More in Global Economy


2 months

China's Belt and Road Initiative: Could It All Come Crashing Down?

Brad Parks at the Center for Global Development managed to find a nice way of boiling down the ways that China's Belt and Road Initiative could possibly become a failure and a burden in a short thought experiment ("Chinese Leadership and the Future of BRI: What Key Decisions Lie Ahead?" July 24, 2019). Here's how he describes one possible future a decade from now (I added a couple of paragraph breaks):

2 months

Will China Disrupt The Monetary System With A Cryptocurrency?

A state-owned cryptocurrency is, in itself, a contradiction in terms. The main reason why citizens want to use cryptocurrencies or gold is precisely to avoid the government or central bank monopoly of money.

3 months

Can Job Training Work for Mature Adults?

Most workers learn additional skills throughout their work-life. In that sense, it's obvious that job training in some contexts works for adults. But for many of us, the additional learning happens in the context of remaining in the same job, or at least on the same broad career path. The harder question is whether it's possible to do the kind of job training with adults, perhaps adults who have just experienced a negative shock to their previous job, that jump-starts them on a career path. Paul Osterman offers a useful discussion of these issues in "Employment and training for mature adults: The current system and moving forward" (Brookings Institution Future of the Middle Class Initiative, November 2019). Here are a few themes from his report that stuck with me: 

3 months

Is Opposition to Immigration Primarily Economic or Cultural?

It's clear that there is a considerable hostility to immigration, both in the United States and across much of Europe. Is that opposition rooted primarily in economic factors or in cultural factors? What kind of evidence could help answer the question?

3 months

Is Trade Still a Viable Path to Development? World Development Report 2020

Many of the world's development success stories in recent decades followed a broadly similar pattern. The countries became more involved with the world economy, often by exporting manufactured goods produced by low-wage workers. The rise in exports brought economic growth and income to their economics, but perhaps just as important, it also helped to foster a range of managerial, financial and technological skills. In this way, exporting was a fundamental step on the path to economic development.

3 months

Minimum Wages and Overtime Rules

Perhaps the best-known provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 is that it set a federal minimum wage for the first time. In addition, this is the law that established the overtime rule that if you are a "nonexempt" work--which basically means a worker paid by the hour rather than on a salary--then if you work more than 40 hours/week you must be paid time-and-a-half for the additional hours. 

3 months

The Roundup Case: Problems with Implementing Science-Based Policy

Imagine, just for the sake of argument, that you are open-minded about the question of whether the weed-killer Roundup (long produced by Monsanto, which was recently acquired by Bayer AG) causes cancer. You want to make a decision based on scientific evidence. However, you aren't a scientist yourself, and you don't feel competent at trying to read scientific studies.