News & Commentary:

May 2014 Archives


Ideas are also made in China Financial Times Subscription Required
Gillian Tett (FT) May 1, 2014
It used to be money and low-cost production that jumped across borders, now creativity and services are following suit courtesy of the internet.

Reasons to be wary of African debt growth Financial Times Subscription Required
Ralph Atkins (FT) May 1, 2014
Is the rapid growth in Africa’s debt capital markets a healthy opening up of investment opportunities, or another sign of a global credit bubble?

ANC: Time to change track? Financial Times Subscription Required
Andrew England (FT) May 1, 2014
Beset by withering criticism over corruption and the pace of economic change, South Africa’s ruling party is facing its toughest election.

In Asia Trip, Obama Makes Push for Trans-Pacific Trade Pact
Bridges Volume 18 Number 15 May 1, 2014
US President Barack Obama's trip to Asia came to a close on Tuesday, following several days of meetings with regional leaders on the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. Though the trip ended without a Japan deal on agriculture and automobile trade – prompting many to question the likelihood of concluding the overall TPP negotiations in the near-term – leaders on both sides say that they now have a "path forward" to potentially address their bilateral issues.

TISA Talks Making Strong Progress, Officials Say
Bridges Volume 18 Number 15 May 1, 2014
Participants of the plurilateral talks on liberalising services trade continue to make good progress, officials involved in the process confirmed yesterday, just a year after formal negotiations kicked off. The group involved in the Trade in Services Agreement, or TISA, is in the middle of its sixth negotiating round, which is due to end later this week.

UN Group Sharpens List of Possible Sustainable Development Goals
Bridges Volume 18 Number 15 May 1, 2014
The blueprint for a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) moved closer into focus last week as the co-chairs of the UN group drafting a proposal released a revised list of focus areas for delegates to consider at their next meeting in early May.

Is the Renminbi Still Undervalued? Not According to New PPP Estimates
Martin Kessler and Arvind Subramanian (PIIE) May 1, 2014
The World Bank released the latest purchasing power parity (PPP) estimates of GDP on April 30. These estimates are published once every 5 to 6 years, based on the elaborate survey of prices across the world conducted by the International Comparison of Prices (ICP) project. The latest estimates pertain to the year 2011, while the previous estimates were for 2005. The new data affords an opportunity to revisit that hardy perennial of global policy questions: To what extent is the Chinese currency undervalued? And our surprising answer is: perhaps not at all. We can say with some confidence that the renminbi is now fairly valued, which is a striking change from even 2005, when the currency was undervalued by nearly 30 percent. This change possibly heralds the end of nearly two decades of China's mercantilist development strategy based on boosting exports by keeping the currency artificially low.

A simple explanation of how money moves around the banking system
Richard Brown (Pieria) May 1, 2014
Almost nobody actually understands how payment systems work. That is: if you “wire” funds to a supplier or “make a payment” to a friend, how does the money get from your account to theirs?

Show Them the Money Recommended! Foreign Affairs Subscription Required
Christopher Blattman and Paul Niehaus (FA) May 1, 2014
Why giving cash helps alleviate poverty.

Power to the People Foreign Affairs Subscription Required
Gideon Rose and Jonathan Tepperman (FA) May 1, 2014
What will fuel the future?

Recovery Is Too Slow for Comfort
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 1, 2014
The longer the economy muddles along, the greater its vulnerability to outside shocks such as bad weather or foreign crises.

The Strange Death of Volatility
Mark Gilbert (Bloomberg View) May 1, 2014
Volatility is dying in stocks, bonds and currencies. Central banks are killing the information content of market prices.

The Return of Geopolitics Foreign Affairs Subscription Required
Walter Russell Mead (FA) May 1, 2014
The revenge of the revisionist powers.

The Illusion of Geopolitics Foreign Affairs Subscription Required
G. John Ikenberry (FA) May 1, 2014
The enduring power of the liberal order.

Capital Punishment Foreign Affairs Subscription Required
Tyler Cowen (FA) May 1, 2014
Why a global tax on wealth won't end inequality.

Out for Gold and Blood in Sudan Foreign Affairs Subscription Required
Jérôme Tubiana (FA) May 1, 2014
Letter from Jebel Amir.

Review: ‘The Tyranny of Experts’ by William Easterly, on global development’s errors
Marie Arana (WP) May 2, 2014
Can a whole global development community be wrong?

The Transatlantic World is Falling Apart
Stephan Richter (Globalist) May 2, 2014
The U.S. is issuing frantic wake-up calls on defense – but Europe isn’t listening.

Globalization Still Favors the Rich
Leonid Bershidsky (Bloomberg View) May 2, 2014
According to a new McKinsey report on global flows, developed nations benefit more from globalization than emerging ones do. But developing countries are doing their best to catch up.

A Case of Piketty Fever at the OECD
Leonid Bershidsky (Bloomberg View) May 2, 2014
The OECD has issued a report using Thomas Piketty's inequality data and recommending harsher taxation for the wealthy. It ought to collect more information on the poor's income structure before jumping to conclusions.

The West Can Learn From India's Central Banker
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 2, 2014
Raghuram Rajan has a message for the West's central banks: Think about how your actions affect others.

Europe’s Precarious New Normal
Erik Berglof (Project Syndicate) May 2, 2014
A decade ago, ten countries joined the EU, and all – including eight post-communist states – are now recognized as fully integrated members. As an era of geopolitical tension again descends on the European continent, it is worth reminding ourselves what the new normal has meant for them – and what it could mean for Ukraine.

Pitfalls in PPP undercut China's size
Michael Pettis (AT) May 2, 2014
A World Bank study on purchasing power parity points to China overtaking the US as the world's biggest economy, but adjusting GDP for purchasing power differences is so filled with problems it is difficult to find any economist who takes these measures very seriously.

Piketty fever: Bigger than Marx Economist Subscription Required
Economist May 3, 2014
A wonky book on inequality becomes a blockbuster.

Trade and money laundering: Uncontained Economist Subscription Required
Economist May 3, 2014
Trade is the weakest link in the fight against dirty money.

Fund management: Will invest for food Economist Subscription Required
Economist May 3, 2014
Like books and music, the investment industry is being squeezed.

South-South trade: It’s mostly China
M. Ataman Aksoy & Francis Ng (VoxEU) May 3, 2014
Developing countries gained significant market shares in both industrial and developing countries throughout the 1990s and 2000s. This column highlights that China accounts for more than 70% of market share gains by developing countries in both industrial and developing countries during the 2000s. Recent increases in the industrial capabilities and competitiveness of developing countries can thus be considered predominantly a Chinese affair.

Switzerland: Change in the air Financial Times Subscription Required
James Shotter (FT) May 4, 2014
Plans to restrict immigration are raising broader questions about the Alpine nation’s relationship with the rest of the world.

Uncertainty is replacing US power Financial Times Subscription Required
Edward Luce (FT) May 4, 2014
America is behaving like a declining hegemon: unwilling to share power, yet unable to impose outcomes.

Active management industry in bafflingly good health Financial Times Subscription Required
John Authers (FT) May 4, 2014
While the ‘carnivores’ of the industry remain in bafflingly good health, the forces of evolution dictate that passive management will tend to prevail.

Modi would be neither tyrant nor colossus Financial Times Subscription Required
Victor Mallet (FT) May 4, 2014
The Gujarat model of economic success, moreover, is at best an imperfect template for the rest of the country.

China’s changing exchange rate policy Financial Times Subscription Required
Gavyn Davies (FT) May 4, 2014
China was promoted to the largest economy in the world last week, at least according to the implications of a new data set released by the World Bank.

Assault on the Chilean Miracle Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Mary Anastasia O'Grady (WSJ) May 4, 2014
President Bachelet wants to raise the corporate tax rate to 35% from 20%.

Bubble mania
Robert J. Samuelson (WP) May 4, 2014
Popping economic bubbles can be good.

India: Industrial evolution Financial Times Subscription Required
Victor Mallet and James Crabtree (FT) May 5, 2014
The next prime minister must grapple with an economy that has not matched the growth of other developing nations.

Property tax is perfect for the Piketty age Financial Times Subscription Required
Janan Ganesh (FT) May 5, 2014
There is nothing more potent in politics than a party doing the opposite of what voters cynically expect of them.

Pimco joins rush into eurozone equities Financial Times Subscription Required
Patrick Jenkins (FT) May 5, 2014
Greek equities have drawn all kinds of new investors with the US bond house among the top players in Eurobank’s capital raising.

Little Genius, Vietnamese Style New York Times Subscription Required
Roger Cohen (NYT) May 5, 2014
The American dream may be battered at home but it's alive and well in the land of America's former Communist enemy.

Bailout Is Over for Portugal, but Side Effects Will Linger New York Times Subscription Required
Raphael Minder (NYT) May 5, 2014
The country’s economy is growing again, but slowly, and unemployment is still above 15 percent.

A Gifted Economist and the Ultimate Social Scientist Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Edward P. Lazear (WSJ) May 5, 2014
Gary Becker pioneered the use of economics to understand behavior, gaining insights with far-reaching benefits.

The economist who changed economics
Catherine Rampell (WP) May 5, 2014
Gary Becker brought his field into a much larger world.

What Do New Price Data Mean for the Goal of Ending Extreme Poverty?
Laurence Chandy and Homi Kharas (Brookings) May 5, 2014
How feasible is the goal of ending extreme poverty, and where is poverty concentrated? Our understanding of these issues has just been jolted by new data on prices (known as Purchasing Power Parities) for goods and services in every country in the world.

China Buys Friends and Influences Nations
William Pesek (Bloomberg View) May 5, 2014
If you can't beat them, outspend them. That seems to be the thinking behind a huge new infrastructure investment fund being promoted by China as an alternative to established international agencies.

Industrial Policy Reconsidered
Andrés Velasco (Project Syndicate) May 5, 2014
A forthcoming report from the Inter-American Development Bank argues that the state and public policy should have a role in deciding what gets produced. A generation ago, this message would have been heretical; today, it is a matter of common sense.

China is Still Number Two
Jeffrey Frankel (Project Syndicate) May 5, 2014
The news that China has surpassed the US as the world's leading economic power is a startling development – or it would be if the claim were not essentially wrong. In fact, the US remains the world’s largest national economy by a substantial margin.

