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Trilemma redux: Evidence from emerging market economies

The synchronous rise and fall of cross-border capital flows, domestic credit, and asset prices across countries has raised questions about the relevance of the exchange rate regime in a world of high capital mobility. This column presents evidence from emerging market economies, which shows that exchange rate regimes do matter. The transmission of global financial shocks to domestic financial and macro-economic conditions, as well as to capital f

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Missing growth

Slowing growth of total factor productivity has led some to suggest that the world is running out of ideas for innovation. This column suggests that the way output is measured is vital to assessing this, and quantifies the role of imputation in output measurement bias. By differentiating between truly ‘new‘ and incumbent products, it finds missing growth in the US economy. Accounting for this missing growth will allow statistical offi

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The portfolio rebalancing effects of the ECB‘s asset purchase programme

By the end of April 2017, the Eurosystem‘s balance sheet contained 1.8 trillion of assets, mainly as a consequence of asset purchase programmes. This column analyses the portfolio rebalancing effects of the ECB‘s programme. The original holders of the assets eligible for purchase by the ECB mainly purchased bonds of deposit-taking corporations outside the Eurozone. Investment funds and their investors did not rebalance significantly t

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Why Trump‘s protectionist trade agenda will fail

Since taking office, US President Donald Trump has been an increasingly vocal proponent of protectionist measures. This column presents five reasons why he is unlikely to resort to full-blown protectionism: political motivations, WTO membership, the possibility of retaliation, the existence of global value chain integration and revenue streams, and the fact that automation rather than trade has caused most job losses in the US. If Trump does reso

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Mobility and growth in top and bottom incomes

Current approaches to measuring top and bottom incomes cannot track the fortunes of the same group of individuals over time. This column addresses this shortcoming by developing a new method for measuring income mobility. After accounting for mobility, the incomes of those who start out rich grow considerably more slowly, and incomes of those who start out poor grow faster, compared to commonly reported growth rates of top and bottom incomes.

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Investing in roads versus schools

Despite investment in education appearing to be a more pressing need in many developing countries, spending on roads often exceeds that on schools. This column argues that the different pace with which roads and schools contribute to economic growth is central to governments‘ optimal allocation decision. Investment in schools tends to lead to a larger long-run increase in output, but the effects are more delayed than for investment in roads

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Financial globalisation and market volatility

While some studies suggest that financial globalisation increases volatility and leads to economic instability, others appear to show that it leads to more efficient stock markets, with higher returns but no increase in volatility. Using a new measure of financial globalisation, this column argues that, on average, it has no significant effect on stock market volatility in developed markets, but it decreases volatility in emerging and frontier ma

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Don‘t blame the global financial cycle

Policymakers in small countries fear the ‘global financial cycle‘ that is apparently driven by US fundamentals. This column argues, in contrast, that 25 years of financial data show that the global financial cycle has explained at most a quarter of the variation in capital flows in these countries. This result gives more wiggle room for small-economy policymakers, but it also means they cannot realistically blame the global financial

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Job-related mobility and plant performance in Sweden

While job-related mobility is key to knowledge sharing, it may also undermine on-the-job training through labour poaching, and assessing its overall impact on productivity and growth is not straightforward. This column uses data on nearly 2.7 million new hires in Sweden to analyse the impact of labour mobility on plant performance. The greatest positive impact is seen in the country‘s three largest cities, while firms in other large urban a

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Measuring how much universities spend on teaching

In an attempt to improve incentives for university teaching, the UK government recently introduced a Teaching Excellence Framework. This column uses data on contact hours and class size to measure how much teaching students receive at university. The results reveal large variation across disciplines, and even larger variation within disciplines.

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Post-crisis regulation and CEO bonuses

Since 2011, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) has implemented compensation principles and standards for executives and material risk-takers in many financial institutions. This column presents evidence that banks in jurisdictions that adopted them changed their compensation policies more than other banks. Compensation in these banks is less linked to short-term profits and more linked to risk, and the CEOs of risky banks now receive less in bon

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Migration and terror

Stricter immigration and visa policies are a common reaction to terrorist attacks. This column uses historical data from 20 OECD countries to show that while the number of terror attacks increased with the number of foreigners living in a host country, migrants were not more likely to become terrorists than the locals of the country in which they were living. The results also show that bans on Muslim immigration would be more likely to increase t

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What economists study: A guide for the curious

With the press continuing to cast economics in a negative light, it is worth rethinking how our field is described to a lay audience. This column argues that even elementary principles can surprise non-economists with their power to explain a broader set of questions than most would think possible.

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Globalisation and US labour markets

There is some evidence that communities hit hardest by globalisation shifted away from centrist candidates towards ideologically extreme candidates in the most recent US election. This column, taken from a recent Vox eBook, asks what policies those who were elected on a promise of turning the tide of globalisation away will implement, and whatthe prospects of success for these policies are.

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