Global governance

Long-term damage of the US court’s Argentinian debt ruling

Jeffrey Frankel, 22 July 2014

The US court ruling forcing Argentina to pay its hold-out creditors has big implications. This column argues that some of them are particularly worrying. The court ruling undermines the possibility of negotiated re-structuring of unsustainable debt burdens in future crises. In the future, it will not be not enough for the debtor and 92% of creditors to reach an agreement, if holdouts and a New York judge can block it. This will make both debtors and creditors worse-off.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Review of the debate on economic blogs

David Saha, 20 July 2014

An early draft of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) sparked an intensive public debate over possible advantages and disadvantages. This column reviews some arguments in favour of the Partnership and against it. While there is some debate over how large the economic benefit could be in the face of already relatively low trade barriers, critics claim that the deal will lower standards of consumer protection, provision of public services, and environmental protection in the EU.

Why the US and EU are failing to set information free

Susan Ariel Aaronson, 14 July 2014

The internet promotes educational, technological, and scientific progress, but governments sometimes choose to control the flow of information for national security reasons, or to protect privacy or intellectual property. This column highlights the use of trade rules to regulate the flow of information, and describes how the EU, the US, and their negotiating partners have been unable to find common ground on these issues. Trade agreements have yet to set information free, and may in fact be making it less free.

Mega-regional trade deals and the global mega-mess

Jayant Menon, 9 June 2014

With the rise of mega-regional trade agreements, the world trade system resembles a jigsaw puzzle. This column discusses the difficulties involved in consolidating free trade agreements at the regional level, and argues that piecing together the blocs around the world will be even more challenging. A potential way forward is to return to the most widely used modality of trade liberalisation – unilateral actions – but this time involving the multilateralisation of preferences rather than unreciprocated reductions in tariff rates.

Uncertainty in official statistics

Charles F Manski, 21 May 2014

Many economic statistics move markets when first released, and move them again when they are revised. This column suggests ways of measuring the transitory statistical uncertainty in estimates of official statistics based on incomplete data and the permanent statistical uncertainty stemming from survey non-response. Government agencies would be doing the public and policymakers a service by being clear about these uncertainties.

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