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  • 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: Samer Matta, Michael Bleaney, Simon Appleton
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP)
  • Abstract: An extensive literature has examined the economic effects of non-violent political instability events. Nonetheless, the issue of whether economies react differently over time to such events remains largely unexplored. Using synthetic control methodology, which constructs a counterfactual in the absence of political instability, we estimate the output effect of 38 regime crises in the period 1970-2011. A crucial factor is whether crises are accompanied by mass civil protest. In the crises accompanied by mass civil protest, there is typically an immediate fall in output which is never recovered in the subsequent five years. In crises unaccompanied by protest, there are usually no significant effects. Furthermore, this paper provides new evidence that regime crises (with and without mass civil protest) have heterogeneous (country-specific) effects on output per capita.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Regime Change, Political stability, Economic Growth, Protests, Economic Policy, Civil Unrest
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sonali Chowdhry, Gabriel Felbermayr
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: In 2011, the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (EUKFTA) entered into force. With its focus on non-tariff barriers (NTBs), it is a leading example of a deep new generation agreement. Using detailed French customs data for the period 2000 to 2016, we investigate how exporters of different size have gained from the agreement. Applying a diff-in-diff strategy that makes use of the rich dimensionality of the data, we find that firms with larger pre-FTA sizes benefit more from the FTA than firms at the lower end of the size distribution, both at the extensive (product) and the intensive margins of trade. The latter finding is in surprising contrast to leading theories of firm-level behavior. Moreover, we find that our main result is driven by NTB reductions rather than tariff cuts. In shedding light on the distributional effects of trade agreements within exporters, our findings highlight the need for effective SME-chapters in FTAs.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Treaties and Agreements, Tariffs, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, South Korea, European Union
  • Author: Vincent Stamer
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Global container ship movements may reliably predict global trade flows. Aggregating both movements at sea and port call events produces a wealth of explanatory variables. The machine learning algorithm partial least squares can map these explanatory time series to unilateral imports and exports, as well as bilateral trade flows. Applying out-of-sample and time series methods on monthly trade data of 75 countries, this paper shows that the new shipping indicator outperforms benchmark models for the vast majority of countries. This holds true for predictions for the current and subsequent month even if one limits the analysis to data during the first half of the month. This makes the indicator available at least as early as other leading indicators.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Trade, Shipping, Machine Learning
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Chuck Fang, Julian Schumacher, Christoph Trebesch
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Sovereign debt crises are difficult to solve. This paper studies the “holdout problem”, meaning the risk that creditors refuse to participate in a debt restructuring. We document a large variation in holdout rates, based on a comprehensive new dataset of 23 bond restructurings with external creditors since 1994. We then study the determinants of holdouts and find that the size of creditor losses (haircuts) is among the best predictors at the bond level. In a restructuring, bonds with higher haircuts see higher holdout rates, and the same is true for small bonds and those issued under foreign law. Collective action clauses (CACs) are effective in reducing holdout risks. However, classic CACs, with bond-by-bond voting, are not sufficient to assure high participation rates. Only the strongest form of CACs, with single-limb aggregate voting, minimizes the holdout problem according to our simulations. The results help to inform theory as well as current policy initiatives on reforming sovereign bond markets.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Political Economy, Law, Credit
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Katrin Klöble
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the self-selection of potential migrants. In particular, the study examines whether risk and time preferences explain a significant proportion in the movement heterogeneity of individuals. It is further intended to shed light on the role of social preferences (trust, altruism, reciprocity) as potential migratory determinants. By making use of a unique cross-sectional data set on migration intentions (Gallup World Poll) and experimentally-validated preferences (the Global Preference Survey) covering 70 countries worldwide, a probit model is estimated. The empirical results provide evidence that potential migrants exhibit higher levels of risk-taking and patience than their counterparts who stay at home (the stayers). This holds true across differing countries with various cultural backgrounds and income levels. Trust and negative reciprocity are found to be significantly related to migration aspirations as well. Yet conclusive clarifications still remain necessary, providing impetuses for future research.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Risk, Polls
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mehdi Lahlou
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic has turned into a global economic crisis with severe social effects in the least developed countries, particularly in Africa. Pre-existing challenges related to widespread poverty, demographic growth, food insecurity and governance issues have been exacerbated by the pandemic. While migration remains one of the key elements of the partnership agenda between Africa and the European Union, the aggravating socioeconomic situation in the African continent due to the impact of COVID-19 and its implications for migration dynamics requires going beyond business-as-usual approaches. The renewed scenario calls for a more comprehensive and development-oriented approach to migration, requiring new policy initiatives addressing the wider set of conditions that, beyond constituting developmental challenges in their own right, also drive migration in North Africa as well as in Sub-Saharan African countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, European Union, Mobility, Asylum, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, North Africa
  • 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: George J. Borjas, Anthony Edo
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: Immigrant supply shocks are typically expected to reduce the wage of comparable workers. Natives may respond to the lower wage by moving to markets that were not directly targeted by immigrants and where presumably the wage did not drop. This paper argues that the wage change observed in the targeted market depends not only on the size of the native response, but also on which natives choose to respond. A non-random response alters the composition of the sample of native workers, mechanically changing the average native wage in affected markets and biasing the estimated wage impact of immigration. We document the importance of this selection bias in the French labor market, where women accounted for a rapidly increasing share of the foreign-born workforce since 1976. The raw correlations suggest that the immigrant supply shock did not change the wage of French women, but led to a sizable decline in their employment rate. In contrast, immigration had little impact on the employment rate of men, but led to a sizable drop in the male wage. We show that the near-zero correlation between immigration and female wages arises partly because the native women who left the labor force had relatively low wages. Adjusting for the selection bias results in a similar wage elasticity for both French men and women (between -0.8 and -1.0).
