Category Archive: Sources

  1. Family Group

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    This is an archived version of the PW Sources newsletter from Saturday, March 18. Sign up to receive PW Sources directly to your inbox here.


    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. 

    In a 2016 chapter, DAVID PALMER examines how the Mitsubishi corporation used Korean forced laborers for war-time Japanese state projects. 

    From the chapter:

    “Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, a division of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, owned and operated the Nagasaki and Hiroshima Shipyards, along with a number of other shipyards in Japan. Mitsubishi used Japanese workers who were paid regular wages, had relative freedom of movement, but who were denied the right to have free trade unions; Korean workers conscripted under forcible conditions from villages in Korea and confined to company dormitories under armed guard; and at the Nagasaki yard Allied prisoners-of-war (POWs) used as slave labor and housed in separate POW camps. This dual waged/forced labor system characterized much of wartime industry in Japan, including infrastructure construction, coal mining, and dock work. This system was very much like the even more extreme labor regime used in Nazi Germany.”

    +  “The Court’s rationale has shifted the restitution paradigm from disparate individual claims to collective redress.” A 2015 article by Steven Nam. Link

    +  “Corporations thereby became ‘triple winners’ by directly benefiting from unpaid labor during the war and receiving public money for it afterward.” A 2006 article by William Underwood on reparation claims from Chinese forced laborers. Link

    +  Seokwoo Lee and Youngkwan Cho on judicial activism around forced labor in Korea and Japan. Link.  


    Female Labor Participation in Jordan 

    ALMA BOUSTATI is a financial manager at Lloyds Banking Group. In a recent paper, she explores why female labor participation has remained consistently low in Jordan.

    From the paper

    “The purpose of this paper is to describe the history of female labour force participation in Jordan and to infer from it the different factors that may have affected its evolution. This exploration concludes that the combination of economic and institutional developments in Jordan repeatedly ‘sheltered’ women from the need to become wage earners, especially women who did not progress beyond secondary education. Whenever demand opportunities arose, women were unable to take advantage of them because of various economic policies that substituted them for other workers. More importantly, a government desire to maintain its end of a social contract that was rapidly becoming unfeasible resulted in a distorted labour market and we which relied on high male wage and non-wage wage income. This is all underpinned by patriarchal institutions and labour laws and regulations that motivated these economic policies, creating a cycle of reinforcement.”

    + + +

    +  “Financial integration at the expense of autonomy in a speculative and crisis-ridden global market can be perilous.” New on PW, Lin Chun reviews wartime communist monetary policy in China. Link

    +  A new study finds that cradle-to-grave emissions from food loss and waste represent half of total greenhouse gas emissions from food systems. Link

    +  “Caste from Field to Factory: 100 years of accumulation, exploitation and caste oppression in rural Uttar Pradesh.” A lecture by Jens Lerche. Link

    +  Skanda Amarnath at Employ America on “three dimensions of the Fed failure.” Link

    +  “A devaluation and resulting inflation of any magnitude would puncture the aura of macroeconomic invincibility so central to the tenure of the MAS, and especially Arce.” Charles Dolph on the Banco Central de Bolivia. Link

    +  Eliot Chen on Nvidia chips and an “AI lockout” for China. Link

    +  “We find that East Asian economies have been important suppliers of technology goods for Russia.” By Heli Simola and Aino Röyskö. Link

    +  “In addition to the soul revisions, many seigneurs ordered periodic enumerations of the serfs on their estates. The origin of the resulting household registers (podvornie opisi or vedomosti) has been traced to the eighteenth century and efforts of the Russian Free Economic Society to foster rational estate management. Treatises, which included detailed sample tables and graphs, urged the registration of serfs and their material resources as the first step toward improving seigneurial economies. Naturally, the detail and the quality of such registers vary enormously from landowner to landowner. In addition to duplicating information contained in the soul revisions, the household registers of Mishino provided information about the peasants’ horses, cattle and pigs, grain reserves, labour dues and arrears, crafts and trades, the condition of dwellings and outbuildings, physical handicaps and deportment.” By Peter Czap Jr. Link

  2. Complication

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    This is an archived version of the PW Sources newsletter from Saturday, March 11. Sign up to receive PW Sources directly to your inbox here.


    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 content recommended by algorithms. 

    In a 2023 paper, PHILLIP VERVEER compares American and European attempts to regulate social media, arguing that the latter have seen more success. 

