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10 months

Where in the World? Hunting for Value in the Bond Market

Few government bond markets offer a positive real return. Those that do tend to have high associated currency risk. Active management of fixed income portfolios is the only real solution. Italy is the only G7 country offering a real-yield greater than 1.5%.

10 months

The Dramatic Expansion of Corporate Bonds

Overall world debt in the last year or two is at its all-time high as a share of world GDP. But there is common pattern that as countries grow and their financial markets develop, their level of debt also tends to rise. Perhaps even more interesting is that the importance of the components of that debt have been shifting. During and after the Great Recession, government borrowing was the main driver of rising global debt. But corporate borrowing has become more important.

10 months

A Puzzle: Why Do Retail Chains Charge Uniform Prices Across Stores?

Imagine yourself as the profit-seeking owner of a chain of retail stores. Would you charge the same (or nearly the same) price across all the stores? Or would you vary prices according to average income level of consumers who use that store, or according to whether the local economy was  robust or shaky, or according to whether the store had geographically nearby competitors?

10 months

Why Has US Regional Convergence Declined?

In the decades after World War II and up into the 1980s, the US economy experienced regional convergence: that is, the economies and incomes in poorer regions (like the US South) tended to grow more quickly than the economies of richer regions (like the US North). But in the 1980s, this pattern of regional convergence slowed down.

10 months

Thaler on the Evolution of Behavioral Economics

Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2017  "for his contributions to behavioural economics".  He tells the story of how the field evolved from early musings through small-scale tests and more comprehensive theories and all the way to public policy in his Nobel prize lecture, "From Cashews to Nudges: The Evolution of Behavioral Economics." It is ungated and freely available in the June 2018 issue of the American Economic Review (108:6, pp. 1265–1287).  Video of the lecture being delivered is here. 

10 months

The Global Output Gap Has Closed: What Next?

A decade after the global financial crisis circa 2008, the global economy has finally recovered. The Global Economics Prospects 2018 report just published by the World Bank, subtitled "Broad-Based Upturn, but for How Long?" tells the story. 

10 months

Textiles: Your Clothes are Pollutants

"The way we design, produce, and use clothes has drawbacks that are becoming increasingly clear. The textiles system operates in an almost completely linear way: large amounts of non-renewable resources are extracted to produce clothes that are often used for only a short time, after which the materials are mostly sent to landfill or incinerated. More than USD 500 billion of value is lost every year due to clothing underutilisation and the lack of recycling. Furthermore, this take-make-dispose model has numerous negative environmental and societal impacts. For instance, total greenhouse gas emissions from textiles production, at 1.2 billion tonnes annually, are more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Hazardous substances affect the health of both textile workers and wearers of clothes, and they escape into the environment. When washed, some garments release plastic microfibres, of which around half a million tonnes every year contribute to ocean pollution – 16 times more than plastic microbeads from cosmetics. Trends point to these negative impacts rising inexorably ..."

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