Professora Titular do Departamento de Economia da Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade da Universidade de São Paulo (FEA-USP). Pesquisadora do Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq).

May 23, 2024

Interviews

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 23, 2024

Analysis

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 20, 2024

Sources

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…

May 18, 2024

Analysis

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 17, 2024

Analysis

Great Green Wall

Cat and mouse games are afoot

Biden’s announcement this week to sharply raise tariffs on Chinese imports is an escalation in the yearslong tariff war on China. The new tariffs specifically target green goods, most notably electric vehicles, duties on which have now quadrupled to 100…

May 16, 2024

Interviews

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 11, 2024

Sources

Last Thursday, Exxon completed its $60 billion acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources, thereby becoming the largest shale oil producer in the Permian basin. The FTC has approved the merger on the condition that Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield be banned from joining Exxon’s board due to alleged collusive…

May 9, 2024

Analysis

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 4, 2024

Sources

In the past month, students have occupied 142 universities across the world to demand an academic boycott and divestment from companies and institutions that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. More than 2,000 protesters have been arrested across US campuses. 

May 2, 2024

Analysis

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…

May 2, 2024

Analysis

The Iron Farm Bill

Agricultural policy coalitions in the age of climate crisis

Agriculture directly accounts for 10 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions, which do not include onsite fossil-fuel use, come from soil and manure management and the digestive processes of ruminants, mostly cattle. Worse, there is a substantial “carbon…

April 27, 2024

Sources

On Wednesday, Prabowo Subtiano was officially declared the winner of Indonesia’s 2024 election. The former defense minister has promised to continue the legacy of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, with an agenda that includes industrial downstreaming, infrastructure development, and "good neighbor" policies with both the US and China.

April 25, 2024

Analysis

Illiberal Developmentalism

Indonesia under Prabowo

The election of Prabowo Subianto to the Indonesian presidency two months ago has been warmly welcomed by business and political elites in the country. The day following the result, the Jakarta composite index rose by 1.3 percent, a tacit sign…

April 25, 2024

Interviews

A Progressive Tax Reform?

An interview with José Antonio Ocampo, Colombia’s former Minister of Finance

In 2022, Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s first left-wing president of the twenty-first century, emerged victorious alongside a coalition of liberal ministers experienced in the public sector and academia. One key figure in this coalition was José Antonio Ocampo, an academic with…

April 25, 2024

Analysis

Desenrola Brazil

Debt management as social policy under Lula 3

Credit in Brazil—and particularly consumer credit—is expensive, but ubiquitous. Exclusion from the credit market, where basic needs not covered by wages are increasingly financed, is now a threat to the very social reproduction of the working classes. Accordingly, the massive…

April 20, 2024

Sources

On April 11, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attended the first trilateral summit between Japan, the United States, and the Philippines. Kishida promised to double Japan's defense outlay to 2% of GDP by 2027, making its military budget the world's third largest, behind only the United States and China.

April 18, 2024

Analysis

The Origins of Conditionality

How the IMF turned to austerity

Contemporary debates around the governance of the global economy often center on the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), arguably the most powerful international organization that—among other responsibilities—provides loans to countries in economic crisis. The most recent iteration of…

April 17, 2024

Analysis

New World Order?

Lender(s) of last resort, dollar dominance, and the global financial safety net

We live in a dysfunctional system in which money flows out of the countries that need it most and into the coffers of the wealthiest. In 2023, the private sector collected $68 billion more in interest and principal repayments than…

April 13, 2024

Sources

Last week, the EPA announced eight awardees who will receive funding under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), a $27 billion financing program established in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The GGRF aims to bring private investment toward low- to zero-emission projects in communities…

April 11, 2024

Analysis

The Electric Vehicle Developmental State

BYD exemplifies transformations in Chinese industrial policy

The rise of the Chinese EV industry has been enabled not only by generous government subsidies but also by profound changes in strategy and organization, and in particular by a distinctive revival of vertical integration—at both individual firm and national…

April 10, 2024

Events

Profit and Power

An event with Brett Christophers, Kyle Chan, Melanie Brusseler, and Robinson Meyer.

On April 23, 2024, join us for a discussion on profits, prices, and the green energy transition, on the occasion of Brett Christophers’s new book The Price Is Wrong, featuring: Register here.

April 6, 2024

Sources

Upon entering office in December, Argentina's President Javier Milei has attempted a "shock" adjustment—devaluing the peso by more than 50 percent against the dollar in order to reduce the country's trade deficit. The move has increased consumer prices and dramatically reduced real incomes, unleashing social…

April 5, 2024

Analysis

Inflation as Distributive Struggle

Milei’s relationship with the unions will determine the fate of his government

On January 24, 2024, Argentina’s General Confederation of Labor (CGT) called for a twelve-hour general strike—the first in almost five years—just forty-five days into President Javier Milei’s term. This action was a direct response to the first measures proposed by…

April 5, 2024

Events

Two Discussions in São Paulo

Inaugurating PW’s expansion in Latin America with Minister of Finance Fernando Haddad and historian Adam Tooze

To inaugurate the editorial and geographic expansion of PW’s work in Latin America, we hosted two panel discussions looking at Brazil’s position within the global system and the near-term prospects and obstacles for transformative economic policy in the country. Panel…

April 3, 2024

Analysis

The Debt Poor

Financialization, debt and the underestimation of poverty in Brazil

The 2008 financial crisis was an unprecedented demonstration of financialization in capitalism today. In the US, the collapse of real estate values revealed how formal credit channels—imagined as mechanisms of wealth creation—had brought unsustainable levels of household indebtedness down into…

March 30, 2024

Sources

As the Lula administration tries to balance spending with fiscal rules compliance, some investors have cast doubt on the government's target of erasing Brazil's primary fiscal deficit by next year.

March 29, 2024

Analysis

The Visible Hand

China’s investments into research and development

China has transformed into a leading force in science, technology, and innovation (STI). With rapidly rising research and development (R&D) expenditure, a larger and increasingly high-quality talent pool, and impressive scientific publication and patenting statistics, the country is set to…

March 28, 2024

Analysis

The First New Deal

Planning, market coordination, and the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933

The National Industrial Recovery Act is commonly counterposed to antitrust. But at the time, the antitrust camp had little truck with the self-coordinating market ideal. Resistance to public price coordination experiments, meanwhile, particularly among conservative jurists, was also not based…

March 23, 2024

Sources

In January, Haiti paid Venezuela $500 million to settle $2.3 billion in arrears from PetroCaribe loans. Between 2005 and 2014, PetroCaribe became the largest single source of concessional finance to Caribbean countries, more than doubling US foreign assistance to the region.

March 21, 2024

Analysis

Offshore Treasure

ExxonMobil, Venezuela, and the battle for Guyana’s oil

Since the discovery of some of the world’s largest oil reserves in 2015, Guyana has entered a period of economic and geostrategic reconfiguration. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Guyana holds the sixth-largest oil reserves in the Americas and…

March 21, 2024

Analysis

100 Days of Milei

Argentina under the “chainsaw”

Javier Milei’s election to the Argentine presidency in November sent shockwaves throughout the country. While the media personality was not altogether an outsider, his party La Libertad Avanza (LLA), formed in 2021, fundamentally lacked political experience. Until Milei’s inauguration in…

March 16, 2024

Sources

On March 6, Egypt agreed to float its currency in exchange for a $5 billion increase in its current loan program with the IMF. It remains to be seen how long the Egyptian pound may remain flexible, as the inflationary effects of a devalued currency…

March 14, 2024

Analysis

Liberal Blindspots

An interview with Chris Shaw

Protests led by farmers have been roiling Europe for months. In Belgium, Germany, Romania, the Netherlands, Poland, and France, farmers—armed with grievances ranging from subsidized Ukrainian grain imports to the EU-Mercosur trade deal and falling prices—have been taking to the…

March 14, 2024

Analysis

Egyptian Leverage

The IMF invests in the Egyptian dictatorship’s structural payments imbalance

Cairo’s role in a US-backed regional security architecture makes the military dictatorship a regional giant too big to fail. The Sisi regime, like its predecessors, is keenly aware of this status and leverages it to secure the acquiescence of creditors…

March 9, 2024

Sources

Last year, the Brazilian senate enshrined the controversial Milestone Thesis (marco temporal) into law, whereby indigenous groups can only make land claims on territories they occupied before October 1988. The new legislation opens the door to road-building, dam construction, and mining activities in indigenous…

March 7, 2024

Interviews

Petrobras in Transition

An interview with Cibele Vieira of the Oil Workers’ Federation of Brazil

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s campaign for his third term as Brazil’s president was defined by the idea of reconstruction. This encompassed both a political recovery from the antidemocratic reign of Jair Bolsonaro as well as the promise of reindustrialization…

March 2, 2024

Sources

The CHIPS and Science Act aspires to draw the manufacturing of US leading technologies back into domestic supply chains. Speaking on the policy's implementation, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo stated earlier this week that the US is on track to manufacture 20 percent of leading-edge logic chips…

March 2, 2024

Analysis

Oil Linkages

State-led development in Angola and Nigeria

Oil and gas producers in Africa face unique challenges in pursuing state-led development. The resource curse, and specifically the phenomenon of “Dutch disease”, which inflates the value of the local currency, makes exporting local products abroad difficult. As long as…

February 29, 2024

Analysis

Total Peace?

Gustavo Petro’s government negotiates with the ELN

Gustavo Petro’s presidency marks a turning point in Colombia’s democratic history. Not only is Petro the first leftist in government, but he has also made achieving peace a central objective of his progressive agenda. The Colombian armed conflict has been…

February 24, 2024

Sources

In light of Israel’s assault on Gaza post-October 7 and growing instability in the region, S&P Global and Moody’s have both downgraded Israel's credit rating to "negative." Israeli finance minister and extremist settler Bezalel Smotrich called the revisions "alarmist" and politically motivated. 

February 24, 2024

Analysis

The G20 in the South

The Brazilian Presidency in 2024

In December 2023, Brazil began presiding over the G20. The one-year presidency, which will culminate in the annual summit being hosted in Rio de Janeiro in November 2024, is the third of four terms from the global South—following Indonesia in…

February 17, 2024

Sources

On Thursday, a few months ahead of nationwide elections, India's Supreme Court banned electoral bonds—anonymous political donations sold by the State Bank of India. Since the Modi government introduced electoral bonds in 2017, more than $1.9 billion in secret donations have been distributed to political parties. 

February 15, 2024

Analysis

Red Sea Rivalries

Egypt, Ethiopia, and histories of maritime war

Every few years, a crisis in the Red Sea makes global headlines. In 2014, the Yemeni Civil War spilled into the Red Sea after the Houthis captured the capital Sana‘a and dissolved the parliament. As a warning, the Houthis allegedly…

February 10, 2024

Sources

The inflation slowdown in the United States stabilized in the last half of 2023 at approximately 3.1 percent. A January report by Liz Pancotti and Lindsay Owens of Groundwork Collaborative attributes most of the rise in prices during the last quarter to corporate profits. 

February 10, 2024

Interviews

Milei and the World

An interview with Maia Colodenco on Argentina’s foreign policy

It didn’t take long for the new President of Argentina, Javier Milei, to don gloves in the international arena and showcase his libertarian approach to foreign policy. Some political gestures have already stirred conflicts with Brazil and China—the country’s two…

February 3, 2024

Sources

New data released by China's General Administration of Customs in January provides insight into China's economic relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean. Since the pandemic, China has substantially recalibrated its direct investment, moving away from large-scale infrastructural projects associated with the Belt…

January 27, 2024

Sources

On Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, marking a triumph for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and far-right Hindu groups including the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The temple was built on the…

January 27, 2024

Analysis

The Falling Lira

Turkey’s state of permanent crisis

Since late 2021, the Turkish economy has been shattering conventional economic expectations. With deeply negative real interest rates, high inflation, a large and persistent current account deficit, an external debt stock exceeding 50 percent of GDP, and a central bank…

January 25, 2024

Interviews

Brand New India

An interview with Ravinder Kaur on the BJP’s “India Shining” campaign, Hindu nationalist designs, and globalist visions

With India headed to elections this April, the ruling BJP is rolling out enormous publicity campaigns to promote its record on economic growth and Hindu nationalism. Central to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third bid for reelection is the narrative that…

January 20, 2024

Sources

Because of their ability to own property, enter into contracts, and stand in court independently of their owners, charted corporations facilitated the long term capital commitment that often underpinned industrialization. Standard accounts hold that states primarily contributed to the rise of the corporate form…

January 17, 2024

Analysis

Miracle in Reverse

The trials of South Korea’s growth models

The South Korean economy has widely been recognized as the paragon of the East Asian miracle, with rapid economic growth and a fairly equal income distribution. The country continued its upward growth trajectory even in the aftermath of the 1997…

January 13, 2024

Sources

This week, arguments were presented in South Africa's proceedings against Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The landmark case, whose initial results will not be clear for weeks, has placed international law and its voluntary institutions at the…

January 13, 2024

Reviews

Moralizing Money

On Jakob Feinig’s “Moral Economies of Money”

Since 2021, inflation has featured as among the most salient issues in American public discourse, with voters actively awaiting pronouncements from the Federal Reserve. Inflation mattered in the 2022 midterm elections, and it looms large over the 2024 presidential election.…

January 6, 2024

Sources

Houthi-led attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea have caused major disruptions in maritime trade. With land-locked Ethiopia also recently signing an agreement with Somaliland to gain Red Sea access, the trade route is now the site of multiple geopolitical conflicts. 

January 6, 2024

Analysis

External Imbalance

Inflation, exchange rates, and the Argentine peso

In August 2023, a week after winning Argentina’s primary elections, now-president Javier Milei, publicly stated that the Argentine peso was “worth less than excrement.” In the next two days, the dollar-peso parallel exchange rate climbed almost 20 percent, intensifying the…

January 4, 2024

Reviews

The Logic of Austerity

On Clara Mattei’s “The Capital Order”

In the aftermath of 2008, the pace at which capitalist states moved from bailouts and stimulus policies to fiscal belt tightening was jarring. No less striking was the shift in the intellectual framework deployed to make sense of it. While …

December 22, 2023

Analysis

Learning Curves

The trials of offshore wind and tech forecasting

Over the last ten years, the surface of the Earth warmed by another 0.5°C. At the same time, renewable energy grew its share of world electricity production from 5 to over 11 percent. These are the basic coordinates for the…

December 21, 2023

Analysis

Anarcho-Capitalism

Argentina between the IMF and China

Since the early 2000s, Argentine development finance has undergone a profound transformation. Amid cyclical debt defaults and endless negotiations with Western investors and the IMF, Chinese overseas investment loans have slowly crept to the fore. Between 2007 and 2020, Argentina…

December 21, 2023

Analysis

A Year in Crises

Trade, war, labor, and South-North dynamics in 2023

When we launched The Polycrisis a year ago, we set out to examine the intersecting crises in the economy, energy system, commodities markets, geopolitics, and climate. Our aim was to break intellectual and political silos to give a fuller picture…

December 20, 2023

Interviews

Petro at COP28

An interview with Manuel Rodríguez Becerra

Upon entering office in July 2022, Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro voiced a strong stance against fossil fuels, marking a contrast with other left-wing leaders in Latin America who rose to power through resources gained from extractive economies. Petro’s emphatic critique…

December 17, 2023

Sources

In 2023, Phenomenal World sparked discussion across urgent issues of political economy, investigating the IMF, debt, and the dollar; the future of industrial policy in the global South; legacies of the left in Latin America; crucial elections around the world, and more.

December 15, 2023

Interviews

Governing the Climate

An interview with Navroz Dubash on COP28, the history of international climate diplomacy, and the developmentalist turn in climate politics

An interview with Navroz Dubash on COP28, the history of international climate diplomacy, and the developmentalist turn in climate politics

December 15, 2023

Analysis

Constitutional Odysseys

In the upcoming vote, a battle over Chile’s identity

On September 11, 1980—seven years after Augusto Pinochet seized power from democratically elected Salvador Allende in a brutal American-backed military coup—the dictatorship passed a constitution that laid the groundwork for one of the world’s earliest and most enduring neoliberal experiments.…

December 13, 2023

Interviews

Milei’s Argentina

An interview with Mercedes D’Alessandro

On December 10, the fortieth anniversary of Argentina’s redemocratization, Javier Milei was sworn in as the country’s new president. Milei—a far-right economist who calls himself an “anarcho-capitalist,” denies the existence of the military dictatorship, and claims to be a fan…

December 9, 2023

Analysis

Climate Divergence

The politics of green central banking at the Fed and ECB

Ten years ago, the current predicament of central bankers would seem unthinkable: to what extent should they contribute to society’s response to climate change? As the impacts of climate change have escalated, most central banks have begun to appreciate the…

December 9, 2023

Sources

The global energy transition and the specter of AI have led to predictions of massive changes to the global social and economic system—fundamental transformations of production, employment, and governance.

December 5, 2023

Analysis

Sectoral Strategy

Free trade and the resurgence of industrial policy in Africa

Industrial policy in Africa is back. Beginning last January, Nigeria moved forward with the second phase of  its “Sugar Master Plan,” a flagship industrial policy that began in 2013 to stimulate domestic production. It does this by offering numerous incentives…

December 2, 2023

Sources

In September, Azerbaijan launched a military attack on Nagorno-Karabakh. The majority ethnic Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijani borders has been the site of territorial disputes since its creation within the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic in 1923. But the latest conflagration resulted in a ceasefire whose…

November 30, 2023

Analysis

Industrial Experiments

Variants of industrial policy in the global South

The turn of the twenty-first century brought a reassessment of development economics. The global commodity boom of the 2000s ushered in windfall profits for resource-rich countries in the global South, and with them came new agendas for growth. In 2002,…

November 25, 2023

Sources

election, defeating Sergio Massa of the incumbent Unión por la Patria (UP) coalition. UP has its roots in Peronism, a traditionally left-wing political movement founded by Juan Perón in the 1940s.  

November 22, 2023

Analysis

The Doom Loop

Insurance markets and climate risk

Recent coverage of insurance markets has highlighted the industry’s involvement in the so-called “climate risk doom loop”: looming climate risks and greater disaster damages are raising the price of insurance for real estate and infrastructure assets, exacerbating their owners’ vulnerability…

November 18, 2023

Interviews

Rules of Restraint

Fiscal politics in Brazil, Germany, and the European Union

The majority of countries in the world have some sort of fiscal rule: an institutional constraint on fiscal policies to discourage government overspending and reduce political influence on state expenditure. But these rules have their own politics. As Clara Zanon…

November 18, 2023

Sources

Israel, Egypt, and Jordan are among the world's largest recipients of US foreign aid. Last month, President Joe Biden requested an additional $14.3 billion in assistance to Israel in the context of the war in Gaza. In 2023, Jordan received a total of $1.65 billion in…

November 16, 2023

Analysis

Bearing Risk

Why “derisking” finance is an oxymoron

For the past two centuries in Britain, the US, and other high income countries, financial markets have been venues in which the government provides a relatively safe investment opportunity in the form of government bonds. At the same time, private…

November 11, 2023

Sources

On Nov 7, Portugal's Prime Minister António Costa, of the Socialist Party, resigned as state prosecutors launched an investigation into alleged corruption and "influence peddling" in the context of hydrogen and lithium projects.

November 9, 2023

Analysis

October War

An interview with Guy Laron on the Gaza War, failure of the Netanyahu doctrine, and risks of Middle east conflagration

It is now over a month since Hamas launched its attack on Israel, killing an estimated 1,400 Israelis and taking more than 200 people hostage. Israel’s response has, in Netanyahu’s words, sought to “crush and destroy” Hamas, but the main…


Swap Structure

An interview with Ralph Axel

Have interest rate swaps become the modern repos? In the latest essay in the ongoing series on Market Microstructures, I argue that shifts in the liquidity market have fundamentally altered the function of interest rate swaps (IRS) in the global…

November 4, 2023

Sources

After six weeks of sit-down strikes, the United Auto Workers (UAW) has reached tentative contract agreements with each of the Big Three automakers: Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors. Many of the wage tiers the Big Three installed over a decade ago to reduce labor…


Rate Transformation

Interest rate swaps are modern repos

On September 28, 2023, the Bank of England opened permanent liquidity facilities to nonbanking financial entities—such as pension funds, insurers, and investment funds— many of whom have a role in the interest rate swap market. The move is unprecedented. Historically,…

October 28, 2023

Sources

Driven by urbanization, increased consumption, and rising populations, the global waste and recycling market grew to $57.69 billion last year. Plastic, electronic, and iron waste are among major commodities traded, often from developed to developing countries. 

