less like a tough negotiating tactic, and more like a guessing game.
The Restructuring of the World
Trade protectionism, together with fears over the national-security implications of technological development, are contributing to a balkanization of the world order. This is not good news for the United States as it faces an intensifying rivalry with an increasingly powerful China.
Emerging Vulnerabilities in Emerging Economies
For many emerging economies, it is imperative to pursue a rebalancing of growth patterns, with a more active approach to managing debt and capital flows and their effects on asset prices, exchange rates, and growth. Otherwise, the dangers of unsustainable growth patterns will bring expansion to an abrupt halt.
The Italian Economy’s Moment of Truth
Unlike many other European countries, Italy still has not restored economic growth to its pre-crisis level – a fundamental failing that lies at the heart of many of its political problems. Now that a new anti-establishment government is taking power, it remains to be seen if the economy will be remade, or broken further.
Preventing the Balkanization of the Internet
With the entire global economy becoming inextricably linked to the Internet and digital technologies, stronger regulation is more important than ever. But if that regulation is fragmented, clumsy, heavy-handed, or inconsistent, the consequences for economic integration – and, in turn, prosperity – could be severe.
Pessimism Amid Plenty
While there is no shortage of challenges facing economies and societies today, they should not be allowed to obscure positive long-term trends. The best remedies for undue pessimism are practical: effective fact-based policymaking, shaped by scientific inquiry and social solidarity.
The Missing Ingredients of Growth
Several positive macroeconomic trends suggest that the global economy could finally be in a position to achieve sustained and inclusive growth. But whether that happens will depend on whether governments can muster a more forceful response to changing economic and technological conditions.
The Global Economy in 2018
The global economy will confront serious challenges in the months and years ahead, and looming in the background is a mountain of debt that makes markets nervous – and that thus increases the system's vulnerability to destabilizing shocks. Yet the baseline scenario seems to be one of continuity, with no obvious convulsions on the horizon.
Empowering China’s New Miracle Workers
China’s success in the next five years will depend largely on how well the government manages the tensions underlying its complex agenda. In particular, China’s leaders will need to balance a muscular Communist Party, setting standards and protecting the public interest, with an empowered market, driving the economy into the future.
The Global Economy’s New Rule-Maker
As China's domestic market continues to grow, so, too, does its economic power and ability to set global rules. With the country fast approaching a position similar to that of the US and Europe after World War II, much will depend on the policies it pursues in two key areas.
Explaining Global Recovery Amid Political Recession
The world’s major economies are experiencing a steady recovery, and financial markets are showing no signs of convulsion, even as monetary stimulus is gradually withdrawn. This is all the more remarkable when one considers the sharp increase in risk stemming from profound political dysfunction.
How to Be an Open Economy
Because changing technologies and trade patterns can be both beneficial and disruptive, countries must strike a balance between the abstract principle of openness and concrete measures to limit their negative impact. To this end, policymakers should be mindful of not just how but when they implement structural reforms.
Reprieve or Reform in Europe?
With the pro-EU Emmanuel Macron seemingly headed toward the French presidency, the immediate threat to the EU and the eurozone appears to have subsided. But unless Europe addresses flaws in growth patterns and pursues urgent reforms, the longer-term risks to its survival will continue to mount.
Delivering on Promises to the Middle Class
US President Donald Trump owes his electoral victory largely to the older white middle- and working-class voters who have missed out on the benefits of economic growth over the last 30 years. But his administration's economic program will not deliver the reversal of economic fortune his key constituency was promised.
Europe or Anti-Europe?
Since the 2008 financial crisis, the conventional wisdom has been that a long, difficult recovery for eurozone economies will eventually lead to strong growth. But this narrative is losing credibility, as various trends suggest that Europe is trapped in a semi-permanent low-growth equilibrium.
Four Certainties About Populist Economics
While few anticipated the British vote to leave the EU and Donald Trump's election as US president, neither outcome should have been all that surprising: disaffected voters were rejecting economic models that had produced high levels of inequality. The question now is what will replace those models.
A Growth Agenda for China
At a time when the US is poised to turn inward, China’s economic performance is more important globally than ever. Whether China can achieve sustainable growth patterns in the coming years will depend on several key factors, the most important being internal
Donald Trump and the New Economic Order
Since the end of World War II, the hierarchy of economic priorities has been relatively clear: build a prosperous and open world order first, then try to generate inclusive and sustainable national growth patterns. Now, a reversal seems to be underway, with far-reaching consequences for the global economy.
How Inequality Found a Political Voice
It took a long time for widening inequality to have an impact on politics, as it suddenly has done in recent years. Now that it is a central issue, national economic priorities will need to shift substantially to create more equitable, inclusive societies, or electorates could embrace explosive political alternatives.