The Techno-Political Transformation
Klaus Schwab (Project Syndicate) May 5, 2014
It would be an understatement to say that our world is undergoing rapid and far-reaching change. In such an unpredictable and interconnected setting, effective leadership must be based on a radical outlook, a multifaceted skillset, and an understanding of technology and talent.

Wipe out rentiers with cheap money Financial Times Subscription Required
Martin Wolf (FT) May 6, 2014
Cautious savers no longer serve a useful purpose in economic conditions that are crying out for risk-taking investors.

Asia’s M&A spirits wait for a bold deal Financial Times Subscription Required
Jennifer Hughes (FT) May 6, 2014
A surge in activity has its roots in the region’s traditions of uncontested part-stake deals and asset-shuffling among related companies.

Why US and European bond yields will fall Financial Times Subscription Required
Steven Major (FT) May 6, 2014
What appears to be a conflict between the economy and bond yields can be logically explained by viewing the matter from a bond market perspective.

How the Fed Fuels the Coming Inflation Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Allan H. Meltzer (WSJ) May 6, 2014
As Milton Friedman said, 'inflation is always and everywhere' a result of excessive money growth.

How to Manage China
Globalist May 6, 2014
Is the highly centralized, top-down approach best for China’s future?

Europe's Money-Market Problem
Mark Gilbert (Bloomberg View) May 6, 2014
Shifting to negative interest rates, whereby the European Central Bank charges banks for the privilege of leaving cash on deposit, is probably high on the Governing Council's agenda for Thursday.

A century of corporate America leverage
John R. Graham, Mark T. Leary & Michael R. Roberts (VoxEU) May 6, 2014
During the recent financial crisis, not much attention has been paid to the indebtedness of non-financial corporations, as little is known about what drives their financing. This column looks at financial policies of non-financial corporations over the last century. It shows evidence that a primary factor affecting the amount of corporate borrowing is the amount of borrowing by the government. Government borrowing crowds out the ability of the corporate sector to borrow. Thus, policymakers should be cautious in altering government policies in an attempt to reduce corporate debt usage.

How We Should Talk About Inequality
Christopher Flavelle (Bloomberg View) May 6, 2014
What the inequality debate can learn from the language of climate change.

Even Powerful Central Banks Need Help
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 6, 2014
Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi can't fix their respective economies unless governments do their part.

Russia and the Silk Road Approach
Ana Palacio (Project Syndicate) May 6, 2014
The unraveling of Ukraine has brought to the fore three major foreign-policy challenges: the danger of isolating Russia, the conundrum of China’s aloofness, and the pervasive lack of fresh ideas. Surmounting them will require concrete initiatives that foster trust through cooperation – initiatives like the Silk Road economic belt.

India’s Bourgeois Revolution
Shashi Tharoor (Project Syndicate) May 6, 2014
Indian politics has long been the well-guarded preserve of a small and largely hereditary elite. But the current general election, in which there are more non-politician candidates than in any previous poll, suggests that this may finally be changing.

Is Brazil Losing Global Momentum?
Alistair Burnett (YaleGlobal) May 6, 2014
Brazil’s President Rousseff focuses on social transformation at home and cooperative foreign policy.

Federalism, Chinese Style Foreign Affairs Subscription Required
Evan A. Feigenbaum and Damien Ma (FA) May 6, 2014
Inside Beijing's rebalancing.

Russia Contagion: Local or Global?
Robert Kahn (CFR) May 6, 2014
It is a mistake to focus on whether Russia is big enough to matter; what will matter for the contagion debate is that the Russian market is too interconnected with the world to ignore. However, policies can be put in place to limit the dislocations for the West.

China labour activism: crossing the line Financial Times Subscription Required
Tom Mitchell and Demetri Sevastopulo (FT) May 7, 2014
An increase in worker militancy fuelled by higher living costs is prompting Beijing to consider how to deal with what it sees as a threat to investment.

Germany must be plain with Moscow Financial Times Subscription Required
Markus Kerber (FT) May 7, 2014
Russia cannot stop the peoples of eastern Europe expressing their desire to join the open societies of the west.

Brazil’s fat public sector needs reform Financial Times Subscription Required
Joe Leahy (FT) May 7, 2014
The reason for the nation’s lack of competitiveness is glaringly obvious to anyone who cares to look: the bloated public sector.

Regulators must act on coco bond risks Financial Times Subscription Required
Alberto Gallo (FT) May 7, 2014
They could make a future bank crisis worse.

World's Worst Tax Collectors Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
James Freeman (WSJ) May 7, 2014
It's not easy to find a country with a higher corporate tax rate than America's 40%. And what's remarkable is the number of truly oppressive governments that somehow manage to maintain a more competitive tax policy than the U.S.

How Africa Can Capitalize on Its Progress Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Kofi Annan (WSJ) May 7, 2014
West Africa loses about $1.3 billion to illegal fishing. New steps are needed to stop the theft.

Does it Matter Whether China’s Economy is Number One?
Dingding Chen (Diplomat) May 7, 2014
It matters very much whether or not China emerges as the world’s top economy.

European Bonds Are Priced for Perfection
Mark Gilbert (Bloomberg View) May 7, 2014
European bonds are priced for perfection. It follows that anything short of a perfect economic backdrop is likely to prompt a bout of buyers' regret.

The Rich World's Currency Problem
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 7, 2014
Movements in the dollar, euro and yen could be undermining the global recovery.

Re-Made in the U.S.A.
Catherine L. Mann (Bloomberg View) May 7, 2014
U.S. consumers might be losing their taste for imported goods. This could have big implications for the whole world.

Oil's Bright Future
Robert Bryce (Bloomberg View) May 7, 2014
If oil didn’t exist, we would have to invent it. No other substance comes close when it comes to scale, energy density, ease of handling and flexibility. Those properties explain why oil provides more energy to the global economy than any other fuel.

A Light Unto Cities
Joseph E. Stiglitz (Project Syndicate) May 7, 2014
Once notorious for its drug gangs, Medellín, Colombia, now has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most innovative cities in the world. The tale of the city’s transformation holds important lessons for urban areas everywhere.

Do We Have Too Much Capital? Foreign Policy Subscription Required
Daniel Altman (FP) May 7, 2014
Nearly 20 percent of capital in the world’s two biggest economies is sitting idle. Are we saving too much?

The two faces of cross-border banking flows
Dennis Reinhardt & Steven Riddiough (VoxEU) May 7, 2014
Cross-border funding between banks collapsed following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, but the withdrawal of funding was not uniform across countries. This column argues that the composition of cross-border bank-to-bank funding can help to explain why. Interbank funding between unrelated banks is particularly vulnerable to global shocks, but intragroup funding between related banks can act as a stabilising force, particularly for advanced economies with a high share of global parent banks. Policymakers should look at disaggregated cross-border bank-to-bank flows, as doing otherwise could result in a misleading assessment of financial stability risks.

SEC: With the program Financial Times Subscription Required
Kara Scannell (FT) May 8, 2014
The US regulator has invested in high-tech tools to police increasingly complex trading activity on Wall Street.

Investor dash for trash feeds M&A surge Financial Times Subscription Required
Ralph Atkins (FT) May 8, 2014
The longer-term impact on economic growth and company finances will depend on whether bond markets are used to expand output and job creation.

Deflation Threatens Europe. Policy Makers Wait. New York Times Subscription Required
Neil Irwin (NYT) May 8, 2014
As Europe confronts the prospect of deflation, its top economic officials take a wait-and-see attitude.

The Real Africa New York Times Subscription Required
David Brooks (NYT) May 8, 2014
The reaction to the Boko Haram atrocities in Nigeria is positive, yet indicative of a widespread misunderstanding of Africa.

Now That's Rich New York Times Subscription Required
Paul Krugman (NYT) May 8, 2014
Big surprise! Hedge fund managers make a lot of money. But there are some lessons there.

We Must Stop Driving Businesses Out of the Country Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Ron Wyden (WSJ) May 8, 2014
Cutting corporate taxes to 24% would be a good start. So would closing loopholes that encourage moving overseas.

Obama’s lack of heart
Fareed Zakaria (WP) May 9, 2014
The president has been too restrained on foreign policy.

Lagarde's chance to put IMF on side of 'fairness'
Hossein Askari (AT) May 8, 2014
International Monetary Fund boss Christine Lagarde can use her attendance at a forum in Jordan to be forthright precisely on the topic of the conference - "jobs, growth, and fairness in the Arab world" and the pursuit of better equity in the region. Otherwise she will confirm the Fund's irrelevance in addressing the critical issues of the day.

Japan's Abe Makes Push for EU, Pacific Trade Pacts in Europe Visit
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 16 May 8, 2014
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a strong defence of his economic strategy this week – including a call for advancing trade pacts with the EU, US, and other partners – during his high-profile tour of Europe, pledging to not be afraid of domestic reforms as he continues his efforts to jumpstart the world's fourth-largest economy.

EU, US Officials Renew T-TIP Push Ahead of Fifth Negotiating Round
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 16 May 8, 2014
Top officials from the US and EU have continued to make a strong public push in favour of their planned bilateral trade pact, highlighting the critical nature of such a deal for advancing global trade rule-making and for lowering the EU's dependence on Russian energy. The political support comes ahead of the fifth round of formal trade negotiations, which is scheduled to take place in the US city of Arlington, Virginia from 19-23 May.

African Trade Ministers Split on EPA Path Forward as Deadline Looms
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 16 May 8, 2014
The October deadline for African countries to conclude their Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EU took centre stage at a meeting of African Union (AU) trade ministers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with countries remaining divided over the path forward. During last week's meeting, officials also discussed the continent's role in the WTO's post-Bali process, while reviewing other bilateral and regional trade initiatives, including the hoped-for renewal of the US' African Growth and Opportunity Act and the preparations for a future Continental Free Trade Area.

FAO, OECD: Food Security Key to G-20 Growth Goals
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 16 May 8, 2014
A joint agency report is set to urge G-20 members to tackle food security if they are to succeed in boosting growth and creating jobs, according to a draft version seen by Bridges.

Trade Ministers in Paris Urge Quick Implementation of Bali Deal
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 16 May 8, 2014
WTO members should continue their efforts to quickly implement the trade facilitation agreement inked in Bali, Indonesia last December, trade ministers meeting in Paris on Wednesday said at an informal mini-ministerial hosted by Australia.

Developing countries seek new path for Fund governance reform
Bretton Woods Bulletin May 8, 2014
2010 agreement to reform IMF voting shares in favor of developing countries flounders as IMF governance reforms blocked by US Congress, again.