October 28, 2023

Analysis

The Dollarization Threat

Javier Milei and Argentina’s pivotal election

The results of Argentina’s first-round elections on October 22 were not to be expected. Conservative former security minister and election favorite Patricia Bullrich came in third place, knocking her out of the running for the presidency, which will be decided…

October 26, 2023

Interviews

Oil and Politics in the Mid-Transition

A discussion on the geopolitics of a transitioning global energy system

A world with terminally declining oil demand has never been experienced before, but the growth era for fossil fuels is ending, as many producers, investors and forecasters are acknowledging. This does not put climate goals in close reach, as CO2…

October 25, 2023

Analysis

A Second Twenty Years’ Crisis?

Revisiting E.H. Carr one hundred years on

E.H. Carr’s The Twenty Years’ Crisis (1939), has a well-deserved reputation as a classic text that helped launch the academic discipline of International Relations (IR). Not only did Carr identify and dissect what would emerge as the two leading schools…

October 21, 2023

Sources

Following a violent attack by Hamas on October 7, the Israeli state has laid siege to the Gaza Strip: thousand of bombs have been dropped, electricity has been cut, and food, water, and fuel supplies are running dangerously low. Over 3,785 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis have been…

October 21, 2023

Analysis

Democratic Preconditions

Post-Communism and Poland’s recent elections

Poland’s parliamentary elections last Sunday have led to victory for Donald Tusk and his party, Koalicja Obywatelska (Civic Coalition). Although the ruling Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Right and Justice, or PiS) Party received the largest share of the vote, 35.4 percent,…

October 17, 2023

Analysis

The Oil Revolution

The myths and realities of the oil price shock of 1973

The abrupt quadrupling of the oil price in the final months of 1973 is widely held to have marshalled the end of “a golden age of world capitalism.” Eric Hobsbawm’s standard-setting interpretation defines 1973 as the turning point when the…

October 14, 2023

Sources

Evolving property regimes, labor market structures, and waves of financialization have transformed agriculture in the global South. In recent Phenomenal World essays, authors reveal the different forms by which agriculture is shaped by state policies and increasingly subordinated to global capital markets. 

October 14, 2023

Analysis

The Renters’ Constituency

The politics of homeownership in Australia

In developed economies around the world, housing has been transformed into a major asset. It is no coincidence that rates of homeownership have precipitously increased at the same time as governments in formerly social-democratic countries have reduced basic social safety nets.…

October 12, 2023

Analysis

Hot Labor

Labor movements, labor markets, and mining

The energy transition is underway and the global North is putting up the cash. In our series, we have investigated questions about the international hierarchy of money, the distribution of economic power, and trade wars. Today, we turn to labor,…

October 7, 2023

Sources

Remittances, which surpass half a trillion dollars globally, can dramatically shape recipient economies. India alone received almost $100 billion in remittances in 2022, and the state of Kerala in particular has undergone major shifts as a result of these financial flows. 

October 7, 2023

Analysis

Downstream Industries

Indonesia’s export ban on nickel

A pillar of Indonesia’s unprecedented economic growth over the last decade has been its ban on the export of raw nickel ore. This national experiment in downstream industrial policy began with the 2009 Mining Law signed by former president Susilo…

October 5, 2023

Analysis

The Politics of Fiscal Restraint

Three decades of rule-based fiscal policy in Brazil

The adoption of fiscal rules has emerged as a global trend over the past four decades. While institutional constraints to fiscal policy were uncommon before the 1990s, recent data indicates that they have since been put in force in more…

September 30, 2023

Sources

Joan Robinson (1903-1983), who worked in an era when few women economists were respected in the academy, was a pioneering theorist of capitalism. She rejected the neoclassical notion that just wages were naturally determined through competition among workers and capitalists, instead arguing that monopsonies—a single buyer enforcing…

September 30, 2023

Interviews

Marketing War

An interview with Magdi el Gizouli

Sudan’s ongoing war between two military formations—the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces—has killed thousands and displaced millions. The current crisis follows years of political upheaval across the country. In late 2018, mass protests calling for democratic rule…

September 23, 2023

Sources

The tenth year of China's Belt and Road Initiative will be marked in Beijing at next month's Belt and Road Initiative Forum. Often referred to as a unitary policy project, the BRI consists of a sprawling series of investments spanning continents and infrastructure…

September 16, 2023

Sources

On September 11, 1973, the Chilean military, led by General Augusto Pinochet, and with support from the CIA, overthrew the socialist government of President Salvador Allende. The fiftieth anniversary of the coup has occasioned several reflections on the impact of Pinochet's neoliberal reforms.

September 16, 2023

Analysis

Crisis in the Bread Basket

Investment and agriculture in Punjab

In the run-up to the general elections of 2014, Narendra Modi was hailed across mainstream quarters of journalism and policy-making as the crusader of economic reform and growth in India, a spirit that was only bolstered by the resounding majority…

September 15, 2023

Analysis

Trading Order

Protectionism and interdependence pact?

Export Bans. Sanctions. Investment screens. The liberal trading order has been weaponized; security, not efficiency, is the new watchword. And yet, 2023 has seen an all-time high of goods traded across borders. Even bilateral trade between the warring great powers,…

September 12, 2023

Analysis

Labor’s Green Capital

Pension funds, asset managers, and solar energy

Global investment in solar energy has skyrocketed in recent decades: from 1 TWh of solar power in 2000 to 1,284 TWh in 2022. The trend is likely to be magnified in the United States by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA),…

September 9, 2023

Sources

Since 2020, there have been military coups in six Francophone African countries—Mali, Chad, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, and most recently Gabon. The region has also witnessed unprecedented civic protests against the French government.  In a 2021 book, FANNY PIGEAUD and NDONGO SAMBA SYLLA examine…

September 7, 2023

Analysis

The IRA and Public Schools

Green investment for school infrastructure

Public school buildings in the United States are crumbling. National school infrastructure received a D+ rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2021, and in serious cases, learning environments have become toxic. Given the segregated and unequal nature…

September 2, 2023

Sources

Several investment banks have recently downgraded their growth forecasts for China in response to mounting debt crises, the closure of major real estate firms, and rising youth unemployment.  In a 2013 book, MICHAEL PETTIS examines the fundamental imbalance in China's post-reform economic model, which prioritizes exports over domestic…

September 2, 2023

Interviews

Defining Bidenomics

Industrial policy, labor, and the New Cold War

A new American industrial policy—“Bidenomics”—has arrived, consisting of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act. The proclaimed goals of Bidenomics are to propel a green energy transition to confront climate…

August 31, 2023

Analysis

Grievance and Reform

Will the BRICS bargaining chip bear fruit for smaller and lower-income countries?

The precursor of 2022’s energy crisis was 2020–2021’s vaccine apartheid. These shortages were in no way natural but reflected financial and geopolitical hierarchies: those with more power and resources bid up prices and developing countries lost out in the process.…

August 26, 2023

Sources

Feminist economists have problematized the "unitary" conceptualization of the household, probing the black box of domestic life to explore how allocations of labor and resources are contested within the family. 

August 26, 2023

Analysis

The Investment Climate

The limits of private financing

The world urgently needs financing for renewable energy, infrastructure, public transit, land restoration, and much more to face the storm of climate change. But these necessary capital investments in the green transition face real barriers, such as a high cost…

August 23, 2023

Analysis

Coercion and Inequality

The distributional effects of sanctions in Iran

“Plumbing” is an oft-used metaphor for understanding how sanctions work. Sanctions are intended to stop the flow of money to the targeted government; reserves are frozen, trade is blocked, export revenues dry up, and government budgets are drained. Even the…

August 19, 2023

Sources

From the mid 1960s, a group of international scholars—including Issa G. Shivji, Walter Rodney, John S. Saul, Giovani Arrighi—gathered at the University of Dar es Salaam to study the political and economic issues facing a newly postcolonial Africa. Looking past the…

August 17, 2023

Analysis

Hockey Sticks and Crosses

Images that define the globalization debate

Images that define the globalization debate

August 12, 2023

Sources

Founded in the 1970s in Paris, the Regulation School was a group of scholars who offered a novel conceptualization of economic history. Rejecting the notion of universal economic laws, they presented capitalism's development as a series of phases, each defined by certain social and institutional forms, with an…

August 10, 2023

Analysis

Elusive Boundaries

The politics of public-private relations in Brazilian water provision

In April 2021, private investors gathered at B3, Brazil’s stock exchange, to bid for water concessions in Rio de Janeiro. The former capital city and its surrounding municipalities had been divided into four “concession blocks,” all of which were up…

August 5, 2023

Sources

Since April 15, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been fighting to take control over Sudan. Extensive war crimes have been committed by both sides. 

August 5, 2023

Analysis

The Agribusiness Pact

The “reprimarization” of the Brazilian economy

Over the past two decades, Brazilian media and political discourse have exalted the uncontroversial success of a magical entity known as “agribusiness.” Closely associated with the rise of commodity exports such as soy, sugarcane, and corn, “agribusiness” has come to…

August 3, 2023

Analysis

Global Boiling

Stocks and flows, action and inaction in the planetary impasse

This July has been the hottest in our recorded history and, most likely, over the last 120,000 years. Four “Heat Domes” across the northern hemisphere—over West Asia, North America, North Africa and Southern Europe—contributed to soaring temperatures, not just breaking…

July 29, 2023

Sources

Between the late 1950s and the 1970s, several European commercial banks formed clubs to share information and collaborate on services. 

July 29, 2023

Interviews

Fragile Democracies

An interview with Pranab Bardhan

Pranab Bardhan is Professor Emeritus of Economics at University of California, Berkeley. Among the foremost global scholars of development, distribution, and trade, his twelve books and more than one hundred fifty journal articles cross disciplinary boundaries in an effort to…

July 27, 2023

Reviews

Constructing “Social Europe”

Alternative visions for European cooperation

Accounts on the rise of neoliberalism commonly emphasize the exhaustion of post-war systems of embedded liberalism during the economic crises of the 1970s and the parallel internationalization of economic activity. In Europe, this latter process is especially, and controversially, associated…

July 22, 2023

Sources

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador came to power in 2018 vowing to end the country's war on drugs. Yet, as he nears the end of his six-year tenure, the immensely complex drug trade continues to yield high levels of violence.


Working Capital

Tim van Bijsterveldt on transformations in the global payments system

The Federal Reserve has provided payment and settlement services for more than a century. But FedNow, the instant payments service rolled out in late June 2023, is the first new Fed payments rail in 50 years. Though payment and settlement…

July 20, 2023

Analysis

Washington-Paris-London Calling

Modi, Mottley, Zelenskyy’s attempts to change the existing world order

On June 22, three leaders of developing countries made expeditions to three different Western capitals to plead their case for greater support from the rich world. Viewed jointly, these demands—largely successful—provide a neat panorama of the escalating global crises of…

July 15, 2023

Sources

The Dutch coalition government collapsed last week, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte resigning after centrist coalition members refused to support highly restrictive policies for refugees. 


Global Payments

Systemic risk and the end of LIBOR

The last day of June marked the final printing of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR)—an average of anticipated interest rates among London banks which has thus far served as the benchmark for short term and off-shore lending around the…

July 8, 2023

Sources

Many post-colonial governments have attempted to pass land reforms to abolish feudal relations and promote equitable development. This process remains incomplete.

July 8, 2023

Analysis

Solar Ambitions

Can Spain become a leading producer of renewable energy?

In Spain’s forthcoming snap elections, the energy transition is high on the agenda, and solar power at the forefront. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has often expressed ambitions to make Spain the lead producer of solar electricity on the continent, positioning…

July 5, 2023

Analysis

The Myth of Underdevelopment

Legal autonomy and land reform in Jammu and Kashmir

On August 5, 2019, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah presented the draft of the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Reorganization Bill in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament. The bill threatened to permanently alter the legal, political, and…

July 1, 2023

Sources

Sovereign credit ratings—typically issued by Moody's, Fitch, and Standard and Poor's—strongly determine the volume of credit extended to a government and on what terms.

July 1, 2023

Analysis

Parallel Systems

China, the IMF, and the future of sovereign debt financing

At the start of her three-nation tour of Africa this January,  US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke to the Associated Press in Senegal, bemoaning the “piling, unsustainable debt” that, she said, “plagued” many African countries. This was a “problem,” she…

June 29, 2023

Analysis

Carbon Budget versus Fiscal Budget

What’s at stake in the fiscal rules debate?

Negotiations at the Summit for a Global Finance Pact in Paris last week took place between fifty heads of state. They revolved around how poor countries might develop and decarbonize, within the confines of the existing financial system. A common…

June 24, 2023

Sources

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently on an official state visit to the United States. President Joe Biden is widely understood to be courting India as a strategic partner against China. 

June 24, 2023

Analysis

Semi-Politics

Intel and the future of US chipmaking

Since the late 1970s, cutting edge semiconductors have figured at the heart of the political economy of the United States. Often called the “crude oil of the information age,” they have become increasingly ubiquitous and are now considered the basic…

June 21, 2023

Analysis

Feasibility Pact?

Systemic reform, debt, and political feasibility at the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris

A brewing sovereign debt crisis threatens to engulf as many as sixty-one countries in debt distress over the coming year. Aid flowing from the global North—which carries the most responsibility for the atmospheric carbon stock—to the global South—which bears the…

June 17, 2023

Sources

Wassily Leontief (1906–99) was a Russian-born American economist who pioneered Input-Output analysis, which models the interdependence of an economy’s various productive sectors.

June 17, 2023

Interviews

Varieties of Derisking

Industrial policy, macrofinance, and the green transition

In recent years, the debate over climate policy has moved away from the earlier consensus in favor of carbon pricing and towards an investment-focused approach, illustrated by the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), along with other similar measures…

June 15, 2023

Analysis

Mottley in Paris, Modi in DC

Prospects for the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact

Next week, a couple of dozen heads of state—from countries including China, Brazil, Indonesia, and almost a dozen African countries, among them Kenya, Zambia, and Senegal—will gather in Paris for the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact. Instigated by…

June 10, 2023

Sources

The farm bill, an omnibus package of legislation passed every five years, is due for reauthorization in September. Funds for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, are tied to the bill. 

June 7, 2023

Analysis

Risk Politics

ESG and the politicization of finance

In 2022, Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) accounted for 65 percent of all new inflows in exchange traded funds in Europe. Investments in the US are also projected to grow—PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) observes that more than eight out of ten…

June 3, 2023

Sources

Last month, the liberal Move Forward party won the most seats in Thailand's central elections. Its policy proposals include amending the lèse majesté law, which imposes long jail sentences on those convicted of insulting the royal family.  

June 3, 2023

Reviews

Supply-Side Coalitions

On Brent Cebul’s “Illusions of Progress: Business, Poverty, and Liberalism in the American Century”

The Biden administration’s multifaceted industrial strategy of the past two years has ushered in an ill-defined transition away from neoliberalism. In response to the lingering supply chain constraints created by the pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, as well as…

June 2, 2023

Events

Varieties of Derisking

A panel discussion on industrial policy, state capacity, macrofinance, and the green transition

On Tuesday June 6, Phenomenal World and the Polycrisis hosted a discussion on industrial policy, state capacity, macrofinance, and the green transition. Watch the full recording of the event here. The discussion featured: Skanda Amarnath (Employ America), Melanie Brusseler (Common…

June 1, 2023

Analysis

Friends With (Metal) Benefits

Australia’s bid for “friendshoring” in the shifting green world order

When Americans ran short on baby food last year, President Joe Biden made use of a Korean War-era authority—the Defense Production Act (DPA)—to airlift goat milk from Australia, despite protectionist howls from American formula companies. Operation Fly Formula funded the…

May 31, 2023

Analysis

Industrial Transformations

Lessons from development economics for industrial policy design

The latest US experiment with industrial policy—exemplified by the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—has sparked outright opposition and pleas for restraint, but also calls for a far more ambitious action.

May 27, 2023

Sources

Since the invasion of Ukraine, a growing financial alliance between Russia and China has prompted discussions around threats to US dollar hegemony. But despite the rise of the Renminbi and other currencies, many argue that the dollar remains dominant.

May 27, 2023

Analysis

Pecuniary Salvation

Monetary financing at the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve, and the European Central Bank

Monetary financing—the issuance of public money to support public expenditure—has in recent times become a policy taboo. The message from economists to politicians, policymakers, and society more broadly is often that any central bank support for public expenditure is likely to destroy…


Making Markets

An interview with Douglas Cifu on the SEC

The Gamestop bubble of 2021—where the value of the company’s stocks increased more than a hundred times over in just a few months—exemplified the rising trend of the meme stock frenzy. The event shed light on the role of retail…

May 20, 2023

Sources

The first international labor convention in 1919 declared the adoption of an 8-hour work day or a 48-hour work week. But for decades following, labor time standards varied greatly throughout European colonies, reflecting different forms colonial rule across and within empires.

May 20, 2023

Analysis

Green Industrial Strategy

The scale and scope of Biden’s landmark climate investments

The Inflation Reduction Act is the most significant piece of climate legislation in US history. Alongside its three other major legislative achievements, the Biden administration has passed between $500 billion and $1.2 trillion worth of new climate spending, depending on…

May 18, 2023

Analysis

A New Foreign Policy

To beat China you must become China

Leaders need followers. Last month, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan delivered a speech outlining the Biden administration’s international economic policy at the Brookings Institute in Washington. The “New Washington Consensus” was not directed at citizens but at capitals abroad.…

May 13, 2023

Sources

Alice H. Amsden (1943-2012) was a pathbreaking developmental economist who examined East Asia's economic rise in the late twentieth century. 

May 13, 2023

Analysis

Reforming the IMF

The global monetary hierarchy and steps towards change

In March 2023, the US Federal Reserve expanded its balance sheet by $300 billion. Following the run on Silicon Valley Bank, the Fed provided emergency lending through a brand-new bank lending facility that accepted US treasuries at face value (higher…

May 10, 2023

Analysis

Two-Price Economy

Minsky, First Republic Bank, and the paradox of contemporary monetary policy

The crisis affecting US and some European banks shows little sign of abatement. Following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank earlier in the year, First Republic last week became the latest mid-size US bank to be bought up by a…

May 6, 2023

Sources

Last month, the Chilean government announced plans to nationalize the country's lithium industry, which is dominated by two companies, Sociedad Química y Minera (SQM) and Albemarle. 

May 5, 2023

Analysis

The End of the Cold Peace

Can the Asian growth miracle survive?

Watch the Korean Peninsula. It is in South Korea that the New Cold War has most visibly upset the delicate balance between industry, security, and domestic politics. South Korea’s growth miracle has been based on deterrence and detente between China,…

April 29, 2023

Sources

The G20's Common Framework is meant to help poor countries restructure their debts following the expiration of Covid-era measures like the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). The Framework notably sought to coordinate debt relief between "Paris Club" creditors and states like China and India. 


Best Execution?

SEC regulations and the future of retail trading

Recent years have seen the rise of the meme stock frenzy—a wave of stock purchases driven by social media trends. This tendency culminated with the Gamestop bubble of 2021, in which the value of the company’s stocks increased more than…

April 27, 2023

Analysis

The Revival of Neomercantilism

Global rivalries and prospects for cooperation

Amid intensifying geopolitical and economic rivalries, policymakers around the world—including those in the United States and European Union—are increasingly turning to neomercantilist industrial policies to promote the wealth and power of their states. This trend has been reinforced by the…

April 22, 2023

Sources

Italian scholar Giovanni Arrighi (1937-2009) was one of the foremost proponents of the discipline of World Systems Theory. His research subjects included decolonization in Africa, industrial and agricultural change in Italy, and state capitalism in China—all developments he analyzed in the light of global economic relations. 

April 20, 2023

Analysis

The Gigantic Austerity Drive Underway

Two billion people are suffering austerity as governments follow IMF diktat

We are quietly witnessing the largest shift to austerity undertaken in this century. Debt-strained developing countries are making further cuts to already ragged budgets, in many cases as they battle to meet punishing new conditions demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which held…

April 19, 2023

Analysis

Testing Loyalties

A year later, the Russia sanctions and an emerging geopolitical order

Pain and resolve: have we reached the beginning of the end of sanctions?

April 15, 2023

Sources

In 1990, the United Nations Security Council, led by the US, imposed a broad swathe of sanctions on Iraq in response the country's attack on Kuwait. Most of the sanctions remained in place when the US launched a ground invasion of Iraq in 2003. 


Inside the Black Box

Examining the microstructures of the financial system

We live in a period of unparalleled financial complexity, and, as the history of recent decades has demonstrated, unparalleled financial risk. The recurring crises which plague the global economy have brought theorists of systemic instability to the fore. Key among…


Illusions of Decontrol

The myth of Germany’s “social market economy”

The founding myth of modern Germany can be traced back to June 20, 1948, when Ludwig Erhard, economic director of the Anglo-American occupation zone in Germany, created the Deutsche Mark. To stabilize the new currency, he paired the paper issue…

April 8, 2023

Sources

After the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announced that it would protect all depositors, including those with amounts over $250,000.