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Immigration, Workforce
  • Political Geography: France
  • 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: Cécile Couharde, Carl Grekou, Valérie Mignon
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: In this paper, we investigate from a policy coordination viewpoint the desirability of the West African monetary union project, ECO. Our approach is built around the inclusion of national objectives in the regional integration perspective. Thanks to cluster analysis, we identify two groups of countries with relatively homogenous sustainable exchange rate paths in West Africa. We also find that no single currency peg nor a freely floating exchange rate regime would be preferable for any of the countries or groups of economies. Overall, our findings argue in favor of two ECOs —at least in a first step, i.e., one for each of the two identified zones. Each ECO would serve as a virtual anchor —with some flexibility— for the considered group, and would be determined by a basket of currencies mainly composed of euro and US dollar.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Monetary Policy, Currency
  • Political Geography: West Africa
  • Author: Pierre Cotterlaz, Etienne Fize
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: This paper documents the effect of information frictions on trade using a historical large-scale improvement in the transmission of news: the emergence of global news agencies. The information available to potential traders became more abundant, was delivered faster and at a cheaper price between countries covered by a news agency. Exploiting differences in the timing of telegraph openings and news agency coverage across pairs of countries, we are able to disentangle the pure effect of information from the effect of a reduction in communication costs. Panel gravity estimates reveal that bilateral trade increased by 30\% more for pairs of countries covered by a news agency and connected by a telegraph than for pairs of countries simply connected by a telegraph.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Partnerships, Media, News Analysis, Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vincent Bodart, François Courtoy, Erica Perego
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: With commodities becoming international financial securities, commodity prices are affected by the international financial cycle. With this evidence in mind, this paper reconsiders the macroeconomic adjustment of developing commodity-exporting countries to changes in world interest rates. We proceed by building a model of a small open economy that produces a non-tradable good and a storable tradable commodity. The difference with standard models of small open economies lies in the endogenous response of commodity prices which -due to commodity storage- adjust to variations in international interest rates. We find that the endogenous response of commodity prices amplifies the reaction of commodity exporting countries to international monetary shocks. This suggests that commodity exporting countries are more vulnerable to unfavourable international monetary disturbances than other small open economies. In particular, because of the existence of the commodity price channel, even those small open commodity-exporting economies that are disconnected from international financial markets can be affected by the international financial cycle.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Monetary Policy, Finance, Commodities, Interest Rates, Exports, Price
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Zainab Usman, David Landry
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Many African countries have placed economic diversification high on the policy agenda, yet they first need to define what it means in their specific structural and socioeconomic contexts. For decades, economic diversification has been a policy priority for low- and middle-income economies. In the words of former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, “We know that economic diversification is good for growth. Diversification is also tremendously important for resilience.” Unfortunately, this goal continues to elude many African countries. In fact, the continent is home to eight of the world’s fifteen least economically diversified countries. This reality weakens the foundation of their economic transfomation and slows their pace of progress. It also makes these countries particularly vulnerable to sudden external shocks, as the pandemic-induced disruption of tourism and oil-dependent economies has illustrated. Given the importance of diversifying African economies, it is critical to recognize how various dimensions of diversification can have different implications for the menu of policy options. Closely associated with the process of structural transformation from lower to higher productivity sectors, economic diversification has three evident dimensions. The first relates to the expansion of economic sectors that contribute to employment and production or gross domestic product (GDP) diversification, and the second is associated with international trade or exports diversification. This paper, however, focuses on a third dimension that the economics literature pays scant attention to: fiscal diversification. This fiscal element involves expanding government revenue sources and public expenditure targets and can therefore play a central role in helping to catalyze broader economic transformation through the expansion of activity in specific industries and sectors. It is also critical that policymakers effectively measure the extent to which this objective is being achieved. Both the expansion of existing economic sectors and the creation of new ones may diversify an economy. But these processes are vastly different in practice and will garner distinct outcomes. Of the main tools used by economists to measure diversification, the Theil Index differentiates between the respective contributions of new economic sectors and existing ones to overall diversification. Another tool widely used by development practitioners—the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) framework—has significant potential for evaluating fiscal diversification but would need to capture more information on government revenue collection and spending and link them to policy objectives.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance, Diversification, Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Vijay Singh Chauhan, Sruti Vijayakumar
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement has placed trade facilitation initiatives high on the agenda of international governments. This case study of India studies what trade facilitation may mean for a fast-paced economy. In this paper the authors use the trigger presented by the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) to undertake a comprehensive review of various publicly available studies for India relating to performance measurement of the ecosystem that handles the cross-border movement of goods, focusing on the period since 2015. The paper summarizes the results of six key composite performance indicators—namely, (1) the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) trade facilitation indicators (TFIs); (2) the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Index; (3) the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI); (4) the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI); (5) the World Bank’s World Governance Indicators (WGIs); and (6) the United Nations’ Global Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation (GSTF-PTI). This paper, by examining these composite survey-based indicators and the intertemporal trends they exhibit for India, reveals that they have not been moving in agreement with each other and that some of the trends are evidently counterintuitive. A comparison between delineated subindicators of select composite indicators sometimes indicates surprising trends. Import cargo release times (a performance measurement prescribed by the TFA) for the largest containerized port in the country, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), have been extracted from various studies that have relied on the data from the customs automation system; the container tracking system, which employs radio-frequency identification (RFID); and survey-based studies, including the Trading Across Borders (TAB) component of the World Bank’s EODB Index. These import cargo release time studies present a consistent trend of improvement since 2017. The paper, therefore, highlights the greater robustness of cargo release time trends, based particularly on technology-enabled data-driven studies as a more meaningful metric for measurement of performance of border management agencies and practices vis-à-vis survey or perception-based indicators representing “enablers” of trade facilitation.
