Frontiers of economic research

Jean-Marie Grether, Nicole A. Mathys, Caspar Sauter, 31 January 2015

Spatial inequalities in territorial-based greenhouse emissions matter in terms of regulation, both at the international and subnational levels. This column decomposes these inequalities worldwide for the two major greenhouse gases over the period 1970–2008. Within-country inequalities are larger, and rising, while between-country inequalities are smaller and falling. Moreover, social tensions arising from the discrepancy between the distribution of emissions and the distribution of damages appear to be larger within than between countries, and larger for carbon dioxide than for methane.

Coen Teulings, 30 January 2015

To many observers, the long-lasting, underwhelming performance of growth, employment and investment suggests that something fundamental has changed with the way advanced economies’ macroeconomies are working. One leading explanation – the notion of ‘Secular Stagnation’ – has gained traction among some economists and policymakers while being rejected by others. This column opens a Vox Debate on Secular Stagnations which will involve frequent, invited ‘Lead Commentaries’ on all issues surrounding concept and its implications for policy, analysis and research. 

Axel Gottfries, Coen Teulings, 30 January 2015

The secular stagnation hypothesis has gained traction in the aftermath of the Global Crisis. This column argues that demography has played an important role in reducing the interest rates. The increase in life expectancy, which has not been offset by an increase in the retirement age, has led to an increase in the stocks of savings. The latter will go into price increases for assets in fixed supply – such as housing – rather than in adding new capital. Potential remedies for absorbing the extra savings are increasing the retirement age and an extension of the pay-as-you-go benefit systems.       

Simon Wren-Lewis, 30 January 2015

The anaemic recovery from the Global Crisis and the downward trend in real interest rates since 1980 have revived interest in the idea of secular stagnation. This column argues that if the US, UK, and Eurozone had not pursued contractionary fiscal policies from 2010 onwards, the recovery would not have been so slow and nominal interest rates would no longer be at the zero lower bound. Expanding the stock of government debt would have ameliorated, not worsened, the shortage of safe assets.

Alberto Giovannini, Colin Mayer, Stefano Micossi, Carmine Di Noia, Marco Onado, Andrea Polo, 30 January 2015

Persistently low investment is dragging down European economies. This column introduces a new study that examines the symptoms and explores the possible causes of this investment dearth. The study, a ‘Green Paper’ which seeks to delineate the issues and provoke reflection, is the first output of the Assonime-CEPR project ‘Restarting European Long-Term Investment Finance’.

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