April 6, 2023

Analysis

Mercantilist Deals of the Great Powers

Decoupling from China is an uphill task in both the global North and the global South

This is the twelfth edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. The maiden flight of a new cargo route between Shenzhen and São Paulo took off on…

April 5, 2023

Analysis

The Eurochip

The quest for the European microchip from the 1980s to the present

The headline “World trade war looms over microchip accord” might recall current commercial disputes around semiconductor supplies. In fact, it appeared in an issue of Nature in February 1987, when the US had signed bilateral agreements with Japan to promote…

April 1, 2023

Sources

Last week, Shaw Fain won the presidency of the United Auto Workers (UAW), defeating incumbent Ray Curry of the Administration Caucus. The election comes in the wake of a federal investigation that discovered widespread corruption among UAW leadership. 

April 1, 2023

Analysis

Banks as Hedge Funds?

The failure of Silicon Valley Bank

Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) short lifespan—from October 17, 1983 to March 10, 2023—has been witness to crucial transformations in the world of modern banking. The bank’s collapse has sparked wide ranging reflections on the roots of the crisis, the utility…

March 30, 2023

Analysis

The Imperial Fed

Colonial currencies and the pan-American origins of the dollar system

The Federal Reserve is commonly depicted as an institution set up to fulfill domestic functions, only later taking on its significant international and geopolitical dimensions. This view sees the Fed’s origins in various domestic concerns, such as bankers’ desire to…

March 25, 2023

Sources

British scholar Susan Strange (1923-98) is a founding figure of the discipline of International Political Economy (IPE). Beginning in the 1970s, she combined insights from the fields of economics and international relations to show how the integration of national financial markets and cross-border capital mobility was transforming…

March 25, 2023

Reviews

No Alternative?

On Fritz Bartel’s The Triumph of Broken Promises

The Triumph of Broken Promises by Fritz Bartel is a new history of the end of the Cold War. Challenging conventional narratives that focus on Reagan’s military-ideological assertiveness or Gorbachev's openness to reform, the book gives a material and structural…

March 23, 2023

Analysis

Stranded Countries and Stranded Assets

Outsourcing the energy transition to the Gulf

This is the eleventh edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. The US routinely flouts its international climate financing commitments, rarely delivering on its promises. Last year, for example,…

March 18, 2023

Sources

The South Korean government recently announced that it would compensate Koreans who served as forced laborers for Japanese corporations under colonial rule. The reparation funds will be raised domestically; Japanese corporations will not contribute. 

March 16, 2023

Analysis

Red Finance

The wartime communist market experience in China

In terms of its size, dynamism, and degree of global integration, China’s market economy is extraordinary. Though it’s known officially as a “socialist market with Chinese characteristics,” its market features far predate the 1978 decision on “reform and opening.” The…

March 11, 2023

Sources

Last month, in order to enforce stronger content moderation and transparency rules, the European Union's 2022 Digital Services Act began requiring major social media platforms in Europe to self-report their user size. Days later, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Section 230, which protects platforms from being liable for…


Profits, Prices, and Power

The first postwar tightening cycle and perspectives on today’s inflation

If they are remembered at all, the 1950s are now thought of as a lost golden age of stable growth and political economic consensus. But the second half of the decade saw rising prices, tightening financial conditions, diminished industrial employment,…

March 9, 2023

Analysis

Cash, Cars, Chemicals (and Corn)

Three big decarbonization plots

This is the tenth edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. Decarbonization—reducing the output of invisible CO2 molecules into the atmosphere—requires nothing less than remaking the chemical basis of…

March 4, 2023

Sources

On February 6, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck large parts of Turkey and Syria. Since then, the death toll has risen above 50,000 and over 160,000 buildings have collapsed. 

March 3, 2023

Analysis

Wall Street Consensus a la Française

Development agendas at the Gabon One Forest Summit

Since his election in 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron has periodically committed to resetting France’s relationship with Africa. In 2020, his so-called Macron Doctrine denounced the Washington Consensus for creating a “capitalism that has become financialized, that has become over-concentrated…

March 1, 2023

Analysis

The IMF Trap

Debt, austerity, and inequality in Sri Lanka’s historic crisis

Massive demonstrations that swept Sri Lanka last year exposed the serious challenges at the heart of the global economy. In July 2022, former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was forced to flee the country, only a few months after announcing a hasty…

February 25, 2023

Sources

On February 3, a freight train operated by Norfolk Southern derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. The major accident was later declared "100 percent preventable." Falling safety standards in the industry can be traced back to the Staggers Act of 1980, which spurred deregulation. Examining the aftermath of this shift, a…

February 25, 2023

Reviews

Money as Empire?

On Perry Mehrling’s “Money and Empire: Charles P. Kindleberger and the Dollar System”

Money makes the world go round, or as Karl Marx put it, Geldgespräche, Quatsch-Spaziergänge. How does this work at the global or international level? Perry Mehrling’s elegantly written biography of the MIT economist Charles Poor Kindleberger illuminates the relationship between…

February 23, 2023

Analysis

Debt and Power in Pakistan

The subcontinent’s embattled debtor isn’t merely the passive victim of the climate crisis— it is being plundered by its elites

The subcontinent’s embattled debtor isn’t merely the passive victim of the climate crisis—it is being plundered by its elites.

February 22, 2023

Analysis

Crisis Response

European Central Bank policy in 2008 and 2020

At the dawn of the newly implemented Eurozone, Lorenzo Bini Smaghi and Daniel Gros argued that three broad issues might present problems for Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Bini Smaghi, then Director for International Affairs at the Italian Treasury,…

February 18, 2023

Sources

Chile has long been known in the region for relatively steady growth paired with high levels of income inequality. The country's economic trajectory has been linked to its "labor flexibilization" policies implemented under Pinochet, which have not changed substantially since the transition to democracy in 1990.

February 18, 2023

Reviews

The Sanctions Age

On Agathe Demarais’s “Backfire: How Sanctions Reshape the World Against US Interests”

Charles De Gaulle declared in 1961, “A great state which does not possess [nuclear weapons]… does not command its own destiny.” France became the world’s fourth nuclear power in 1960 following the Gerboise Bleue nuclear test. Yet the command of…

February 15, 2023

Analysis

Securitizing the Transition

The logic of privatization in climate finance

In the eyes of the IMF, a G20 panel, and, lately, the US Treasury Secretary, the time has come for multilateral development banks to adapt their development mandates to the logic of derisking. This tactic—lauded as a solution for “mobilizing”…

February 11, 2023

Sources

Protests against a measure to raise the retirement age in France and news of China's population decline have prompted discussion around aging populations and implications for social policy. 

February 11, 2023

Analysis

The Carbon Triangle

China’s real estate bubble and global emissions

China has ended zero-Covid. The resultant viral tsunami is crashing through China’s cities and countryside, causing hundreds of millions of infections and untold numbers of deaths. The reversal followed widespread protests against lockdown measures. But the protests were not the…

February 9, 2023

Analysis

The EU and the IRA

Supply and demand in the great powers’ decarbonization race

This is the eighth edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. At Davos last month, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced Brussels’ “Green Deal Industrial…

February 8, 2023

Analysis

The Long Run

Austerity’s impacts on GDP

Few economic terms over the last few decades have been more influential than “austerity,” invoked by governments and financial institutions as a blanket solution for economic crises, and inspiring intense debate in the public sphere. Austerity, defined by economists as “a…

February 4, 2023

Sources

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Colombia’s new Minister of Mines and Energy, Irene Vélez Torres, announced that the country's government would not approve any new oil and gas exploration projects. 

February 1, 2023

Analysis

Unraveling Dollarization

State-building, accumulation, and debt in post-revolutionary Georgia

The financial crises of the 1990s in Asia, Argentina, and Russia sparked growing interest in the phenomenon of dollarization—the use of a foreign currency to perform national currency function. Dollarization, however, has a history dating back to the nineteenth history.…

January 28, 2023

Sources

Last week, over a million people in France marched in protest of President Macron's planned pension reforms. The reforms would raise the retirement age and require workers to contribute a minimum of 43 years in social security payments in order to qualify for a full state pension. 

January 28, 2023

Analysis

Gender and the Great Resignation

Dynamics of gender and class in the Covid-era labor market

The much anticipated “return to normal” after the Covid-19 pandemic has been anything but. In contrast to the aftermath of previous economic crises, workers have not rushed back to work. Each month over a period of nine months in 2021,…

January 26, 2023

Analysis

Don’t Say “Scramble for Africa”

Debt and diplomacy on the African continent

Debt, diplomacy, and the risks of a new Cold War.

January 25, 2023

Analysis

Militarized Adaptation

War, energy, and NATO’s new climate framework

This essay first appeared in GREEN, a journal from Groupe d’études géopolitiques. When NATO held its two-day summit in Madrid in June 2022, the Spanish government deployed ten thousand police officers to cordon off entire parts of the city, including…

January 21, 2023

Sources

Oxfam India's latest report revealed that 84 percent of the country suffered a decline in wealth in 2022, even as the number of billionaires grew from 102 to 142. The report notes reduced state investment in public education and healthcare, along with an increased reliance on indirect…

January 21, 2023

Analysis

Unmaking Orthodoxies

The reputational limits of central banks

After a decade of low or negative interest rates, central banks are back in the business of fighting inflation. One of the clearest signs of the change in monetary policy stance is the largely synchronized tightening across high-income countries—last year,…

January 18, 2023

Reviews

Cold Controls

On Daniels and Krige’s “Knowledge Regulation and National Security in Postwar America”

In an effort to stymie “indigenous” chip development in China, the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) introduced new controls on semiconductor technology exported to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) last October. Targeting high-performance and advanced memory chips,…

January 14, 2023

Sources

This week, Ghana's government reached an agreement to raise public sector salaries by 30 percent in response to rapidly rising inflation, now at 54 percent. In addition to demanding wage increases, the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC)—the nation's largest labor organization—has rejected certain austerity measures proposed by the government,…

January 14, 2023

Analysis

The Dollar and Climate

How US dollar hegemony fuels the climate crisis

The climate crisis offers a new angle from which to evaluate US dollar hegemony, since carbon emissions are tied to economic activity.

January 12, 2023

Analysis

Inflation and Energy

Can clean energy reduce inflationary pressures?

This is the sixth edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. There has been little research into the inflationary implications of either climate change itself, or of responses to climate…

January 12, 2023

Interviews

Emergency Prices

An interview with Isabella Weber

In How China Escaped Shock Therapy (2021), Isabella Weber analyzes how China applied market reforms selectively, avoiding the broad agenda of liberalization advocated for in the West. Retaining oversight of prices for critical goods was key to this strategy.  Recently,…

January 12, 2023

Events

Phenomenal World Books is a new publishing collaboration from Phenomenal World and The University of Chicago Press. The series seeks to elevate the political-economic investigations necessary to understanding the social world. Aimed at cohering a resurgent disciplinary alliance of economics…

January 7, 2023

Sources

In response to escalating industrial unrest, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's newly proposed anti-strike legislation threatens to impose "minimum service levels" in key public sectors. The laws constitute the latest in a longrunning history of state intervention in workplace disputes.

January 7, 2023

Interviews

Sectional Industrialization

An interview with Richard Bensel

Few scholars have done more to elucidate the relationship between democracy and economic development in the United States and its corresponding regional—or “sectional”—antagonisms than Richard Franklin Bensel, the Gary S. Davis professor of government at Cornell University. Among Bensel’s published…

January 4, 2023

Analysis

The Nokia Risk

Small countries, big firms, and the end of the fifth Schumpetarian wave

In the early 2000s, Finland was the darling of industrial and employment policy analysts everywhere. This small country with a population of 5.5 million and a GDP roughly equal to the state of Oregon experienced what looked like a high…

December 22, 2022

Analysis

Facts on the Ground

Uncertainty and information in the global energy system

Assessing the crisis The energy system that underpins contemporary life is marked with blindspots. Take the fossil fuel sector. Facing simultaneous existential and geopolitical vulnerability—due to Russia invading Ukraine, advances in renewable energy, and the climate imperative—there is profound uncertainty…

December 20, 2022

Analysis

Indian Big Business

The evolution of India’s corporate sector from 2000 to 2020

“The systemic, long-term nexus between the political elites and big business will not go away anytime soon,” wrote journalist M. K. Venu  in 2015. Writing in the aftermath of Obama’s second visit to India, Venu suggested that “crony capitalism” had…

December 17, 2022

Sources

Over the past year, Phenomenal World has inspired discussion across spheres of political economy, publishing on topics including the politics of debt and climate, the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflation and its policy responses, and pivotal elections…

December 17, 2022

Analysis

Droughts and Dams

The troubled future of World Bank-funded hydropower in Zambia

Most of Zambia’s grid electricity is generated by hydropower. Over the past decade, recurring droughts—in 2015, 2016, 2019, and now again in 2022—have exposed the deep vulnerabilities in the system. These droughts have unleashed unprecedented power outages, with low reservoir…

December 15, 2022

Analysis

Europe’s “Leap Into the Future”

Do exceptional crisis-fighting policies signal the arrival of an interventionist Europe? 

This is the fifth edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. In 2020, as demand for liquefied natural gas boomed in Asia, the shippable fuel was an afterthought in…

December 10, 2022

Sources

This week's Mercosur summit exposed rifts between the trade bloc's four members—Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay—with Uruguay stating the intention to form trade partnerships outside the bloc, and Argentina pushing for a renegotiation of the 2019 EU-Mercosur agreement.

December 8, 2022

Analysis

Money and the Climate Crisis

COP27 and financing the green transition

The conclusion of COP27 reflected persisting uncertainties around coordinated global action towards decarbonization. Major agreements—including the establishment of a loss and damage fund—were reached, but the burden of mounting debt among global South countries continued to limit climate ambition. The…

December 3, 2022

Sources

After months of negotiations, US congressional lawmakers are desperately trying to avert a national strike on the country's railways. With nearly half of the workforce rejecting the Biden administration's earlier proposals, pressure on business and trade union representatives is rising.

December 3, 2022

Analysis

Realignments

Bolsonarismo and Brazil’s shifting middle-class vote

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva may have won last month’s presidential elections, but the strength of Bolsonarismo has been confirmed. In both houses of the National Congress, Bolsonarismo and its allies made gains, overcoming the traditional right wing. In the…

December 2, 2022

Analysis

Development Bank Self-Sabotage

What’s stopping MDBs?

This is the fourth edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. When the World Bank and IMF make radical noises, the US is typically the voice of restraint. So…

December 1, 2022

Events

Money and the Climate Crisis

A discussion on COP27 and financing the green transition

In November, Phenomenal World hosted the second event of The Polycrisis, tackling the challenges of financing the green transition. The event begins with the major takeaways from COP27 and discusses plans for global coordination—in particular, the Bridgetown Initiative spearheaded by…

November 30, 2022

Interviews

Bittersweet Tides

Chile, Brazil, and the future of the Latin American Left

The recent victories of left parties across Latin America—most recently the election of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil—have prompted comparisons with the Pink Tide of the early 2000s. But with narrow margins of victory against far-right opponents,…

November 21, 2022

Events

The Meddlers

A discussion on the origins of global economic governance

In November 2022, Phenomenal World hosted a panel discussion on Jamie Martin's new book The Meddlers. The text examines the origins of global economic governance following the First World War, looking at institutions such as the League of Nations and…

November 19, 2022

Sources

In September, Hurricane Ian devastated southwestern Florida, with floodwater and power outages causing significant damage to homes and businesses. Rebuilding efforts have since revealed gaps in flood insurance policies.  

November 19, 2022

Analysis

The Wall Street Consensus at COP27

The derisking roll-out at COP27

At COP26, US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry sanguinely declared the need to “de-risk the investment, and create the capacity to have bankable deals. That’s doable for water, it’s doable for electricity, it’s doable for transportation.” UN Special Envoy…

November 18, 2022

Analysis

Collective Action and Climate Finance

Can the COP move markets?

This is the third edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. At UN climate summits, the items that appear on the agenda are usually those that advocates have fought…

November 16, 2022

Reviews

Transatlantic Ties

On Jeremy Green’s The Political Economy of the Special Relationship

Bretton Woods is often associated with les Trente Glorieuses, the triumph of a certain kind of social democratic governance system, and American hegemony in Western Europe. The postwar system of monetary governance represented a form of “regulated” international capitalism subordinate…

November 12, 2022

Sources

Following years of government subsidies, the Chinese aluminum extrusion industry now threatens to wipe out domestic producers in the EU, UK, and US should tariff rates fall too low (the UK is most at risk, with 10.1% rates compared to the EU's 22.1%…

November 12, 2022

Analysis

The Sacrifice Zone

Mining communities in the wake of Chile’s constitutional referendum

In September 2022, 62 percent of Chilean voters rejected the country's proposed new constitution. The defeat took many by surprise—the demands to rewrite the existing charter had been loud and seemingly unanimous. For followers of Chile’s extractive industries, however, the…

November 9, 2022

Analysis

A New Non-Alignment

How developing countries are flouting Western Sanctions and playing the great powers off each other

This essay first appeared in GREEN, a journal from Groupe d’études géopolitiques. In March of this year, as Russia’s war in Ukraine intensified, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a trip to New Delhi to speak with his Indian counterpart…

November 5, 2022

Sources

Earlier this year, India increased its coal production in response to heat wave-induced electricity shortages. The power crisis prompted new concerns around India's efforts towards transitioning to renewable energy, and it exposed deep vulnerabilities in country's fragmented electricity sector.  

November 3, 2022

Analysis

Domestic Politics & Planetary Change

Will a Lula victory be better for the climate than anything that happens at COP27?

Will a Lula victory be better for the climate than anything that happens at COP27?

November 2, 2022

Interviews

Cyborg Trucking

An interview with Karen Levy on surveillance and automation in the trucking industry

The supply and demand whiplashes of the Covid-19 pandemic snarled global supply chains, shaking up labor markets and well-established migration patterns. In the process, existing cracks in logistics and infrastructure systems widened, making these systems newly visible. In the US…

October 29, 2022

Sources

In recent months, over 230,000 claimants have sued multinational conglomerate 3M for faulty products, launching the largest mass tort litigation in US history. In response, the company resorted to the infamous "Texas Two-Step," a bankruptcy scheme which allows companies to sidestep allegations by dividing…

October 26, 2022

Analysis

Town & City

Reading Brazil’s first round election results

Earlier this month, Brazilians went to the polls in an election billed as the most momentous since democratization in 1985. Far-right president Jair Bolsonaro faced off against former two-term president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva. Though Lula did win the…

October 22, 2022

Sources

Last week, Egypt reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF to receive its fourth loan in six years. The nation struggles with a high debt-to-GDP ratio, and its net foreign reserves have plummeted in value since 2019. 

October 20, 2022

Analysis

An Introduction

An introduction to The Polycrisis

This is the first edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. What crisis? A year ago, one might be forgiven for thinking there was a moment of relative calm…

October 19, 2022

Interviews

Ventures & Networks

An interview with Sebastian Mallaby on venture capital

The past year of rampant inflation and energy system chaos is a clear indication that we need paradigmatic change. Any new economic system is going to be anchored by major scientific innovations; historically, spurring these technological transformations has required a…

October 15, 2022

Sources

In late September, India was projected to overtake the UK as the world's fifth largest economy. Though it has since been modified, the country's expected growth rate reflects a steady upswing since the late 1980s.

October 13, 2022

Interviews

The Geopolitics of Stuff

A discussion on supply chains, commodities, and climate

The material economy is back. Economists and commentators in recent decades had heralded (or lamented) the arrival of an automated, redundant, frictionless system of international commerce. But over the past two years, multiple global crises have exposed the fragile physical…

October 12, 2022

Interviews

Who Pays for Inflation?

A conversation on monetary policy, labor, and the definition of inflation

The inflation of the past year has reshaped the political economic landscape in the United States and around the globe. While the IMF and World Bank echo UN calls about the recession risk of globally-synchronized rate hikes, the debate over…

October 8, 2022

Sources

In the first round of Brazil's presidential elections last Sunday, former President Luiz Inácio Lula de Silva received the highest percentage of votes, followed by President Jair Bolsonaro, who performed better than expected to force a runoff. 

October 5, 2022

Events

The Geopolitics of Stuff

The inaugural event of The Polycrisis

“Today, the double whammy of virus and war has brought the world economy of physical goods back with a vengeance. The postmodern myth of lightweight digital exchange has slammed into the reality of semiconductors, shipping liners, and energy shortages” - Lee…

October 1, 2022

Sources

Ongoing interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve combined with the recently published "mini-budget" have sent the UK economy into turmoil, prompting the Bank of England to buy £65 billion in long term government securities.