  • Topic: Economics, Trade, WTO
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI), with the generous support of the Korea Foundation, organized six “Vision Group” roundtable conversations with leading American scholars and commentators to discuss the United States’ relationship with the Republic of Korea. The first was held in December 2019, the last in November 2020. The intent was to consider the future of relations during a time of change. The Vision Group comprised a wide range of expertise and opinion. This record conveys some of the insights and recommendations that arose during the conversations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Maximilian Ernst
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: This paper examines South Korea’s foreign policy towards China before, during, and after the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense dispute to investigate the limits of South Korea’s public diplomacy and soft power. South Korea’s official public diplomacy has the objective to “gain global support for Korea’s policies,” following Joseph Nye’s narrow definition of soft power. South Korea furthermore ranks high in the most relevant soft power indices. Based on the case of Chinese economic retaliation against South Korea in response to THAAD deployment, this paper argues that public diplomacy and soft power only work in the absence of traditional security contentions, but fail in the presence of such security contentions. The THAAD case also demonstrates the utility of traditional diplomacy, based on high-level summits and negotiations, to solve the very disputes that South Korea’s latent public diplomacy and soft power were unable to alleviate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Weapons
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Troy Stangarone, Juni Kim
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: KEI’s 2021 Report on American Attitudes on the U.S.-ROK Alliance and North Korea Policy summarizes results from a survey commissioned by KEI and conducted by YouGov on May 6th to May 10th, 2021 in advance of the U.S.-ROK summit on May 21st, 2021. The survey asked Americans their views on the U.S.-South Korea relationship, North Korea policy, and the U.S.’ role in the East Asian region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Risto Rönkkö, Stuart Rutherford, Kunal Sen
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper, we examine the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of the poor. We use an unusually rich data set from a ‘financial diaries’ study known as the Hrishipara Daily Diaries Project. The data set tracks the economic and financial transactions of 60 individuals and their families in a semi-rural setting in Bangladesh on a real-time basis from October 2019 to September 2020. We document individual diarists’ behavioural responses to COVID-19, which reveal the varied experiences of the poor during the pandemic. We find that the pandemic and associated government lockdowns had significant negative effects on the livelihoods of the poor in our study, with financial inflows and outflows, incomes, and household expenditures below pre-pandemic levels during the pandemic period. To cope with the pandemic, households drew down on their cash reserves at home, as well as cutting down on non-food expenditures to protect their spending on food.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Finance, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia
  • Author: Annalena Oppel
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Community or interpersonal support as a critical source of livelihood sustenance in the Global South can exhibit unequal dynamics. An understanding of these practices is primarily tied to the conceptual space of poverty or small communities. Less is known about how social support systems might respond to structural inequalities. I address this by exploring how support practices might be shaped by inequalities in the Namibian context. I draw on primary network data to assess inequality as a social dynamic within the space of support and evaluate whether providing worse-off others corresponds to former discriminatory practices under the apartheid regime. My results suggest that inequality has normalized a sense of support as necessity for black but not white Namibians. More broadly, by recognizing differences in group practices, I evidence that exploring support practices across structural inequalities can enhance insights on the social replication of inter- and intragroup-based inequalities.