Biofuels Are a Bad Idea
Robert Bryce (Bloomberg View) May 8, 2014
Biofuels take up too much land, and they raise the price of food. Despite tens of billions in taxpayer money that have been thrown at corn ethanol, soy diesel, algae and the rest, the U.S. economy, and more particularly the U.S. military, has gained nothing.

Europe’s Big Bang at Ten
Daniel Gros (Project Syndicate) May 8, 2014
A decade after the EU admitted ten new member states, including eight from the former Soviet bloc, enlargement has turned out differently than expected. The internal challenges have proved manageable, but now the EU needs to confront an external challenge for which it is ill prepared.

Where Is the Inequality Problem?
Kenneth Rogoff (Project Syndicate) May 8, 2014
Though Thomas Piketty is right that returns to capital in rich countries have increased in the last few decades, he is too dismissive of the wide-ranging debate among economists concerning the causes. More important, when it comes to reducing inequality between rich and poor countries, capitalism has had an impressive three decades.

The ECB Can, and Should, Ease Monetary Policy
Bloomberg View May 8, 2014
The ECB should acknowledge the danger of deflation and stop acting as though its hands are tied.

When China Perversely Does America’s Bidding
Stephan Richter (Globalist) May 8, 2014
How China's aggressiveness undermines its own long-term interests in Asia.

China Doesn’t Want to Be Number One
Shannon Tiezzi (Diplomat) May 8, 2014
China is reluctant to be crowned the world’s number one economic power—at least for now.

Renminbi Undervalued? Think Again
Farok J. Contractor (YaleGlobal) May 8, 2014
China resists further currency appreciation to remain competitive in manufacturing and job creation.

Why We’re in a New Gilded Age Recommended!
Paul Krugman (NYRB) May 8, 2014
We haven’t just gone back to 19th-century levels of income inequality, we’re also on a path back to “patrimonial capitalism,” in which the commanding heights of the economy are controlled not by talented individuals but by family dynasties.

Going, going, gone?
Bretton Woods Bulletin May 9, 2014
IFC accused of “McDonaldisation” of education, with investment in low-fee private schools, despite evidence of negative impacts on inequality.

Bad aid
Lehlohonolo Chefa (Bretton Woods Bulletin) May 9, 2014
World Bank private financing scheme bleeds Lesotho's health system dry.

Asia Revisited
Chandran Nair (Globalist) May 9, 2014
Imagine if China's leaders lectured the world on every trip, as Western leaders do.

Africa: We Feel Your Pain (Sometimes)
Stephan Richter (Globalist) May 9, 2014
Power outages in the capital city of the United States are a surprisingly regular feature/

Economic 'Liftoff' Is Still Elusive
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 9, 2014
The economic outlook is getting better, but we're not out of the woods yet.

Europe’s Political Transcendence
Kemal Dervis (Project Syndicate_ May 9, 2014
This month's European Parliament election marks a small but significant step in the emergence of a transnational political space – a first in European and world history. But, if the European Council fails to respect the results of the public campaign in selecting the European Commission's president, progress could be stifled.

The Perils of Financial Freedom
Adair Turner (Project Syndicate) May 9, 2014
China’s current leadership is committed to building a more balanced model, and believes that the market must play a “decisive role” in achieving that. But, while stronger market discipline is indeed needed in some areas, Chinese officials should be under no illusion that free markets are a panacea for the financial sector.

Safeguarding Cyberspace
Joseph S. Nye (Project Syndicate) May 9, 2014
Contrary to the view that the Internet is the ultimate egalitarian conduit of free-flowing information, governments have always played a central role in regulating it – or at least have tried. But cyberspace presents a major governance challenge, and international efforts have yet to make much progress.

China is not yet number one
Jeffrey Frankel (VoxEU) May 9, 2014
Many claim that China will soon overtake the US. This column argues that this claim is based on a misuse of statistics. ICP price data is necessary to compare living standards, since a dollar’s worth of yuan buys more in China than a dollar buys in the US. But the fact that rice and clothes are cheap in rural China does not make the Chinese economy larger. What matters for size in the world economy is how much a yuan can buy on world markets. Using the correct prices, the US remains the world’s largest economic power by a substantial margin.

India Must Reverse Its Deindustrialization
Amrit Amirapu and Arvind Subramanian (PIIE/Business Standard) May 9, 2014
Can India be a manufacturing powerhouse? Three developments make that question salient today. Looming ahead is the demographic bulge, which will disgorge a million young people every month into the economy in search of employment opportunities. Rising labor costs in China create opportunities for low-skilled countries such as India as replacement destinations for investment that is leaving China. And a new government assuming power later this month offers the prospect of refashioning India in the image of Gujarat, which has been one of the few manufacturing successes.

The lure of shadow banking Economist Subscription Required
Economist May 10, 2014
Shadow banks helped cause the financial crisis. Better regulated, they could help avert the next one.

A Simple Theory, and a Proposal, on H.I.V. in Africa New York Times Subscription Required
Donald G. McNeil Jr (NYT) May 10, 2014
A team of Norwegian infectious disease specialists believes that African women are more vulnerable to H.I.V. because of a chronic, undiagnosed parasitic disease.

‘It was the point where the eurozone could have exploded’ Financial Times Subscription Required Recommended!
Peter Spiegel (FT) May 11, 2014
How the euro was saved: In the first of a series on the year that forever changed Europe, a recreation of the three bitter days in November when the eurozone crisis hit its lowest point.

The fall of British investment banking Financial Times Subscription Required
Philip Augar (FT) May 11, 2014
Once again, London is the European base for the world’s top institutions but is unable to sustain a challenger of its own.

Italy’s europhiles need to get to work Financial Times Subscription Required
Wolfgang Münchau (FT) May 11, 2014
Globalisation brought new customers for German luxury cars, but for Italy it mainly brought new competitors.

Drive to ease eurozone’s fiscal pain Financial Times Subscription Required
Ferdinando Giugliano (FT) May 11, 2014
As EU economies begin to recover, politicians are asking whether it is time to lower the fiscal burden, with income tax cuts for families.

The hard facts about momentum investing Financial Times Subscription Required
John Authers (FT) May 11, 2014
Momentum has nothing to do with the basics of a company, and more to do with the human propensity to extrapolate the flimsiest trends into the future.

Hedge fund titans are testing US democracy Financial Times Subscription Required
Edward Luce (FT) May 11, 2014
If branches of the US government bow to the will of big business, public policy will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

China won’t transform the market landscape Financial Times Subscription Required
Jay Pelosky (FT) May 11, 2014
Another boom is unlikely, and as China looks to internal reforms it will not be a catalyst that alters the current low volatility asset scape.

Follow the Money, China-Style New York Times Subscription Required
Yu Hua (NYT) May 11, 2014
The economy's mystery of surplus currency yet low inflation may be a result of the piles of cash hoarded by corrupt officials.

Overvaluing the 'Undervalued' View of the Yuan Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Mark A. DeWeaver (WSJ) May 11, 2014
The Chinese currency has no real 'equilibrium value,' even if Treasury wishes it did.

Piketty's Wealth Tax Isn't a Joke
Clive Crook (Bloomberg View) May 11, 2014
I've complained about Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century" and I still think it's been vastly overpraised, but I don't go along with every criticism others have made.

Inflation targeting vs. price-level targeting
Michael Hatcher & Patrick Minford (VoxEU) May 11, 2014
Inflation targeting and price-level targeting have excited economists for decades. This column reviews a survey on the merits of price-level targeting. The latter could potentially help monetary policy deal with the zero bound on nominal interest rates. Such beneficial effects depend on rational expectations and a New Keynesian structure of the economy.

Global value chains and ‘Factory World’
Gaaitzen de Vries, Bart Los & Marcel Timmer (VoxEU) May 11, 2014
Global value chains play an important role in many nations’ globalisation and development policies. Using a new indicator based on a global dataset – the World Input-Output Database – this column shows that international production networks have, since 2000, spread across regional blocs faster than they have spread within them. ‘Factory World’ is still a work in progress, but the construction is progressing rapidly

A Swift way to curb Putin’s ambitions Financial Times Subscription Required
Gideon Rachman (FT) May 12, 2014
The evidence suggests that while the Russian president is bold, he is not so mindlessly reckless as to court financial disaster.

China property bubble may be set to burst Financial Times Subscription Required
George Magnus (FT) May 12, 2014
If activity levels and prices weaken further, Beijing’s resolve not to respond with traditional stimulus programmes is unlikely to hold.

China at the summit Financial Times Subscription Required
Kurt Campbell (FT) May 12, 2014
There is only consensus around building national power – but little agreement over what to do with that power once achieved, either abroad or at home.

Asia: Addicted to debt Financial Times Subscription Required
Josh Noble (FT) May 12, 2014
Policy makers are seeking a new model as a period of rapid economic expansion draws to a close.

Free-trade regime: Oligarchy in action
Moritz Laurer (AT) May 12, 2014
Governments say agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership lower barriers to trade while increasing exports and creating more jobs. The level of secrecy and small number of labor unions involved in such deals suggest they are Trojan horses designed to serve multinational corporations and the executive branch.

Indians Expect an Economic Superman
Milan Vaishnav (Bloomberg View) May 12, 2014
Even with a legislative majority, Narendra Modi will face big obstacles in his effort to recharge Indian economic growth.

The Economist Who Can Rescue India
William Pesek (Bloomberg View) May 12, 2014
Few central bankers have had as much success in so short a period as India's Raghuram Rajan.

U.S. Is No. 1, China Is So Yesterday
Josef Joffe (Bloomberg View) May 12, 2014
The World Bank recently said the end of U.S. economic hegemony was coming before 2015 arrives. But we've heard this story before. Don't believe the hype about China.

Customs Disunion Foreign Affairs Subscription Required
Nate Schenkkan (FA) May 12, 2014
Putin's plans for regional integration go boom.

How inequality can (sometimes) boost growth
Tomas Hirst (Pieria) May 12, 2014
Might inequality have offset some of the impact of ageing societies - and can it continue to do so?

Mapping a New Economy
Scott Carlson (CHE) May 12, 2014
The geographer David Harvey says fixing inequality will take more than tinkering.

Expect a Rougher Ride in Markets
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 12, 2014
Close observers should note some nuances that are likely to become more important in the weeks and months ahead.

