Institutions and economics

Rudiger Ahrend, Alexander C. Lembcke, Abel Schumann, 19 January 2016

A city’s metropolitan governance structure has a critical influence on the quality of life and economic outcomes of its inhabitants. This column quantifies the impact of governance on productivity using data from five OECD countries. Administrative fragmentation, which complicates policy coordination across a city, has a negative effect on individual productivity. This finding, combined with benefits from good governance such as improved transport and lower pollution levels, highlights the importance of well-designed metropolitan authorities.

Patrick Arni, Rafael Lalive, Gerard van den Berg, 11 January 2016

The standard empirical evaluations of labour market policy only consider the direct effects of single programmes on their participants. This column argues that this fails to capture important aspects of real-world labour market policy – policy regimes and strategies. Using Swiss data, it employs a novel empirical approach that concurrently examines the effects of supportive and punitive policies (‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’). Policy regimes are shown to exert economically relevant effects, and accounting for these effects is crucial when designing labour market policy.

Marcus Miller, Sayantan Ghosal, 08 January 2016

Shylock's insistence in 'The Merchant of Venice' that his “pound of flesh” be paid as per the contract, regardless of the extreme and grotesque cost to the debtor, is an apt parallel with vulture funds holding out on Argentinian debt pay-outs. This column assesses the Argentinian debt situation and develops an accord that would create a compromise between the extremes on both sides.

Florence Jaumotte, Carolina Osorio Buitron, 22 October 2015

Inequality in advanced economies has risen considerably since the 1980s, largely driven by the increase of top earners’ income shares. This column revisits the drivers of inequality, emphasising the role played by changes in labour market institutions. It argues that the decline in union density has been strongly associated with the rise of top income inequality and discusses the multiple channels through which unionisation matters for income distribution.

Cosimo Beverelli, Matteo Fiorini, Bernard Hoekman, 16 October 2015

There is some evidence suggesting a positive effect of services trade liberalisation on the productivity of manufacturing. This column argues that such an effect is conditional on the institutions within a country. Countries with better economic governance benefit more from open services trade policies. Higher quality institutions attract more productive services providers and support higher levels of services performance.

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