  • Topic: Economics, Race, Inequality, Social Networks
  • Political Geography: Africa, Namibia
  • Author: Hubert Gabrisch
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: This study attempts to identify uncertainty in the long-term rate of interest based on the controversial interest rate theories of Keynes and Kalecki. While Keynes stated that the future of the rate of interest is uncertain because it is numerically incalculable, Kalecki was convinced that it could be predicted. The theories are empirically tested using a reduced-form GARCH-in-mean model assigned to six globally leading financial markets. The obtained results support Keynes’s theory – the long-term rate of interest is a nonergodic financial phenomenon. Analyses of the relation between the interest rate and macroeconomic variables without interest uncertainty are thus seriously incomplete.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Economic Theory, Interest Rates, Macroeconomics, Keynes, Models, Michał Kalecki
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Artem Kochnev
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: The paper investigates determinants of investments in state capacity and institutional change in contemporary Ukraine. After formulating a simple sequential two-stage model of investments in state capacity, the paper estimates autoregressive distributed lag and vector autoregressive models to verify its predictions. The paper finds little evidence for the impact of conflict intensity and access to international credit on the pace of reform progress. It finds a statistically significant effect for the intensity of political competition and changes of real wages, albeit these results are sensitive to robustness checks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, War, Labor Issues, Credit, International Business, State Capitalism, Models
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Petar Jolakoski, Branimir Jovanovic, Joana Madjoska, Viktor Stojkoski, Dragan Tevdovski
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: If firm profits rise to a level far above than what would have been earned in a competitive economy, this might give the firms market power, which might in turn influence the activity of the government. In this paper, we perform a detailed empirical study on the potential effects of firm profits and markups on government size and effectiveness. Using data on 30 European countries for a period of 17 years and an instrumental variables approach, we find that there exists a robust relationship between firm gains and the activity of the state, in the sense that higher firm profits reduce government size and effectiveness. Even in a group of developed countries, such as the European countries, firm power may affect state activity.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, International Political Economy, Profit
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: David Pichler, Robert Stehrer
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of ICT-skills on individuals’ labour market mobility patterns, in particular job-to-job, employment- to-unemployment and unemployment-to-employment transitions. Based on the OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) and longitudinal EU-SILC data, individuals’ labour market outcomes are examined over the period 2011-2017 in nine EU countries and the UK. Our results indicate that individuals with strong ICT skills have better opportunities and are therefore not only more likely to change jobs more frequently but are also less likely to face unemployment. Furthermore, ICT skills support unemployment exit towards medium and high digital occupations. A certain minimum level of ICT skills also supports unemployment exit towards low digital occupations but seems to make employment in such occupations less likely once this threshold is crossed. Overall, ICT skills have less predictive power for transition towards medium digital occupations. Thus, while ICT skills appear to improve labour market opportunities significantly, it seems that there are still jobs that require relatively few ICT skills.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Science and Technology, Digital Economy, Labor Market, Information Technology , Skilled Labor
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mahdi Ghodsi
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: Regulative non-tariff measures (NTMs), such as technical barriers to trade (TBTs) and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, have frequently been imposed to regulate the quality of imported goods when the market fails to address some issues of concern regarding harmful products with low standards. The impact of NTMs on trade values and trade volumes has been extensively modelled and analysed in the literature, while their quality impact has usually been studied using the unit values of imports. In this paper a monopolistic competition framework is presented, in which firms choose both the quality and the price of their exports subject to the compliance costs of NTMs behind the border and a fixed cost of technological change. Using the solutions of this model including NTMs, the quality of products at the six-digit level of the harmonised system (HS) traded globally and bilaterally during the period 1996–2017 is estimated. Using these estimates, the impacts of TBTs and SPS measures on trade values, volume, unit value and quality are estimated. On average and across all global bilateral trade, TBTs restrict imports while improving quality significantly. SPS measures stimulate trade and improve the average imported quality. Then, by estimating the importer-specific impact of NTMs on traded value, quantity, unit value, quality, and quality-adjusted price for each product, the ‘NTM Black Box’ is opened and analysed. This provides evidence of whether the quality of traded goods to an importing country has been upgraded despite the trade restrictiveness of NTMs.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Non-Tariff Measures
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sandra Leitner
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: In view of the scarcity of reliable and detailed data on migration this paper develops the novel cohort approach, which allows us to deduce from annual Labour Force Surveys (LFS) the extent and skill composition of net migration. It is based on representative age cohorts who are followed over time and whose change in size and composition provides information about the extent and skill composition of net migration. As concerns skill composition, the analysis differentiates between four educational levels (Low, Medium-general, Medium-VET and High). The analysis is applied to the six Western Balkan countries (for the period 2010-2019), which lack official, comprehensive and domestic migration statistics, particularly in terms of the skill composition of migrants. The analysis shows that during the period analysed all six Western Balkan countries experienced net emigration which, however, differs across countries in terms of magnitude and particular age pattern. A further breakdown of net migration by highest level of education shows that net emigration in the region mainly occurs among the medium- and low-educated. Contrary to widespread perception, the analysis finds evidence of brain gain in terms of partly substantial net immigration of the highly educated in all countries except Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Brain gain is highest among those in their early to mid-20s to early 30s. As this is the age at which students usually complete tertiary education, this is likely to be related to students returning to their home countries after graduating from tertiary education abroad.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Migration, Labor Issues, Skilled Labor
  • Political Geography: Balkans
  • Author: Michael Landesmann, Isilda Mara