    From the article:

    “The European Union and the United States were in roughly similar positions with respect to open mic platform services at the turn of the 21st century. Section 230 protected platforms from most liability in the United States and the Electronic Commerce Directive of 2000 protected platforms from most liability in the European Union. More than two decades later, with the accumulation of experience about the consequences of relieving platform operators from exposure to tort and other claims, things are different. The European Union has legislated significant changes in its approach and the United States has not. The divergence reflects differences in legal and government culture. The European approach utilizes increased state direction while the United States’ approach relies more on individual initiative to suppress negative externalities. One dramatic manifestation of the differences is that Section 230 occupies approximately two pages in the U.S. Code and the Digital Services Act occupies 100 pages in the European Union’s Official Journal.”

    +  “We have seen how the EU manages to closely intertwine concerns for human rights, economic growth and Single Market integration.” Troels Krarup and Maja Horst on the EU’s artificial intelligence policy. Link

    +  “What if a firm had to demonstrate that its AI met clear requirements for security, non-discrimination, accuracy, appropriateness, and correctability, before it was deployed?” A 2022 paper by Gianclaudio Malgieri and Frank A. Pasquale. Link

    +  A report from the Corporate Europe Observatory on the tech industry’s growing lobbying power in the EU. Link.


    Strategic minerals

    ROBERT KONKEL is a postdoctoral fellow at the Jackson School of Global Affairs at Yale University. In a recent paper, he explores the global scramble for strategic minerals in the decades leading up to World War II.

    From the abstract

    “Building Blocs charts a global history of the last great crisis of globalization—the transwar decades from the 1880s through the 1940s—centering strategic minerals needed to make steel. Little-studied, but critically important, alloying minerals like tungsten and manganese were only needed in small amounts, but they were essential to the very foundations of national prosperity and security—steel and military production. Herein lay a fundamental problem: none of the industrial powers possessed adequate domestic deposits of these minerals, which were concentrated in remote locations—like central India, the Caucasus, southern China, Brazilian jungles, the Australian outback, and southern Africa. In a world in which steel was power, I show how resource anxieties motivated interwar quests for autarky and autonomy in the form of self-contained blocs. The scramble for strategic minerals escalated tensions and put rivals on the road to war, while reshaping the forms and structures of geopolitical entities and international institutions throughout the transwar period.”

    + + +

    +  “The conclusion seems inescapable that a tight monetary policy cannot stop administrative inflation without creating excessive unemployment, and may not be able to do so even then.” New in PW’s ongoing series on the price level, excerpts from economist Gardiner Means’s congressional hearings and public lectures from 1957-61 on inflation and monetary policy, with an introduction by Andrew Elrod. Link

    +  “The energy transition from an economic system run on fossil-fuels into a new metals-based one will reshuffle winners and losers, and blow up both domestic and international political orders.” New on the Polycrisis, Tim Sahay and Kate Mackenzie sketch out three decarbonization plots. Link

    +  “Never in the past seven decades has India witnessed such an economic reversal.” R. Nagaraj on India’s deindustrialization. Link

    +  “Transitioning to a net-zero energy system by 2050 is likely to be economically beneficial.” A new paper by Rupert Way, Matthew C. Ives, Penny Mealy, and J. Doyne Farmer. Link

    +  “The long history of China’s engagement with state capitalism as a concept and program dating back to the late Qing reformers has been overlooked for the most part.” A new paper by Isabella Weber. Link

    +  Stefania Albanesi, Claudia Olivetti, and Barbara Petrongolo review how family policies have have affected women’s careers over the past half century. Link

    +  “The sustained profitability of Iranian companies under sanctions represents an extraordinary and ongoing transfer of economic welfare from households to firms.” By Esfandyar Batmanghelidj. Link. And see Batmanghelidj’s PW essay on “the backfire” of US sanctions. Link

    +  “This shock was the 1876 conversion of hereditary samurai stipends (aka, chitsuroku) into government bonds (aka, kinroku) worth 173.9 million yen, motivated by the drain on public finances from samurai payments. There were some immediate consequences. First, interest payments by the government fell from 34.6 million yen before the 1868 Meiji restoration to 12.8 million yen after the 1876 stipend conversion. Second, the banking system expanded rapidly since chartered national banks were allowed to accept these commutation bonds as investment capital. These banks increased from 6 in 1876 to 153 over the next three years, with samurai contributing three times more capital in these banks compared to all other classes combined. Their dominant position in bank ownership remained in place through the 1880s, which coincided with the start of modern economic growth and Japan’s subsequent transition to an industrialized economy.” By Sergi Basco and John P. Tang. Link

  3. Camouflaged Apocalypse

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    This is an archived version of the PW Sources newsletter from Saturday, March 4. View the full archive and sign up to receive PW Sources directly to your inbox here.


