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Links (5/31/19)

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After Neoliberalism - Joseph E. Stiglitz For the past 40 years, the United States and other advanced economies have been pursuing a free-market agenda of low taxes, deregulation, and cuts to social programs. There can no longer be any doubt that this approach has failed spectacularly; the only question is what will – and should – come next. China-US Trade War - IGM Forum Question A: The incidence of the latest round of US import tariffs is likely to fall primarily on American households. Question B: The impact of the tariffs – and any Chinese countermeasures – on US prices and employment is likely to be felt most heavily by lower income groups and regions. Does Trade Reform Promote Economic Growth? A Review of Recent Evidence - Douglas Irwin Do trade reforms that significantly reduce

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  • After Neoliberalism - Joseph E. Stiglitz For the past 40 years, the United States and other advanced economies have been pursuing a free-market agenda of low taxes, deregulation, and cuts to social programs. There can no longer be any doubt that this approach has failed spectacularly; the only question is what will – and should – come next.
  • China-US Trade War - IGM Forum Question A: The incidence of the latest round of US import tariffs is likely to fall primarily on American households.
    Question B: The impact of the tariffs – and any Chinese countermeasures – on US prices and employment is likely to be felt most heavily by lower income groups and regions.
  • Does Trade Reform Promote Economic Growth? A Review of Recent Evidence - Douglas Irwin Do trade reforms that significantly reduce import barriers lead to faster economic growth? In the two decades since the critical survey of empirical work on this question by Francesco Rodriguez and Dani Rodrik in 2000, new research has tried to overcome the various methodological problems that have plagued previous attempts to provide a convincing answer. This paper examines three strands of recent work on this issue: cross-country regressions focusing on within-country growth, synthetic control methods on specific reform episodes, and empirical country studies looking at the channels through which lower trade barriers may increase productivity. A consistent finding is that trade reforms that significantly reduce import barriers have a positive impact on economic growth, on average, although the effect differs across countries. Overall, these research findings should temper some of the previous agnosticism about the empirical link between trade reform and economic performance.
  • Does That Word Mean What You Think It Means? - Tim Duy Prologue In an earlier piece I documented the Federal Reserve’s failure to consistently hit their 2 percent inflation target and suggest a corrective policy change. Here I explore some of the confusion around the current framework and consider how the Fed can be pursuing a symmetric inflation target yet not see symmetric policy outcomes. Click here for newsletter version! Introduction The Federal Reserve’s much anticipated conference on strategy, tools, and communication will soon be upon us. Will the conference yield any groundbreaking changes in the Fed’s policy approach? Probably not. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell set a low barfor the outcomes of this year’s strategy review, stressing the likely results would be “evolution not revolution.” ...
  • How Central-Bank Independence Dies - Kenneth Rogoff Since the world’s major central banks came to the global economy’s rescue in 2008, they have had more and more tasks foisted upon them, even as some politicians question their expanded role and others seek to undermine their policymaking autonomy. To escape this dilemma, monetary authorities must get back to doing what they do best.
  • Why There Has Been a Surge in Single Mothers Who Work - The New York Times ...they seem to be responding to a patchwork of policies, both carrots and sticks. At the federal level, the safety net has become less reliable, so working for pay is increasingly their only option. But at the local one, new policies like paid leave and minimum wage increases have made it more feasible for single mothers to work. Together, these appear to have primed them to take advantage of the biggest driver of all: a highly competitive labor market. ...
  • How Economic Statistics Are Being Transformed - Tim Taylor Economic statistics are invisible infrastructure, supporting better decisions by government, business, and individuals. But the fundamentals survey-based methods of US government statistics have substantially eroded, because people and firms have become less willing to fill out surveys in a timely and accurate way. There are active discussions underway about how to replace or supplement existing statistics with either administrative data from government programs or private-sector data. But these approaches have problems of their own. ...
  • The Research-Policy Nexus: ZLB, JMCB and FOMC - John Williams John Maynard Keynes quipped, “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.” I wonder whether Keynes would see this as a feature rather than a bug in light of his enduring influence on the profession more than 70 years after his death. The theme of my talk today is that during my quarter century as a researcher and policymaker at the Fed, we have not been overly beholden to defunct economists. Quite the contrary. A quick scan of FOMC memos, briefings, and meeting minutes provides ample evidence that a wide range of economic research—new and old, conventional and outside the box—regularly enters into our debates and influences our decisions. This represents a rich two-way dialogue between researchers and policymakers, with both sides probing for new answers to old questions. ...