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: The South-North migration corridor, i.e. migration flows to the EU from Africa, the Middle East and EU neighbouring countries in the East, have overtaken the East-West migration corridor, i.e. migration flows from Central and East European countries to the EU15 and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). This is likely to dominate migration flows into the EU+EFTA over the coming decades. This paper applies a gravity modelling approach to analyse patterns and drivers of the South-North migration corridor over the period 1995-2020 and explores bilateral mobility patterns from 75 sending countries in Africa, the Middle East and other EU neighbours to the EU28 and EFTA countries. The study finds that income gaps, diverging demographic trends, institutional and governance features and persisting political instability, but also higher climate risks in the neighbouring regions of the EU, are fuelling migration flows along the South-North corridor and will most likely continue to do so.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Migration, Labor Issues, European Union, Human Capital, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mma Amara Ekeruchera
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA)
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 outbreak began in December 2019 in the Wuhan city of China and has continued to spread globally. As of this writing, 28.2 million cases have been recorded globally with 910,000 deaths. Aside the health impact, the pandemic has led to an unprecedented disruption in economic activities, initiating a sudden demand, supply, and financial shock. The mitigation strategies put in place by governments across the world to curb the virus as well as the uncertainty associated with the pandemic has led to a reduction in the consumption of non-essential commodities. Meanwhile, disruptions to global supply chains in a closely connected world as well as the reduced demand have necessitated a slowdown in production. Furthermore, investors have become more risk averse with the prices of risk assets falling to levels experienced in the 2007-20008 global financial crisis. To counteract the fall in private sector demand, stabilize the financial system, and ensure economic recovery, governments and central banks across the world have deployed a range of policies and programmes. Central banks are cutting policy rates and providing direct liquidity to the financial system. Federal and sub-national governments are providing tax relief, cash transfers, and employee retention schemes to alleviate the burden on affected individuals and businesses. Africa is not left behind as governments have increased spending plans (about 1.9% of their GDP) and central banks are adopting more accommodating monetary policies.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Monetary Policy, Central Bank, Macroeconomics, Pandemic, COVID-19, Socioeconomics , Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Helle Munk Ravnborg, Bernard Bashaasha, Rikke Broegaard, Michael Byaruhanga, Evelyne Lazaro, Festo Maro, Khamaldin Mutabazi, Teddy Nakanwagi, David Tumusiime
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This DIIS Working Paper describes the design of a questionnaire survey developed and implemented in order to trace the development outcomes of foreign agricultural investments in six research locations in Tanzania and Uganda. The questionnaire survey was conducted as part of the Agricultural Investors as Development Actors (henceforward AIDA) research programme which, in particular, focuses on development outcomes in terms of employment, migration, food security and wider dynamic economic effects, such as access to technology, infrastructure and markets; land markets and perceived security of land tenure; and water access and security of tenure. The working paper which serves as a methodological reference document describes the approach which was employed for drawing six independent samples of 400 respondents each, as well as the approach developed for computing a foreign agricultural investment exposure index and for computing a locally informed household poverty index.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Environment, Poverty, Water, Food, Governance, Inequality, Investment, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: Sub-Saharan Africa, Africa
  • Author: Sourabh Paul, Diti Goswami
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: The authors examine the impact of labour law deregulations in the Indian state of Rajasthan on plant employment and performance. In 2014, after a long time, Rajasthan was the first Indian state that introduced labour reforms in the Industrial Disputes Act (1947), the Factories Act (1948), the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act (1970), and the Apprentices Act (1961). Exploiting this unique quasi-natural experiment, the authors apply a difference-in-difference framework using the Annual Survey of Industries longitudinal data of India’s manufacturing establishments. Their results show that reforms had an unintended consequence of the decline in labour use. Also, worryingly, the flexibility resulted in a disproportionate decline in the directly employed worker. Evidence suggests that the reforms positively impact the value-added and productivity of the establishments. The strength of these effects varies depending on the underlying industry and reform structure. These findings prove robust to a set of specifications.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Reform, Employment, Regulation
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Rajendran Narayanan, Sakina Dhorajiwala, Chakradhar Buddha
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) provides up to 100 days of work in a year for every rural household at a minimum wage. The Act has several landmark worker-centric provisions. For the implementation of MGNREGA, for the first time in the country, a transaction-based Management Information System (MIS) has been made available in the public domain; a feather in the cap of transparency. However, there are several critical questions to be examined in this regard. Our main focus in this article is to explore the tensions between technocracy and democratic values/participation in the context of MGNREGA and its associated MIS. We use our action research on information-based interventions in several states to examine whether the MGNREGA MIS incorporates democratic values, whether it has been inclusive or if it has widened the existing inequities. We use specific examples to illustrate how such an information system has been used to subvert the legal rights of workers. We underscore that technological interventions, with a compassionate human-centred design are potentially powerful tools for transparency, accountability, and grievance redressal. However, technology alone can neither enhance participatory democracy nor reduce socio-economic inequalities.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Democracy, Employment, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Rosa Abraham, Amit Basole, Surbhi Kesar
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: Using the CMIE’s Consumer Pyramids Household Survey, we track a panel of households prior to the lockdown (in December 2019), during the lockdown (in April 2020) and afterwards (in August 2020) to investigate the employment and income effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated containment measures. We identify four distinct employment experiences during the pandemic for those who were in the workforce just prior to the lockdown: no loss of employment (“No effect”), loss of employment followed by recovery (“Recovery”), loss of employment with no recovery (“No recovery”), and a delayed loss of employment (“Delayed job loss”). Overall, 54% of individuals experienced no job loss, while 30% lost work in April but recovered by August. 12% had not recovered employment as of August 2020. We analyse how these trajectories vary across different social and economic characteristics to quantify contractions and recovery in the labour market and the extent to which the vulnerabilities vary across different social groups, employment arrangements, and industries. We find that women were substantially more likely to lose employment as well as less likely to recover employment. Job loss was also more severe for lower castes as compared to intermediate and upper castes and for daily wage workers as compared to regular wage workers. Younger workers were particularly vulnerable to job loss compared to older workers. Having lost employment in April, younger workers were also less likely to recover employment in August. Finally, for those who were employed in both December 2019 and August 2020, we examine the changes in employment arrangements. We find a much greater frequency of transitions from wage employment to self-employment, more than that in the seasonally comparable period last year (Dec 2018 to Aug 2019). Our results call for urgent additional fiscal measures to counteract these effects.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Unemployment, Pandemic, Job Creation, Consumerism