    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. 

    Turkey’s construction industry is closely linked to the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP). In a 2012 article, OSMAN BALABAN surveys the hundreds of legal changes that allowed for a boom in private construction. 

    From the article:

    “The construction boom of the 2000s took place largely in an unplanned manner. In many cities, profit-oriented and speculative attempts of developers were regarded as signs of ‘good business climate’ and welcomed by public bodies without questioning their potential impacts. In this sense, public sector has supported recent construction boom by adopting various legal arrangements and amendments. Most of these were in form of deregulation in order to facilitate real estate and construction investments. The results of thorough review of archives of TBMM indicated that 78 laws and 10 by-laws, totally or partially concerning the production of built environment were enacted from 2002 to late 2007. 198 legal arrangements, majority of which can be considered as attempts and measures for deregulation, have been identified in these laws and by-laws. Certain institutions like Ministry of Public Works and Settlement (MPWS) were given the authority to prepare land-use plans without being amenable and restricted to the rules and conditions of existing urban development legislation.”

    +  “Mass housing and construction-generated mass employment contribute to the material basis of consent for the Turkish regime.” Cihan Tuğal on Erdoğanist megaprojects. Link. And İsmail Doğa Karate on the construction sector and the AKP. Link

    +  “The state of emergency declared after the attempted coup d’état of 2016 has not only given the state even more power to silence dissent but has also opened up the possibility of overriding existing legal mechanisms that can be used to stop the implementation of new extraction or construction projects.” A 2018 paper by Fikret Adaman, Murat Arsel, and Bengi Akbulut. Link

    +  Volkan Yilmaz examines the housing boom and labor conditions for construction workers. Link.


    Ghost cities

    LINSEY LY is a Presidential postdoctoral fellow at the Henry Luce Foundation. In a recent paper, she examines modern “ghost cities,” empty or abandoned urban landscapes, in Inner Mongolia.

    From the abstract

    “This paper reads the topography of Inner Mongolia—a province situated in China’s semi-colonial periphery—as an archive holding a repertoire of chronopolitical forms, material substrates of empire, accumulation, violence, and trauma. Throughout the twentieth century, this region has provided the ground for anxious stagings in the state’s campaigns to enact modernity, from the years following agrarian collectivization during Maoist socialism to its current designation as a special economic zone (SEZ) for national urban, financial and environmental experimentation. Today, it is the center of the rare earths mining industries producing 95% of the global supply, a key commodity chain that makes green technology possible. In Baotou and Ordos, where extreme environmental degradation resulting from the mining of mineral ore and rare earths processing competes with demand and massive infrastructural investment over the use-value of broken land, the region confronts and conjoins the twinned contradiction of imminent environmental collapse and long-term interest in urban futures.”

    + + +

    +  “Derisking evangelists have conjured a state that replicates the price mechanism of a competitive order without disciplining the private recipients of subsidies and guarantees.” New on PW, Daniela Gabor and Ndongo Samba Sylla on France and the One Forest Summit in Gabon. Link

    +  “Will the IMF face any pressure to reverse the measures that have turned the crisis into a slow-moving social, economic, and potentially even political disaster?” Also new on PW, Devaka Gunawardena, Niyanthini Kadirgamar, and Ahilan Kadirgamar on Sri Lanka’s crisis. Link

    +  “We argue that the US COVID-19 inflation is predominantly a sellers’ inflation that derives from microeconomic origins, namely the ability of firms with market power to hike prices.” A new paper by Isabella Weber and Evan Wasner. Link. And Francesco Canepa reports on the ECB’s views on profits and inflation. Link

    +  Marie Carpenter and William Lazonick on the financialization of Cisco. Link.

