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  • Author: Benjamin Crost
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: This paper provides evidence that adverse economic conditions contributed to the rise of anti-democratic extremism in the United States. A state-level analysis shows that increases in the unemployment rate during the Great Recession led to a large increase in the number of anti democratic extremist groups. The effect is concentrated in states with high pre-existing racial resentment, as proxied by racist web searches, and strongest for the male unemployment rate and the white unemployment rate. If unemployment had remained at its pre-recession level, the increase in anti-democratic groups between 2007 and 2010 could have been reduced by more than 60%.
  • Topic: Economics, Democracy, Inequality, Far Right, Economic Inequality, Political Extremism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Björn Brey
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP)
  • Abstract: Did recent technological change, in the form of automation, affect immigration policy in the United States? I argue that as automation shifted employment from routine to manual occupations at the bottom end of the skill distribution, it increased competition between natives and immigrants, consequently leading to increased support for restricting low-skill immigration. I formalise this hypothesis theoretically in a partial equilibrium model with constant elasticity of substitution in which technology leads to employment polarization, and policy makers can vote on immigration legislation. I empirically evaluate these predictions by analysing voting on low-skill immigration bills in the House of Representatives during the period 1973-2014. First, I find evidence that policy makers who represent congressional districts with a higher share of manual employment are more likely to support restricting low-skill immigration. Second, I provide empirical evidence that representatives of districts which experienced more manual-biased technological change are more likely to support restricting low-skill immigration. Finally, I provide evidence that this did not affect trade policy, which is in line with automation having increased employment in occupations exposed to low-skill immigration, but not those exposed to international trade.
  • Topic: Economics, Immigration, Economic Policy, Automation, Technocracy, Skilled Labor
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas Brand, Fabien Tripier
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: Highly synchronized during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, the Euro area and the US have diverged in the period that followed. To explain this divergence, we provide a structural interpretation of these episodes through the estimation for both economies of a business cycle model with financial frictions and risk shocks, measured as the volatility of idiosyncratic uncertainty in the financial sector. Our results show that risk shocks have stimulated US growth in the aftermath of the Great Recession and have been the main driver of the double-dip recession in the Euro area. They play a positive role in the Euro area only after 2015. Risk shocks therefore seem well suited to account for the consequences of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and the subsequent positive effects of unconventional monetary policies, notably the ECB’s Asset Purchase Programme (APP).
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Political Economy, Global Recession, Finance, Europe Union, Economic Growth, Risk
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Trevon Logan, Peter Temin
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper records the path by which African Americans were transformed from enslaved persons in the American economy to partial participants in the progress of the economy. The path was not monotonic, and we organize our tale by periods in which inclusiveness rose and fell. The history we recount demonstrates the staying power of the myth of black inferiority held by a changing white majority as the economy expanded dramatically. Slavery was outlawed after the Civil War, and blacks began to participate in American politics en masse for the first time during Reconstruction. This process met with white resistance, and black inclusion in the growing economy fell as the Gilded Age followed and white political will for black political participation faded. The Second World War also was followed by prosperity in which blacks were included more fully into the white economy, but still not completely. The Civil Rights Movement proved no more durable than Reconstruction, and blacks lost ground as the 20th century ended in the growth of a New Gilded Age. Resources that could be used to improve the welfare of whites and blacks continue to be spent on the continued repressions of blacks.
  • Topic: Economics, Race, History, Capitalism, Slavery
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: William Lazonick
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Edith Penrose’s 1959 book The Theory of the Growth of the Firm [TGF] provides intellectual foundations for a theory of innovative enterprise, which is essential to any attempt to explain productivity growth, employment opportunity, and income distribution. Properly understood, Penrose’s theory of the firm is also an antidote to the deception that is foundational to neoclassical economics: The theory, taught by PhD economists to millions upon millions of college students for over seven decades, that the most unproductive firm is the foundation of the most efficient economy. The dissemination of this “neoclassical fallacy” to a mass audience of college students began with Paul A. Samuelson’s textbook, Economics: An Introductory Analysis, first published in 1948. Over the decades, the neoclassical fallacy has persisted through 18 revisions of Samuelson, Economics and in its countless “economics principles” clones. This essay challenges the intellectual hegemony of neoclassical economics by exposing the illogic of its foundational assumptions about how a modern economy functions and performs. The neoclassical fallacy gained popularity in the 1950s, during which decade Samuelson revised Economics three times. Meanwhile, Penrose derived the logic of organizational learning that she lays out in TGF from the facts of firm growth, absorbing what was known in the 1950s about the large corporations that had come to dominate the U.S. economy. Also, during that decade, the knowledge base on the growth of firms on which economists could subsequently draw was undergoing an intellectual revolution, led by the business historian, Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. He was engaged in the first stage of a career that would span more than a half century, during which Chandler documented and analyzed the centrality to U.S economic development of what he would come to call “the managerial revolution in American business.” In combination, the works of Penrose and Chandler form intellectual foundations for my own work on the Theory of Innovative Enterprise—an endeavor that has enabled me, as an economist, to recognize not only the profound importance of organizational learning for economic theory but also the illogic of the neoclassical theory of the firm for our understanding of the central institution of a modern economy, the business corporation. In this essay, I argue that the key characteristic of the innovative enterprise is fixed-cost investment in the productive capabilities of the company’s employees to engage in organizational learning. The purpose of this investment in organizational learning is to develop a higher-quality product than was previously available. When successful, the development of the higher-quality product enables the firm to capture a large extent of the market, transforming high fixed cost into low unit cost. The result is sustainable competitive advantage that enables the growth of the firm, contributing to the growth of the economy as a whole. I argue that to get beyond the neoclassical fallacy, economists have to stop relying on constrained-optimization methodology. Rather, they need to be trained in a “historical transformation” methodology that integrates history and theory. It is a methodology in which theory serves as both a distillation of what we have learned from the study of history and a guide to what we need to learn about reality as the “present as history” unfolds.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Macroeconomics, Neoclassical Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Perry Mehrling