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Zico Dasgupta
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: One of the central concerns against increasing expenditures in the recent period has been the possibility of an adverse impact on debt-GDP ratio. Once stability of debt-ratio is regarded as a policy-objective, the aggregate expenditure that is consistent with the stability condition gets determined by the given level of output growth rate and revenue receipts. Instead of perceiving expenditures to be determined by the debt-stability condition, this short note attempts to lay bare the conditions under which the debt-stability condition is restored despite increasing the growth rate of non-capital primary expenditure to a targeted level. The targeted level of growth rate of non-capital expenditures can be perceived to be one which compensates for the income loss of labour during the pandemic. In contrast to conventional wisdom, the possibility of increasing such expenditures is explored not by reducing capital expenditures, but rather by increasing the latter. Using the multiplier value of capital expenditures estimated by the RBI, it is argued that the debt-ratio would remain unchanged despite increasing the growth rate of non capital primary expenditure if the capital expenditures growth rate is allowed to increase in a specific proportion.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues, GDP, Employment, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Santosh Mehrotra
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: This paper briefly examines the performance of each of the five pillars of India’s TVET ecosystem. It also discusses the poor design and implementation of a national vocational qualification framework. It goes to discuss the latest development in the field of education: the National Education Policy 2020 and its view on TVET, and finds it seriously wanting. The paper argues that if India does not want its tertiary education system to be overwhelmed by the massification of school education that occurred since early noughties, it must divert increasing numbers of secondary graduates to vocational education and training. Together with a rising number of jobs in the non-agricultural sector, to which India’s youth aspire to, strengthening vocational education offers the prospect of India potentially realizing its demographic dividend, in the same way that many East Asian countries. If India’s TVET system continues to lack vision, strategy and coherence to underpin the country’s aspiration to become a high human development country, we risk frittering away our dividend.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Labor Issues, Employment, Training, Vocational Training
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Purna Chandra Parida, Yogesh Suri
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: This paper makes an attempt to do an assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on employment and migration in India. The analysis is based on up-to-date facts and figures available in the public domain on economic growth, employment and migration. Using the employment elasticity approach, the study estimates employment loss during 2020-21 owing to the negative impact of COVID-19 on economic activities. The results of the study suggest that the country may witness job loss with the tune of 18.5  18.8 million in the current fiscal year. This in turn would shoot up the unemployment rate from 5.8% in 2018-19 to 8.9% in 2020-21, warranting a coordinated and focused approach from both the Central and State governments to uplift the confidence of the people and bring back the lost jobs, particularly the migrant workers. The study also emphasises on Central government’s urgent attention and action plan for uplifting the rural economy in order to revive India’s economy in the short run.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Labor Issues, Employment, Economic Growth, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Jenny Sulfath, Balu Sunilraj
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: This paper attempts to look at the ways informality is conceptualized in India and argues that the problems with the laws pertaining to informal labour are not simply an implementation issue, but the design of the labour laws itself exclude informal labour. While reviewing the history of labour laws in India and the social history of labour participation, the paper also examines the current change in the political approach to labour by changing the labour laws in the pretext of the pandemic. Focussing on the changes made in labour laws in Madhya Pradesh the paper argues that these changes would further informalise the workers intensifying the crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Informal Economy
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Rosa Abraham, Amit Basole, Surbhi Kesar
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented disruptions in labour markets across the world including loss of employment and decline in incomes. Using panel data from India, we investigate the differential impact of the shock on labour market outcomes for male and female workers. We find that, conditional on being in the workforce prior to the pandemic, women were seven times more likely to lose work during the nationwide lockdown, and conditional on losing work, eleven times more likely to not return to work subsequently, compared to men. Using logit regressions on a sample stratified by gender, we find that daily wage and young workers, whether men or women, were more likely to face job loss. Education shielded male workers from job loss, whereas highly educated female workers were more vulnerable to job loss. Marriage had contrasting effects for men and women, with married women less likely to return to work and married men more likely to return to work. Religion and gender intersect to exacerbate the disproportionate impact, with Muslim women more likely to not return to work, unlike Muslim men where we find religion having no significant impact. Finally, for those workers who did return to work, we find that a large share of men in the workforce moved to self-employment or daily wage work, in agriculture, trade or construction. For women, on the other hand, there is limited movement into alternate employment arrangements or industries. This suggests that typical ‘fallback’ options for employment do not exist for women. During such a shock, women are forced to exit the workforce whereas men negotiate across industries and employment arrangements.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Employment, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Kunal Mangal
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: Government jobs in India are valuable, not just because they pay relatively higher wages, but also because they provide many valuable amenities, such as lifetime tenure, access to bribes, and prestige. Does the value of these amenities compete with the nominal wage itself? I use the observed search behavior of candidates preparing for highly structured competitive exams for government jobs to infer a lower bound on the total value of a government job, including amenities. Based on a sample of 120 male candidates preparing for state-level civil service exams in Pune, Maharashtra, I estimate a total value of at least 425,000 INR per month. This estimate implies that the amenity value of a government job is at least 81% of total compensation. The high amenity value is not driven by misinformed beliefs about the nominal wage, nor by a high value placed on the process of studying itself. I conclude with a discussion of the implications of these findings for policy and the questions it raises for future research.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Employment, Public Sector, Job Creation, Workforce
