Institutions and economics
Somali piracy has created a major externality due to disruption to shipping, especially in the Gulf of Aden. How costly is this anarchy? This column analyses micro-data on individual shipping contracts and finds that piracy increased transport costs by around 8%. The $120 million in net revenues that pirates generate are more than offset by the costs borne by the shipping industry, which lie between $0.9 billion and $3.3 billion.
Economists and policymakers are increasingly concerned that central-bank independence is being threatened. This column argues that central banks are not losing their independence, but that their room for manoeuvre is being eroded by a lack of structural reforms and fiscal adjustment. The financial crisis has caused mission creep, pushing central banks well beyond their comfort zones and as the time comes to pull back, independent monetary policy could still be powerless against fiscal dominance.
Japan is under new leadership, bringing fresh attempts to tackle deflation. This column argues that the lessons we can learn are Going forward, a change of party politics with every change of government will likely become a recurring event in Japan. In order to restore people’s confidence in the fiscal management and social security system in the light of that prospect, institutional systems should be designed in a way to allow flexibility, premised on the fact that the government cannot make commitments into the remote future. Political leaders – whether they belong to the ruling or opposition parties – need to come up with new ideas toward achieving that end.
The ‘neutral’ rate is the real interest that is consistent with stable inflation and narrow output gaps. This column discusses the various estimation techniques and presents estimates for a range of Latin American nations. No methodology is fully correct: central banks must still make a subjective judgement, but econometrics can significantly help to inform it.
The institutions that manage trade barriers are subject to corruption, imposing additional distortions. This column shows that in China, the government misallocated quota licenses permitting firms to export. When the US and EU abolished quotas governing textile exports in 2005, China experienced productivity gains not only from the actual elimination of the quota but also from the termination of the misallocation due to inefficient licensing.
Other Recent Articles:
- Why supervisors should continue measuring financial risks – the fallacy of simple rules
- Public procurement markets: Where are we?
- Power sharing and institutional stability
- Débâcle: The 11th GTA report on protectionism
- Why America spends while the world saves
- Public-debt crises and bad equilibria
- South-South investment, institutional quality, and natural resources
- The privatisation of infrastructure: One size does not fit all
- The damaged ECB legitimacy
- Legal origin: A Chinese perspective
- The US left behind: The rise of IPO activity around the world
- Roads to nowhere or bridges to growth? Public investment efficiency in developing countries
- How developing nations escaped procyclical fiscal policy
- Political institutions and the curse of natural resources
- Development as freedom: New empirical evidence (1975-2007)
- Cooperation and the beneficial race for second-worst
- The Habsburg Empire and the long half-life of economic institutions
- Can competition pull along the public sector? Evidence from Indian railways
- The era of corporate split personalities
- Divide and rule or the rule of the divided? Under-development in Africa
- Fiscal consolidation: At what speed?Blanchard, Leigh
- Public debt and economic growth, one more timePanizza, Presbitero
- Escaping liquidity traps: Lessons from the UK’s 1930s escapeCrafts
- The lessons of the North Atlantic crisis for economic theory and policyStiglitz
- Rethinking macroeconomic policyBlanchard
- A tale of two depressions: What do the new data tell us? February 2010 updateEichengreen, O’Rourke
- Educated in America: College graduates and high school dropoutsHeckman, LaFontaine
- Eurozone breakup would trigger the mother of all financial crisesEichengreen
- Debt, deleveraging, and the liquidity trap: A new modelKrugman
- Panic-driven austerity in the Eurozone and its implicationsDe Grauwe, Ji