    +  “Hindu nationalists fashioned a program of small-scale local industrial development and intranational trade as a more authentic alternative to the economic planning being pursued in India and elsewhere.” By Aditya Balasubramanian. Link

    +  “We find that papers and patents are increasingly less likely to break with the past in ways that push science and technology in new directions.” By Michael Park, Erin Leahey, and Russell J. Funk. Link

    +  “The World Bank stepped up during the pandemic.” By Brad W. Setser. Link

    +  “Major EME governments have gradually reduced their reliance on foreign currency debt by borrowing more in their own currencies overall.” A new paper by Mert Onen, Hyun Song Shin, and Goetz von Peter. Link

    +  Oleksandr Svitych on USAID in Ukraine’s Donbas. Link

    +  “Janissaries were paid in regular quarterly installments, in solemn ceremonies in the second yard of the Topkapı Palace. As for the provincial garrisons, their wages were transported across the country with a security guard. Nevertheless, this precious load was sometimes attacked by bandits—this could happen even at the apogee of the empire, during Suleyman’s reign. Any shortcoming in these payments or any adulteration of the distributed money led to riots among the troops. Besides these regular wages, they received a special bonus (bakhşiş) at every new enthronement. Extraordinary grants were also expected during the campaigns, as an incitement or a reward. To neglect these traditional grants was a serious risk for the sultan. Selim II experienced the consequences when he refused to give the bakhşiş to the janissaries at the beginning of his reign, as did Osman II who, among other foolish mistakes, was not generous enough during the Polish campaign, resulting in his being deposed and in the end in his death.” By Gilles Veinstein. Link

  4. Where The Birds Never Sing

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    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 2022 article by JOHN S. STRONG finds that “activist investors”—including one who was briefly involved with Norfolk Southern—initiated board takeovers that transformed the operations of several freight rail companies. 

    From the article:

    “Many of the activist campaigns during the 2000–2022 period were spurred by the development of a new approach to rail operations, known as Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR). PSR focuses not on train movements, but car movements. Rather than waiting for a train to be built, cars are picked up from shippers and added to trains regardless of train length. Two major effects of PSR are to reduce the number of required hump yards, and to shift from unit trains to manifest mixed services on regularly scheduled trains. The nature of PSR operations results in potential problems. The closing of hump yards and reduction in trackage means the industry has less capacity to respond quickly to surges in demand. Labor reductions have resulted in shortages of train and network crews. Shippers previously served with larger unit trains have experienced occasional service disruptions. Longer, heavier manifest trains have raised concerns about safety.”

    +  “Deregulation meant discrimination…in the sense that transport ceased to be a product sold to all customers at a standard price.” Marc Levinson on big and small shippers. Link

    +  “If the safety of railroad freight transportation is measured solely by train accidents, and if the maximum amount of freight traffic is assumed to have been shifted by deregulation, as many as 236 extra freight transportation deaths per year can be blamed on deregulation.” A 1989 chapter by Kennith D. Boyer. Link

    +  James M. Macdonald and Linda Cavalluzzo on deregulation and organized labor. Link. And Steffen Habermalz and Kirsten Monaco track how wages fell after the Staggers Act. Link


    Local fiscal capacity

    SASCHA DRAY is an economist at the World Bank in the Macroeconomics, Trade, and Investment Global Practice. In a recent paper, he explores the importance of tax revenue for the growth of local governments.

    From the abstract

    “Using newly collected financial data of more than 300 U.S. cities over 1899-2000, I leverage source-specific variation in revenue through a shift-share research design. I report three main results. First, additional tax revenue causes greater spending on services than same-sized non-tax revenue, despite partial earmarking of non-tax revenue for this purpose. Second, tax revenue generates persistence in revenue. An initial increase in tax revenue has a 81% persistence on total revenue 10 years later, while similar non-tax revenue increase has dissipated after 3 years. This persistence can be explained by fiscal capacity improvements through higher effective tax rates, better enforcement and increased spending on revenue collection. Third, reliance on taxes has long-run effects on municipal finances and growth.”

    +  “Kindleberger sat close enough to the center of power to want to, and occasionally be able to, influence US foreign economic policy. He nonetheless remained an outsider methodologically and at a distance from the actual policy reins.” New on PW, Herman Mark Schwartz on Perry Mehrling’s Money and EmpireLink.

    +  “A divide emerges between how the ECB hindered or facilitated fiscal responses to these two international crises, despite the Federal Reserve’s willingness in both periods to prevent liquidity crises from worsening.” Also new on PW, Nina Eichacker compares ECB policy in 2008 and 2020. Link

    +  “Pakistan’s nest of international lenders looks as intransigent as its brazenly elite-captured domestic economy.” New on the Polycrisis, Tim Sahay and Kate Mackenzie analyze debt and power in Pakistan. Link.