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Rahul Menon, Paaritosh Nath
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: Using two rounds of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) covering the periods 2017-18 and 2018-19, we construct a panel of urban Indian individuals aged 15 to 65, and analyse the dynamics of their participation – or non-participation – in the labour force. We construct transition probabilities to study the movement of individuals through three distinct statuses – employment, unemployment and non-participation – at the aggregate level and for different demographic groups. We find evidence of considerable movements from the labour force to non-participation; there exists a significant discouraged worker effect as well as a pronounced movement from employment outside the labour force, specifically for women. A majority of those unemployed in the beginning of the year remain so at the end of the year, indicating the presence of long-term unemployment. The reduction in unemployment rates from 2017-18 to 2018-19 hides significant weaknesses in Indian urban labour markets. This study represents an original contribution to the field of Indian labour economics, given the paucity of large-scale studies of the dynamics of Indian labour.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Labor Issues, Employment, Labor Market, Workforce
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Deepti Goel, Rosa Abraham, Rahul Lahoti
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: The efficacy of survey-based policy recommendations is primarily dictated by the quality of data collected in the first place. Is the survey truly representative of the population it claims to characterise? Are respondents voicing their true opinions or are they playing to the gallery? Did enumerator bias creep into the data? These are questions that most users of surveys have, but are typically brushed aside in the race to get the analyses out. While there are no foolproof measures to ensure that survey data are authentic, certain steps can be taken to improve their dependability. One such is the use of what is called ‘para data’ (data about the process of data collection), to streamline enumerator practices, and thereby improve the reliability of the data being collected. This report details our experience of using para data to improve the quality of the India Working Survey (IWS).
  • Topic: Economics, Employment, Survey, Data, Workforce
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Zico Dasgupta
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: This paper perceives fiscal support as a policy instrument and examines alternative policy frameworks that can simultaneously stabilize labour income, output and debt-GDP ratio. The need to stabilize labour income over and above output follows from the possibility of income growth rate of labour falling below output growth rate. This paper points out the limitations of sound finance regime in meeting these targets and proposes an alternative policy framework which is termed as Debt-Neutral Functional Finance with Fiscal Support (DNFS). The DNFS framework highlights the role of development financial institutions and the need for a floor level of corporate tax-GDP ratio.
  • Topic: Economics, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Workforce
  • Political Geography: India
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: This independent evaluation aims to investigate the implementation of the 2020 State Budget of Azerbaijan. The pandemic, which has lasted since 2020, has brought significant changes in the world. The changes in terms of both quality and quantity were reflected in the economic environment and individual's livelihood. Because of the requirement for long-term quarantine conditions to battle the pandemic, both developed and developing countries have experienced economic downturns. The research comprises forecast indicators defined by the appropriate executive authority during the year, as well as the draft legislation on 2020 state budget implementation, in addition to the forecast indicators represented in the material provided with the original and updated draft state budget for 2020. The basic order is as follows; introduction, revenues, expenditures, fiscal sustainability, sequestration of costs, cost reduction, receipt of subsidies from the budget, optimization of receivables, distribution of expenditures, and debts. The results included graphical and tabular descriptions.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Budget, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Azerbaijan, South Caucasus
  • Author: Gabriel Felbermayr, Alexander Tarasov
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: The distribution of transport infrastructure across space is the outcome of deliberate government planning that reflects a desire to unlock the welfare gains from regional economic integration. Yet, despite being one of the oldest government activities, the economic forces shaping the endogenous emergence of infrastructure have not been rigorously studied. This paper provides a stylized analytical framework of open economies in which planners decide non-cooperatively on transport infrastructure investments across continuous space. Allowing for intra- and international trade, the resulting equilibrium investment schedule features underinvestment that turns out particularly severe in border regions and that is amplified by the presence of discrete border costs. In European data, the mechanism explains about 16% of the border effect identified in a conventionally specified gravity regression.
  • Topic: Economics, Infrastructure, Governance, Borders, Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Askar Mukashov, Christian Henning
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: With increasing evidence that rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) opt for deagrarianization as an adaptation strategy to climate change, it is becoming important to understand the role of Global Climate Change (GCC) in ongoing structural transformation processes in these countries. We use Senegal as a case study country and analyze how various GCC scenarios affect the country's economic sectors, households' welfare, and structural transformation patterns. Our simulation results suggest that GCC can increase the country's deagrarianization pace, with industrial and service sectors in the capital Dakar being the most important destinations of the former agricultural labor force. Although unplanned urbanization smoothes the overall negative impact of GCC and decreases spatial income disparities, uncontrolled deagrarianization is also associated with negative externalities. Previous growth-focused studies suggest that services partaking in Senegal’s deagrarianization can hamper its long-term growth prospects, and our results suggest that productivity increase of services can redirect part of the former agricultural labor force towards industrial sectors.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Labor Issues, Income Inequality, Rural, Housing
  • Political Geography: Africa, Senegal
  • Author: Dennis J. Snower, Colm Kelly
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: This paper examines major forces that have decoupled economic and business prosperity from social prosperity and explores how recoupling can be promoted. Economists have specified well-known conditions under which free market enterprise with shareholder value maximization is efficient. These conditions are systematically violated by three forces – globalization, technological advance and financialization (GTF) – that have weakened the connections between economies and societies over the past four decades. Consequently, the recoupling process requires abandoning the default premise of economic decision making that social progress follows financial performance. For business, it calls for a move from shareholder to stakeholder value. For government, it calls for setting legal obligations, targets and incentives to ensure that stakeholder value is compatible with a rigorously defined concept of “societal and planetary value.”
