More in Global Economy


4 months

Innovation Policy: Federal Support for R&D Falls as its Importance Rises

One of those things that "everyone knows" is that continued technological progress is vital to the continued success of the US economy, not just in terms of GDP growth (although that matters) but also for major social issues like providing quality health care and education in a cost-effective manner, addressing environmental dangers including climate change, and in other ways. Another thing that "everyone knows" is that research and development spending is an important part of generating new technology. But total US spending on R&D as a share of GDP has been nearly flat for decades, and government spending on R&D as a share of GDP has declined over time.

4 months

China and Currency Manipulation

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has "determined that China is a Currency Manipulator" (with capital letters in the press release). The overall claim is that one major reason for China's large trade surpluses is that the country is keeping its exchange rate too low. This low exchange rate makes China's exports cheaper to the rest of the world, while also making foreign products more expensive in Beijing, thus creating China's trade surplus.

4 months

The Fed’s Unnecessary Rate Cut

If there is something that is evident is that the United States does not need a rate cut.

4 months

Some Thoughts on Markups

A group of recent research studies have argued that "markups" are on the rise. As one of several prominent examples, a study by Jan De Loecker, Jan Eeckhout, and Gabriel Unger, called "The Rise of Market Power and the Macroeconomic Implications" presents calculations suggesting that the average markup for a US firm rose from 1.21 in 1980 to 1.61 in 2016 (here's a working paper version from Eeckhout's website dated November 22, 2018). The Summer 2019 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives discusses the strengths and weaknesses of this evidence in a three-paper symposium:

4 months

China's Belt and Road Initiative: The Perils of Being a Subprime Global Lender

China's Ministry of Finance recently announced a new "debt sustainability framework" for the Belt and Road Initiative--the plan that China announced in 2013 for supporting construction of overland and overseas transportation infrastructure that would build closer links from China across Asia, and reaching to Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

4 months

Administrative Data Moves Toward Center Stage

For the later decades of the 20th century, the most common source of data for economic studies was government surveys and statisticians. There are household surveys like the Current Population Survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the Consumer Expenditure Survey, the  National Health Interview Survey, the Consumer Expenditure Survey, and the General Social Survey. There were government workers collecting data on prices at stores as input to measures of inflation like the Consumer Price Index. There were business surveys, like the Economic Census, the Retail Trade Survey, an Annual Survey of Manufactures, the Residential Finance Survey, and others. Branches of government like the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, and the Health Care Financing Administration collect data on specific industries. There's also a Census of Governments to get data on state and local government. The Bureau of Economic Analysis would pull together data from these sources and others to estimate GDP.

4 months

Who is the New Henry Ford of EV Industry of India?

Indian automakers are showing strong opposition to the proposed government plan to ban two-wheelers (below 150cc) and three-wheelers by 2023 and 2025, respectively, and replace them with EVs. The industry has said the move is not well-thought-out and would create unwanted disruptions in a market where infrastructure and ecosystem for EVs is non-existent.