September 28, 2022

Interviews

Bottom-up Bargaining

An interview with Xiao Ma on the politics of China’s high-speed railways

China’s high-speed railway network is one of the largest infrastructure programs in human history. Though today international headlines emphasize the decline in China’s growth—lagging behind the rest of Asia for the first time since 1990—for more than two decades, the…

September 24, 2022

Analysis

Africa’s Century of Growth?

On Morten Jerven’s The Wealth and Poverty of African States

On May 1, 2014, Nigeria’s then-president, Goodluck Jonathan, addressed a crowd of workers in the country’s capital Abuja.  He declared that “the challenge of the country is not poverty, but redistribution of wealth.” The prompt for his comment was a…

September 24, 2022

Sources

Hurricane Fiona's landfall last week left all of Puerto Rico without electricity, exposing weaknesses in the island's electricity grid following a controversial privatization in June 2021. 

September 20, 2022

Analysis

The Finance Gap

Poverty finance from colonial Kenya to microcredit markets

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ foreword to the UN’s Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development’s 2021 Financing for Sustainable Development report, speaks to a prevalent piece of common sense in global development: Financing for sustainable development is at a crossroads.…

September 17, 2022

Sources

Last week, the referendum to overhaul Chile's Pinochet-era constitution lost by more than 20%. The result was surprising: in 2020, nearly 80% of the population voted in favor of rewriting the constitution, and the country's most recent elections brought progressive…

September 15, 2022

Analysis

Technocracy and Crisis

Stagnation and technocratic rule in Italy

On September 25, Italians will be called to elect a new Parliament. The snap election follows on the heels of the forced resignation of the government in late July, led by former European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi. That…

September 10, 2022

Sources

The recent floods in Pakistan have brought attention to the viability of the country's hydropower projects and the debated role of dams in flood management. 

September 3, 2022

Sources

Mikhail Gorbachev's death has prompted renewed reflections on his domestic, regional, and international legacy.This legacy is of particular interest in light of recent trajectory of the Russian economy.

September 2, 2022

Reviews

Politics and Expertise

On Elizabeth Popp Berman’s Thinking Like an Economist and Paul Sabin’s Public Citizens

Explanations for the rise of neoliberal policymaking in the United States commonly take one of two forms: a political history or an intellectual history. The first focuses on the overlapping crises of the 1970s and the rebalancing political coalitions competing…

August 27, 2022

Sources

Last month, Bangladesh requested a $4.5 billion loan from the IMF in order to deal with its foreign exchange reserves alongside a crisis of rising food and energy prices. The nation's concerns have drawn comparisons to emergencies in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, leading some to question its status as a "development…

August 24, 2022

Analysis

A Permanent Bailout?

Central bank interventions in noncrisis times

The 2008 crisis heralded a new age in central banking. The scale and nature of central bankers’ interventions was unprecedented. Traditionally, as lenders of last resort, central banks lend at escalating rates against good collateral to solvent institutions in times…

August 20, 2022

Sources

In recent months, the UK's rising living costs and stagnant wages have given rise to a series of strikes across railways, hospitals, and Amazon warehouses.A 1995 article by BEVERLY SILVER considers the relationship between labor unrest and economic cycles, drawing on a database of…

August 13, 2022

Sources

Last October, the US was instrumental in the signing of a landmark global tax agreement which mandated the imposition of a 15% corporate tax floor on multinational enterprises. The modified Inflation Reduction Act, however, introduces significant loopholes to this standard.

August 13, 2022

Analysis

Rating Sovereigns

Sovereign ratings in a financialized world

As dark clouds gather on the horizon of the global economy in the third year of the pandemic—with debt stocks swollen, interest costs rising, and growth undermined by energy insecurity and war—policy makers and pundits are anxiously watching sovereign credit…

August 6, 2022

Sources

The past few months have seen record-breaking heat waves across the globe. In India, a deadly heat wave in May renewed questions around the nation's health, safety, and economy.


Pragmatic Prices

An excerpt from How China Escaped Shock Therapy

European and American traditions of economic theorizing on price control are intimately connected with war—practices and debates over price control peaked amid the two world wars. The experience of the First World War had been one of inflation and limited…

July 30, 2022

Sources

This week, Russia’s state-run energy company Gazprom drastically cut gas supplies— delivered via the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 1 pipeline—to Europe. The move amplified longstanding concerns around European dependence on Russian energy.

July 30, 2022

Analysis

Odious Debts

Iraq, Haiti, and the politics of illegitimate debt

In the aftermath of its 2003 invasion of Iraq, the United States was eager to restructure the ailing country’s sovereign debt. International sanctions since the Gulf War meant that Iraq was economically isolated, yet the country had a large stock…

July 28, 2022

Reviews

The Last Days of Sound Finance

On Karen Petrou’s “Engine of Inequality”

When the Federal Reserve turned to unconventional monetary policy in 2008, many feared that we would soon see a return to the wage-price spiral of the 1970s. The combination of deficit spending and monetary ease raised the old specter of…

July 23, 2022

Sources

This month China narrowly missed its growth targets, sparking speculation over the economic impacts of its zero-Covid policy. The contraction was heavily shaped by local governments, who, struggling to get loans from institutional bond investors, have begun to offer high…

July 23, 2022

Interviews

Resource Nationalism and Decarbonization

Revisiting “resource nationalism” in a new era of raw minerals demand

Across Latin America, a recent wave of left electoral victories has drawn comparisons to “Pink Tide” of the early 2000s. The current moment, however, coincides with a global push towards decarbonization, and much of the world’s supply of commodities essential…

July 20, 2022

Interviews

The Economic Style

An interview with Beth Popp Berman

For some, neoliberalism is to blame for most, if not all, of our societal problems, as well as for the resistance to progressive changes that characterizes contemporary policymaking. This is for good reason. As has been extensively documented, the neoliberal…

July 16, 2022

Sources

In the midst of a global semiconductor shortage, the US Senate is considering a bill that would fund $52 billion in chip subsidies for domestic production. Today, the vast majority of semiconductors are produced in East Asia, and 90 percent…

July 16, 2022

Analysis

Development Engines

NAFTA, electric vehicles, and the evolution of Mexico's auto industry

In December 2021, President Joe Biden announced a proposed consumer tax incentive for electric vehicles (EV) made in the US by unionized autoworkers. The tax incentive aims at tackling climate change while also strengthening unionized jobs. It promises to support…

July 9, 2022

Analysis

A New Labor Regime

The BJP's new labor reforms, the construction industry, and the mounting challenges for India’s trade unions

Since coming to power in 2014, India’s right-wing government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced sweeping reforms aimed at strengthening the union government at the expense of the states, and catering to large corporations over smaller establishments and…

July 7, 2022

Interviews

The IMF & the Legacy of Bretton Woods

Global South debt crises and the evolution of the international monetary system

Fifty years on from the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, the role of the international monetary system and international financial institutions in managing the global economy are in question.

July 7, 2022

Sources

Amid the ongoing global energy crisis, French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron has announced the full renationalization of Electricite de France (EDF), the country's decades old multinational electric utility company.

July 2, 2022

Sources

Among the most notable innovations in trade union strategy since the late 20th century has been the rise of shareholder activism. The approach leverages trillions of dollars in trade union pension funds to navigate the financial sector on behalf of…

July 1, 2022

Events

Resource Nationalism & Decarbonization

An event with Thea Riofrancos, Miguel Ángel Marmolejo Cervantes, & Martín Obaya

From Mexico to the Southern Cone, a renewed wave of left-wing electoral victories has yielded comparisons to the “pink tide” of the late-1990s and early-2000s. Where that turn took place in the context of a global commodity boom, these recent…

June 29, 2022

Analysis

Geographies in Transition

Mining-based development and the EU's critical raw materials strategy

Though it failed to resolve a number of contentious issues, the COP26 meeting in Glasgow solidified a consensus around the need for a global transition towards clean energy. Implicated in this transition is the widescale adoption of renewables—we must build…

June 25, 2022

Sources

Amidst food shortages, an energy crisis, and a "complete collapse" of the economy, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa faces mass protests calling for his resignation. At the same time, the government is in negotiations with the IMF around a bailout deal. 

June 22, 2022

Events

Growth & Stagnation

A book launch event for Diminishing Returns

Diminishing Returns, edited by Mark Blyth, Jonas Puntusson, and Lucio Baccaro, is a new volume that examines the politics of growth regimes. In June 2022, Phenomenal World hosted the book's launch event, featuring the editors along with Oddny Helgadottir and…

June 18, 2022

Sources

In March of this year, the London Metal Exchange suspended trading in nickel after a 250 percent price hike brought its value to $100,000 a ton. The cancellation has shaken the commodities exchange's reputation, and inspired a series of fierce…

June 16, 2022

Reviews

Developmental Realism

A review of Eric Helleiner’s The Neomercantilists

Since Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the 2016 US presidential election, defenders of the postwar liberal international order have panicked over the return of their bête noire: neomercantilism. For them, neomercantilism signals a revival of nationalistic protectionism, a surge in…

June 11, 2022

Sources

This week, President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to boost clean energy production, including solar technology, heat pumps, insulation, green hydrogen, and transformers. In recent years, the DPA has strayed from its wartime connotations, from coordinating Covid-19 responses, and more…

June 10, 2022

Analysis

Leapfrog Logistics

Digital platforms, infrastructure, and labor in Brazil and China

In Spring 2018, two significant labor disputes broke out at opposite ends of the earth. The first, in Brazil, was a two-week-long mass strike of 400,000 truckers in response to successive price increases unleashed by the state oil company, Petrobras,…

June 4, 2022

Sources

In recent decades, the global financial system has undergone a series of profound crises. While the impact of these crises has been felt globally, comprehensive reforms have been less immediate.

June 2, 2022

Reviews

General Theories

On Stephen Marglin’s Raising Keynes

In 2022, the audience for books about John Maynard Keynes is probably as large as it has ever been. With two global economic crises followed by widespread use of government interventions, debates recently relegated to history books and academic journals…

May 28, 2022

Sources

This weekend's presidential elections in Colombia could result in the victory of the country's first leftist leader, a center-right former mayor, or a right-wing populist. A central issue is the fate of the 2016 peace deal, with crucial questions around…

May 28, 2022

Analysis

Farmland Assets

International finance and the transformation of Brazil’s agricultural lands

The election of Jair Bolsonaro in 2018 commenced a long agenda of environmental destruction in Brazil. Before taking office, Bolsonaro had openly threatened Indigenous communities with racist attacks, commenting that Indigenous peoples should not have “an inch of land” and…


The Price of Oil

The history of control and decontrol in the oil market

In October 2021 the price of gasoline in the United States rose to its highest level in seven years. There were many reasons for this: surging demand following a year-and-a-half of lockdown, a slower than expected recovery of oil production,…

May 21, 2022

Sources

This week, labor markets across the US and Europe exhibited seemingly inconsistent trends: while unemployment is at historic lows, claims for unemployment benefits are on the rise, and despite rising overall incomes, many workers face increased financial stress.

May 20, 2022

Events

The IMF & the Legacy of Bretton Woods

An event with Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima , Mona Ali, Richard Kozul-Wright, Chris Marsh, and Lara Merling

Fifty years on from the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, the role of the international monetary system and international financial institutions in managing the global economy are in question.


Politics and the Price Level

Inflation and the governance of prices

In 1959, the leaders of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC, now the OECD) appointed a Group of Independent Experts “to study the experience of rising prices” in the recent history of the advanced capitalist countries. Between the end…

May 14, 2022

Sources

News around the potential reversal of Roe v. Wade in the United States has brought renewed attention to abortion rights movements in other parts of the globe, and in particular, Latin America. After decades of court cases, legislative efforts, and…

May 14, 2022

Analysis

Persisting Paternalisms

The Auxilio Brasil in perspective

In recent months Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro appears to have shape-shifted. From a staunch ally of business interests, he now presents himself as a president of the poor. The basis of this transformation is his new conditional cash-transfer programme Auxilio…

May 12, 2022

Analysis

Financing Schools

America’s kleptocratic public school divide

As the arrival of the pandemic forced schools shut, the Public Schools of Robeson County in North Carolina scrambled to save the rural district’s closed and crumbling buildings. At the same time, they faced the major task of providing education…

May 7, 2022

Interviews

Fault Lines

An interview with Helen Thompson on the geopolitics of shale and energy independence

Restarting our economies after the pandemic continues to expose the fragility of our supply chains. The Russia-Ukraine conflict serves as a stark reminder that oil and gas can still dictate our anxieties. Commodity prices and our collective sense of vulnerability…

May 7, 2022

Sources

Since 2018, the Turkish lira has suffered repeated devaluation shocks, increasing rates of loan default and unemployment. These have only been compounded by the pandemic and the Russian invasian of Ukraine—this week, inflation rates in Turkey have skyrocketed to nearly…

May 4, 2022

Analysis

Weimar Themes

Hilferding, Sohn-Rethel, and Hamilton

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has flung the international order into crisis. Understanding the causes of such cataclysms requires understanding not only the interests of states, but also the shape of society—its internal tensions, as well as its material and cultural…

April 30, 2022

Sources

Exxon recently announced three oil discoveries off the coast of Guyana, increasing the company's recoverable oil potential in the country to 11 billion barrels. These discoveries have added to the high likelihood of Guyana becoming a major global oil producer in the…

April 30, 2022

Analysis

The Whole Field

Markets, planning, and coordinating the green transformation

In recent years, an intense debate has unfolded over the policy and politics of the green transition. Politically, the tide appears to be receding: As the Biden agenda has lost momentum and rising inflation moves center stage, the near-term prospects…

April 27, 2022

Analysis

Regime Change?

The evolution and weaponization of the world dollar

The centerpiece of shock and awe of the West’s economic response to Russia’s invasion and bombardment of Ukraine was the freezing of Russia’s central bank assets. In the March 7 edition of his Global Money Dispatch newsletter, the Credit Suisse…

April 23, 2022

Sources

A top economic advisor in the Dominican Republic recently estimated that the loss of Russian and Ukranian visitors would cost the country $400 million in tourism revenue. With 9.5 percent of GDP traced back to tourism reciepts, the DR is…

April 16, 2022

Sources

The latest version of the Omnibus spending bill ends the extension of child nutrition waivers, which expanded access to meals during the school year and summer. The move foreshadows challenges for school meal programs, a cornerstone of welfare policy since…

April 15, 2022

Analysis

Economic War and the Commodity Shock

A discussion on sanctions and global commodity markets

The war in Ukraine has unleashed both geopolitical and economic strife, and nowhere is the latter clearer than in the volatile commodities market. Commodities prices have fluctuated wildly since the Russian invasion began and the US-led coalition retaliated with extraordinary…

April 13, 2022

Analysis

Austerity and Renewables

A new IMF-approved tax regime is crippling Pakistan’s green energy sector

After weeks of rising domestic pressure, a spiraling economic crisis, and the swift loss of crucial military support, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was removed from office last weekend following a vote of no confidence. The political turmoil is the…

April 9, 2022

Sources

Last week, the independent Amazon Labor Union won a NLRB election at a Staten Island warehouse, with around 55 percent of workers voting to join the union. Heralded as a watershed for new organizing opportunities for low-wage, service sector, and…

April 8, 2022

Events

Economic War & the Commodity Shock

An event with Javier Blas and Nicholas Mulder on the Russia sanctions

The war in Ukraine has unleashed both geopolitical and economic strife, and nowhere is the latter clearer than in the volatile commodities market. Commodities prices have fluctuated wildly since the Russian invasion began and the US-led coalition retaliated with extraordinary…

April 2, 2022

Sources

This week, approximately 50 million workers in India engaged in a national strike against what they see as the “anti-people policies” of Narendra Modi's government. The public banking sector experienced one of the largest disruptions, with employees protesting government proposals for privatization. 

April 2, 2022

Interviews

Philosophy and Reparations

An interview with Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò on climate crisis, reparations, and the use of history

Every new climate study seems to confirm what we have long known: the brunt of these impacts will fall on those least prepared to weather them, in considerable part because the basic structure of our global system had long ago…

March 26, 2022

Sources

Brazil's nearly 70-year-old national oil company, Petrobrás, faces criticism from across the political spectrum for its simultaneous price hikes and record breaking annual profits.

March 24, 2022

Interviews

Tax Regimes

An interview with Robin Einhorn

Tax cuts and austerity have been a central feature of American politics in recent decades—just recently, the Build Back Better bill was blocked under the guise of fiscal responsibility. The work of Robin Einhorn, Preston Hotchkis Professor in the History…

March 23, 2022

Analysis

A New Public Housing Model

Addis Ababa's Urban Transformation

In 2006, the government of Ethiopia embarked on a mission to construct half a million condominium apartments over a twenty-year period in its capital of Addis Ababa—a city of only five million. Now, sixteen years later, the initiative has transformed the…

March 19, 2022

Sources

In December 1973, Richard Nixon announced the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act as a response to the oil crisis, arguing that making the time change permanent would reduce energy usage with "only a minimum of inconvenience." Nearly fifty years…

March 12, 2022

Sources

Among the cities experiencing pronounced ripple effects from the Russian sanctions is London, whose financial institutions and luxury property market have long attracted Russian investment.

March 12, 2022

Interviews

Structures of History

An interview with historian William Sewell

Few scholars have had the theoretical, methodological, and empirical influence of William Sewell. His work has persistently scrutinized and challenged disciplinary barriers, placing historical and social scientific methods in dialogue and thereby illuminating their strengths and shortcomings. This effort is…

March 9, 2022

Analysis

Bargaining Chip?

On the speed and scope of the Russia sanctions, and the prospects for off-ramps

For the global hegemon, pulling the trigger on crisis management seems to consist primarily of posting PDFs to government websites. During the March 2020 financial panic, as the coronavirus first spread throughout the Global North, the Federal Reserve feverishly published…

March 5, 2022

Sources

Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a quarter of the world's wheat supply, leading to concern about the invasion's impact on global wheat markets and food security. Global dependence on wheat is a relatively new phenomenon, emerging in the postwar…

March 1, 2022

Interviews

Power, States, and Wars

An interview with Michael Mann on the study of history and the reemergence of great power politics

Over the course of several decades, Michael Mann's writing has consistently advanced thinking on great powers and the social orders they create. Combining a theoretical and empirical focus, his work is nearly unparalleled in its ambitious scope and meticulous attention…

February 26, 2022

Sources

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's suspension of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project has provoked numerous commentaries on potential geopolitical, growth-related, and inflationary ramifications.

February 19, 2022

Sources

The pandemic imposed major stress on municipal budgets around the world, with many local governments facing a mix of decreasing revenues and increasing expenditures. In the United States, municipal budgets—which saw smaller revenue losses than expected—reflected a range of taxing…

February 15, 2022

Sources

The pandemic induced wave of government spending has prompted renewed debates on the magnitude and likelihood of significant fiscal multipliers—the effect of fiscal spending on output—in the coming years.

February 14, 2022

Analysis

Eskom, Unbundling, and Decarbonization

The history of South Africa’s state utility and the future of the energy transition

South Africa has one of the most carbon-intensive economies in the world. It is also in a staggering and protracted unemployment crisis—the real unemployment rate, including discouraged work-seekers, is near 50 percent. But there remain tens of thousands of workers…

February 11, 2022

Analysis

A New Developmentalism?

On the stages of Argentine developmentalism.

In 2003, led by the government of Néstor Kirchner (2003–2007), Argentina’s developmental agenda regained momentum. From the ashes of privatization, deregulation, and liberalization emerged a consensus agenda that put the public sphere at the center of the growth engine. The…

February 5, 2022

Sources

The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach processed respectively 10.7 and 9.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo volume in 2021, with the former setting a record high of shipping volume in the Western Hemisphere. Continuing…

February 3, 2022

Analysis

Acute Dollar Dominance

The dollar system, original sin, and sovereign debt since the pandemic.

In early 2020, the “dash for cash” in the US Treasury market prompted the Fed to relaunch its dollar swap lines, which it eventually did in mid-March of that year. In the aftermath of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC),…

January 29, 2022

Sources

Concerns over inflation have led to an uptick in research and policy debate over the specific sectoral drivers of price increases—and tools for their management. In a new article in Health Affairs, ROBERT BERENSON and ROBERT MURRAY review the literature…

January 22, 2022

Sources

Earlier this month, a wave of protests spread across Kazakhstan. Though prompted by rising gas prices, the demonstrations soon came to target the country's decades long trajectory of corruption and resource privatization. A 2001 article by ERIKA WEINTHAL and PAULINE JONES LUONG…

January 15, 2022

Sources

This week, the Indian megaconglomerate Adani Group and South Korean steel company POSCO announced plans to build a "green" integrated steel mill in Gujurat, India. The mill marks the latest in the Adani Group's efforts to move into the green industrial sector…

January 12, 2022

Analysis

Controlled Prices

The history and politics of price controls and economic management in the United States

In the decades after the Civil War, Andrew Carnegie captured the American steel industry by pushing down prices. So effective was the Scottish-born telegraph operator at reducing costs, breaking cartels, and driving competition into bankruptcy during the downturns of the…

January 8, 2022

Sources

Wealth and political power often come from property ownership, but the dynamics of real estate transactions are often invisible to the general public. Absent a national property database, researchers in the United States are left sifting through tax parcel data…

December 23, 2021

Interviews

Rekindling Labor?

