Does policy uncertainty reduce economic activity? Insights and evidence from large trade reforms
Kyle Handley, Nuno Limão, 23 November 2013
The impact of policy uncertainty on economic activity is potentially important, but controversial because it is hard to identify and quantify. Recent research provides a framework to identify the impacts of policy uncertainty on firm decisions, and finds it has strong effects in the context of international trade. China’s WTO accession secured its most-favoured nation status in the US, and the evidence shows this reduction in uncertainty can explain a significant fraction of its export boom to the US.
The impact of policy uncertainty on economic activity is an issue traditionally associated with developing countries. Since 2008, however, the spotlight has shifted. Governments’ responses to the Great Recession and the Eurozone crisis have raised considerable uncertainty about the future policies of advanced economies.
Topics: International trade
Tags: China, Eurozone crisis, Great Recession, trade, uncertainty, US, WTO
Is the Phillips curve alive and well after all? Inflation expectations and the missing disinflation
Olivier Coibion, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 15 November 2013
During the Great Recession, advanced economies have not experienced the disinflation that has historically been associated with high unemployment. This column shows that using consumers’ (as opposed to forecasters’) inflation expectations restores the traditional Phillips curve relationship for recent years. Consumers’ inflation expectations are more responsive to oil prices than those of professional forecasters. The increase in oil prices between 2009 and 2012 may in fact have prevented the onset of pernicious deflationary dynamics.
“Prior to the recent deep worldwide recession, macroeconomists of all schools took a negative relation between slack and declining inflation as an axiom. Few seem to have awakened to the recent experience as a contradiction to the axiom.” (Bob Hall, 2013.)
Topics: Global crisis, Monetary policy
Tags: disinflation, expectations, global crisis, Great Recession, inflation, oil, Phillips curve
Economic uncertainty and the effectiveness of monetary policy
Knut Are Aastveit, Gisle James Natvik, Sergio Sola, 19 October 2013
Many analysts blame uncertainty for at least part of advance nations’ poor economic performance since the crisis. This column discusses new research showing that the economic impact of monetary policy is dampened when uncertainty is high. This means that high uncertainty forces monetary policymakers into a trade-off between acting decisively and acting correctly as policy must be more aggressive than otherwise in order to stabilise economic activity. The finding is particularly stark when uncertainty measures from financial markets are utilised.
Since the onset of the “Great recession”, economists have struggled to explain why the recovery has been so slow, despite the many policy measures that have been passed to re-invigorate economic activity. One candidate explanation that several have pointed to, for instance Baker, Bloom, Davis and Van Reenen (2012), is economic uncertainty.
Topics: Monetary policy
Tags: Great Recession, monetary policy, uncertainty
How to make Europe's incipient recovery durable – A rejoinder
Marco Buti, Pier Carlo Padoan, 8 October 2013
The causes of the Eurozone’s slow growth are much debated. This column argues that fiscal consolidation will be less of a drag going forward but that the ongoing recovery remains fragile. A policy strategy is needed to support the recovery based on three mutually reinforcing elements – reducing policy uncertainty, repairing the financial system, and undertaking structural reforms.
Our recent Vox column triggered an interesting and lively debate (see for instance Krugman, 2013; Fatas, 2013; Watt, 2013).
Topics: Macroeconomic policy
Tags: austerity, EZ recovery, Great Recession
How the great recession affected unemployment of non-Western Immigrants in the Netherlands
Jan van Ours, 6 October 2013
In absolute terms, the Great Recession affected the unemployment rate of non-Western immigrants more than that of native workers in the Netherlands. However, this merely reflects their generally weak labour-market position – job-finding rates are much lower for non-Western immigrants than they are for natives. There is little difference between the cyclical sensitivity of these two groups’ unemployment or job-finding rates. In relative terms, the labour-market position of non-Western immigrants is bad, but the Great Recession did not make it worse.
The labour-market position of immigrants in many European countries is weak – unemployment rates among immigrants are high, and employment rates are low (OECD 2011). There are various explanations for this. Immigrants often have lower educational attainment than natives, and fewer language skills. Furthermore, ethnic identity may be important.
Topics: Labour markets, Migration
Tags: Great Recession, migration, Netherlands, unemployment
Why is this global recovery different?
M Ayhan Kose, Prakash Loungani, Marco E Terrones, 18 April 2013
The Great Recession has been followed by a ‘Not-So-Great Recovery’. Why the recovery has been weak and protracted remains a matter of debate. This column argues that one specific aspect of the current global recovery makes it different from previous ones. Over the course of past recoveries, both monetary and fiscal policies maintained an accommodative stance. In this global recovery, fiscal and monetary policies in advanced economies are pushing in opposite directions.
There is an intensive discussion about the weak and protracted nature of the ongoing recovery.
Topics: Global crisis, Monetary policy
Tags: Great Recession
Why does finance matter for trade? Evidence from new data
Marc Auboin, Martina Engemann, 3 December 2012
What effect does trade finance have on international trade? This column uses new data to stress the importance of trade finance for international trade both in crisis and in non-crisis periods. The major policy lesson is that there must be high levels of market incentives for supplying trade credit, particularly during a period of ‘deleveraging’ of the financial system. That said, trade credit statistics could be vastly improved if we wish to continue comparing global trade finance transactions against global trade.
Academic interest in the role of trade finance has grown in the context of the financial crisis of 2008-09 and the subsequent economic downturn, just as policymakers’ interest was once caught by the Asian financial crisis (IMF 2003).
Topics: International trade
Tags: financial crisis, Great Recession, international trade, trade, trade credit, Trade finance, trade insurance
Jobless recoveries and the disappearance of routine occupations
Henry Siu, Nir Jaimovich, 6 November 2012
The US economy is recovering. But what explains the stubborn malaise in its labour market? This column argues that future recovery from recession will likely be jobless because technological advances and mechanisation now enable troubled firms to shed middle-income jobs in favour of machines and automation. If these jobs are not recouped during subsequent economic recovery, future recoveries may well remain jobless.
Economic recoveries aren’t what they used to be. Since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009:
Topics: Global crisis, Labour markets, Poverty and income inequality
Tags: Great Depression, Great Recession, jobs, labour, unemployment
The case for temporary inflation in the Eurozone
Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe, Martín Uribe, 16 September 2012
Since the onset of the great recession in peripheral Europe, nominal hourly wages have not fallen much from the high levels they had reached during the boom years in spite of widespread increases in unemployment. This paper analyses a number of national and supranational policy options for alleviating the unemployment problem, arguing that it is unlikely that a solution will come from within national borders.
Vox readers can download CEPR Discussion Paper 9133 for free here.
Journalists are entitled to free DP downloads on request; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about subscribing to CEPR's Discussion Paper Series, please visit the CEPR website.
Topics: Labour markets
Tags: Eurozone crisis, Great Recession, unemployment, wages
US unemployment: Neither natural nor unnatural
Guillermo Calvo, Fabrizio Coricelli, Pablo Ottonello, 24 July 2012
Economic output in the US seems to have recovered since the Great Recession – but jobs have not. This ‘jobless recovery’ has led economists to argue that unemployment has reached a point where it can fall no further without further inflation. This column disagrees, suggesting the nature of the crisis affects the nature of the recovery.
The Great Recession in the US has been followed by high and persistent unemployment. Although output recovered its pre-crisis level, the unemployment rate is still above its pre-crisis level, a situation that is popularly called ‘jobless recovery’ (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. US jobless recovery
Topics: Global crisis, Global economy, Labour markets
Tags: Great Recession, jobless recovery, unemployment, US