Risky Reserves
Lili Fuhr and Johnny West (Project Syndicate) May 12, 2014
While the introduction of a more responsible climate-change policy may seem far off, serious work by senior officials and business leaders has begun in many advanced countries. The problem is that most major oil producers are far from the locus of climate-change policy development – and remain woefully unprepared for what is coming.

Europe’s Crisis Treadmill
Barry Eichengreen (Project Syndicate) May 12, 2014
The supposed experts who predicted the imminent disintegration of the eurozone have been proved wrong. But it is equally likely that those now declaring that the crisis is over will be proved wrong as well.

Time for Draghi to open the sluice Financial Times Subscription Required
Martin Wolf (FT) May 13, 2014
Markets are betting on indefinite austerity. If it comes to an end, the eurozone crisis could return.

Yellen policy on rates needs clarifying Financial Times Subscription Required
Robin Harding (FT) May 13, 2014
The lack of explanation by Fed chief about her most important policy change since taking role says a lot about her challenge in the years ahead.

China property downturn would be salutary Financial Times Subscription Required
Simon Rabinovitch (FT) May 13, 2014
The degree to which the economy is reliant on housing is distressing. The sooner it ends, the sooner banks will find a balanced recipe for growth.

China Isn’t Overtaking America New York Times Subscription Required
Michael A. Levi (NYT) May 13, 2014
By most meaningful yardsticks, China is still less economically powerful than the United States.

Pfizer and the Protectionists Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
WSJ May 13, 2014
U.K. and U.S. politicians object to the free flow of capital.

Undervalue/Overvalue: The Great Yuan Debate Continues Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Bob Davis (WSJ) May 13, 2014
Economist Arvind Subramanian of the Peterson Institute for International Economics recently came to a surprising conclusion: The yuan was no longer undervalued. Nowhere was that conclusion more controversial than in the elegant Massachusetts Avenue home of the Peterson Institute itself in Washington, D.C.

The Terrible Truth About Income Inequality
Peter Morici (Globalist) May 13, 2014
U.S. politicians pretend to support the poor and middle class. They are firmly in the pockets of the super-rich.

China’s Dangerous Graduate Glut
Yukon Huang (Bloomberg View) May 13, 2014
Higher education has offered a reliable means of meritocratic advancement in China. But as it tries to evolve from "workshop of the world" into a more technologically advanced service economy, a swelling glut of graduates is threatening this age-old compact.

"The [Export-Import Bank] loses almost $200 million a year." Really?
Gary Clyde Hufbauer (PIIE) May 13, 2014
Let me start with full disclosure: I am on the Export-Import Bank's Advisory Board, and during my career in the US Treasury and the think-tank world I have advocated Ex-Im Bank's vital role in promoting US exports.

Will Shrinking Barclays Hurt Markets?
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 13, 2014
The financial system could suffer as Barclays retreats.

Why Worry About Inequality?
Cass R. Sunstein (Bloomberg View) May 13, 2014
What, exactly, is wrong with economic inequality?

Piketty and the Zeitgeist
Dani Rodrik (Project Syndicate) May 13, 2014
It is difficult to believe that Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century would have had the impact that it has had ten or even five years ago, even though identical arguments and evidence could have been marshaled then. But it is now acceptable to talk about inequality in America as the central issue facing the country.

Trade agreements foster global value chains: New evidence
Juan Blyde, Alejandro Graziano & Christian Volpe Martincus (VoxEU) May 13, 2014
Joining international production networks has been the successful path to industrialisation taken by some Asian and eastern European countries in the last decades. This column argues economic integration agreements are a major force behind the formation of these international linkages. Using a global dataset of establishments to measure global value chains, it shows that countries with integration agreements have 8% more linked subsidiaries.

Modi should listen to his better angels Financial Times Subscription Required
David Pilling (FT) May 14, 2014
The probable next Indian leader needs to prioritise development over his Hindu nationalist roots.

Case for Japan will be compelling again Financial Times Subscription Required
Trevor Greetham (FT) May 14, 2014
Stock market may need to go lower over next few months before government and Bank of Japan are shocked out of their current complacency.

Inside Europe’s Plan Z Financial Times Subscription Required Financial Times Subscription Required
Peter Spiegel (FT) May 14, 2014
How the euro was saved: how a secret strategy was developed to contain the firestorm from a Greek exit.

It’s Now the Canadian Dream New York Times Subscription Required
Nicholas Kristof (NYT) May 14, 2014
An average person appears to have more opportunity to rise in Canada or Europe now than in the United States, but we can fix this.

Before there was Piketty
Charles Lane (WP) May 14, 2014
More than a century ago, another writer took up the cause of fairer taxation.

India’s great hope
Simon Denyer (WP) May 14, 2014
The divisive Narendra Modi offers the chance for more development.

Is China No. 1?
Robert J. Samuelson (WP) May 14, 2014
Economic power is slowly shifting in its favor.

Europe's Economic Iron Curtain
Leonid Bershidsky (Bloomberg View) May 14, 2014
Instead of looking at central and Eastern Europe as part of the EU, it is sometimes useful to view it as part of the vast region Russia once ruled, the way it is seen by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The Dollar is Still King
Eswar Prasad (Project Syndicate) May 14, 2014
Scarcely a week passes without news about the ascendance of China’s currency, the renminbi. But China has a long way to go before its currency can rival – let alone displace – the US dollar as the dominant global reserve currency.

Inequality Disaster Prevention
Robert J. Shiller (Project Syndicate) May 14, 2014
Thomas Piketty’s impressive and much-discussed book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has brought considerable attention to the problem of rising economic inequality. But it is not strong on solutions.

The GDP-Wellbeing Gap
Zakri Abdul Hamid and Anantha Duraiappah (Project Syndicate) May 14, 2014
There is a growing disconnect between GDP and human wellbeing. Without better measures of wellbeing – including health, education, and the state of the natural environment – policymakers cannot gain the insights that they need to ensure the long-term health of the economy, and the individuals who comprise it.

Why Chinese Stocks Are Swooning
William Pesek (Bloomberg View) May 14, 2014
China and Japan are finding they have at least one thing in common: Spin seems to have become the central plank of their reform plans.

The printing press’s long-term effects on Africa
Julia Cagé & Valeria Rueda (VoxEU) May 14, 2014
African regions where Protestant missionaries were active had indigenous newspapers a century before other regions. This column argues, based on new research, that this difference has had lasting effects. Proximity to a mission that had a printing press in 1903 predicts newspaper readership today. Population density and light density (a proxy for economic development) is also higher today in regions nearer to missions that had printing presses. The results suggest that a well-functioning media – not Protestantism per se – was important for development.

The Inequality Puzzle Recommended!
Lawrence H. Summers (Democracy) May 14, 2014
Thomas Piketty’s tour de force analysis doesn’t get everything right, but it’s certainly gotten us pondering the right questions.

Europeans shake their fists at the world Financial Times Subscription Required
Philip Stephens (FT) May 15, 2014
The populist trick has been to channel wider discontents, not least the effects of globalisation, into antipathy to the EU.

China must do as Japan says not as it did Financial Times Subscription Required
Gillian Tett (FT) May 15, 2014
Beijing, like Tokyo in the 1980s, is trying to transform a state-controlled financial system. This creates huge risks.

Venezuela needs a reality check Financial Times Subscription Required
John Paul Rathbone (FT) May 15, 2014
Venezuela is gauche, confused, spending more money than it has, addicted to oil revenues and in denial about it.

Why bond traders should watch World Cup Financial Times Subscription Required
Ralph Atkins (FT) May 15, 2014
Both football fans and bond traders should watch for arbitrage opportunities in the next few weeks.

‘If the euro falls, Europe falls’ Financial Times Subscription Required Recommended!
Peter Spiegel (FT) May 15, 2014
How the euro was saved: Angela Merkel’s deft political moves that led to the end of the crisis.

Full Recovery Still Years Away for Many in Euro Zone New York Times Subscription Required
Liz Alderman (NYT) May 15, 2014
The uneven nature of the recovery — between a group of strong countries in the north and a larger swath of weak nations in the southern rim — has made it difficult for the overall economy to gain momentum.

WTO Members Scrutinise Russia Trade Policies
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 17 May 15, 2014
Russia came under heavy criticism on Monday at the WTO from several of its trading partners, who raised sharp questions over whether Moscow – one of the global trade body's newest members – is indeed adhering to the international trade commitments that it took on less than two years ago.

UN Group Co-Chairs Release SDG "Chapeau," Expanded Goals
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 17 May 15, 2014
The co-chairs of a UN group charged with proposing a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) have circulated a draft introduction for the framework. The text – published after the close of the group's eleventh meeting in New York, US from 5-9 May – uses language from the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in June 2012.

US Trade Probe into Mexican Sugar Imports Advances
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 17 May 15, 2014
The US Department of Commerce has been given a green light to proceed with its investigations of Mexican sugar being allegedly dumped on the US market, along with claims that the latter's producers are benefiting from unfair subsidies.

US Treasury Chief Presses China for Renewed Currency Reform
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 17 May 15, 2014
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew urged Chinese officials on Tuesday to continue reforms toward establishing a market-determined exchange rate, amid growing concerns over the recent depreciation of the Asian economy's currency. The issue has long been a sore spot between the two countries, with the calls coming just months after Beijing's pledge that it would be allowing the market to play a greater role in its economy.

Modinomics: Myth or Magic?
Ram Mashru (Diplomat) May 15, 2014
Modi has taken power on the strength of his economic credentials. But are they what they seem?

Transition in Perspective: 25 Years after the Fall of Communism
Anders Åslund (PIIE) May 15, 2014
Twenty-five years after the fall of communism, a clear consensus has arisen about what kind of economic policies were most successful in helping countries make the transition into stable and prosperous market economies. Countries with visionary leadership, willing to take major and comprehensive steps rather than incremental reforms, achieved the best outcomes, and privatization of state-owned enterprises and deregulation were essential to their success. But another consensus exists that is more ominous. Recent developments, notably the renationalization in Russia and the reversal of both economic and democratic reforms in Hungary, have humbled reformers and cast a shadow over the legacy of the transition a quarter century ago.

Germany, Europe and the Rise of New Global Players
Heinrich Kreft (Globalist) May 15, 2014
The challenges of a multipolar world.

Where China Truly Innovates
Globalist May 15, 2014
The old truism of Chinese copycatting no longer applies in the online world.

The Trouble with Europe
Ian Buruma (Project Syndicate) May 15, 2014
Though the Euroskeptic right may not win a majority of seats in this month's European Parliament election, its collective strength represents a blow to the cause of European unity. Why is a project that began with such high hopes in the wake of World War II running into so much resistance?