An interview with Kim Voss on the American labor movement, from the Knights of Labor to “Striketober.”

The uptick in organized and unorganized labor militancy registered throughout the pandemic, and in particular in strike and unionization campaigns in recent months, comes at a relative nadir for the US labor movement. The work of Kim Voss, Professor of…

December 23, 2021

Analysis

Stop, wait, go

Is Germany's new coalition government a return to the status quo?

The new coalition government in Germany, led by Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, is the first time that the SDP, the Greens, and the Liberals have joined together in a single government. The cooperation agreement, published on November 24, was the…

December 18, 2021

Sources

Over the last year, PW Sources has covered a wide range of issues—from caste and labor, to social policy in Brazil, to capital flight, and more. We will be off until 2022. As we look forward to the new year, here’s a roundup of…

December 18, 2021

Analysis

Homeownership & the Student Debt Crisis

Rising student debt burdens in the past decade have contributed to a decline in homeownership for young adults.

The benefits of owning a home in the United States cannot be overstated. The housing market in the United States both reflects and causes widening cleavages in American society; owning a home is a functional prerequisite for financial security. The…

December 17, 2021

Analysis

Death or glory?

New forms of fascism haunt Chile’s presidential election

In October 2019, a proposed thirty peso hike in public transport fares triggered protests in Santiago that spread to other major cities across the country, denouncing the country’s economic infrastructure with the slogan, “It’s not thirty pesos, it’s thirty years.” Chileans…

December 11, 2021

Sources

In the 1970s, the study of Latin America was an intellectual crossroads for scholars of political economy, with discussion around theories of dependency, growth, and development being evaluated against the contemporaneous experience of Latin America states. But the lost decade…

December 4, 2021

Sources

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest has reached its highest rate in 15 years, with satellite footage recording 5,110 square miles of deforested land. Despite coordinated threats of divestment, institutional investors have thus far failed to act.

November 23, 2021

Analysis

Trade and Growth

Revisiting the effects of trade liberalization on economic growth

According to a survey on free trade from the University of Chicago, economists overwhelmingly agree that free trade’s net effects are good. A recent article by several  IMF economists affirms that, “perhaps more than on any other issue, there is…

November 20, 2021

Sources

In October, over 10,000 John Deere workers went on strike, 1,400 Kellogg's workers followed suit, and observers anticipated thousands more IATSE members and Kaiser Permanente workers to walk out. (After voting down two contracts, workers at Deere reached an agreement last week ending…

November 18, 2021

Analysis

The Wall Street Consensus at COP26

Finance Day at COP26 shows a ruthless dedication to voluntary decarbonization

Wednesday, November 3, was private finance day at COP26. For those who follow central banks closely, the event was a chance to gauge whether their recent turn to climate-conscious policy making would translate into ambitious decarbonization announcements. After all, private…

November 13, 2021

Sources

In recent decades, policy arenas which are resistant to national and international regulation have seen the flourishing of voluntary, self-regulatory, and private accountability mechanisms. Researchers have grouped these broadly as a system of Non-State-Market-Driven-Governance (NSMDG), characterized by the institutional role of markets and…

November 12, 2021

Analysis

Growth Towns

The Evergrande crisis, “common prosperity,” and the transformation of the Chinese growth model

The ongoing crisis for Chinese property developer Evergrande has made the giant company the focal point of global concern. Creditors, investors, contractors, customers, and employees of Evergrande within and outside China have watched anxiously to see whether the Chinese government would…

November 6, 2021

Sources

After two years of publishing, we are thrilled to launch a new website. Our new home—developed and designed by Partner & Partners—retains the style of our original blog layout, while creating new streams of longform and shortform content, gathering a series section, and collecting past PW Sources…

November 6, 2021

Analysis

Titans

Tracing the rise and the politics of asset manager capitalism

In mid October 2021, when BlackRock revealed its third quarter results, the asset management behemoth announced it was just shy of $10 trillion in assets under management. It’s a vast sum, “roughly equivalent to the entire global hedge fund, private…

November 4, 2021

Analysis

Negotiations

The Federation of German Industries’ agenda in the formation of the new German federal government

The new German government will be called upon, at a highly critical time for the global and European economy, to draw up a new economic and political strategy not only for Germany but also for the EU/Eurozone. The outcome will…

November 4, 2021

Analysis

Manufacturing Stagnation

Intellectual property, industrial organization, and economic growth

$5.3 trillion of US federal government stimulus and relief spending have returned the economy to its pre-Covid growth trajectory. But that growth trajectory was hardly robust—either before or after the 2008 financial crisis. Nor was the slow decay of GDP…

November 2, 2021

Analysis

The Diverging Gap

The history of the global infrastructure gap

On June 11, leaders at the G7 summit signed the Build Back Better World (B3W) Partnership, an agreement which commits signatories to meet the infrastructure needs of low- and middle-income countries. The deal is an explicit response to China’s Belt…

October 30, 2021

Analysis

Uneven Channels

Climate diplomacy and the global financial architecture

This year’s Conference of the Parties (COP), opening October 31, is hosted by the United Kingdom, whose agenda-setting privilege as host has made private finance a central focus of the 2021 meeting. The UK ambition to center the City of…

October 30, 2021

Sources

While a group of statisticians recently found the 2020 US Census to be free of major errors, many were concerned about the census' ability to accurately reflect the population given its coincidence with the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The debate shed light on the…

October 23, 2021

Sources

Since the mid-19th century, municipal debt has been responsible for funding some of the most significant investments in US infrastructure, schools, and social services. But rising risks of climate-related flooding threaten the value of municipal bonds, often in cities which…

October 19, 2021

Analysis

Gas and Labor

The UK‘s petrol shortage is also a labor shortage driven by worsening conditions of work

The United Kingdom is in the midst of a protracted crisis in the supply of petrol. In the face of a plummeting sterling and severe disruptions to essential public services, military tanker drivers have been deployed to transport fuel to…

October 16, 2021

Sources

Both consumers and businesses have felt the effects of ongoing backlogs in global supply chains. The world's largest retailers have been integral in shaping these supply chains, especially in the global South, where changing patterns of consumption have been met…

October 9, 2021

Sources

As the Fed moves towards tightening its post-pandemic monetary policy, developing countries around the world face growing risks of capital flight. The deep political constraints posed by this risk are not new, but their implications for contemporary policymaking are persistent.

October 2, 2021

Sources

A rise in deportations of Haitian immigrants at the US-Mexico border has brought another cycle of media attention to the US immigration system and border security apparatus.

September 25, 2021

Sources

The possible collapse of Evergrande, China's second largest property developer, has reverberated through global financial markets. With over $300 billion in outstanding debt, 3.8 million jobs on the line, and investments across consumer industries, the scale of the impact could…

September 18, 2021

Analysis

Developmentalisms

The forgotten ancestors of East Asian developmentalism

2021 marked the centenary of the creation of the Chinese Communist Party, born of the May Fourth Movement of 1919. History textbooks tend to claim that the Movement emerged out of a widespread realization that China’s rights as a victorious…

September 18, 2021

Sources

This week, millions in California voted in support of Governor Gavin Newsom in a recall election. California is one of 19 states that grants power to voters to recall a sitting governor, a law which was passed in 1911 as…

September 11, 2021

Sources

Long held to be essential for development, capital flows have come under increasing scrutiny for their impact on the financial stability and autonomy of low and middle income countries.

September 4, 2021

Sources

Haiti won independence from France in 1804, but in return for recognizing its formerly enslaved colony, France later forced Haiti to pay an indemnity of 150 million francs and give preferential treatment to French exports. The debt was equivalent to…


How Schools Lie

The deceptive financial aid system at America's colleges.

No matter how talented, hard working, and committed a student is, if financing falls through, the dream of obtaining higher education can be dashed. But much of the financial data that prospective students receive is misleading. In the cost information…

August 28, 2021

Sources

Earlier this year, global carbon markets were valued at a record breaking $277 billion. The number contrasts strikingly with this summer's wave of devastating fires, many of which proliferated precisely in protected forests designed to offset carbon emissions from other…

August 24, 2021

Analysis

Legitimacy Gap

A history of central bank independence.

We live in the age of the central bank. The financial crisis of 2008 and the COVID-19 crash of 2020 have made visible the central role of the US Federal Reserve and its overseas counterparts in the international financial system.

August 21, 2021

Sources

Observers in the past decades have commented on increased urbanization in India, which has led to new challenges for development, housing, and labor. But the majority of India's population, and thus electoral power, remains in rural regions.

August 14, 2021

Sources

75 percent of US firms currently make use of non-disclosure agreements. Originally developed to protect trade secrets, today's agreements have expanded to include information on salaries, skills, client lists, and employment practices.

August 11, 2021

Analysis

Built Trades

Employer claims of unavailable labor are rooted in an unwillingness to raise wages and the long-term decline of the nation’s system of training and allocating labor

As the American economy reopened in the first half of 2021, reports of a “labor shortage” spread throughout US industries. But there was one sector where employer panic about hiring was old news: the massive and decentralized US construction industry.

August 7, 2021

Sources

This week, the Mexican government sued eleven major US arms manufacturers, alleging that they facilitated the illegal flow of guns into the country. The proliferation of US-manufactured guns in Mexico during recent years has been well-documented, but their presence precedes…

July 31, 2021

Sources

MICRO-STRATEGY Accounts of major historical shifts tend to treat states as unified actors responding to external incentives. In a new article, INGA RADEMACHER complicates this assumption. Drawing on archival documents from the German Federal Cabinet and Bundesbank Council from 1960-1981,…

July 27, 2021

Events

The Future of Social Democracy

A discussion with Stephanie Mudge, Adam Przeworski, Wolfgang Streeck, and Waltraud Schelkle

In July, Phenomenal World hosted a discussion on the past, present, and future of social democracy inspired by our first book project: Market Economy, Market Society: Interviews and Essays on the Decline of European Social Democracy. The conversation featured Stephanie…

July 24, 2021

Sources

Structures of unfree labor have always been at the edge of current and historical discourse on labor, mobility and caste in South Asia. This has been in focus during the COVID-led migrant crisis in India, where around 11.4 million migrant…

July 20, 2021

Analysis

Path Persistence

Global trade hierarchies across two eras of globalization

What is the legacy of the First Globalization of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries on the economic fortunes of countries during the Second Globalization? To what extent have countries’ positions in the international economic order been persistent across the…

July 17, 2021

Sources

Earlier this week, the EU published a series of proposals aimed at reducing its carbon emissions by 55 percent by 2030. The legislation has revived debates on the economic models best suited to facilitating investment and decarbonization.

July 12, 2021

Interviews

Long Crises

An interview with Benjamin Holtzman

As New Yorkers grapple with an uncertain future, the fiscal crisis of the 1970s and its aftermath are often invoked by the press and politicians. Today, “New York in the 1970s” is shorthand for a city facing poverty and crime,…

July 10, 2021

Sources

Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated on Wednesday, plunging the country into greater political unrest following months of protests around Moïse's controversial decision to rule by decree.

July 8, 2021

Phenomenal Works

In his new book, In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities Are Plundering Our Cities, Davarian Baldwin identifies an “increasingly parasitic” relationship between universities and the cities they occupy.

July 3, 2021

Sources

The impending retreat of US troops from Afghanistan has brought renewed discussion on Pakistan amidst both US and Chinese alliances. Much of the scholarship on Pakistan centers around its military and foreign policy, but less attention has been given to…

July 2, 2021

Analysis

Repressing Labor, Empowering China

Cheap money will boost inequality and geopolitical tension but not inflation

Though the lockdown in 2020 threw many workers out of work, the big fiscal stimulus, fueled by government debt and an unprecedentedly large monetary expansion, offered stimulus checks and elevated unemployment benefits to millions of Americans.

June 26, 2021

Sources

Since the 2000 World Water Forum in The Hague, governance over water resources has gained salience in international development discourse. The allocation of rights (to technology and decisionmaking) and resources (both financial and natural) has shaped local economies in the…

June 24, 2021

Analysis

Preferred Shares

Inflation, wages, and the fifty-year crisis

In one of her first statements as Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen said that the United States faced “an economic crisis that has been building for fifty years.” The formulation is intriguing but enigmatic. The last half-century is piled so high…

June 19, 2021

Sources

Earlier this week, global leaders at the G7 summit signed a "green belt and road initiative," which offers funds to low income countries for sustainable investment.

June 18, 2021

Interviews

Investment and Decarbonization

A conversation on investment strategies for the green transition

In late March, the Biden administration announced the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, with approximately half of the sum dedicated to fighting the climate crisis. While the legislation would mark a sea change in federal action to avert climate catastrophe,…

June 12, 2021

Sources

former congresswoman and daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori. The contest has revealed deep polarization in the country between social movements opposed to foreign investment and those who favored market liberalization that has defined Peruvian politics since the 1990s.


Hysteresis & Student Debt

How the Great Recession fueled the student debt crisis.

The geographic character of the Great Recession of 2008–2009 is, by this point, well-known. While everywhere in the United States experienced a sharp increase in unemployment, some areas suffered disproportionate exposure to subprime mortgages and the consequent bursting of the…

June 8, 2021

Analysis

The Crisis Canal

Trade, bond markets, Suez, and the Ever Given.

Why did the Ever Given capture our collective imaginations? At the end of its week in the spotlight, the poet Kamran Javadizadeh wrote: “I too am ‘partially refloated,’ I too remain stuck in the Suez Canal.” Two fluorescent yellow-vested construction…

June 5, 2021

Sources

This week marked the 640th anniversary of the 1381 Great Rising, a rebellion which swept across medieval England demanding an end to serfdom and an overhaul of the legal system and the aristocracy.

May 29, 2021

Sources

Though the US economy remains about 10 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic levels, employers and commentators have begun to express fears over a reduction in the labor supply, prompting debates over the possible causes of this shortage.

May 22, 2021

Sources

Recent events in Gaza and Colombia have led to calls for the conditioning of foreign aid—a controversial but longstanding element of the US foreign policy toolkit for pursuing economic and political aims abroad.

May 21, 2021

Events

Investment & Decarbonization

A roundtable on investing in the green transition

In March 2021, the Biden administration announced the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, with approximately half of the sum dedicated to fighting the climate crisis. Many, however, argued that the legislation falls dramatically short of the amount required to usher in…

May 15, 2021

Sources

Use of the most recent government stimulus varied by income, with richer households saving the money and poorer ones using it to pay off debt.

May 13, 2021

Analysis

Investment and Decarbonization: Rating Green Finance

A proposal for a public ratings agency for green finance

The Biden administration has committed the United States to cutting its carbon emissions in half by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

May 8, 2021

Sources

In the late 2000s, the term "land grab" rose to prominence to describe large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

May 6, 2021

Interviews

Restructuring Sovereign Debt

An interview with Ken Shadlen

Ken Shadlen's research examines how international institutions can create unique challenges for developing countries and, in doing so exacerbate core-periphery inequalities.

May 4, 2021

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Laleh Khalili

On Winona LaDuke and Deborah Cowen's argument for decolonizing infrastructure.

“What if infrastructure is designed, financed and adopted into the habits of everyday lives of its users in such a way that it is not a harbinger of apocalypse?” In a recent essay, Laleh Khalili notes a key dilemma of…

May 1, 2021

Sources

Millions of workers in global supply chains have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

April 28, 2021

Analysis

Reconstruction Finance

Popular politics and reconstructing the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

Like the world system as a whole, segregated cities in the United States have their own finance driven core-periphery dynamics.

April 24, 2021

Sources

The US government spends upwards of $20 billion annually on domestic agricultural support programs, but with over 20 percent of farm products exported, these programs interact with trade policies that have fluctuated in the last century between protectionism and liberalization.

April 23, 2021

Events

The Bonds of Inequality

A roundtable on the new book by Destin Jenkins.

In April 2021, Phenomenal World hosted Destin Jenkins for a virtual event on his new book, The Bonds of Inequality. Speakers also included Melinda Cooper, Sarah Quinn, Peter James Hudson, Yakov Feygin, and David Stein, and the discussion was moderated by…

April 17, 2021

Sources

In January 2021, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman unveiled plans to build ‘The Line’, a $/500bn futuristic 170km carbon-free city strip in Neom destined to be fully automated, fueled by clean energy, linked to neighboring Jordan and…

April 10, 2021

Sources

Amid the global Covid-19 vaccination campaign, a debate has emerged around intellectual property (IP) and stark inequalities in vaccine distribution. Wealthier nations have opposed a petition to waive the 1995 Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, which imposes…

April 6, 2021

Analysis

Risks and Crises

On market makers and risk managers post-2008.

For a long time, Bagehot’s rule, “lend freely, against good collateral, but at a high rate,” restored the Fed’s control over the money market and helped end banking panics and systemic banking crises. This control evaporated on September 15, 2008,…

April 3, 2021

Sources

Earlier this week, the blockage of the Suez Canal by the giant Ever Given container ship prompted renewed discussions on the weakness of our supply chain infrastructure, the future of globalization, and the region's colonial past.

April 2, 2021

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Ho-fung Hung

Rereading Imperialism for twenty-first century tensions

Ho-fung Hung investigates the role of economic development in state formation and global power, with a specific focus on China and East Asia.

March 27, 2021

Sources

Frequent mass shootings and recurring political struggle over gun control measures are uniquely American social phenomena.

March 20, 2021

Sources

Debates concerning the relative role of structure versus agency in explaining social phenomena has endured for decades. Drawing parallels between the teleology of nineteenth century approaches and more modern, variable-oriented research methods, historian WILLIAM SEWELL JR's 2005 book reflects on…

March 19, 2021

Interviews

Party Politics and Social Policy

A conversation between Lena Lavinas, André Singer, and Barbara Weinstein on three decades of party politics and social policy in Brazil.

In The Takeover of Social Policy by Financialization, Lena Lavinas names the “Brazilian Paradox”: the model of social inclusion implemented by the Workers’ Party under President Lula and President Rousseff promotes a logic of financial inclusion and market incorporation, and…

March 13, 2021

Sources

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought attention to the underfunding of US public health infrastructure over the last several decades. Alongside a fragmented system, a gap has emerged between public health and clinical care, with consequences for the public.

March 6, 2021

Sources

Deindustrialization is a key orienting point for research in political economy. But around the world, factory production remains significant, with employment in industry constituting between one-fifth and one-third of total employment in large economies.

February 27, 2021

Sources

Since November 2020, thousands of Indian farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and other states have protested the implementation of national market-based agricultural reforms. A look to a series of liberalization measures in the 1990s, which did not specifically address agriculture, reveals…

February 20, 2021

Analysis

Democracy or the Market

Third wayism and the problem of representation.

The problem of democratic representation has always turned on the question of the “have-nots”—that is, not only those without wealth and property, but also those marginalized on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, origin, religion and education. Even in a…

February 20, 2021

Analysis

Revolution, Reform, and Resignation

In the 1980s, the left abandoned its language of transformation. Can it be regained?

Some time in 1991 I was invited to give a talk to the Andalusian Confederation of the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE). Afterwards, the secretary of the confederation walked me back to my hotel. I asked him why there was…

February 20, 2021

Analysis

François Mitterrand’s Austerity Turn

The rise and fall of the French Road to socialism.

The history of French socialism is filled with famous and heroic dates: 1789; 1848; 1871 1936; 1968. But less well remembered is another date of great significance: 1981. It was in May of that year that the French left achieved…

February 20, 2021

Interviews

Feminism in the Union

An interview with feminist activist and trade unionist Begoña San José.

Begoña San José is a feminist activist and trade union leader.

February 20, 2021

Interviews

New System, New Society

An interview with former Prime Minister of Spain Felipe González.

Felipe González was Prime Minister of Spain from 1982-1996.

February 20, 2021

Interviews

Revolution in the Long Run

An interview with Hector Maravall on the Communist Party of Spain, the decline of unions, and Felipe González's modernization program.

Hector Maravall is a long time member of the PCE, a labor lawyer, and a leader of the Comisiones Obreras, the largest trade union in Spain.

February 20, 2021

Analysis

Transitions

Four voices on Spain's transition from the Franco dictatorship to parliamentary monarchy — and what didn't change.

It’s been some time since the term “transition” was fully incorporated into day-to-day usage in contemporary Spanish. It refers to the process of political change that began during the second half of the 1970s, a process which transformed Spain from…

February 20, 2021

Sources

Earlier this week, millions of households lost power in the face of a powerful snowstorm. While these numbers are unusual, they are not new—the US suffers among the most frequent power outages of any industrialized country, concentrated especially in rural…

February 18, 2021

Interviews

Party Unity and Renewal

An interview with Roger Martelli on the decline of the French Communist Party.

Roger Martelli is a historian of the French Communist Party.

February 18, 2021

Interviews

Confronting Globalization

An interview with François Morin.

François Morin was technical adviser to Jean le Garrec at the State Secretary for Public Sector Expansion from 1981–1982 and an adviser to Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy.

February 18, 2021

Interviews

Objective Constraints

An interview with Anicet le Pors on the PCF, the Common Program, and the constraints on left governance.

Anicet le Pors is a French communist party politician who served as a member of the French Senate from 1977 to 1981, and Minister of Civil Service and Reforms from 1981 to 1984.

February 13, 2021

Sources

The proposed Covid-19 stimulus package in the US has reignited debate around inflation. Much contemporary concern and discussion on the topic still bears the mark of the 1970s, the Volcker disinflation, and the past consensus around the relationship between unemployment…

February 6, 2021

Sources

While the neoliberal era appears to be in crisis, we took on a project to investigate its historical foundations. The tensions of the current political moment are commonly traced to the financial deregulation and economic liberalization of the 1980s and…

February 5, 2021

Analysis

The Italian Left After Keynesianism

From stagflation to the transformation of Italian left parties.

In 1977, Eric Hobsbawm published a book of interviews with Giorgio Napolitano, a leading figure in the Italian Communist Party (PCI)’s gradualist wing, the miglioristi. Hobsbawm proclaimed himself a “spiritual member” of the PCI and intended this book to depict…


Party of the Future?

An interview with Giuliano Amato

Giuliano Amato was a member of the Italian Socialist Party and Italian Prime Minister from 1992–93 and 2000–2001, Treasury Minister in 1999–2000, and Minister of the Interior, 2006–2008.


Changing Bases

An interview with Emanuele Macaluso, Italian trade unionist and politician with the Italian Communist Party (PCI)

Emanuele Macaluso was an Italian trade unionist and politician with the Italian Communist Party (PCI).


Creative Destruction

An interview with Claudio Petruccioli

Claudio Petruccioli is an Italian politician who was president of the Italian national broadcast network RAI from 2005–2009.

January 30, 2021

Sources

Next week marks the launching of our first book-length Phenomenal World publication: Market Economy, Market Society: Interviews and Essays on the Decline of European Social Democracy. The book examines the fracturing of the social democratic consensus through the eyes of…

January 23, 2021

Sources

Outside of Brazil, the Bolsa Familia is known as the hallmark social policy of the former President Lula and remains the world's largest conditional cash transfer program. Less well known is the history of Brazil's social policy in the early…

January 22, 2021

Events

Party Politics & Social Policy

An event on social policy and the Workers' Party in Brazil.

According to Brazilian economist Lena Lavinas, social policy under President Lula promoted a logic of financialization and market incorporation, ultimately contributing to mass indebtedness in the Brazilian population. André Singer sees this period of social policy expansion as an attempt…

January 22, 2021

Analysis

Inflation, Specific and General

The many causes and effects of inflation.

Concerns over a generalized “inflation” loom in the recovery. Yet the prices that most heavily factor into the cost of living for US workers—housing, health, and education—have already been rising for decades. The question we should be asking is whether…

January 16, 2021

Sources

The simultaneous integration of global markets and decentralization of government within nation states has been a hallmark of the age of globalization. In a 2004 article, NEIL BRENNER looks to Europe to argue that through processes of decentralization and localization,…

January 16, 2021

Analysis

Supercomputer

The Control Data Corporation and global value chains.

In March 1976, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Defense (DOD), William “Bill” Clements invited William “Bill” C. Norris, CEO and Chairman of the supercomputer producer Control Data Corporation (CDC) to a closed-door meeting at the Pentagon.

January 9, 2021

Sources

The deep divisions in American political and social life have long been thought to explain the unique weakness of America’s welfare infrastructure, and the absence of an integrated system of universal benefits. But on their own, demographic divisions need not…

January 9, 2021

Analysis

The Deflationary Bloc

Hyman Minsky and the politics of inflation

An effective way to write the history of the last thirty years of the twentieth century,” economist Albert Hirschman wrote in 1985, “may well be to focus on the distinctive reactions of various countries to the identical issue of worldwide…

December 19, 2020

Sources

In the wake of recent financial convulsions, central banks have emerged yet again as the first responders to crisis. But to confront the crisis of anthropogenic climate change, there is growing acknowledgement that central banks should go further, beyond their…

December 12, 2020

Sources

Between 1940 and 1990, housing growth in the United States outpaced population growth by 173 to 88 percent, and the proportion of homeowners nearly doubled. The same trend is observable internationally, and scholarly debate weighs whether demographic shifts or policy…

December 5, 2020

Sources

This year's turbulent oil market, in combination with the Covid-19 pandemic, has threatened the financial outlook of several Latin American nations. With many governments dependent on oil revenues, the issues of public ownership of the oil sector and financial liberalization…

December 3, 2020

Reviews

Transition Theory

On Jairus Banaji’s A Brief History of Commercial Capitalism

Capitalism is either eternal or it isn’t. There are people who defend the first view, or something close to it—the multivolume 2014 Cambridge History of Capitalism opens in Babylonia, circa 1000 BCE—but it is much more plausible that capitalism, like…

November 25, 2020

Interviews

Development, Growth, Power

An interview with Amit Bhaduri.

Amit Bhaduri was internationally selected professor at Pavia University and visiting Professor at the Council for Social Development, Delhi University. His six books and more than sixty journal articles have consistently scrutinized the foundations of neoclassical economic theory and presented…

November 21, 2020

Sources

Recent studies estimate approximately 60% of the world's population earns their wages in the informal economy. Focusing on the prevalence of informal work across Africa, Latin America, and South Asia, analysts frequently advocate for a transition to the formal economy…


The Student Debt Crisis is a Crisis of Non-Repayment

Borrowers are increasingly unable to pay down their student loans, leading to mounting balances and an intensifying debt crisis.

Think of the student debt crisis as an overflowing bathtub. On the one hand, too much water is pouring in: more borrowers are taking on more debt. That is thanks to increased demand for higher education in the face of…

November 14, 2020

Sources

The conclusion of the United States election has prompted a resurgence of commentaries on the state's role in markets. By focusing on the state's capacity to shape and alter market structure, these discussions build on a longstanding academic tradition which…

November 9, 2020

Events

Global Power in the North-Atlantic Financial System

A panel moderated by Adam Tooze.

In November 2020, JFI and Phenomenal World hosted a panel moderated by Adam Tooze and featuring: Yakov Feygin Daniela Gabor Dominik Leusder Carla Norrlof Elham Saeidinezhad Waltraud Schelkle Herman Mark Schwartz View a recording of the event here.

November 7, 2020

Sources

With Covid-19 cases again rising around the globe, the World Health Organization (WHO) has faced increased scrutiny from governments on its handling of the early pandemic. Today, the organization plays a key role in defining global public health and coordinating…

October 31, 2020

Sources

The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has sparked ongoing debates over the institution's merits and relationship to American democracy. Among liberal democracies, the United States stands apart in the strength and autonomy of its judiciary. A…

October 24, 2020

Sources

India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has dominated Indian politics in the past decade, upending the country's long-standing Congress Party rule at the national level and competing with regional and ethnic parties in state elections.…

October 17, 2020

Sources

Explanations for the absence of a universal healthcare program in the United States tend to focus on the obstructive role of the American Medical Association, which, via an extensive lobbying campaign, prevented the passage of a national health insurance plan…

October 16, 2020

Analysis

Data as Property?

On the problems of propertarian and dignitarian approaches to data governance.

Since the proliferation of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, critics of widely used internet communications services have warned of the misuse of personal data. Alongside familiar concerns regarding user privacy and state surveillance, a now-decades-long thread connects a…

October 10, 2020

Interviews

Change the Furniture

An interview with Mark Blyth.

Mark Blyth is William R. Rhodes Professor of International Political Economy at Brown University and a Faculty Fellow at Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies. His research examines how the interests of states and economic actors shape ideological consensus and…

October 10, 2020

Sources

With millions facing housing insecurity, the economic downturn has sparked concerns of a new housing crisis. Where the subprime mortgage crisis thrust the centrality of unsustainable housing financing practices in the global economy into view, the Covid-19 recession has brought…

October 3, 2020

Sources

Recent weeks have seen proliferating analyses of the constitutional infrastructure of the US, and speculation over its ability to hinder the behaviors of a disruptive incumbent. New concerns reflect longstanding apprehension over the stability of presidential regimes.

October 1, 2020

Analysis

A Popular History of the Fed

On Populist programs and democratic central banking.

Since Lehman collapsed in 2008, central banks have broken free of historical norms, channelling trillions into the banking system to prop up global finance and the savings of depositors from Germany to Hong Kong. The corona crash has only accelerated…

September 28, 2020

Sources

It is well known that the share of the global labor force working in services has risen precipitously over the past several decades, with nearly half of all workers around the globe now counted in the service sector. Scholarly work…

September 25, 2020

Analysis

Direct Effects

How should we measure racial discrimination?

A 2018 National Academy of Sciences report on American policing begins its section on racial bias by noting the abundance of scholarship that records disparities in the criminal justice system. But shortly thereafter, the authors make a strange clarification: “In…

September 19, 2020

Sources

Since the first export processing zone was established in Puerto Rico during the 1940s, special economic zones (SEZs) have proliferated to number 5,400 across 147 countries and employ more than 100 million workers. While the zones have been lauded for…


Unceasing Debt, Disparate Burdens: Student Debt and Young America

JFI’s interactive map presents the geography of student debt.

Since the Great Recession, outstanding student loan debt in the United States has increased by 122% in 2019 dollars, reaching the staggering sum of $1.66 trillion in June of this year. Student loan debt has grown faster than other debt…

September 12, 2020

Sources

Land acquisitions have been on the rise since 2008, when rising oil prices and an international food crisis dramatically increased demand. Changing ownership patterns have the potential to influence not only the terms of agricultural supply chains, but the structure…

September 5, 2020

Sources

In addition to straining America's existing welfare infrastructure, the pandemic has fundamentally altered labor markets and generated a wide range of new social needs. Policy responses to these changing circumstances have the potential to shape the trajectory of US inequality…

September 5, 2020

Analysis

Hot Oil

Gardiner Means, administered prices, and why the Texas Railroad Commission should regulate oil production again.

Even at the depth of the Great Depression, oil producers were always paid a positive price for their product. But on April 20 of this year the price of West Texas Intermediate oil traded for negative prices, reaching a record…

August 31, 2020

Sources

The compound risks of climate catastrophe and Covid-19 have defined the year thus far. As the world continues to reel from the effects of the pandemic, and storms and wildfires dot the map, calls for marshaling a green recovery have…

August 26, 2020

Interviews

Banks, Bubbles, Profits

An interview with Richard Westra.

Richard Westra is University Professor at the Institute of Political Science, University of Opole, Poland and international Adjunct Professor of the Center for Macau Studies, University of Macau. His research focuses on the philosophical underpinnings of economic phenomena, with an…

August 25, 2020

Sources

Covid is accelerating the transition away from cash and encouraging the development of state-backed digital currencies. In the past two weeks, the People's Bank of China launched a trial run for digital renminbis in three major cities, and the Boston…

August 18, 2020

Sources

Standard postwar theories of class composition in the global north emphasized occupational differences between employers, blue collar, and white collar workers. But deindustrialization, and the army of underpaid service workers it generated, has increasingly muddied these categories.

August 15, 2020

Analysis

Another Lost Decade?

The systemic character of the global periphery debt crisis.

Contrary to common beliefs on fiscal fundamentals, the current debt crisis in the global periphery demonstrates that the solvency of sovereign states is determined by their monetary power. Crucially, liquidity has a cyclical character in the periphery of global capitalism…

August 13, 2020

Events

Geoeconomics & the Balance of Payments

A panel on the balance of payments during Covid-19.

In August 2020, JFI and Phenomenal World hosted a panel initiated and moderated by Adam Tooze that featured Mona Ali, Daniela Gabor, Izabella Kaminska, Matt Klein, JW Mason, Michael Pettis, Brad Setser, Jon Sindreu, Colby Smith, and Nathan Tankus.

August 13, 2020

Reviews

Geoeconomics and the Balance of Payments: A Reading List

Suggested readings on the savings glut, critical macrofinance, and the balance of payments.

Below is a rough reading list assembled by the panelists in the August 13, 2020 discussion on “Geoeconomics and the Balance of Payments.”

August 10, 2020

Sources

It's been over a week since Congress allowed the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation scheme to lapse, and negotiations over an extension have reached a gridlock. But even prior to its end, access to the enhanced benefit was far from equal…

August 8, 2020

Interviews

Economics, Bosses, and Interest

An interview with Stephen Marglin.

Stephen Marglin is Walter S. Barker Professor Economics at Harvard University, where he has taught since he received tenure in 1968.

August 3, 2020

Sources

Much research has documented the vast sums of "missing wealth" stored in tax havens, and detailed its implications for inequality, fiscal policy, and economic growth. Less present in the discussion is the institutional and political history of these offshore financial…

July 27, 2020

Sources

Catastrophic deficiencies in the federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic have led to renewed discussion over federalism and its discontents. The divergence among state responses to the crisis in the absence of federal guidance has produced analyses of Trump’s unique,…

July 27, 2020

Analysis

Essential Infrastructures

The case for sovereign investment in telecommunications infrastructure

How should the fabric of social life, especially as it is rewoven by the pandemic, relate to the private ownership of telecommunications?

July 22, 2020

Analysis

Laws of the Land

Property rights and extraction in the mineral frontier

“The Mining Law of 1872,” reported California Democrat Alan Lowenthal in May 2019, "is one of the most obsolete laws still on the books.”

July 20, 2020

Sources

Common wisdom around central bank independence (CBI) is increasingly a matter of debate. Before the Covid-19 crisis, a growing number of scholars and commentators have proposed means by which central banks can address looming climate catastrophe—either by integrating new risks…

July 16, 2020

Analysis

The Dollar and Empire

How the US dollar shapes geopolitical power

What does the US dollar’s continued dominance in the global monetary and financial systems mean for geo-economic and geo-political power?

July 13, 2020

Sources

Michael Mann's four volume magnum opus, The Sources of Social Power, analyzes the history of human societies from antiquity to the present. Theoretically, the work's major contribution is the so-called IEMP model, which examines historical shifts through the relations between…

July 10, 2020

Analysis

The Crisis and the Free Market

On crisis, partisanship, and public policy

Will the current crisis transform America’s politics and economic institutions? With unemployment higher than at any point since the Great Depression, rising food insecurity, and an increasingly muscular role for government—are we witnessing the beginning of the end of the…

July 6, 2020

Sources

Historically, the expansion of the American frontier symbolized a unity between political liberty and economic growth, at the same time as it justified the violent expropriation that continues to define the country's racial and distributional politics.

July 3, 2020

Analysis

Pandemic and Poverty

What the pandemic teaches us about poverty measurements

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States, more than 40 million people have applied for unemployment benefits.

July 1, 2020

Reviews

On the conceptual and methodological stakes of Trade Wars Are Class Wars by Matthew C. Klein and Michael Pettis Good writing on international macroeconomics reads like a detective novel. There’s a suspicious event—hundreds of millions of dollars in phantom FX…

June 30, 2020

Sources

Brazil's Bolsa Familia is widely credited with lifting more than 20 million people out of extreme poverty, making it a global model for anti-poverty initiatives. Developed as part of a broader theory of equitable development, it serves as the basis…


Mapping concentration and prices in the US higher education industry During and after the Great Recession, public funding for higher education was slashed as part of state budget austerity. Staff and programs were cut and tuition rose; in many states,…

June 24, 2020

Sources

LABOR In her 2007 book, Against the Law: Labor Protests in China's Rustbelt and Sunbelt, sociologist CHING KWAN LEE paints an intricate portrait of the two segments of the Chinese working class that have most acutely experienced the country's changing…

June 18, 2020

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Mehrsa Baradaran

Banking between states and markets

Mehrsa Baradaran is a Professor of Law at UC Irvine. Her research situates the American banking system within a dense network of legal, historical, and political relationships.

June 15, 2020

Sources

As debate and discussion continues over reforms to US policing, attention has been drawn to the share of municipal and state budgets dedicated to police departments. While a useful proxy of governmental priorities, these budgets only tell part of the…

June 13, 2020

Interviews

Trade Wars Are Class Wars

A discussion between Adam Tooze, Michael Pettis, and Matthew Klein

Michael Pettis and Matthew Klein's new book "Trade Wars Are Class Wars" begins with an epigraph from John A. Hobson: "The struggle for markets, the greater eagerness of producers to sell than of consumers to buy, is the crowning proof…

June 8, 2020

Sources

As commentators and policymakers have scrambled to find explanations for and responses to the unprecedented uprisings against police brutality across the United States, interest in the role of police unions in local politics has soared. Recent research into the question…

June 2, 2020

Sources

This week has seen policymakers, scholars, and the public debate the meaning of collective violence. While political and media discourse often fails to examine the long-term effects of social unrest, a vast literature grapples with the mechanisms that link protests…

May 28, 2020

Events

Trade Wars are Class Wars

A conversation with Adam Tooze, Michael Pettis, and Matthew Klein

In May 2020, Phenomenal World hosted an event featuring Michael Pettis and Matthew Klein in conversation with Adam Tooze. Their discussion centered around the key findings of Pettis and Klein’s recently-released book, Trade Wars are Class Wars. The interview has been…

May 28, 2020

Analysis

Digital Scab, Digital Snitch

On automation and worker surveillance

Before Covid-19 hit, we'd become used to reports about Amazon's robotics innovations and the impending large-scale automation of warehouse jobs. But recent strikes and protests by Amazon's very human workers have exposed how far we are from robotic warehouses.

May 26, 2020

Sources

Analyses of variation in state-level responses to the coronavirus tend to focus on party determination: On the whole, states led by Democrats have been found to undertake more rapid and extensive responses to the crisis. The focus on immediate political…

May 22, 2020

Interviews

Municipal Bonds, Race, and the American City

An interview with Destin Jenkins

The rapid and expansive action taken by the Fed over the past two months in response to the coronavirus crisis has muddied the distinction between monetary and fiscal policy. In particular, its Municipal Liquidity Facility provides a path for financing…

May 19, 2020

Sources

Among the many corona-induced shocks rippling through the global economy is the crash in remittance payments to developing countries. The World Bank predicts that remittance flows will fall 20% this year—a decline of $100b—largely as a result of shutdowns and…

May 14, 2020

Interviews

The Postindustrial Welfare State

An interview with Gøsta Esping-Andersen

"The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism" is among the most influential works in the study of welfare states. Rather than conceiving of welfare and industrial policy on a single state-market axis, Three Worlds develops a typology to situate welfare states…

May 12, 2020

Sources

Covid is changing popular attitudes towards the public sector, prompting many commentators to anticipate a new period of welfare expansion. Others are more skeptical, noting that public opinion undergoes rapid fluctuations, which rarely resolve into a new equilibrium.

May 4, 2020

Sources

Following the comparative success of South Korea and Singapore to flatten the Covid-19 curve, governments around the world have been discussing the merits and feasibility of tech-aided contact tracing systems. (Whether these comparative public health successes are actually attributable to…

May 1, 2020

Analysis

The Class Politics of the Dollar System

Managing an international public good

The global dollar system has few national winners. The typical frame for understanding the US dollar is that of “exorbitant privilege.”

April 28, 2020

Sources

It's been a turbulent week for the US Postal Service. With revenues plummeting as mail volume drops, the Postal Worker's Union leader recently estimated that the service is likely to literally "run out of money" by October. The crisis has…

April 24, 2020

Interviews

The Weight of Movements

An interview with Frances Fox Piven

Few theorists of social movements have shaped the events that they analyze. Frances Fox Piven, Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the City University of New York and one of these few, has studied and agitated within American social…

April 21, 2020

Sources

Among the diverse local and national policy responses undertaken to combat the pandemic in recent months, Kerala's has been notable. Within the broader context of Indian economic development, Kerala's government has a tradition of successful redistributive development policies, sometimes referred…

April 17, 2020

Analysis

Inside Out

Shaping the base of a renewable economy

The transition to a post-carbon energy economy will require extraction.

