More in Global Economy


6 months

William McChesney Martin: Keep the Economists in the Basement

William McChesney Martin chaired the Federal Reserve for 19 years and during the terms of five different presidents, from April 1951 to January 1970. He became chair of the Federal Reserve at the time of the Treasury-Fed Accord of 1951, when the modern Federal Reserve invented itself by declaring that it was no longer going to view its job as keeping interest rates low to facilitate government borrowing--as it had during World War II--but instead was going to focus on how monetary policy affected the economy as a whole. Martin became so synonymous with monetary policy that John F. Kennedy once told an adviser that, before he became president, he could only remember the difference between fiscal and monetary policy by reminding himself that "m" was the first letter of both "monetary" and "Martin." He's the one who publicized the phrase that the job of the Federal Reserve was like a chaperone who needs to take away the punch bowl just when the party is warming up.

6 months

How Big is the Space Economy?

The short answer for an estimate of the size of the space economy is: "Probably around $400 billion."

7 months

The Beginning of the End of Uncertainty for the UK

·        The UK election result was a clear mandate for Brexit ·        A UK/EU free-trade agreement may not be ready by December 2020 ·        Uncertainty remains but real economic progress can now begin

7 months

With the Rise of Index Funds, Who Watches the Companies?

A standard argument for the social usefulness of the stock market is that shareholders have an incentive to monitor and to scrutinize the companies in which they have invested. When this incentive is combined with requirements for firms to disclose information, to be audited, and to answer questions from shareholders--along with the ultimate power of shareholders to replace top executives--publicly-owned corporations must live an examined life. One can have honest arguments over how well this shareholder monitoring works. But the rise of index funds is a direct challenge to these arguments.

7 months

Prescription Drug Prices are Falling

"[W]e conclude that the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) CPI Prescription Drug Index (CPI-Rx) is the best available summary measure of the price changes of prescription drugs. According to this measure, not only are drug prices increasing more slowly than general price inflation; in the most recent period, drug prices have been decreasing. From the peak in June 2018 through August 2019, the CPI-Rx has declined by 1.9 percent. Figure 1 plots the year-over-year percentage change in the CPI-Rx. Through August 2019, the year-over-year change in the index has now been negative for 8 of the previous 9 months." 

7 months

Interview with Douglas Holtz-Eakin: Career, Budgets, Deficits

Mark A. Wynne of the Dallas Fed has one-hour interview: "Douglas Holtz-Eakin on Economic Projections, Deficits and Climate Change" (December 12, 2019). Holtz-Eakin has had an eminent academic career at Columbia and currently at Syracuse, but he is perhaps most widely for his time as head of the Congressional Budget Office from 2003-2005. Audio is available, but no full transcript. Here are some comments from Holtz-Eakin:

7 months

Carbon Capture and Storage

In my experience, carbon capture and storage (CCS) is often viewed as a quirky technological possibility, not of central significance to the overall issue of reducing the rise of atmospheric carbon. This perception is incorrect. The Global CCS Institute provides an overview in Global Status of CCS 2019. As the report notes: