July 11, 2024


Terms of Investment

The structure of the US rental housing market and the Inflation Reduction Act

Now two years old, the federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) sets the stage for billions of federal dollars to flow toward home energy upgrades through home energy rebates, grants, and tax credits. But in the US rental market, both the quality of housing and the terms of tenancy are largely left in the hands of…


June 27, 2024


Supermarket Economics

An interview with John Marshall of the United Food and Commercial Workers, Locals 324 & 3000

Behind the retail grocery industry’s image of public routine churns an incredible and evolving feat of collective enterprise. The companies that own and operate grocery stores serve as the primary source of food for the country’s 130 million households. Employing…

June 20, 2024


Driving Capital

The USMCA, the IRA, and Mexico’s electric vehicle boom

Since President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law in August 2022, the Mexican auto assembly and parts industries have been booming. Tesla and the Chinese state-owned carmaker Jetour announced the construction of new factories for electric vehicles…

June 13, 2024


Market Ideologies

The Soviet Union and the fall of Bretton Woods

The Soviet Union’s construction of pipelines across Western Europe granted the superpower access to European markets—and capital. In his new book, The Soviet Union and the Construction of the Global Market, Oscar Sanchez-Sibony demonstrates how this move challenged American dominance…

June 6, 2024


Kishida’s New Capitalism

Wage stagnation and the echoes of Abenomics

In September 2021, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio was elected on an ambitious platform: “New Form of Capitalism.” As leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, he promised to achieve a new and better economic system where economic growth and income…

May 30, 2024


Border Traffic

Ecuador in the global drug trafficking chain

The rise of Ecuador in the transnational network of organized crime is a relatively recent phenomenon. Although the country has supplied chemical inputs for cocaine production in Colombia since the 1990s, there were few spikes in violence or power struggles…

May 23, 2024


Positioning Aden

Gregory Brew and Kaleb Demerew on oil and the Red Sea

Prior to October 2023, about a seventh  of global maritime trade passed through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea to and from the Suez Canal. As a result of attacks by Houthi fighters on commercial ocean freight traveling…

May 18, 2024


Underdevelopment and War

Dependency, neocolonialism, and the agrarian problem in Colombia

In the 1960s and 70s, the Colombian national government embarked on an ambitious agrarian reform program to address poverty in the increasingly violent countryside. Under the bipartisan project of the National Front, which alternated power between the Conservative and Liberal…

May 16, 2024


The Techno-Patrimonial Welfare State

An interview with Yamini Aiyar on the BJP’s “new welfarism” in India

The success of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the last decade of Indian politics, and its frontrunner status in this year’s parliamentary elections, has often been attributed to its welfare policies. The rise of Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT)—whereby beneficiaries…

May 9, 2024


Supply-Side Healthcare?

The politics of hospital care and construction

In 2019, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that deregulated new hospital construction and unleashed a “hospital-building boom.” Some 65 new hospitals were planned in the three years after DeSantis signed the bill ending decades-old regulations on…

May 2, 2024


Partners in Growth?

Tata and the evolution of state-capital relations in independent India

With general elections continuing into early June, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are poised to begin a second decade in power. In the realm of political economy, it is meant to be the…


July 11, 2024


Strategic Interdependence

Supply chains and the US-China rivalry

Geopolitical rivalry and strategic competition are now common parlance in describing international politics and global business. Yet, a large part of misconception stems from a severe lack of understanding about the degree of interdependencies and healthy competition permeating important supply…

July 4, 2024


The View From Nairobi-Washington

Debt, austerity, and Kenya’s global positioning

On June 25, crowning a dramatic, nationwide tax revolt, demonstrators in Nairobi stormed Kenya’s parliament buildings. President William Ruto’s new finance bill, introduced in Parliament in May, sought to increase levies on everything from bread and money transfers to sanitary…

June 28, 2024


Trade and the Manufacturing Share

Tariffs, manufacturing, and US capital controls

One of the concerns in American policy circles in recent years has been the long-term impact of foreign trade and industrial policies on the health and strength of American manufacturing. The Trump and Biden administrations tried to address this weakness…

June 27, 2024


Battery Supremacy

Hungary’s role in Europe’s EV industry

In the Summer of 2022, Viktor Orbán sparked international outrage by lamenting that countries where Europeans and non-Europeans mingle were “no longer nations.” Amid the uproar, a dramatic pronouncement in the same speech largely escaped notice: Orbán declared his ambitions…

June 8, 2024


Claudia Sheinbaum’s ascension to the Presidency, Morena’s rising majority in congress, and the party’s expansion in local governance occasions the possibility of major constitutional reforms and has left international investors concerned about a less business-friendly environment in Mexico. Outgoing president AMLO’s social programs, cash transfers, pro-worker reforms, and…

June 1, 2024


Last Friday, a massive landslide occurred in the Enga province of Papua New Guinea, killing over 2,000 people and blocking access to the Porgera Gold Mine, which has been able to continue operating without restrictions due to an on-site fuel stockpile. A tectonically volatile…

A Safe Haven for Hidden Risks

Inside the Treasury market

Perceptions are shifting regarding the US fixed-income market. In September 2019, interest rates on overnight repos unexpectedly spiked, leading the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to inject $75 billion in liquidity. In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a…

May 25, 2024


In February, Chinese regulators took disciplinary action against Shanghai Weiwan Fund Management for using high-frequency trading (HFT) in stock futures to circumvent transaction limits. And this week, British regulators fined Citi Bank for improperly implementing algorithmic trading in 2022. Analysts have linked HFT practices to flash…

May 23, 2024


The Productivity Gap

Rethinking corporate-led industrialization in India

Standard development economics anticipates that the composition of a country’s labor force will go hand in hand with the composition of output, reflected in the division between the primary, secondary, and services sectors. But contemporary India, as well as several…

May 18, 2024


On May 13, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Order No. 1920, the most comprehensive overhaul to electric transmission policy in over a decade. The new rule adopts requirements for transmission operators to conduct long-term transmission planning over a 20-year time horizon and includes a provision…

Subscribe to Phenomenal World Sources, a weekly digest of recommended readings across the social sciences. See the full Sources archive.


Series are collections of works published by Phenomenal World on a single subject or area of research. Series are commissioned to analyze particular issues or historical moments, and are either ongoing projects or collected as one-time volumes.

Browse all