  • A new one for price discrimination: taxing the late – Digitopoly
  • ... I found out yesterday that, if you book, the lowest, Basic fare and you check in on the web, you are not given a mobile boarding pass or one you can print out. Instead, you *have* to queue up and get the pass from a gate agent. (And no they don’t have any electronic check-in terminals at the airport). In other words, it is inconvenient and, critically, creates a ton of risk in terms of leaving to go to the airport later as you might find the queue lengthy and long with people who need to change a flight or check bags or something. This is what economists have termed, a damaged good. It is where a firm actually incurs more costs to supply a lower quality product. It doesn’t occur often but, as Preston McAfee showed years ago, it is theoretically profitable because it allows for third-degree price discrimination or versioning. That makes it also fun for teaching as it seems so outrageous. ...
  • Trade Wars Heats Up With New Assault on Mexico - Tim Duy One way or another, President Trump is going to drag the Fed into his trade wars. Tonight Trump announced via Twitter that imports from Mexico would face a 5% beginning June 10. The tariff could rise as high as 25% unless Mexico acts to stem the flow of refugees from Central America. It’s not clear that the legal authority exists to take such action, but, you know, details, details. And the White House is trying to argue that these tariff threats are separate from the USMCA trade deal that is currently a legislative priority. I guess this is like telling your wife that your mistress doesn’t have anything to do with your marriage. You really can’t make this stuff up anymore. A couple of points jump to mind here. ...
  • Protecting the Independence and Integrity of Research - ProMarket Inappropriate financial donor influence at institutions of higher education appears to be on the rise and risks eroding public trust in academic research. In order to defend academic freedom and institutional independence, we have decided to create a new database to document clear violations of well-accepted norms involving financial donations.
  • Sustaining Maximum Employment and Price Stability - Richard Clarida In July, the current U.S. economic expansion will become the longest on record—or at least the record since the 1850s, which is as far back as the National Bureau of Economic Research tracks U.S. business cycles.2 In anticipation of that milestone, I would like to take stock of where the U.S. economy is today, to assess its future trajectory, to review some important structural changes in the economy that have occurred over the past decade, and to explore what all of this might mean for U.S. monetary policy. ---
  • Monetary Policy and Financial Stability - Randal Quarles I would like to use my time here to talk about a topic of interest to many central bankers and macroeconomists: the interaction of monetary policy and financial stability. As you well know, monetary policy has powerful effects on financial markets, the financial system, and the broader economy. Conversely, financial instability, by impairing the provision of credit and other financial services, can depress economic growth, cause job losses, and push inflation too low. Accordingly, financial stability, through its effects on the Federal Reserve's dual-mandate goals of maximum employment and stable prices, must be a consideration in the setting of monetary policy. ...
  • What is “average inflation targeting”? - Brookings The Federal Reserve is charged by Congress with maintaining price stability and maximum sustainable employment. The Fed defines “price stability” as inflation at 2 percent. In its last annual statement on its goals and monetary policy strategy, the Federal Open Market Committee—the Fed’s policy-making body—said: “Inflation at the rate of 2 percent, as measured by the annual change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures, is most consistent over the longer run with the Federal Reserve’s statutory mandate. The Committee would be concerned if inflation were running persistently above or below this objective.” ...
  • Why Call it "Socialism"? - Tim Taylor I've been coming around to the belief that most modern arguments over "socialism" are a waste of time, because the content of the term has become so nebulous. When you drill down a bit, a lot of "socialists" are really just saying that they would like to have government play a more active role in providing various benefits to workers and the poor, along with additional environmental protection. ...
  • The costs and benefits of performance fees in mutual funds - VoxEU Performance fee-based contracts, which aim to align the interests of the fund manager with that of the investor, have been controversial in mutual funds markets, and are once again under review in Europe. This column presents empirical evidence showing that performance fee contracts do not improve fund performance, particularly in instances where contracts fail to specify a benchmark for results.
Mark Thoma
Mark Allen Thoma (born December 15, 1956) is a macroeconomist and econometrician and a Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics of the University of Oregon. Thoma is best known as a regular columnist for The Fiscal Times through his blog "Economist's View", which Paul Krugman called "the best place by far to keep up with the latest in economic discourse", and as an analyst at CBS MoneyWatch. He is also a regular contributor to EconoMonitor.

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