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Science and Technology, Capitalism, Economic Theory
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Servaas Storm
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: The Rebuilding Macroeconomic Theory Project, led by David Vines and Samuel Wills (2020), is an important, albeit long overdue, initiative to rethink a failing mainstream macroeconomics. Professors Vines and Wills, who must be congratulated for stepping up to the challenge of trying to make mainstream macroeconomics relevant again, call for a new multiple-equilibrium and diverse (MEADE) paradigm for macroeconomics. Their idea is to start with simple models, ideally two-dimensional sketches, that explain mechanisms that can cause multiple equilibria. These mechanisms should then be incorporated into larger DSGE models in a new, multiple-equilibrium synthesis – to see how the fundamental pieces of the economy fit together, subject to it being ‘properly micro-founded’. This paper argues that the MEADE paradigm is bound to fail, because it maintains the DSGE model as the unifying framework at the center of macroeconomic analysis. The paper reviews 10 fundamental weaknesses inherent in DSGE models which make these models irreparably useless for macroeconomic policy analysis. Mainstream macroeconomics must put DSGE models, once and for all, in the Museum of Implausible Economic Models – and learn important lessons from non-DSGE macroeconomic approaches.
  • Topic: Economics, Economic Growth, Macroeconomics, Money, Demand, Models
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tarek A. Hassan, Jesse Schreger, Markus Schwedeler, Ahmed Tahoun
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: We construct new measures of country risk and sentiment as perceived by global investors and executives using textual analysis of the quarterly earnings calls of publicly listed firms around the world. Our quarterly measures cover 45 countries from 2002-2020. We use our measures to provide a novel characterization of country risk and to provide a harmonized definition of crises. We demonstrate that elevated perceptions of a country's riskiness are associated with significant falls in local asset prices and capital outflows, even after global financial conditions are controlled for. Increases in country risk are associated with reductions in firm-level investment and employment. We also show direct evidence of a novel type of contagion, where foreign risk is transmitted across borders through firm-level exposures. Exposed firms suffer falling market valuations and significantly retrench their hiring and investment in response to crises abroad. Finally, we provide direct evidence that heterogeneous currency loadings on global risk help explain the cross-country pattern of interest rates and currency risk premia.
  • Topic: Economics, Employment, Investment, Risk, Contagion
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Claudia Fontanari, Antonella Palumbo, Chiara Salvatori
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper extends to different indicators of labor underutilization the Updated Okun Method (UOM) for estimation of potential output proposed in Fontanari et al (2020), which, from a demand-led growth perspective, regards potential output as an empirical approximation to fullemployment output, as in A.M.Okun’s (1962) original method. Based on the apparent incapability of the official rate of unemployment to fully account for labor underutilization, in this paper we offer estimates of Okun’s law both with broad unemployment indicators and with an indicator of ‘standardized hours worked’ which we propose as a novel measure of the labor input. The paper reflects on the possible different empirical measures of full employment. The various measures of potential output that we extract from our analysis show greater output gaps than those produced by standard methods, thus highlighting a systematic tendency of the latter to underestimate potential output. Output gaps that underestimate the size of the output loss or that tend to close too soon during recovery, may produce a bias towards untimely restriction.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Economic Growth, Demand, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Laurent Le Maux
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Walter Bagehot (1873) published his famous book, Lombard Street, almost 150 years ago. The adage “lending freely against good collateral at a penalty rate” is associated with his name and his book has always been set on a pedestal and is still considered as the leading reference on the role of lender of last resort. Nonetheless, without a clear understanding of the theoretical grounds and the institutional features of the British banking system, any interpretation of Bagehot’s writings remains vague if not misleading—which is worrisome if they are supposed to provide a guideline for policy makers. The purpose of the present paper is to determine whether Bagehot’s recommendation remains relevant for modern central bankers or whether it was indigenous to the monetary and banking architecture of Victorian times.
  • Topic: Economics, History , Central Bank, Lending
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matteo Gaddi, Nadia Garbellini
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: In this paper we examine the main transformations that are affecting European automotive industry and which challenges, in particular due to the transition to new forms of propulsion, the industry is going to face. The automotive industry is central to the European economy and the nature of the Global Value Chains are rapidly shifting. While individual countries have developed economic plans to address this, a broader EU wide plan is critically important to addressing the employment and environmental effects of these shifts.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, European Union, Manufacturing, Global Value Chains
  • Political Geography: Europe