Global Flows and Global Growth
Laura Tyson and Susan Lund (Project Syndicate) May 15, 2014
Cross-border flows are claiming a growing share of global economic activity. But neither the extent of the global economy’s interconnectedness nor the changing composition of interconnections among countries and within sectors is well understood.

How the euro changed international debt flows
Galina Hale & Maurice Obstfeld (VoxEU) May 15, 2014
Large flows of bank lending from core countries in the Eurozone to the periphery lead to large financial imbalances. This column explains what motivated such financial flows. With the advent of the Eurozone, banks in core countries gained relative advantage in lending to the periphery, making such lending very attractive. They also served as intermediaries for financial flows from outside the Eurozone to the periphery. Now – five years since the start of the euro crisis – Eurozone financial markets remain segmented.

What Modi Can't Give India Foreign Affairs Subscription Required
Ira Trivedi (FA) May 15, 2014
The country needs more than economic growth.

The Inequality Illusion Foreign Affairs Subscription Required
Wojciech Kopczuk and Allison Schrager (FA) May 15, 2014
Why a wealth tax won't work.

Into Africa: China's Wild Rush New York Times Subscription Required
Howard W. French (NYT) May 16, 2014
Africans are asking just what China's billions in investment mean for their daily lives and political rights.

Southern democracy
Anne Applebaum (WP) May 17, 2014
The West’s model won’t work for all countries, but India, Brazil and South Africa offer useful alternatives.

Will the ECB's Easing Work?
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 16, 2014
The ECB is poised to take a big step into the world of unconventional monetary policy. The result won't be completely in its control.

An Economic Roadmap for India
Gita Gopinath and Iqbal Dhaliwal (Project Syndicate) May 16, 2014
India’s incoming prime minister, Narendra Modi, has promised to turn his country’s sluggish economy around. But what will it take to return India to a path of sustainable growth?

India’s Shinzo Abe
Brahma Chellaney (Project Syndicate) May 16, 2014
India’s new government will be led by a man known for his decisiveness. Just as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s return to power in 2012 reflected a determination to boost Japan's competitiveness and confidence, Narendra Modi’s victory reflects Indian voters’ desire for a leader who can revitalize India's economy and security.

Bonded Bankers
Mark Roe (Project Syndicate) May 16, 2014
Making big banks safer has become the holy grail of financial regulation. One idea that is gaining traction is to require that senior managers are paid not in cash or equity, but in their bank's long-term bonds.

What India Should Expect From Modi's Big Win
Bloomberg View May 16, 2014
Narendra Modi's victory testifies to Indians’ hunger for decisiveness and efficiency after years of policy drift and corruption scandals.

India's Latest Miracle Man
Pankaj Mishra (Bloomberg View) May 16, 2014
India’s economic difficulties are structural and deep-rooted, and they won’t disappear with the waving of a charismatic leader’s magic wand.

The ECB should do QE
Mickey Levy (VoxEU) May 16, 2014
As banks repay their loans from the Long-Term Refinancing Operation, the ECB’s balance sheet is shrinking. This column argues that, given the slow recovery and sustained low inflation, the ECB should replace its bank lending programme with quantitative easing. Buying short-term government debt would be consistent with the ECB’s inflation target, would keep the ECB’s monetary policy separate from its role in bank supervision, and would create a built-in exit strategy from unconventional policy.

British and French educational legacies in Africa
Denis Cogneau & Alexander Moradi (VoxEU) May 17, 2014
The quasi-experiment of arbitrary border design allows for causal interpretation of institutional effects across territories. This column presents evidence on the impact of British and French colonial education policies in West Africa. British flexibility and French centralisation resulted in educational attainment differences that persist – across one border – even among some cohorts of the current workforce.

Draghi missed his chance on inflation Financial Times Subscription Required
Wolfgang Münchau (FT) May 18, 2014
QE might not work precisely because it has been left too late.

India needs its Thatcher moment Financial Times Subscription Required
Gurcharan Das (FT) May 18, 2014
The new leader’s rhetoric resonates with the aspiring young middle classes but he must also reform the institutions of governance.

Diagnoses of a determined eurosceptic Financial Times Subscription Required
Tony Barber (FT) May 18, 2014
Roger Bootle’s ‘The Trouble With Europe’ suggests improvements to what he sees a flawed union.

Eurozone now needs to win the peace Financial Times Subscription Required
Peter Spiegel (FT) May 18, 2014
Although the acute phase of the crisis is over, many of the underlying weaknesses are still unresolved.

Analysts Have High Hopes for Big Economic Changes Under Modi New York Times Subscription Required
Neha Thirani Bagri (NYT) May 18, 2014
What is driving much of the optimism is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ability to pass legislation without the need for coalition partners, who could have potentially blocked policy changes that conflicted with their own interests.

Why stars matter?
Ajay K. Agrawal, John McHale & Alexander Oettl (VoxEU) May 18, 2014
Stars have direct impact on local economies. They can also indirectly affect growth in a positive way. This column examines the effect of academic star arrivals on the departmental knowledge productivity. Department-level output increases by 54% after the arrival of the star. The post-arrival quality of the joiners is also positively affected, displaying an increase of 68%. These star effects are largest at mid-ranked institutions.

Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the European Parliament
Fredrik Erixon (VoxEU) May 18, 2014
Less than a year after its launch, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has caused a lot of controversy. This column discusses the challenges the TTIP is likely to face after the election of a new European Parliament. Key political leaders should engage in the TTIP discussions and not leave them to the unelected officials in Brussels. Otherwise, the TTIP may not deliver sizeable economic benefits, or there might not be a negotiation result at all.

Peer-to-peer lending: Wisdom of crowds Financial Times Subscription Required
Elaine Moore and Tracy Alloway (FT) May 19, 2014
Online loan services have expanded as an alternative to banks, but now they are being scrutinised by regulators – and co-opted by financial institutions.

Lowflation serves up bond market surprise Financial Times Subscription Required
Mohamed El-Erian (FT) May 19, 2014
Concerns over failure of American and European growth to ‘lift off’ amplified by spreading worries about inflation that is too low for too long.

The North-South Divide in the Euro Area
Angel Ubide (PIIE) May 19, 2014
The recent financial and economic crisis has generated a profound divide in the euro area, between debtors and creditors, between those who dictate what others should do and those who should obey the command, creating first and second category countries. To some extent the division is similar to the situation in 1997, when the debate was about which countries already qualified to enter the euro and which countries had to meet certain requirements to become a member of the club.

The Greek Bond Dump
Mark Gilbert (Bloomberg View) May 19, 2014
Dumping Greek bond felt good, didn't it?

Democracy and growth: New evidence
Daron Acemoglu, Suresh Naidu, Pascual Restrepo & James A Robinson (VoxEU) May 19, 2014
Many analysts view democracy as a neutral or negative factor for growth. This column discusses new evidence showing that democracy has a robust and sizable pro-growth effect. The central estimates suggest that a country that switches from non-democracy to democracy achieves about 20% higher GDP per capita over the subsequent three decades.

Supply chains, mega-regionals and the WTO: New CEPR book
Bernard Hoekman (VoxEU) May 19, 2014
The World Trade Organisation is one of the most successful instances of multilateral cooperation post-WWII. Yet WTO negotiators have yet found a way to break the recent deadlock on key elements such as the market access and rule-making dimensions on the agenda since 2001. This column introduces a new CEPR book that suggests the adoption of a ‘supply chain framework’ that could help to mobilise greater support for concluding the Doha Round and provide a basis to use the WTO as a forum for learning from regional initiatives.

Slower China property spells bond trouble Financial Times Subscription Required
Henny Sender (FT) May 20, 2014
The risks are highest for property issuers. That is because no single sector seems to have had as voracious an appetite for credit as real estate.

India’s election remakes our world Financial Times Subscription Required
Martin Wolf (FT) May 20, 2014
Modi must accelerate economic progress in ways seen to benefit the vast majority, not just the country’s elites.

Capitalism must look past the profit line Financial Times Subscription Required
Lynn Forester de Rothschild (FT) May 20, 2014
It is not the business of business to solve society’s problems, but business itself is now viewed as the problem.

Vietnam riots hit global supply chain Financial Times Subscription Required
Demetri Sevastopulo (FT) May 20, 2014
As geopolitical tensions challenge governments, they also create problems for multinationals that rely on Asian nations to produceT-shirts to sneakers.

Five Myths About Imports Financial Times Subscription Required
Laura Baughman (WSJ) May 20, 2014
During World Trade Week, you'd think exports were all that mattered to the U.S. economy.

Echoes of 1937 in the Current Economic Cycle
Brendan Brown (Mises Daily) May 20, 2014
It is not too early to ask how the present US business cycle expansion, already more than five years old, will end. The history of the last great US monetary experiment in “quantitative easing” (QE) from 1934-7 suggests that the end could be violent.

Overcoming the Gulf in U.S. and European Business "Civilizations"
Viviane Reding (Globalist) May 20, 2014
Reflections on Europe's strategy toward global business.

Can Modi Heal India?
Chandrahas Choudhury (Bloomberg View) May 20, 2014
With one tweet, the Indian politician Narendra Modi broadcast the dramatic news that left millions, not least his own supporters, reeling and instantly established the result of the largest election in history.

A Ten-Step Program for Understanding Emerging Markets
Jim O'Neill (Bloomberg View) May 20, 2014
It doesn't much matter whether an economy is "emerging" or "advanced." Those terms shouldn't be a substitute for thinking.

Europe's Debt Time Bomb
Mark Gilbert (Bloomberg View) May 20, 2014
Spain and Italy face debt repayment bubbles in 2015 that will prove challenging to finance.

Congratulations on Buying Russian Bonds
Leonid Bershidsky (Bloomberg View) May 20, 2014
People who bought Russian bonds right after S&P downgraded the country have made out like bandits, and yields may drop further as the situation in Ukraine deescalates.

The Road to Full Investment
Robert Skidelsky (Project Syndicate) May 20, 2014
As capital becomes more abundant, the expected return on new investment, allowing for risk, falls to zero, which appears to be the case now. But this does not mean that all investment should come to an end: If the risk can be eliminated, the investment engine can be kept going, at least temporarily, by having the state step in.