April 13, 2020

Sources

Scholars of the global food system unravel a vast web linking trade policy, public health, economic development, labor issues, supply chain logistics, and so on. The pandemic has already prompted states to break with the implicit rules underpinning global food…

April 7, 2020

Sources

Comparisons of responses to the Covid-19 crisis across national lines yield as many questions as answers. Divergent histories of public health programs, differences in cultural norms, population density, age distributions, and internal migration patterns create a muddy picture for causal…

April 3, 2020

Analysis

Crisis and Recovery

The underlying problems in the US economy

Today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report hardly registers the cataclysm in the US job market. The sharp 0.9 percent uptick in unemployment—itself newsworthy—only grasps the very beginnings of the shutdown of the American economy.

March 31, 2020

Sources

The need to formulate a unified COVID response has placed pressure on European integration in recent days, with Germany and the Netherlands resisting Southern European calls for the issuing of "coronabonds." A 2018 paper by John Ryan and John Loughlin…

March 25, 2020

Analysis

The First Services Recession

The shape of the Covid-19 recession

It is hard to see how the United States can avoid a recession. Unemployment insurance claims have already surged, and this week's numbers look to be in the millions.

March 25, 2020

Sources

This week, reports swirled regarding President Trump's invocation of the Defense Production Act—a 1950 law passed to manage production in the context of the Korean War—to meet the coming demand of crucial medical supplies to treat people with COVID-19. Much…

March 16, 2020

Sources

At present it's difficult to think of much else beyond the fragility of our global economic infrastructure. A 2012 discussion paper by RICHARD BALDWIN looks at global supply chains: their history, future, and policy implications.

March 9, 2020

Sources

The correlation between health, income, and wealth is widely recognized in contemporary research and policy circles. This broadly social understanding of public health outcomes has its origins in a theoretical tradition dating back to the 1970s and 80s, in which…

March 6, 2020

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Nathan Lane

History, empirics, and industrial policy

Nathan Lane is an economist working on political economy, development, and economic history.

March 2, 2020

Sources

Over the past two decades, "evidence-based policy" has come to define the common sense of research and policymakers around the world. But while attempts have been made to create formalization schemes for the ranking of evidence for policy, a gulf…

February 27, 2020

Analysis

The Economics of Race

On the neoclassical and stratification theories of race

Black America has had less wealth, less income, less education, and poorer health than white America for as long as records have been kept.

February 24, 2020

Sources

Of the various issues mired in severe and ongoing party polarization, climate crisis is among the most puzzling. Despite longstanding discussions of bipartisan market-based policy proposals like carbon taxes and cap and trade, large-scale government and industry action remains elusive.

February 20, 2020

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Mark Blyth

On growth models, supply chains, and dollar hegemony

Mark Blyth is William R. Rhodes Professor of International Political Economy at Brown University and a Faculty Fellow at Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies. His research examines how the interests of state level economic actors shape ideological consensus and…

February 18, 2020

Sources

In an employer-sponsored healthcare system like that of the United States, deteriorating labor market protections have immediate consequences for access to healthcare. Democratic primary candidates have presented a number of proposals to address declining rates of insurance, ranging in degrees…

February 13, 2020

Interviews

Austerity and Ideology

An interview with Kim Phillips-Fein

Kim Phillips-Fein is an associate professor of history at New York University and the author of the books "Invisible Hands: the Businessmen’s Crusade Against the New Deal" and "Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics",…

February 10, 2020

Sources

Standard theories of development have been predicated on the goal of an industrialized economy with the potential for full and regularized employment. Such a view necessitates a host of statistical categories to define and measure labor markets. In a 2000…

February 6, 2020

Analysis

Decision Making in a Dynamic World

Exploring the limits of Expected Utility

I once wrote a post criticizing modern microeconomic models as both overly complex and unrealistic, leading their practitioners into theoretical dead ends without much corresponding increase in explanatory power. I suggested the entire enterprise of Expected Utility (EU) was a…

February 3, 2020

Sources

Sample size does more than determine the sort of methodology appropriate for a given study; theorists of social science have long pointed out that the number of case studies considered determines the sorts of questions researchers can analyze and the…

January 30, 2020

Analysis

The Long History of Algorithmic Fairness

Fair algorithms from the seventeenth century to the present

As national and regional governments form expert commissions to regulate “automated decision-making,” a new corporate-sponsored field of research proposes to formalize the elusive ideal of “fairness” as a mathematical property of algorithms and especially of their outputs.

January 29, 2020

Interviews

Historicizing the Self-Evident

An interview with Lorraine Daston

Lorraine Daston has published widely in the history of science, including on probability and statistics, scientific objectivity and observation, game theory, monsters, and much else. Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science since 1995 (emeritus as…

January 27, 2020

Sources

Deindustrialization is a global phenomenon taking place more rapidly in middle- income countries than in high-income ones. Despite the global decline of manufacturing employment, "industrial policy" is increasingly salient in research and policy debates. But deindustrialization poses significant challenges for…

January 23, 2020

Analysis

What Would a UBI Fund?

Lessons from the 1970s experiments in guaranteed income

One of the questions at the heart of contemporary debates over the merits of UBI is ‘what would it fund?’ In other words, what type of activities would it encourage? There are of course the widely debunked quibbles about guaranteed…

January 21, 2020

Sources

Despite contributing towards a series of crises (from the third world debt crisis of the 80s to the Euro-crisis of 2010), sovereign debt is rising across low-, middle-, and high-income economies, leading to renewed discussions around the macroeconomic consequences of…

January 17, 2020

Analysis

UBI & the City

A new working paper models the effects of a basic income in New York City

Skeptics of guaranteed income tend to worry about the policy’s inflationary effects; absent rent regulation, for instance, one might expect housing costs to rise in proportion to the increase in disposable income generated by the policy.

January 16, 2020

Analysis

Macro Modeling in the Age of Inequality

On incorporating distributional concerns into macroeconomic models

Recent years have seen the revival of academic conversation around rising wealth inequality and its distributional consequences. But while applied, microeconomics-oriented fields like public and labor economics have long engaged with questions around inequality, macroeconomics has historically paid less attention…

January 13, 2020

Sources

Researchers of policy history have long deliberated over explanatory frameworks: institutionalist accounts tend to focus on inherited conditions and path dependency in political development, while others stress the importance of social movements in shaping policy. Among the more dynamic analytical…

January 9, 2020

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Alice Evans

Four books and papers on the 'despondency trap'

Alice Evans is a Lecturer in the Social Science of International Development at King's College London, and a Faculty Associate at Harvard's Kennedy School. She is writing a book on “The Great Gender Divergence”, which explores why European countries rapidly…

January 6, 2020

Sources

Foundational to the discipline of international relations, historian E. H. Carr's path-breaking book Twenty Years' Crisis was the first to systematically assess the (then-emerging) field as consisting of 'realist' and 'idealist' approaches. Published in 1939, the book carefully outlines the…

December 23, 2019

Sources

Thank you for reading the JFI letter this year. As we prepare for another year of research and link sharing, here's some of what we sent in 2019. We'll see you in 2020. OVER ILLUMINATION Highlights from a year of…

December 20, 2019

Reviews

Renegotiating Education

Caitlin Zaloom's ethnography of the American higher ed crisis

Indebted is anthropologist and NYU Professor Caitlin Zaloom’s deep dive into the middle-class American family’s struggle to solve the college cost puzzle. Its animating question: How can middle-class families maintain their status and provide their children with as much opportunity…


Mapping market concentration in the higher education industry In much of the existing higher education literature, “college access” is understood in terms of pre-college educational attainment, social and informational networks, and financial capacity, both for tuition and living expenses. The…

December 16, 2019

Sources

The recent boom in identifying and measuring monopsony in labor markets has brought the question of employers' wage-setting power to the fore of various academic and policy debates. (For an overview, see our blog post by Owen Davis from earlier…

December 9, 2019

Sources

Like many systems of social provision—from housing to pensions—American education has become increasingly financialized. In a recent paper, Charlie Eaton, Jacob Habinek, Adam Goldstein, Cyrus Dioun, Daniela García Santibáñez Godoy, and Robert Osley-Thomas consider the scope and consequences of financialization…

November 28, 2019

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Alexander Hertel-Fernandez

On unions, advocacy, and influence

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez is a political scientist who studies the mechanisms of influence. Focusing on the strategies of organized interests, including both business and labor, Hertel-Fernandez's helps illuminate crucial and poorly understood levers of American political economy.

November 25, 2019

Sources

In recent decades, policy approaches to housing provision have focused on increasing the incomes of subsidy recipients and, due to declining federal investment, promoting tenant mobility both between subsidized housing units and out of the public housing system altogether. But…

November 22, 2019

Analysis

Development and Displacement

The effects of big development initiatives

Infrastructure lies at the heart of development. From transportation and telecommunication networks to electrical grids and water pipelines, large-scale infrastructure projects play a pivotal role in the global development landscape.

November 18, 2019

Sources

Major accounts of the role of the state in economic development have held that the state is essential for ensuring private property rights—that democratic checks and balances encourage investment and therefore economic growth. Other schools of development stress the importance…

November 14, 2019

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Beth Popp Berman

On knowledge, institutions, and social policy

Beth Popp Berman is sociologist whose research focuses on the history of knowledge, organizations and public policy making.

November 12, 2019

Sources

In addition to lagging behind many European economies in the breadth, amount, and quality of welfare provision, the United States also exhibits relatively low rates of take-up among the benefits it does make available. Non-take-up rates can be accounted for—at…

November 7, 2019

Analysis

Collective Ownership in the Green New Deal

What rural electrification can teach us about a just transition

This year, we once again shattered the record for atmospheric carbon concentration, and witnessed a series of devastating setbacks in US climate policy—from attempts to waive state protections against pipelines to wholesale attacks on climate science.

October 31, 2019

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Leah Stokes

Networks of climate denial

Leah Stokes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Santa Barbara. Her research spans representation and public opinion, voting behavior, and environmental and energy politics. ways forward in the climate crisis. Below, her…

October 28, 2019

Sources

Tax reform is at the forefront of contemporary policy debate. US citizens pay taxes at lower rates than their European counterparts, and a growing number of researchers agree that progressive taxes on wealth and income have the potential to rectify…

October 24, 2019

Interviews

Throughout his career, John Roemer's work has been uniquely situated between the fields of microeconomics, game theory, philosophy, and political science. His research makes use of the tools of classical economics to analyze dynamics typically thought to be outside the…

October 21, 2019

Sources

Of the many justifications for introducing a universal basic income, automation is among the most popular. Over the past years, a slew of reports and endless media coverage has raised the specter of mass "technological unemployment"—a possible future that has…

October 17, 2019

Analysis

Disparate Causes, pt. II

On the hunt for the correct counterfactual

An accurate understanding of the nature of race in our society is a prerequisite for an adequate normative theory of discrimination.

October 15, 2019

Sources

As student debt grows and the labor market stagnates, a growing body of research seeks to answer questions about the worthiness of college. What characterizes the schools and populations for whom college is worth it? What does worthiness mean—financial, intellectual,…

October 11, 2019

Analysis

Disparate Causes, pt. I

The shortcomings of causal and counterfactual thinking about racial discrimination

Legal claims of disparate impact discrimination go something like this: A company uses some system (e.g., hiring test, performance review, risk assessment tool) in a way that impacts people. Somebody sues, arguing that it has a disproportionate adverse effect on…

October 7, 2019

Sources

Breathless media coverage of machine learning tools and their applications often obscures the processes that allow them to function. Time and again, services billed or understood by users as automatic are revealed to rely on undervalued, deskilled human labor.

September 30, 2019

Sources

In his 1990 book, The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism (TWWC), sociologist Gosta Esping-Andersen identified three categories of European welfare regimes: liberal, conservative, and social democratic. In Esping-Andersen's account, these welfare regimes developed according to the sorts of coalitions formed…

September 26, 2019

Interviews

Optimizing the Crisis

An interview with Seda Gürses and Bekah Overdorf

Software that structures increasingly detailed aspects of contemporary life is built for optimization. These programs require a mapping of the world in a way that is computationally legible, and translating the messy world into one that makes sense to a…

September 23, 2019

Sources

Recent years have seen a surge in scholarship that critically evaluates the origins and impact of the law and economics movement. Out of the many theoretical bedrocks of the movement, the Coase Theorem is one of the most significant. Stemming…

September 16, 2019

Sources

Two weeks ago today marked the passing of the great Immanual Wallerstein. His work has had resounding influence across fields: from literature, to legal theory, education, development studies, and international relations. Among his foremost contributions is the four volume Modern…

September 12, 2019

Analysis

Money Parables

Three competing theories of money

In the past year, Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) has shifted the policy debate in a way that few heterodox schools of economic thought have in recent memory.

September 9, 2019

Sources

While the thorny ethical questions dogging the development and implementation of algorithmic decision systems touch on all manner of social phenomena, arguably the most widely discussed is that of racial discrimination. The watershed moment for the algorithmic ethics conversation was…

September 3, 2019

Sources

Last week, we considered how social and political standards can pressure climate scientists to under-report their findings, introducing an underestimation bias into published climate research. In a recent thread, Nicholas Loubere examines the development buzz around mobile money, showing how…

August 26, 2019

Sources

Without any “evidence of fraud, malfeasance or deliberate deception or manipulation,” or any promotion of inaccurate views, how can bias enter a scientific assessment? In their new book, Discerning Experts, Michael Oppenheimer, Naomi Oreskes, Dale Jamieson, et al explore the…

August 23, 2019

Analysis

Statistical prediction is increasingly pervasive in our lives. Can it be fair? The Allegheny Family Screening Tool is a computer program that predicts whether a child will later have to be placed into foster care. It's been used in Allegheny…

August 19, 2019

Sources

The role of labor (with some notable exceptions) has been relatively marginal in debates over how to decarbonize the economy. But given the growing number of clean energy jobs (and some recent labor news), it is reasonable to predict that…

August 12, 2019

Sources

The emergence of companies like Uber and Taskrabbit has prompted commentators across legal, economic, and policy research spheres to pronounce the beginning of a new era of work, marked by the prevalence of technologically mediated casual work arrangements.

August 8, 2019

Interviews

Networks, Weak Ties, and Thresholds

An Interview with Mark Granovetter

Few living scholars have had the influence of Mark Granovetter. In a career spanning almost 50 years, his seminal contributions to his own field of sociology have spread to shape research in economics, computer science, and even epidemiology.

August 5, 2019

Sources

Technology companies are coming under increased scrutiny for the ethical consequences of their work, and some have formed advisory boards or hired ethicists on staff. (Google's AI ethics board quickly disintegrated.) Another approach is to train computer scientists in ethics…

August 1, 2019

Analysis

Decentralize What?

Can you fix political problems with new web infrastructures?

The internet's early proliferation was steeped in cyber-utopian ideals. The circumvention of censorship and gatekeeping, digital public squares, direct democracy, revitalized civic engagement, the “global village”—these were all anticipated characteristics of the internet age, premised on the notion that digital…

July 29, 2019

Sources

Many recent policy proposals are variations on European programs implemented throughout the twentieth century. Despite their marked diversity, European welfare states share a foundation of social protections largely responsible for their lower rates of inequality. Theories on the development of…

July 22, 2019

Sources

At the Phenomenal World, we have been publishing pieces covering a wide-range of topics, many of which are common ground in this newsletter. Below, in no particular order, is a round-up of some recent work in case you missed it.

July 18, 2019

Analysis

Student Debt & Racial Wealth Inequality

How student debt cancellation affects the racial wealth gap

The effect of cancelling student debt on various measures of individual and group-level inequality has been a matter of controversy, especially given presidential candidates’ recent and high-profile proposals to eliminate outstanding student debt.

July 15, 2019

Sources

Beyond growing calls for welfare expansion and a more progressive tax system, recent policy debates have begun to consider alternative models of firm ownership. Last year, the UK Labour party published a report outlining a path towards a more diverse…

July 11, 2019

Reviews

Keynes versus the Keynesians

A new book by James Crotty reexamines the career of John Maynard Keynes

What drives economic growth and stagnation? What types of methodologies and tools do we need to accurately explain economic epochs in the past and present? What models and policy approaches can lead to prosperity for all?

July 8, 2019

Sources

Higher education is widely understood to be a major driver of intergenerational mobility in the United States. Despite the clear (and growing) inequalities between and within colleges, it remains the case that higher education reduces the impact that parental class…

July 3, 2019

Analysis

The Politics of Machine Learning, pt. II

The uses of algorithms discussed in the first part of this article vary widely: from hiring decisions to bail assignment, to political campaigns and military intelligence.

Across all these applications of machine learning methods, there is a common thread: Data on individuals is used to treat different individuals differently. In the past, broadly speaking, such commercial and government activities used to target everyone in a given…

July 1, 2019

Sources

How can evidence inform the decisions of policymakers? What value do policymakers ascribe to academic research? In January, we highlighted Yale's Evidence in Practice project, which emphasizes the divergence between policymakers' needs and researchers' goals. Other work describes the complexity…

June 27, 2019

Analysis

The Politics of Machine Learning, pt. I

On prediction, profits, votes, and militarism.

Terminology like "machine learning," "artificial intelligence," "deep learning," and "neural nets" is pervasive: business, universities, intelligence agencies, and political parties are all anxious to maintain an edge over the use of these technologies.

June 24, 2019

Sources

In past newsletters, we have highlighted research and policy proposals relating to the Green New Deal and the literature surrounding "degrowth"—the idea that the growth imperative is at odds with human flourishing. In a recent exchange, economist Robert Pollin debates…

June 17, 2019

Sources

Debates over the relevance of indicators like GDP for assessing the health of domestic economies are persistent and growing. Critics of such measures point to the failures of such measures to holistically capture societal wellbeing, and argue in favor of…

June 13, 2019

Interviews

Elections, Social Democracy, and the Neoliberal Shift

An interview with Adam Przeworski

Throughout the 20th century, radical social movements were plagued by their relationship to existing state institutions. Across Western Europe, labor movements found political expression in parties like the Swedish Social Democrats, the German SPD, and the French Socialist Party.

June 10, 2019

Sources

Debates over the political impacts of Central Bank Independence (CBI) reached their peak in the late 90s and early 2000s, due to rising inequality and the volatility of financial markets. Initiated with the 1977 Federal Reserve Act and Paul Volcker’s…

June 3, 2019

Sources

Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington State and Democratic presidential candidate, has made climate policy the center of his longer-than-long-shot campaign. On May 3rd, he released 8 pages of goals, and on May 16th, he released the 35-page, 28-policy “Evergreen…

May 31, 2019

Analysis

Copyright Humanism

It's by now common wisdom that American copyright law is burdensome, excessive, and failing to promote the ideals that protection ought to.

It's by now common wisdom that American copyright law is burdensome, excessive, and failing to promote the ideals that protection ought to. Too many things, critics argue, are subject to copyright protections, and the result is an inefficient legal morass…

May 28, 2019

Sources

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the country's largest anti-poverty program. In 2018, over 20 million filers received $63 billion in EITC refunds. Because of its bipartisan popularity and its secure position in the tax code, with no distinct…

May 20, 2019

Sources

Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 permits certain postsecondary institutions to be eligible for federal financial aid funds. A wide variety of programs are Title IV eligible: public, private, for-profit, vocational. Yet there are also a vast…

May 16, 2019

Interviews

Feminist Theory, Gender Inequity, and Basic Income

An interview with Almaz Zelleke

Feminist and women's movements in the mid-20th century developed demands for an unconditional basic income that emerged out of concrete experiences with the welfare state. What can the current discussion around UBI learn from examining this largely sidelined history?

May 13, 2019

Sources

As economies across Europe and in the United States have become more knowledge-based, urban-centered, and tech-driven, people in manufacturing reliant regions have seen declining life expectancies, stagnating real incomes, and minimal job growth.

May 6, 2019

Sources

May 3, 2019

Interviews

How Do States Pay for Wars?

An interview with Rosella Cappella Zielinski

Academic study of war in the social sciences is as old as historiography itself, and political economists have considered the economic logic of war and peace for centuries. Yet social scientists have left several questions on the financing of conflict…

April 29, 2019

Sources

In nearly every major urban center, housing affordability is in crisis. Since the 1960s, median home value has risen by 112% across the country, while median owner incomes rose just 50%. For renters, especially since 2008, the problem is increasingly…

April 20, 2019

Sources

April 13, 2019

Sources

Current UBI discussions emerged out of concerns over the role of human beings in a machine-dominated labor market. In 2013, a paper by Oxford University professors Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne claimed that 47% of US jobs were at…

April 6, 2019

Sources

The most visible discourse on universal basic income focuses squarely on the labor market. Unconditional cash transfers are understood above all as a potential policy solution to wage stagnation, rising inequality, and labor displacement. This framework, which responds to rising…

March 30, 2019

Sources

Public research universities have long been understood as engines of meritocratic social mobility. Relative to other higher ed institutions, public universities remain those with the highest mobility rates. But research over the past decade has shown that these institutions are…

March 28, 2019

Analysis

Experiments for Policy Choice

If we wish to pick good policies, we should run experiments adaptively

Randomized experiments have become part of the standard toolkit for policy evaluation, and are usually designed to give precise estimates of causal effects. But, in practice, their actual goal is to pick good policies. These two goals are not the…

March 23, 2019

Sources

There is renewed debate around the merits of protectionism and free trade, spurred by political rhetoric from the left and right in the US, and in Europe and Latin America. Active disagreements over the consequences of free trade date back…

March 22, 2019

Analysis

The Emerging Monopsony Consensus

On the theory of monopsony

Early on in The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith asked who had the edge in negotiations between bosses and wage laborers. His answer: the bosses. In the case of a stalemate, landlords and manufacturers “could generally live a year or…

March 19, 2019

Analysis

Ideology in AP Economics

Uncovering the ideology embedded in economics

When the media talks about ideological indoctrination in education, it is usually assumed to refer to liberal arts professors pushing their liberal agenda. Less discussed is the very different strain of ideology found in economics.

