Before the 2008 crisis, the mainstream worldview among US macroeconomists was that economic fluctuations were regular and essentially self-correcting. In this column, IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard explains how this benign view of fluctuations took hold in the profession, and what lessons have been learned since the crisis. He argues that macroeconomic policy should aim to keep the economy away from ‘dark corners’, where it can malfunction badly.
Olivier Blanchard, 03 October 2014
Alan Moreira, Alexi Savov, 16 September 2014
The prevailing view of shadow banking is that it is all about regulatory arbitrage – evading capital requirements and exploiting ‘too big to fail’. This column focuses instead on the tradeoff between economic growth and financial stability. Shadow banking transforms risky, illiquid assets into securities that are – in good times, at least – treated like money. This alleviates the shortage of safe assets, thereby stimulating growth. However, this process builds up fragility, and can exacerbate the depth of the bust when the liquidity of shadow banking securities evaporates.
Carlos A. Vegh , Guillermo Vuletin, 12 June 2014
The question of whether fiscal policy should be pro- or countercyclical has become increasingly relevant during the recession. This column provides causal evidence from South American countries showing the success of countercyclical policy in improving social indicators of economic success, combined with correlative evidence from Europe. This represents a strike against the case for austerity-led growth.
Jeffrey Chwieroth, Andrew Walter, 10 May 2013
The economic consequences of financial crises have been systematically explored. Their political consequences haven’t. This column argues that without paying attention to politics, crises will remain poorly understood. After all, politics shapes policy choices, market sentiment and, ultimately, economic outcomes. Evidence from the effects of banking crises over the past century show that crises have a dramatic impact on the survival prospects of governments.
Julian di Giovanni, Andrei Levchenko, Isabelle Méjean, 16 November 2012
What difference does the release of the iPhone 5 really make to the US economy? This column argues that idiosyncratic shocks to individual firms significantly contribute to aggregate fluctuations. Using empirical evidence from France, this column argues that shocks to the largest firms, combined with firm-to-firm linkages, can travel far beyond the sector and country of origin.
Kamil Yilmaz, 19 May 2012
Germany’s fiscal response to the crisis was timid compared with those of China and the US. This column uses business-cycle connectedness indices to show that Germany should follow in the footsteps of China and increase its domestic spending so that it will generate net positive connectedness to others. Germany was able to increase its exports thanks to the fact that countries like the US, China and Japan stimulated domestic spending significantly.
Lucrezia Reichlin, Domenico Giannone, Jasper McMahon, Saverio Simonelli, 02 May 2012
According to official statistics, the UK and Europe are heading for recession, while the US is recovering. This has led some to suggest that European economies are moving in the opposite direction to the US. This column, written by the co-founders of Now-Casting, presents new now-casting estimates that put Europe and the US even further apart.
Andrew K Rose, 27 April 2012
Conventional wisdom says that when the economy starts to nosedive, the trade barriers start to rise. But this column argues that maybe protectionism isn’t countercyclical after all.
Eduardo Levy Yeyati, Luciano Cohan, 12 January 2012
Four years ago, there was growing support for the idea of ‘decoupling’ – that emerging markets were becoming less affected by business cycle swings in developed economies. Then came the global crisis. Focusing on Latin America, this column argues that the 2010s will be a far harder decade. But that might not be such a bad thing if it forces these economies to look again at their growth strategies.
Camille Landais, Emmanuel Saez, 29 November 2010
Much controversy surrounds the generosity of unemployment insurance in modern economies. Do generous benefits discourage workers from looking for jobs and increase unemployment? Or does unemployment in recessions simply stem from a lack of jobs? CEPR DP8132 explores the optimal level of unemployment benefits during the booms and busts of the business cycle.
Harald Uhlig, 08 October 2010
CEPR’s Euro Area Business Cycle Dating Committee has announced that the recession that began in the first quarter of 2008 came to an end in the second quarter of 2009. Harald Uhlig of the University of Chicago, who chairs the committee, talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about how this recession compares with previous recessions and with the US recession, and about the components of GDP that are driving recovery. The interview was recorded in a telephone press conference on 4 October 2010.
Pierre Monnin, Terhi Jokipii, 07 October 2010
Does banking sector instability damage the real economy? Or the other way round? This column presents data from 18 OECD countries between 1980 and 2008. It finds that banking sector stability appears to be an important driver of GDP growth in subsequent quarters. It argues that monetary policy should therefore pay more attention to banking sector soundness.
Harald Uhlig, 04 October 2010
Identifying recessions is crucial to guiding policymaking. This column reports the findings of the CEPR Business Cycle Dating Committee for the Eurozone for the last recession. It reports that the trough in economic activity occurred in the second quarter of 2009, marking the end of the recession that began in the first quarter of 2008. The recession lasted 6 quarters and the total decline in output from peak to trough was 5.5%. April 2009 marked a clear trough in industrial production, following the peak in January 2008.
James D. Hamilton, 18 July 2010
Is the world economy about to experience a "double-dip" recession? This column argues that, while there may be a recession on the way, the current recession ended in the summer of 2009. Any subsequent downturn should thus be labelled a new recession.
Jonathan Eaton, Samuel S. Kortum, John Romalis, Brent Neiman, 07 July 2010
The great trade collapse during the global crisis has reignited interest in the relationship between trade and GDP over the business cycle. This column argues that trade patterns in the recent recession largely reflected the shift away from demand for durable goods, although increasing trade frictions did play a moderate role in some countries.
Eswar Prasad, Christopher Otrok , M Ayhan Kose, 04 October 2008
Paradoxically, global integration has made emerging markets less dependent on the fates of the industrial nations. Have they “decoupled” from industrial country business cycles enough to dodge the current financial turmoil? This column dissects the decoupling debate and explains why the quickly shifting structure of the global economy makes predicting spillovers very difficult.