China’s Education Revolution
Lee Jong-Wha (Project Syndicate) May 20, 2014
China may be about to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy, but its labor force lacks the skills that it needs to propel the country to high-income status. Changing this will require comprehensive education reform that expands opportunities for children and strengthens skills training for adults.

Green or Greenspan
Simon Zadek (Project Syndicate) May 20, 2014
The instability engendered by humanity’s unsustainable exploitation of the natural environment is now embedded in the world’s collective store of financial capital. Without urgent action, another global financial crisis will become inevitable – with even more devastating consequences than the last.

The source of population ageing matters: Longevity versus fertility
Harun Onder & Pierre Pestieau (VoxEU) May 20, 2014
The world’s population is ageing, due to both increasing longevity and decreasing fertility. This column shows that the net effect of ageing on capital accumulation (and therefore growth) depends on which of these two factors dominates, and also on the structure of the pension system. Under a pension system with defined contributions, a reduction in fertility induces adjustments in savings and working life that unambiguously increase capital per worker.

India: Modi’s moment Financial Times Subscription Required
Victor Mallet (FT) May 21, 2014
As prime minister, the Hindu nationalist has a unique opportunity to unite the world’s largest democracy.

Asia is not the place it used to be Financial Times Subscription Required
David Pilling (FT) May 21, 2014
The continent is in flux and entering a new phase as political leaders and economic circumstances change.

Putin is putting Russia’s economy at risk Financial Times Subscription Required
Peter Mandelson (FT) May 21, 2014
Sanctions and bluster should not obscure the reality that progress towards stronger economic and trading ties will bring prosperity and security to all.

Hard sell: why fund managers underperform Financial Times Subscription Required
John Authers (FT) May 21, 2014
After fees, badly timed sales are the main reason why active fund managers fail to beat the index; behavioural economists are trying to devise cures.

Mutual funds pose no systemic risk Financial Times Subscription Required
Burton Malkiel (FT) May 21, 2014
Leverage is the main culprit in financial system failure and mutual funds use little, so should not be classed as systemically important institutions.

The macro model back on the catwalk Financial Times Subscription Required
Gillian Tett (FT) May 21, 2014
Policy ideas that seem terribly old fashioned to one generation have a habit of being reborn with subtly fresh twists.

Yellen’s low rate gift is Draghi’s burden Financial Times Subscription Required
Ralph Atkins (FT) May 21, 2014
If US yields had risen this year as expected, and the dollar strengthened, eurozone inflation might be higher and the ECB under less pressure to act.

Why Jeffrey Sachs Matters
Bill Gates (Project Syndicate) May 21, 2014
In international development, critics hold up every misstep – like that of economist Jeffrey Sachs's Millennium Development Villages – as proof that aid is like throwing money down a rat hole. But trying to do something as hard as fighting poverty and disease requires a willingness to fail, learn, and try again.

Markets’ Federal Reserve Love Story
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Project Syndicate) May 21, 2014
For many years market participants have been richly rewarded for falling in love – quickly and decisively – with policy measures adopted by the US Federal Reserve. More recently, however, some have become less comfortable, warning that the codependence is encouraging excessive risk-taking and, in some cases, bubbly valuations.

Why are savings so high among the young in urban China?
Mark R. Rosenzweig & Junsen Zhang (VoxEU) May 21, 2014
Household savings in China are high by international standards, and the young save as much or more than the middle-aged – a fact at odds with the standard life-cycle savings model. This column argues that neither old-age support by the middle-aged nor the one-child policy can satisfactorily explain this phenomenon. Rather, currently high housing costs and the prevalence of inter-generational shared housing are key reasons for the higher savings rates of the urban young in China.

Uncertainty in official statistics
Charles F Manski (VoxEU) May 21, 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.

Crisis of the Eurocrats New York Times Subscription Required
Paul Krugman (NYT) May 22, 2014
The European project is in deep trouble. The Continent still has peace, but it's falling short on prosperity and, in a subtler way, democracy

Crisis of the Eurocrats New York Times Subscription Required
Paul Krugman (NYT) May 22, 2014
The European project is in deep trouble. The Continent still has peace, but it’s falling short on prosperity and, in a subtler way, democracy.

In Face-off, Fed’s Keeping the IMF Out of Its Currency Swap Domain Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Ian Talley (WSJ) May 22, 2014
The Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund are in a turf battle, and the Fed’s winning.

Ministers Pledge to Intensify TPP Talks at Singapore Meet
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 18 May 22, 2014
Trade ministers and senior officials meeting in Singapore earlier this week pledged to "intensify engagement" on talks for the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, confirming a series of meetings in the coming months aimed at resolving the outstanding issues in the proposed pact.

China, Russia Clinch Natural Gas Supply Pact
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 18 May 22, 2014
China and Russia have reached a landmark US$400 billion gas supply deal that would span over the next three decades. The landmark agreement was confirmed on Wednesday, toward the end of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to China.

EU Launches New WTO Case Against Russia
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 18 May 22, 2014
The EU filed a new WTO complaint against Russia on Wednesday, marking the third trade dispute the 28-nation bloc has launched against Moscow in less than a year. The case targets duties being imposed on imported light commercial vehicles from Germany and Italy, and comes at a period where economic and diplomatic relations between the two sides are already at a severe low.

Green Climate Fund Opens for Business
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 18 May 22, 2014
The 24-member board of the UN’s flagship Green Climate Fund (GCF) reached an agreement on Wednesday on eight "essential requirements" needed to kick-start an international climate finance mobilisation, management, and disbursement process.

U.S. Declinism or Constructivism?
Stephan Richter (Globalist) May 22, 2014
Why are U.S. media and elites so quick to quiet criticism of how the United States conducts itself?

Men With Guns Shoot Thailand in Foot
William Pesek (Bloomberg View) May 22, 2014
The fact that global markets, or even Asian ones, don't appear to be reacting today sends a powerful message to Thai army chiefs: The world may be writing off their economy.

Venezuela's Oil and Debt Gamble
Raul Gallegos (Bloomberg View) May 22, 2014
Venezuela plans to sell $5 billion in bonds issued by state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA and use the money to repay bondholders, importers, airlines, food companies, carmakers, oil-production suppliers and other creditors.

M&A Boom Has Yet to Help the Economy 
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 22, 2014
Increased mergers and acquisitions activity has been great for financial investors, but not so much for the economy.

Labor’s Digital Displacement
Michael Spence (Project Syndicate) May 22, 2014
Digital technologies are once again transforming global value chains and, with them, the structure of the global economy. What do businesses, citizens, and policymakers need to know as they scramble to keep up?

The problem with TTIP
L Alan Winters (VoxEU) May 22, 2014
Most economists cheer the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that the EU is currently negotiating with the US. This column argues it is a pity that it has emerged. It sees the exclusion of China in particular as an existential threat to the world trading system. It urges policymakers in the EU to focus instead on the world trading system or even consider an agreement with China.

The Italian Disaster
Perry Anderson (LRB) May 22, 2014
Talk of the Italian Miracle, current in the age of Fellini and the Vespa, has long reversed into its opposite. For decades, Italians have outdone foreigners in bemoaning the Italian Disaster, with at best a few brave spirits upholding some redemptive pockets of excellence here and there: fashion, the Ferrari, the Central Bank. There is a consecrated phrase to describe its position, much used within and outside the country, but it is wrong. Italy is not an anomaly within Europe. It is much closer to a concentrate of it.

What’s Wrong with Evidence-Based Medicine?
Devorah E. Klein, Gary Klein and Shawna J. Perry (Project Syndicate) May 23, 2014
Every health-care system prioritizes coverage, quality, and cost – often focusing on one or two at the expense of the others. But efforts to raise quality through the application of evidence-based medicine could actually decrease the standard of care.

Why Bill Gates Gets It Wrong
Jeffrey D. Sachs (Project Syndicate) May 23, 2014
The Millennium Villages Project, a ten-year initiative in Africa, has been called a misstep. In fact, it is a giant step forward.

The Capitalist Threat to Capitalism
Paul Polman and Lynn Forester de Rothschild (Project Syndicate) May 23, 2014
Capitalism has often proved dysfunctional in important ways – encouraging shortsightedness, contributing to wide disparities between the rich and the poor, and tolerating the reckless treatment of environmental resources. If these costs cannot be controlled, support for capitalism may wane – and with it, humanity’s best hope for prosperity.

Tipping Points to Asia’s Future
Yuriko Koike (Project Syndicate) May 23, 2014
A week, it is said, is a long time in politics. But events in Asia over the past week – in Thailand, Vietnam, India, and China – may define the region for decades to come.

Did the internet prevent all invention from moving to one place?
Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb & Shane Greenstein (VoxEU) May 23, 2014
The diffusion of the internet has had varying effects on the location of economic activity, leading to both increases and decreases in geographic concentration. This column presents evidence that the internet worked against increasing concentration in invention. This relationship is particularly strong for inventions with more than one inventor, and when inventors live in different cities.

The long-run trade effect of the Vietnamese Boat People
Christopher Parsons & Pierre-Louis Vézina (VoxEU) May 23, 2014
Immigrants potentially foster international trade by reducing trade costs. This column uses the exodus of the Vietnamese boat people to the US as a natural experiment to provide evidence of such a pro-trade effect. An exogenous allocation of Vietnamese migrants across the US in 1975 was followed by a 20-year trade embargo. Following the lifting of sanctions in 1994, the share of US exports going to Vietnam was higher and more diversified in the states with larger Vietnamese populations.

Barclays Manipulated Gold as Soon as It Stopped Manipulating Libor
Matt Levine (Bloomberg View) May 23, 2014
If you're short a digital option, the underlying is right at the barrier, and you can just get on a phone call and manipulate prices, how could you not do that?

India's Modi Needs to Act Quickly
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 23, 2014
Voters clearly believed India's government had run out of energy and ideas, and that's why Narendra Modi must embrace his campaign promises of delivering a bold economic program.

The science of inequality Recommended!
Various (Science) May 23, 2014
Science's special section on the science of inequality uses fresh waves of data to explore the origins, impact, and future of inequality around the world.

Narendra Modi: India’s strongman Economist Subscription Required
Economist May 24, 2014
Narendra Modi’s amazing victory gives India its best chance ever of prosperity.

Italy and the euro: Myths and realities
Paolo Manasse, Tommaso Nannicini & Alessandro Saia (VoxEU) May 24, 2014
The euro’s impact on southern EZ members is a key topic in national and European debates. This column argues that the economic evidence is twisted to fit preconceptions. It presents evidence based on the ‘synthetic control’ approach, finding that the euro raised trade, lowered interest rates and inflation, but had a small negative impact on per capita incomes.