March 16, 2019

Sources

Research surrounding student debt and the labor market value of postsecondary degrees focuses primarily on students obtaining a 4-year degree, secondarily on students receiving a 2-year degree, and only rarely considers students in certificate programs—non-degree awards that are cheaper and…

March 9, 2019

Sources

In the digital ethics literature, there's a consistent back-and-forth between attempts at designing algorithmic tools that promote fair outcomes in decision-making processes, and critiques that enumerate the limits of such attempts. A December paper by ANDREW SELBST, dana boyd, SORELLE…

March 2, 2019

Sources

Household debt has proliferated in the past decade. In the final quarter of 2018, it reached $13.54 trillion—an $869 billion increase since the previous peak in 2008 and a 21.4% increase since the post-crisis trough. While it is now widely…

March 1, 2019

Analysis

The Case for an Unconditional Safety Net

The 'magic bucket' of universal cash transfers

Imagine a system where everyone had a right to basic material safety, and could say “no” to abuse and exploitation. Sounds utopian? I argue that it would be quite feasible to get there, and that it would make eminent economic,…

February 23, 2019

Sources

More than a decade after the financial crisis of 2008, median household incomes have stagnated at their pre-2008 levels, and global economic growth is expected to decline further from what is already a historic low. While the unemployment rate has…

February 16, 2019

Sources

In recent weeks, a familiar debate over how we understand the global poverty rate across time reappeared in mainstream op-ed pages. Sparked initially by Bill Gates tweeting out an infographic produced by Our World in Data—which visualizes massive decreases (94%…

February 9, 2019

Sources

This week, we delve into the persisting inequalities of our higher education system. Since Winston, Hill, and Boyd found that only 10% of students at elite universities came from families who fell within the bottom 40% of the income distribution…

February 4, 2019

Reviews

What happens when you give people cash? How do they use the money, and how does it change their lives? Every cash study on this list is different: the studies vary in intervention type, research design, location, size, disbursement amount,…

February 2, 2019

Sources

In the ever expanding digital ethics literature, a number of researchers have been advocating a turn away from enticing technical questions—how to mathematically define fairness, for example—and towards a more expansive, foundational approach to the ethics of designing digital decision…

January 26, 2019

Sources

A new paper from the Center for Effective Global Action at Berkeley surveys a topic important to our researchers here at JFI: the question of long-run effects of interventions. In our literature review of cash transfer studies, we identified the…

January 24, 2019

Analysis

Why Rational People Polarize

Explanations of political polarization

U.S. politics is beset by increasing polarization. Ideological clustering is common; partisan antipathy is increasing; extremity is becoming the norm (Dimock et al. 2014). This poses a serious collective problem. Why is it happening?

January 19, 2019

Sources

In a recent newsletter, we noted a spate of reporting drawing attention to the authoritarianism of China's growing Social Credit System. This week, we are sharing a paper by YU-JIE CHEN, CHING-FU LIN, AND HAN-WEI LIU that casts light on…

January 12, 2019

Sources

In a report for the Berkman Klein center, Henry Farrell and Bruce Schneier identify a gap in current approaches to cybersecurity. National cybersecurity officials still base their thinking on Cold War-type threats, where technologists focus on hackers. Combining both approaches,…

January 5, 2019

Sources

We’re beginning with a report from Evidence in Practice, a project from the Yale School of Management. The report focuses on how to integrate rigorously researched evidence with policy and practice, with an emphasis on international development. The needs numerous…

December 22, 2018

Sources

The JFI Letter has grown and morphed over the past twelve months; thank you to our readers for opening, skimming, clicking, and writing us every week. We'll be offline until January 5. In the meantime, here's a list of our…

December 15, 2018

Sources

SCIENTIFIC RETURNS A new book examines the economic and social impacts of R&D Last May, we highlighted a report on workforce training and technological competitiveness which outlined trends in research and development investment. The report found that despite "total U.S.…

December 14, 2018

Interviews

Cash Transfer, Knowledge Transfer

An interview with Johannes Haushofer

Johannes Haushofer is assistant professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. His work includes development economics, behavioral economics, psychology, and neurobiology.

December 1, 2018

Sources

GREEN INFLUENCE A discussion of different approaches to climate policy Last week, the U.S. government released the Fourth National Climate Assessmentwhich outlined the dire economic and environmental consequences of climate change. Instead of highlighting key findings of the report—two good…

November 17, 2018

Sources

PLACE-BASED SUBSIDIES | UBERLAND | HISTORY OF QUANTIFICATION STAGNANT INFLUENCE The inefficiency of lobbying A few weeks ago, we spotlighted work by Elliott Ash et. al. on the startling influence of the Manne economics seminars in shaping judicial decision-making. This…

November 10, 2018

Sources

NEW UBI REPORTS | ELECTORAL VIOLENCE | BEYOND GDP DISCRETION DIFFERENTIAL On the varying modes of conceiving of privacy (and its violation) in the law In a 2004 YALE LAW JOURNAL article, comparative legal scholar JAMES Q. WHITMAN explores differing…

November 9, 2018

Analysis

Banking with Imprecision

How medieval financiers lent in the age of uncertainty

​In 1596, Spanish troops under the leadership of the Duke of Medina-Sidonia set fire to their own ships in the waters near Cadiz. The sinking of these thirty-two vessels was a tactical necessity: a joint Anglo-Dutch navy had annihilated the…

November 3, 2018

Sources

FUTURE OF WORK | MEDIEVAL FLOOD INSURANCE | GENDERED EMPLOYMENT POLITICAL TURBULENCE How do we meaningfully compare regime change? In last week’s newsletter, we spotlighted work by Elliott Ash, Daniel Chen, and Suresh Naidu that provided quantitative analysis of the…

October 27, 2018

Sources

EFFICIENT DISPERSION Applying quantitative methods to examine the spread of ideology in judicial opinion In a recent paper, co-authors ELLIOTT ASH, DANIEL L. CHEN, and SURESH NAIDU provide a quantitative analysis of the judicial effects of the law and economics…

October 25, 2018

Uncategorized

The Urban Commonwealth

On social wealth funds and urban wealth funds

As the federal government continues to abdicate responsibility for urban investment, cities face a depressing modern calculus.

October 20, 2018

Sources

WHAT IS A FAMILY? Competing definitons of the term have vast policy implications The formal definition of family is “blood, marriage, or adoption,” but that leaves out many possible arrangements, including families of unmarried people, foster children, co-ops, and, until…

October 18, 2018

Analysis

Machine Ethics, Part One: An Introduction and a Case Study

Artificial intelligence, ethics, and public health social work

The past few years have made abundantly clear that the artificially intelligent systems that organizations increasingly rely on to make important decisions can exhibit morally problematic behavior if not properly designed.

October 13, 2018

Sources

CLAIMS THAT CAN'T BE TESTED What policy lessons can we derive from UBI experiments? Political philosopher KARL WIDERQUIST of Georgetown has published a 92-page book examining historical and current basic income pilots, the difficulties of extrapolating from policy research to…

October 10, 2018

Uncategorized

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October 10, 2018

Analysis

Who cares about stopping rules?

Can you bias a coin?

Take a coin out of your pocket. Unless you own some exotic currency, your coin is fair: it's equally likely to land heads as tails when flipped.

October 6, 2018

Sources

HARD CAPS Economic growth vs. natural resources A recent Foreign Policy op-ed by JASON HICKEL examines “green growth,” a policy that calls for the absolute decoupling of GDP from the total use of natural resources. Hickel synthesizes three studies and…

October 2, 2018

Analysis

The “Next Big Thing” is a Room

New realities in Dynamicland

If you don’t look up, Dynamicland seems like a normal room on the second floor of an ordinary building in downtown Oakland. There are tables and chairs, couches and carpets, scattered office supplies, and pictures taped up on the walls.…

October 1, 2018

Analysis

Phenomenal World is a new publication that distributes research, analysis, and commentary on applied social science. We chose this name for our blog because we hope to publish work that addresses the social world in all its apparent complexity. Our…

September 29, 2018

Sources

MIDDLE WAGE Questioning the great transition into a "global middle class" Economist STEVE KNAUSS, in a new paper published by the CANADIAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES, examines the "myth" of the global middle class and the claim that the $2/day…

September 22, 2018

Sources

MATERIAL UNDERSTANDING The full resource stack needed for Amazon's Echo to "turn on the lights" In a novel new project, KATE CRAWFORD and VLADAN JOLER present an "anatomical case study" of the human labor, data, and planetary resources necessary for…

September 15, 2018

Sources

THE JANUS FACE The paradoxical outcomes of university-centered economic growth A recent paper by RICHARD FLORIDA and RUBEN GAETANI takes an empirical look at the role of research universities in anchoring local economies and driving economic growth. The paper examines…

September 8, 2018

Sources

WEALTH BEGETS WEALTH Matt Bruenig's Social Wealth Fund proposal, and responses Last week, MATT BRUENIG of the PEOPLE’S POLICY PROJECT published the most detailed version of a bold policy he’s been writing about for a long time: a Social Wealth…

September 8, 2018

Sources

Example table test County, State Participation Rate 2016 Population DeSoto County, Florida 74.0 35800 Hardee County, Florida 72.5 27360 Stewart County, Georgia 72.0 5705 Taliaferro County, Georgia 78.0 1593 Telfair County, Georgia 74.5 15965 Wheeler County, Georgia 77.7 7978 Holmes…

September 1, 2018

Sources

CONSTRAINED POSSIBILITIES On the relationship between academic economics and public policy In a recent working paper, ELIZABETH POPP BERMAN discusses the interconnected fields of academic economics and public policy. The paper conceptualizes the translation of certain academic ideas into public…

August 25, 2018

Sources

SPATIAL PARAMETERS On place-based and adaptable public policy A recent report published by BROOKINGS INSTITUTE discusses the potential effectiveness of place-based policies for strengthening the economies of depressed areas. Co-authored by Harvard’s BENJAMIN AUSTIN, EDWARD GLAESER, and LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS,…

August 18, 2018

Sources

COMPENSATION TREATMENT In Iran, cash transfers don't reduce labor supply A new study examines the effects of Iran's changeover from energy subsidies to cash transfers. From the abstract, by DJAVAD SALEHI-ISFAHANI and MOHAMMED H. MOSTAFAVI-DEHZOOEI of the ECONOMIC RESEARCH FORUM:…

August 11, 2018

Sources

ALCHEMIST STOCK Automation, employment, and capital investment At his blog STUMBLING AND MUMBLING, CHRIS DILLOW discusses recent reporting on rapid automation fears in the United Kingdom: "'More than six million workers are worried their jobs could be replaced by machines…

August 4, 2018

Sources

ENERGY BOOM A new carbon tax proposal and a big new carbon tax research report Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) introduced a carbon tax bill to the House last week (though it is “sure to fail” with the current government, it's…

July 28, 2018

Sources

BANKING AS ART On the history of economists in central banks  A recent paper by FRANÇOIS CLAVEAU and JÉRÉMIE DION applies quantitative methods to the historical study of central banks, demonstrating the transition of central banking from an "esoteric art"…

July 21, 2018

Sources

ALTERNATIVE ACTUARY History of risk assessment, and some proposed alternate methods  A 2002 paper by ERIC SILVER and LISA L. MILLER on actuarial risk assessment tools provides a history of statistical prediction in the criminal justice context, and issues cautions…

July 14, 2018

Sources

DATA IS NONRIVAL Considerations on data sharing and data markets  CHARLES I. JONES and CHRISTOPHER TONETTI contribute to the “new but rapidly-growing field” known as the economics of data: “We are particularly interested in how different property rights for data…

July 7, 2018

Sources

EVIDENCE PUZZLES The history and politics of RCTs  ⤷ Guaranteed Income In a 2016 working paper, JUDITH GUERON recounts and evaluates the history of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the US, through her own experience in the development of welfare experiments…

June 30, 2018

Sources

CLIMATE PREDICTION MARKET How to link a carbon tax to climate forecasting A 2011 paper by SHI-LING HSU suggests a way of using a carbon tax to generate more accurate predictions of future climate conditions: “The market for tradable permits…

June 23, 2018

Sources

VISIBLE CONSTRAINT Including protected variables can make algorithmic decision-making more fair  ⤷ Digital Ethics A recent paper co-authored by JON KLEINBERG, JENS LUDWIG, SENDHIL MULLAINATHAN, and ASHESH RAMBACHAN addresses algorithmic bias, countering the "large literature that tries to 'blind' the algorithm…

June 16, 2018

Sources

ROLL CALL  A new report from Fordham CLIP sheds light on the market for student list data from higher education institutions From the paper authored by N. CAMERON RUSSELL, JOEL R. REIDENBERG, ELIZABETH MARTIN, and THOMAS NORTON of the FORDHAM…

June 9, 2018

Sources

Ego

PAVEMENT, NURSING, MISSILES Algorithm Tips, a compilation of "potentially newsworthy algorithms" for journalists and researchers DANIEL TRIELLI, JENNIFER STARK, and NICK DIAKOPOLOUS and Northwestern’s Computational Journalism Lab created this searchable, non-comprehensive list of algorithms in use at the federal, state,…

June 2, 2018

Sources

ARTIFICIAL INFERENCE Causal reasoning and machine learning  In a recent paper titled "The Seven Pillars of Causal Reasoning with Reflections on Machine Learning", JUDEA PEARL, professor of computer science at UCLA and author of Causality popup: yes, writes: “Current machine…

May 26, 2018

Sources

SHOCK-LEVEL-ZERO Jobs guarantees vs. basic income In a characteristically lengthy and thorough post, SCOTT ALEXANDER of SLATE STAR CODEX argues for a basic income over a jobs guarantee, in dialogue with a post by SIMON SARRIS. Here's how Alexander addresses the…

May 19, 2018

Sources

EACH POINT ON THE CHAIN Arguments for Value-Added Tax in the US, and using VAT to fund basic income VAT The Wall Street Journal lays out the basics popup: yes: “Unlike a traditional sales tax, a VAT is a levy…

May 12, 2018

Sources

LABOR-LEISURE TRADE-OFF A new paper on the labor effects of cash transfers SARAH BAIRD, DAVID MCKENZIE, and BERK OZLER of the WORLD BANK review a variety of cash transfer studies, both governmental and non-governmental, in low- and middle-income countries. Cash…

May 5, 2018

Sources

POSTAL OPTION  Renewed interest in an old model  Last week we linked to the widely publicized news popup: yes that SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND would be pushing legislation to reintroduce government-run commercial banking through the United States Postal Service. Link popup: yes…

April 28, 2018

Sources

ONTARIO FOR ALL Canada calculates expanding Ontario's guaranteed income to the entire nation Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Office looks at the cost of expanding the Ontario pilot nationwide. Full report here popup: yes. ht Lauren ANDREW COYNE of the NATIONAL POST summarizes…

April 21, 2018

Sources

NON-ZERO PRICE "Digital goods have created large gains in well-being that are missed by conventional measures of GDP and productivity" A new paper by ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON et al. suggests using massive online choice experiments as a method to find the…

April 14, 2018

Sources

METARESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT Changes in R & D funding and allocation In a new report on workforce training and technological competitiveness, a task force led by former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker describes recent trends in research and development investment. Despite…

April 7, 2018

Sources

TARGET VARIABLE Big data's effect on the credit-scoring industry A lengthy 2016 article from the Yale Journal of Law and Technology delves into credit-scoring then suggests a new legislative framework. Since 2008, lenders have only intensified their use of big-data…

March 31, 2018

Sources

URBAN WEALTH FUNDS | OWNERSHIP OF SOVEREIGN WEALTH | FILTER BUBBLE EFFECTS URBAN WEALTH FUNDS Social wealth funds on the municipal level Matt Bruenig, Roger Farmer and Miles Kimball, and Sam Altman have all pushed for versions of a US…

March 24, 2018

Sources

FAIRNESS IN MACHINE LEARNING | METARESEARCH | MICROSTRUCTURE OF VIOLENCE DISTINCT FUSION Tracking the convergence of terms across disciplines In a new paper, CHRISTIAN VINCENOT looks at the process by which two synonymous concepts developed independently in separate disciplines, and…

March 17, 2018

Sources

STATE SCHOOL RECRUITMENT | JOB GUARANTEE | BLOCKCHAIN DEPENDENCE EXTERIOR State universities' reliance on out-of-state enrollment Research on enrollment patterns finds that shrinking state funds leads admissions departments to look for out-of-state tuition financing. "Fixed effects panel models revealed a…

March 10, 2018

Sources

CRIMINALIZATION OF DEBT | INTERNET CENSORSHIP | EQUALITY BRUTAL ATTACHMENTS A new report on the criminalization of debt Last week, the ACLU published a report entitled "A Pound of Flesh: The Criminalization of Private Debt." It details the widespread use…

March 3, 2018

Sources

IVORY MECHANICS Regional parochialism and the production of knowledge in universities "Scholarly understanding of how universities transform money and intellect into knowledge remains limited. At present we have only rudimentary measures of knowledge production's inputs: tuition and fees, government subsidies,…

February 24, 2018

Sources

DEFERRED ACTION On the effects of DACA Last week we linked to a paper that outlines the effects of DACA status on educational attainment and productivity: "High school graduation rates increased by 15 percent while teenage births declined by 45…

February 17, 2018

Sources

BASIC OPPORTUNITY Considerations on funding UBI in Britain The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) published a discussion paper on UBI. ANTHONY PAINTER outlines some key points here, including some thoughts on funding: “To fund…

February 10, 2018

Sources

AUTOMATIC PRECISION Translating randomized controlled trials into policy action "A randomized experiment is performed,a statistically significant comparison is found, and then story time begins, and continues and continues—as if the rigor from the randomized experiment somehow suffuses through the entire…

February 3, 2018

Sources

MASS PRIVACY The inadequacy of individual informed consent This week, an Australian college student noticed how data from Strava, a fitness-tracking app, can be used to discover the locations of military bases. Many outlets covered the news and its implications,…

January 27, 2018

Sources

DISCONTINUOUS ADVANCE A flurry of articles in December and January assess the state of artificial intelligence From Erik Brynjolfsson et al, optimism about productivity growth: “Economic value lags technological advances. “To be clear, we are optimistic about the ultimate productivity…

January 20, 2018

Sources

PERVERSE CONSEQUENCES Does banning the box increase hiring discrimination? “Our results support the concern that BTB [Ban the Box] policies encourage racial discrimination: the black-white gap in callbacks grew dramatically at companies that removed the box after the policy went…

January 13, 2018

Sources

THE WAGE EFFECT Higher minimum wages and the EITC may reduce recidivism “Using administrative prison release records from nearly six million offenders released between 2000 and 2014, we use a difference-in-differences strategy to identify the effect of over two hundred…

January 6, 2018

Sources

THE YEAR IN ECONOMICS Nominations from top economists, including selections by Raj Chetty, Sendhil Mullainathan, and Angus Deaton One favorite from this excellent round-up is by Hulten and Nakamura on metrics, selected by Diane Coyle (we previously sent her Indigo…

December 23, 2017

Sources

INCOME SHARE AGREEMENTS Purdue, BFF, the national conversation “Long discussed in college policy and financing circles, income share agreements, or ISAs, are poised to become more mainstream.” That’s from a September Wall Street Journal article. 2017 saw new pilots and…

December 16, 2017

Sources

HOW TO HANDLE BAD CONTENT Two articles illustrate the state of thought on moderating user-generated content Ben Thompson of Stratechery rounds up recent news on content moderation on Twitter/Facebook/Youtube and makes a recommendation: “Taking political sides always sounds good to…

December 9, 2017

Sources

THE FUTURE OF UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION A new report argues that quality, not access, is the pivotal challenge for colleges and universities From the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 112-page report with "practical and actionable recommendations to improve the…