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5 months

US Income Inequality Through the Prism of Different Studies

Studies of income inequality use different measures of income, and unsurprisingly, reach some different results. Steven J. Rose lays out some differences in the major studies looking at changes in inequality of US income since 1979 in "How Different Studies Measure Income Inequality in the US," just by the Urban Institute (December 2018).

5 months

Economic Effects of Islam

Timur Kuran "critically evaluates the analytic literature concerned with causal connections between Islam and economic performance" in his essay "Islam and Economic Performance: Historical and Contemporary Links," published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Economic Literature (December 2018, 56:4, pp. 1292–1359). He is not interested in sweeping generalizations, but rather in discussing work published in the the last two decades in the professional economics literature. From the abstract:

5 months

The Diminution of Welfare as an Anti-Poverty Tool

"Welfare" was a common label for what used to be Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), which in the 1996 "welfare reform" legislation morphed into Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). A common concern at the time was that too many welfare recipients were capable of holding jobs--especially in the relatively healthy labor market of that time. Thus, the welfare reform legislation created a requirement that there was a time limit for  how long welfare could be received, and that recipients had to be looking for work or getting training. In addition, federal support for the TANF program was turned into a block grant that states had considerable discretion in how to spend, as long as the ultimate goal was helping needy families.

5 months

US Health and Healthcare Spending in the Last 25 Years: Gains and Costs

As an overall pattern over the decades, spending in the US health care has been rising, both on a per person basis and as a share of GDP, and a number of health outcomes have improved. Are the benefits worth the costs? 

5 months

Will the China Shock Operate in Reverse?

Everyone knows that China's economy has had explosive economic growth in recent decades, with tidal effects through the rest of the global economy. In fact, China's economy has come so far and so fast that some of the main shocks it has caused in recent decades may be about to move into reverse. At least, that is the provocative thesis of Charles Goodhart and Manoj Pradhan in "Demographics will reverse three multi-decade global trends," written as Bank of International Settlements Working Paper No 656 (August 2017). They write:

5 months

The Smile Curve: The Distribution of Benefits from Global Value Chains

Global value chains have been on the rise. Roughly one-third of international trade is "traditional" trade, in which all of production happens in one country and all of consumption happens in another. About two-thirds is either a "simple" global value chain, in which "value added crosses national borders only once during the production process, with no indirect exports via third countries or re-exports or re-imports" or a "complex" global value chain, in which the value-added crosses national borders at least twice. The Global Value Chain Development Report 2017, which has the theme of "Measuring and Analyzing the Impact of GVCs on Economic Development," explores these issues and others. The report is published a stew of groups, with participants from the World Bank Group, the Institute of Developing Economies, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Research Center of Global Value Chains headquartered at the University of International Business and Economics, and the World Trade Organization. It consists of an "Executive Summary" by David Dollar followed by eight chapters written by various contributors.

6 months

A Global Slowdown in 2019 – Is It Already in the Price?

US stocks have given back all of their 2018 gains. Several developed and emerging stock markets are already in bear-market territory. US/China trade tensions have eased, a ‘No’ deal Brexit is priced in. An opportunity to re-balance global portfolios is nigh.