Spillovers from systemic bank defaults
Jakob de Haan & Mark Mink (VoxEU) May 24, 2014
To date, much uncertainty exists about how large the spillovers would be from the default of a systemically important bank. This column shows evidence that the market values of US and EU banks hardly respond to changes in the default risk of banks that the Financial Stability Board considers globally systemically important (G-SIBs). However, changes in all G-SIBs’ default risk explain a substantial part of changes in bank market values. These findings have implications for financial-crisis management and prevention policies.

Inflation orthodoxy has lasted too long Financial Times Subscription Required
Wolfgang Munchau (FT) May 25, 2014
Instead of keeping prices rising at a steady rate, central banks should try to hit a predetermined price level each year.

Islamic finance: By the book Financial Times Subscription Required
Robin Wigglesworth (FT) May 25, 2014
London wants to be a global centre in the fast-growing industry despite fierce competition and debate over value and ideology.

Europe's Secret Success New York Times Subscription Required
Paul Krugman (NYT) May 24, 2014
It turns out that those welfare states, with their generous social benefits, are beating America at job creation hands down.

Russia Pivots To Asia
Ken Courtis (Globalist) May 25, 2014
The Russia-China Energy Agreement Is the world’s largest commercial deal ever.

The growth and sovereign debt correlation
Matthijs Lof & Tuomas Malinen (VoxEU) May 25, 2014
Public debt and economic growth are historically negatively correlated. This column discusses new evidence that rejects the debt-to-growth causality. After estimating the effects between debt and growth in both directions, there is no evidence that high indebtedness suppresses economic growth. The effect of growth on debt is the main driver of the negative correlation.

Policy is to blame for the income divide Financial Times Subscription Required
James Galbraith (FT) May 26, 2014
After an economic crisis inequality falls – like blood pressure after a heart attack. But that is a bit late.

Modi needs miracle to meet investor hopes Financial Times Subscription Required
Satyajit Das (FT) May 26, 2014
The BJP plan is contradictory, aiming to reduce the budget deficit while maintaining current government spending, and policy options are limited.

The Rise of the "Little Englanders"
Stephan Richter (Globalist) May 26, 2014
Why are anti-immigration parties on the rise in much of Europe?

Dear Investors: China's Problems Are Your Problems
A. Gary Shilling (Bloomberg View) May 26, 2014
A financial crisis in China could well be the trigger that persuades investors to pull in their horns.

Europe’s Geography of Values
Dominique Moisi (Project Syndicate) May 26, 2014
Confronted with Russia’s reassertion of its imperial tradition and the deceptive methods and reflexes of the Soviet past, how should Europe respond? To embrace an “energy raison d’état” that leaves Europe dependent upon Russia for about one-third of its energy resources would be suicidal.

Disarm our doomsday machine Financial Times Subscription Required
Martin Wolf (FT) May 27, 2014
A crisis-prone system calls for measures to minimise the damage in the event of what is considered inevitable.

Rash to write off Chinese car groups Financial Times Subscription Required
Tom Mitchell (FT) May 27, 2014
Multinational car companies have spurred the development of the largest, most competitive and most profitable car industry the world has ever known.

Middle East: Three nations, one conflict Financial Times Subscription Required
Borzou Daragahi (FT) May 27, 2014
The crises in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon are merging into a single sectarian war, with fighters, weapons and cash flowing freely across borders.

Piketty's Numbers Still Don't Add Up Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
James Freeman (WSJ) May 27, 2014
More errors exposed in a popular book on income inequality, plus ObamaCare costs unions and carbon regulation will cost everyone.

China's Xi Takes On Corruption
A. Gary Shilling (Bloomberg View) May 27, 2014
The shock that forces investors from a “risk on” investment strategy to a “risk off” one could come from a financial crisis in China. Corruption, currency and shadow banks are the possible triggers.

Why Another Bond Surprise?
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 27, 2014
Movements in both rates and flows are catching many professional traders by surprise.

Categorising the poor
Frances Coppola (PIeria) May 27, 2014
Distinguishing between deserving and undeserving poor is impossible. And forcing people to work is counterproductive. It's time for a new approach.

Five Reasons Why the Sky Is Not Falling
Gareth Evans (Project Syndicate) May 27, 2014
When it comes to geopolitics, there is always a market for gloom, and business has been booming in this respect lately. But, though global political conditions are hardly as good as they could be – they never are – there are plenty of grounds for thinking they are not nearly as bad as so many are claiming.

Piketty’s Missing Knowhow
Ricardo Hausmann (Project Syndicate) May 27, 2014
Thomas Piketty argues that, because the world’s rich countries are growing at less than 4-5% per year, they are becoming more unequal. But, because Piketty splits the world into two fundamental substances – capital and labor – his calculations miss the crucial role of knowhow as a source of capital accumulation.

America’s Move to Faster Growth
Martin Feldstein (Project Syndicate) May 27, 2014
Now that the US economy is past the impact of the terrible weather earlier this year, output appears to be on track to grow at a healthy pace. But the Fed will face a key challenge in the next two years as it seeks to control inflationary pressure stemming from higher lending by commercial banks to businesses and households.

Living Big Data
Alex Pentland (Project Syndicate) May 27, 2014
Used carefully and accurately, big data creates unprecedented scope to understand society and improve how we live and work. But big data requires big experiments, because what works in theory may not translate well in the real world, where complex human interactions cannot always be captured, even by the most sophisticated models.

Europe and Anti-Europe
Harold James (Project Syndicate) May 27, 2014
The European Parliament election made it clear that there are now two Europes: one in which the logic of integration is deeply embedded in the sociopolitical order; and one that rejects the basic assumptions of pooled sovereignty. And, as the results in Britain and France show, an imperial legacy can align countries with the latter camp.

The Global Pivot to China
Jean-Pierre Lehmann (YaleGlobal) May 27, 2014
The United States is not alone in its pivot toward Asia. The Asia Pacific region is a center of bustling potential and security pitfalls. And China is the center of that region, notes Jean-Pierre Lehmann, international political economist.

Global income distribution since 1988
Christoph Lakner & Branko Milanovic (VoxEU) May 27, 2014
Since 1988, rapid growth in Asia has lifted billions out of poverty. Incomes at the very top of the world income distribution have also grown rapidly, whereas median incomes in rich countries have grown much more slowly. This column asks whether these developments, while reducing global income inequality overall, might undermine democracy in rich countries.

Tax policies in resource-rich economies
Ernesto Crivelli & Sanjeev Gupta (VoxEU) May 27, 2014
Resource-rich countries face a peculiar set of challenges; natural wealth can be both a blessing and a curse. This column looks at links between natural-resource revenues and other taxes. Results suggest that these countries tend to substitute domestic taxes with natural-resource-based revenue; 30 cents in non-resource tax revenue are lost with each dollar of resource revenue. Worryingly, the substitution occurs disproportionately for growth-friendly taxes.

Paper money is unfit for today’s world Financial Times Subscription Required
Kenneth Rogoff (FT) May 28, 2014
Abolishing physical currency and replacing it with electronic money would achieve two valuable objectives.

EU’s bargain stock basement cleaned out Financial Times Subscription Required
John Authers (FT) May 28, 2014
The speed with which investors have persuaded themselves that the eurozone crisis has been averted has removed ‘low-hanging fruit’.

Vietnam: Ready to rumble Financial Times Subscription Required
Michael Peel (FT) May 28, 2014
Anti-China riots have exposed tensions and triggered uncertainty over foreign investment in an authoritarian country that has become a workshop of the world.

Book Review: 'House of Debt' by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Daniel Akst (WSJ) May 28, 2014
Homeowners were manipulated into taking out bad loans, but they were hardly blameless. Lending (and borrowing) rules need to change.

Deflation in Europe?
Robert J. Samuelson (WP) May 28, 2014
Economists are spooked by the specter of falling prices.

EU-US Trade Talks Advance, Amid Charged Election Climate
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 19 May 28, 2014
The fifth round of negotiations for a bilateral US-EU trade and investment pact wrapped up on Friday, after a week of meetings held in the city of Arlington, Virginia. With officials reporting continued progress in their discussions – with some negotiating areas working off of consolidated texts – trade observers have also been watching closely the election dynamics on both sides of the Atlantic to see how these might affect the talks' success overall.

Progress Slows in WTO Trade Facilitation Prep Talks
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 19 May 28, 2014
The process of drafting a protocol that would formally incorporate the WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement into the rest of the global trade body's set of rules hit a rough patch this week, sources say. The drafting has now been postponed temporarily, after the African and Least Developed Country Groups called for the deal to be implemented on a "provisional" basis pending the conclusion of the overall Doha Round trade talks, sparking debate among members.

WTO Appellate Body Deems EU Seal Ban "Justified," Implementation Flawed
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 19 May 28, 2014
The WTO Appellate Body has found that the EU's ban on imported seal products is justified under the right to protect public morals, specifically on the grounds of protecting animal welfare. However, the global trade arbiter said last week, the ban is discriminatory in the way it is applied, and should be modified in order to fully comply with global trade rules.

China, Africa Launch US$2 Billion Multilateral Investment Fund
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 19 May 28, 2014
China and the African Development Bank jointly unveiled a US$2 billion multilateral investment fund last week, marking a symbolic shift in their partnership. The initiative, known as the "Africa Growing Together Fund" (AGTF), would operate by allocating contracts to the most appropriate bidder, rather than being limited solely to Chinese companies.

WIPO Development Talks Yield Little Progress
Bridges, Volume 18, Number 19 May 28, 2014
Discussions at the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) stumbled last week in Geneva, with members becoming mired in intense debates over a range of subjects relating to the implementation of the agency's Development Agenda.

Free Toasters for China's Depositors?
A. Gary Shilling (Bloomberg View) May 28, 2014
China's shadow banks could cause widespread financial problems -- even if the Chinese government institutes reforms.

It Doesn't Matter If Piketty Is Wrong
Mark Whitehouse (Bloomberg View) May 28, 2014
The controversy over the data in Thomas Piketty's bestselling book "Capital in the 21st Century" has a bright side: People are discussing something that actually matters in the real world.

Three Studies in the Perils of Low Growth
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 28, 2014
How governments in the European Union, Ukraine and Egypt respond to voters -- and how free they are to respond aggressively -- will have influence beyond all of these regional borders.

