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4 months

When Special Interests Play in the Sunlight

There's a common presumption in American politics that special interests are more likely to hold sway during secret negotiations in back rooms, while the broader public interest is more likely to win out in a transparent and open process. People making this case often quote Louis Brandeis, from his 1914 book Other People's Money: "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants ..." This use of the sunlight metaphor wasn't original to Brandeis: for example, James Bryce also used it in an 1888 book The American Commonwealth. 

4 months

Financial Managers and Misconduct

"Financial advisers in the United States manage over $30 trillion in investible assets, and plan the financial futures of roughly half of U.S. households. At the same time, trust in the financial sector remains near all-time lows. The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer ranks financial services as the least trusted sector by consumers, finding that only 54 percent of consumers `trust the financial services sector to do what is right.'"

4 months

The Statute of Limitations on College Grades

As we move toward the end of the academic year for many colleges and universities, it is perhaps useful for students to be reminded that the final grade for any given course is quite unlikely to have a long-lasting influence on your life.

4 months

When US Market Access is No Longer a Trump Card

When the US economy was a larger share of the world economy, then access to the US market meant more. For example, World Bank statistics say that the US economy was 40% of the entire world economy in 1960, but is now about 24%. The main source of growth in the world economy for the foreseeable future will be in emerging markets.

4 months

Global Real Estate – Has The Tide Begun to Recede?

·        Despite the fourth quarter shakeout in stocks, real estate values keep rising ·        Financial conditions remain key, especially in a low rate environment ·        Isolated instances of weakness have yet to breed contagion ·        The reversal of central bank tightening has averted a more widespread correction

4 months

Building Worker Skills in a Time of Rapid Technological Change

I'm congenitally suspicious of "this time is different" arguments, which often seem very quick to toss out historical experience for the sake of a lively narrative. So when I find myself in discussions of  whether the present wave of technological change is unprecedented or unique, I often end up making the argument that while the new technologies are obviously different in their specifics from older technologies, the fact of technology leading to very dramatic disruptions of labor markets is not at all new. To me, the more interesting questions are question how the economy, government, and society react to that ongoing pattern of technological change.

4 months

US Attitudes Toward Federal Taxes: A Rising Share of About Right

The Gallup Poll has been asking Americans since the 1950s whether they think that the income tax they pay is "too high" or "about right." The figure shows the responses over time including the 2019 poll, taken in early April. (The "don't know" and the "too low" answers are both quite small, and are not shown on the figure.)