Linda Yueh, 25 November 2015

The British government has placed productivity at the centre of its economic growth agenda. Yet, despite the economy recovering to pre-Crisis levels, productivity has slowed. This column argues that we mustn’t lose sight of investing in productivity as a sure-fire and long-term guard against slow growth, outlining a range of strategies to get to a healthy level of investment.

Refet S. Gürkaynak, Troy Davig, 25 November 2015

Central banks around the world have been shouldering ever-increasing policy burdens beyond their core mandate of stabilising prices. This column considers the social welfare implications when central banks take on additional mandates that are usually the domain of other policymakers. Additional mandates are shown to worsen trade-offs faced by the central bank, while distorting the incentives of other policymakers. Central bank ‘mandate creep’ may be detrimental to welfare.

Tito Boeri, Marta De Philippis, Eleonora Patacchini, Michele Pellizzari, 24 November 2015

How a host country can best assimilate immigrants is understandably on Western European governments’ minds. This column presents new evidence suggesting that immigrants in Italy who live in neighbourhoods with a large share of non-Italians are significantly less likely to be in employment than their counterparts in less segregated areas. The data suggests that policymakers should note that the negative effect of a large migrant share on employment is magnified by the presence of illegal immigrants.

Javier Cravino, Andrei Levchenko, 23 November 2015

Large exchange rate swings remain a prominent and recurring feature of the world economy. This column uses household consumption patterns to examine the distributional impact of the devaluation of the peso during Mexico’s ‘Tequila Crisis’. Cost of living increases are found to be 1.25 to 1.6 times higher for the poor compared to the rich. In the interests of equity, exchange rate policy should take account of such distributional impacts.

Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 23 November 2015

Indices of economic freedom refer mostly to the recent past, making policy prescriptions difficult to draw. This column presents a new historical index of economic liberty covering 21 OECD countries for the period 1850-2007. Over time, progress in economic liberty has derived from different factors, but improvements in legal structures and property rights emerge as the main forces behind the long-term gains. 

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