Our Last Chance for a Safe Planet
Jeffrey D. Sachs (Project Syndicate) May 28, 2014
The world will face stark alternatives when the world’s governments meet for the 21st annual UN climate-change conference in Paris in 2015. Either the governments will agree to decisive action, as they have promised, or we will look back at 2015 as the year when climate sanity slipped through our fingers.

How to Become an Oligarch
Simon Johnson (Project Syndicate) May 28, 2014
If the new graduate in your life has the connections to join a very large brand-name private-equity fund, the path to immense wealth, political influence, or even power becomes much clearer. Without such initial connections, however, it is very unlikely that he or she will become an oligarch.

A New Vision for India
Jaswant Singh (Project Syndicate) May 28, 2014
There is no shortage of economic and security challenges facing India’s new government. But, with a clear, confident vision and credibility-enhancing policies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration can put India firmly on the path toward long-term peace and prosperity.

The Euro Deflation Crisis Foreign Affairs Subscription Required
Petr Polak (FA) May 28, 2014
Europe, Japan, and the New Lost Decade

Regional favouritism across the world
Roland Hodler & Paul Raschky (VoxEU) May 28, 2014
Political leaders sometimes favour their preferred regions. This column looks at regional favouritism in a large sample of countries, using information on the birthplaces of political leaders and nighttime light intensity. Being the current leader's birth region increases nighttime light intensity by around 4%, and GDP by around 1%. Such favouritism is most prevalent in countries with weak political institutions and poorly educated citizens.

The German surplus and the Eurosceptics
Francesco Daveri May 28, 2014
Eurosceptic parties have been popular in the recent European elections, many complaining that the euro has only served Germany's interests. This column points out that although data on aggregate trade flows show that Germany's trade surplus with the rest of the Eurozone is not excessive, the success of a Eurosceptic party is larger in countries where the bilateral trade deficit with Germany has increased in recent years. A gradual rebalancing of Germany's external accounts of Germany would bring with it not only a greater economic stability in the Eurozone but also greater political stability.

Tranquil markets have it too good Financial Times Subscription Required
Gillian Tett (FT) May 29, 2014
After years of monetary experiments, it is clear that central bankers will do ‘whatever it takes’ to support the markets.

Wanted: reliable secondhand bond dealers Financial Times Subscription Required
Ralph Atkins (FT) May 29, 2014
Banks that are slashing fixed income trading departments and reducing their role as secondary ‘market makers’ should fret about the implications.

A Better Solution for Too-Big-to-Fail Banks Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Charles Calomiris (WSJ) May 29, 2014
Dodd-Frank's flimsy 'orderly liquidation authority' won't end bailouts. Bank debt that converts to equity could.

Book Review: 'The Fourth Revolution' by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
George Walden (WSJ) May 29, 2014
If bloated Western states don't slim down, the appeal of more innovative authoritarian regimes, notably in Asia, could increase.

Investing for a China Crisis
A. Gary Shilling (Bloomberg View) May 29, 2014
China's slowing economy, rising militarism, messy corruption crackdown and troubled shadow banks could provoke a financial meltdown -- and provide investment opportunities.

Asia Faces Five Challenges to Its Economic Future
IMF Survey May 29, 2014
Asia faces five challenges as it pursues sustained economic growth, says the IMF’s Finance & Development magazine: overcoming the middle-income trap, improving its institutions and governance, coping with an aging population, curbing rising inequality, and promoting financial development.

Africa’s People Are Its Greatest Potential—Lagarde
IMF Survey May 29, 2014
Sub-Saharan Africa is clearly taking off—growing strongly and steadily for nearly two decades, IMF chief Christine Lagarde tells a conference in Mozambique. She adds that a priority is to build people—children, youth, workers, and, in particular, women.

Will the ECB Get the Euro Right?
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 29, 2014
In its efforts to combat "lowflation," the European Central Bank will have to be careful not to spook financial markets.

Li’s Balancing Act
Zhang Jun (Project Syndicate) May 29, 2014
In recent years, short-term investment opportunities in China have diminished, raising fears of a hard landing. To buy time for structural adjustment and reform – critical to generating the next wave of investment opportunities – Premier Li Keqiang’s government must strike a balance between economic growth and financial risk.

Harnessing China’s Competitive Streak
Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng (Project Syndicate) May 29, 2014
China’s State Council recently unveiled a blueprint for capital-market reform until 2020, in which it identifies two key objectives: to support fair market processes and to protect investors. But success will require better management of three types of competition in China.

China Sets America’s Mental Trap
Stephen S. Roach (Project Syndicate) May 29, 2014
It is often said that a crisis should never be wasted: Politicians, policymakers, and regulators should embrace the moment of deep distress and take on the heavy burden of structural repair. China seems to be doing that; America is not.

Post-Lehman World Tests Philippines
William Pesek (Bloomberg View) May 29, 2014
Manila is experiencing too much of a good thing -- too much money racing in to chase too few productive investments. Central bank governor Amando Tetangco is on the front lines.

Kuroda's Plan Is Working
Adam S. Posen (Nikkei Asian Review/PIIE) May 29, 2014
The Bank of Japan's policies over the last 14 months are a welcome return to sanity. Mainstream economists inside and outside Japan had been asking the BOJ to stand up against deflation for nearly two decades.

Euroskepticism Triumphant
David R. Cameron (YaleGlobal) May 29, 2014
Less than half of registered voters turned out for election of members in the European Parliament, but those who did boosted representation of parties that oppose the continent-wide governance. David R. Cameron, director of the Yale Program in European Union Studies, analyzes election results for the EU’s only directly-elected body.

Polio whack-a-mole
Keren Landsman (Aeon) May 29, 2014
The great allies of infectious diseases are no longer poverty, nor dirt, but the global anti-vaccination movement

How highly educated immigrants raise native wages Recommended!
Giovanni Peri, Kevin Shih & Chad Sparber (VoxEU) May 29, 2014
Immigrants to the US are drawn from both ends of the education spectrum. This column looks at the effect of highly educated immigrants – in particular, those with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics – on total factor productivity growth. The authors find that foreign STEM workers can explain 30% to 60% of US TFP growth between 1990 and 2010.

Rising Africa’s Task Is to Share Wealth, Invest in People
IMF Survey May 30, 2014
Bridging the infrastructure gap, sharing the wealth, and investing natural resource revenues in people are Africa’s top policy priorities, African policymakers declare at a conference in Mozambique. The event also hails a drive to diversify African economies.

Sex, Drugs and Accounting in Europe
Leonid Bershidsky (Bloomberg View) May 30, 2014
As more countries adopt new EU rules that will include illegal activities such as the sex and drug trades in their GDP calculations, those numbers lose the last shreds of meaning.

The New Paradigm for Banks
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Bloomberg View) May 30, 2014
Banks are going to have to get used to a less profitable environment.

No, China Isn't Really Rebalancing
William Pesek (Bloomberg View) May 30, 2014
China's leaders have rarely missed a chance to say China must accept slower growth. But all they've done is add more and more stimulus to the already dangerously imbalanced economy.

Monsieur Piketty Goes to Latin America
Andrés Velasco (Project Syndicate) May 30, 2014
No one can deny that the distribution of income is scandalously unequal in Latin America. But it may come as a surprise to Thomas Piketty’s boosters that inequality in the region has little, if anything, to do with the measured dynamics of income distribution.

Europe’s Litmus Test
Michael O’Sullivan and Eleni Panagiotarea (Project Syndicate) May 30, 2014
The European Parliament election is grabbing headlines worldwide, as it highlights a new skepticism in the European politics and raises concerns about the future of the integration project. But the real litmus test for the EU is to be found elsewhere – in the health of its smaller economies, especially Greece and Ireland.

Strengthening Europe’s Limited Power
Jean Pisani-Ferry (Project Syndicate) May 30, 2014
Limited power is often confused with weak power, which lacks the tools needed to act within its sphere of authority. But it is the sphere of authority that should be limited, not the power to act within those limits – a principle that EU leaders would do well to understand and apply.

Exchange-rate flexibility and capital flow reversals
Nicolas Magud & Esteban R Vesperoni (VoxEU) May 30, 2014
Expansionary monetary policy in advanced economies have created capital inflow booms in emerging markets. This column analyses the effect of exchange rate flexibility on credit markets during capital inflow booms. In economies with less flexible exchange rate regimes, credit grows faster and more towards foreign currency. These countries may benefit the most from regulatory policies.

Factual response to FT’s fact checking
Thomas Piketty (VoxEU) May 30, 2014
‘Capital in the 21st century’ has had an extraordinary – and extraordinarily rapid – impact on the global economic dialogue. It has drawn an extraordinary – and extraordinarily rapid – response, including a front-page critique by an FT journalist. In this column, the book’s author responds point-by-point to the critiques. He rejects the notion that he made outright mistakes. Scholars working with old data make judgments and compromises to expand the dataset; disagreements are inevitable – a point that applies equally to the journalist’s ‘corrections’. In any case, the book’s overall analysis is robust to such critiques.

The Great Backlash
Nouriel Roubini (Project Syndicate) May 31, 2014
In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, policymakers’ success in preventing the Great Recession from turning into Great Depression II held in check demands for protectionist measures. But now the backlash against globalization has arrived, and we know from bitter experience what could come next.

Unjust Deserts
J. Bradford DeLong (Project Syndicate) May 31, 2014
A much clearer discussion of income distribution and inequality could be had if we simply stuck to considerations of human wellbeing and useful incentives. The rest is meritocratic ideology; and, as the reception of Thomas Piketty’s book suggests, that ideology may now have run its course.

Travelogue: Singapore Utopia
Guy Pfeffermann (Globalist) Jun 2, 2014
The upright and welcoming jewel of Southeast Asia.

Business in Asia: How to keep roaring Economist Subscription Required
Patrick Foulis (Economist) May 31, 2014
Over the past two decades Asia’s companies have enjoyed huge success. But now they need to reform to become brainier, nimbler and more global.

Are banks too large?
Luc Laeven, Lev Ratnovski ∓ Hui Tong (VoxEU) May 31, 2014
Large banks have grown and become more involved in market-based activities since the late 1990s. This column presents evidence that large banks receive too-big-to-fail subsidies and create systemic risk, whereas economies of scale in banking are modest. Hence, some large banks may be ‘too large’ from a social perspective. Since the optimal bank size is unknown, the best policies are capital surcharges and better bank resolution and governance.

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