The EU has started conversations on a capital markets union, raising questions about integration of services such as finance. This column argues that regulated services are especially important for the European economy. Europeans will eventually be faced with a choice between maintaining sovereignty and building a single market. Whereas the ‘old’ single market in goods and unregulated services was satisfactorily addressed through standards harmonisation, the new single market challenge is all about regulatory enforcement institutions.
Europe’s refugee crisis has reopened debates about people’s choice of destination when migrating. A particular concern is the extent to which migrants select a host country based on employment prospects and the safety and openness of the society. This column presents evidence of an additional influence – the degree of similarity between migrants’ mother tongues and the language spoken in destination countries. This preference for ‘linguistic proximity’ matters less when migrants move to English-speaking countries.
Controlled foreign company rules are implemented by countries to prevent adverse profit-shifting activities by multinationals. This column suggests there are unintended consequences of such rules for real investment activity. Using the case of German legislation, the authors find that fixed assets at foreign subsidiaries decline by about €7 million per subsidiary in response to controlled foreign company treatment.
The global nature of supply chains has rapidly come to dominate international trade. This column presents new evidence on production fragmentation and intra-firm trade. For US corporations, cross-country shipments of goods between units of the corporation are rare, despite the fact that most US manufacturing parents own foreign affiliates in upstream or downstream industries.
The standard economic argument in favour of a uniform carbon price is efficiency – all agents face the same marginal cost of pollution. Such a price can be achieved either by an emissions trading (cap-and-trade) system or by imposing a tax. This column argues that whether a uniform policy or a mixture of both is optimal depends on a few factors, and most importantly on the nature of stochastic shocks affecting the economy.
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