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: The analytical tension in post-Keynesian thought between the theory of endogenous (credit) money and the theory of liquidity preference, brought to our attention by Dow and Dow (1989), can be viewed through the lens of the money view (Mehrling 2013) as a particular case of the balance between the elasticity of payment and the discipline of funding. Further, updating Fullarton’s 1844 “law of reflux” for the modern condition of financial globalization and market- based credit, the same money view lens offers a critical entry point into Tobin’s fateful 1963 intervention “Commercial Banks as Creators of ‘Money’” which established post-war orthodoxy, and also to the challenge offered by so-called Modern Money Theory.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Monetary Policy, Economic Theory, Macroeconomics, Keynes, Credit
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Eileen Appelbaum, Rosemary Batt
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Private equity firms have become major players in the healthcare industry. How has this happened and what are the results? What is private equity’s ‘value proposition’ to the industry and to the American people -- at a time when healthcare is under constant pressure to cut costs and prices? How can PE firms use their classic leveraged buyout model to ‘save healthcare’ while delivering ‘outsized returns’ to investors? In this paper, we bring together a wide range of sources and empirical evidence to answer these questions. Given the complexity of the sector, we focus on four segments where private equity firms have been particularly active: hospitals, outpatient care (urgent care and ambulatory surgery centers), physician staffing and emergency room services (surprise medical billing), and revenue cycle management (medical debt collecting). In each of these segments, private equity has taken the lead in consolidating small providers, loading them with debt, and rolling them up into large powerhouses with substantial market power before exiting with handsome returns.
  • Topic: Economics, Privatization, Health Care Policy, Health Insurance , Private Equity
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas Ferguson, Paul Jorgensen, Jie Chen
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: The extent to which governments can resist pressures from organized interest groups, and especially from finance, is a perennial source of controversy. This paper tackles this classic question by analyzing votes in the U.S. House of Representatives on measures to weaken the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill in the years following its passage. To control as many factors as possible that could influence floor voting by individual legislators, the analysis focuses on representatives who originally cast votes in favor of the bill but then subsequently voted to dismantle key provisions of it. This design rules out from the start most factors normally advanced by skeptics to explain vote shifts, since these are the same representatives, belonging to the same political party, representing substantially the same districts. Our panel analysis, which also controls for spatial influences, highlights the importance of time-varying factors, especially political money, in moving representatives to shift their positions on amendments such as the “swaps push out” provision. Our results suggest that the links between campaign contributions from the financial sector and switches to a pro-bank vote were direct and substantial: For every $100,000 that Democratic representatives received from finance, the odds they would break with their party’s majority support for the Dodd-Frank legislation increased by 13.9 percent. Democratic representatives who voted in favor of finance often received $200,000–$300,000 from that sector, which raised the odds of switching by 25–40 percent.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Elections, Democracy, Finance, Legislation, Money
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Rosie Collington
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: The list prices of analogue insulin medicines in the United States have soared during the past decade. In the wake of high-profile cases of prescription medicine “price-gouging”, such as Mylan’s EpiPen and Turing-acquired Daraprim, actors across the insulin supply chain are today facing growing scrutiny from US lawmakers and the wider public. For the most part, however, the role of shareholders in the insulin supply chain has been overlooked. This paper considers the relationship between profits realized from higher insulin list prices, pharmaceutical innovation, and the financial structures of the three dominant insulin manufacturing companies, which set list prices. It shows that despite claims to the contrary, insulin manufacturers extracted vast profits from the sale of insulin products in the period 2009-2018, as insulin list prices rose. Distributions to the company shareholders in the form of cash dividends and share repurchases totaled $122 billion over this period. The paper also considers the role of other actors in the insulin supply chain, such as pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), in the determination of list prices. The data and analysis presented in the paper indicates that financialization could be considered in tension with not only the development of new drugs that will be available to patients in the future, but also the affordability of products that already exist today.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Health Care Policy, Finance, Price
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ivan Mendieta-Muñoz, Codrina Rada, Ansel Schiavone, Rudi von Arnim
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes regional contributions to the US payroll share from 1977 to 2017 and the four major business cycles throughout this period. We implement two empirical exercises. First, we decompose the US payroll share across states. Utilizing a Divisia index decomposition technique yields exact contributions of real wages, employment structure, labor productivity and relative prices across the states to the aggregate change in the payroll share. Key findings are that the decline in the aggregate (i) is driven by decoupling between real wage and labor productivity; and (ii) is initially driven by the rust belt states, but subsequently dominated by relatively large states. Second, we employ mixture models on real wages and labor productivity across US states to discern whether distinct mechanisms appear to generate these distributions. Univariate models (iii) indicate the possibility that two distinct mechanisms generate state labor productivities, raising the question of whether regional dualism has taken hold. Lastly, we use bivariate mixture models to investigate whether such dualism and decoupling manifest in the joint distributions of payroll shares and labor productivity, too. Results (iv) are affirmative, and further suggest a tendency for high performing states to have relatively high payroll shares initially, and low payroll shares more recently.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Productivity, Workforce
  • Political Geography: United States