    +  “In this paper, we lay out a theory of supply chains where financial conditions play a pivotal role in the determination of the length of supply chains.” By Se-Jik Kim and Hyun Song Shin. Link

    +  “While climate change poses a risk to Nigeria’s development prospects, it also provides opportunities for Nigeria to rethink the design and implementation of its national development programs.” By Belinda Archibong and Philip Osafo-Kwaako. Link

    +  Amanina Abdur Rahman and Achim Schmillen on Malaysian growth and within-sector labor productivity. Link.

    +  “The ‘softening’ of the German power bloc towards fiscal capacity building and redistributive mechanisms in the EMU is likely to prove durable.” Etienne Schneider on recent shifts Germany’s European policy approach. Link

    +  A new report from the Center on Global Energy Policy, authored by Ian Hamilton, on decarbonizing the global building sector. Link. And see Jeremy Wallace’s recent Polycrisis essay on China’s construction sector and the global climate agenda. Link

    +  “The bargaining position of mercenaries depended upon whether their numbers were greater or less than the demand for them. When they were in short supply, or particularly needed, they could, and did, insist on more attractive terms from their employers, even, as with the Ten Thousand, in the middle of a campaign. Suspecting that Cyrus’ expedition ‘would involve more difficulty and danger’ than he had disclosed to them, ‘they asked for more pay, and Cyrus promised to give to all half as much again as they had before’. Later, angry at learning that Cyrus planned to march against the Great King himself, they successfully negotiated a settlement whereby each soldier would receive a bonus of five minae of silver (about four months’ pay) and full pay until his return to Ionia.” By Harvey F. Miller. Link

  5. Palingenesis

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    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.

    In a 2018 chapter, PAUL W. POSNER calls into question the justification for these policies, arguing that the country’s highly flexible labor market has failed to increase formal sector employment.

    From the chapter:

    “Labor reforms adopted during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship and largely maintained since the democratic transition are consistent with the flexible labor policies advocated by IFIs such as the IMF, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank. Labor flexibility in Chile has perpetuated, if not exacerbated, the very conditions its proponents have argued it would ameliorate. Chile’s continued adherence to a flexibilized labor market should be understood not in terms of its capacity to reduce inequality or generate employment. Rather, it should be understood as the product of several interrelated factors: (1) the business sector’s ability to protect its interests through the leverage it accrued with policymakers over the course of the dictatorship; (2) the center-left Concertación’s conscious limitation of threats to the business sector’s interests in order to maintain political and economic stability; and (3) the weakness of organized labor, resulting from the perpetuation of the Pinochet-era labor regime and its own failure to adapt to Chile’s profoundly altered labor conditions.”

    +  “Our main conclusion is that Chile’s labor market reactions to structural shocks are among the most flexible economies.” By Elías Albagi, Pablo García, and Jorge E. Restrepo. Link. And a 2007 paper by Víctor O. Lima and Ricardo D. Paredes examine three labor market regimes in Chile from 1967 to 2002. Link.

    +  “The code facilitated shifting workers from one position to another within a firm and, more importantly, allowed employers to fire workers at will, individually or en masse, for no reason other than ‘business necessities.'” By John Lear and Joseph Collins. Link. And a 1994 BLS paper defines the characteristics of  “labor market flexibility.” Link

    +  Ángela Vergara on the rejected draft constitution’s proposals for labor reform. Link. And see her PW essay on the vote of Chilean mine workers. Link


    EMILIE SARTRE is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown University, affiliated with the Brown Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. In a recent paper, she studies how public fiscal mismanagement leads to the rise of populism.

    From the abstract

    “This paper studies how populist candidacies were fueled by a case of public financial mismanagement that became salient during the Great Recession. Using an instrumental variable strategy, we exploit the leak of a list of French municipalities that contracted “toxic” loans before the crisis. During the subsequent municipal elections, we show that i) the right-wing populist party is the only political orientation experiencing an increase in vote share, while mainstream incumbents’ political orientations are electorally punished, ii) both right-wing and left-wing populist candidacies are more likely in municipalities affected by the scandal, leading to arise in electoral competition, iii) the entry of populist candidates remains persistent over time. Importantly, the findings are not driven by economic deprivation, austerity measures, or pure demand for a political turnover. They suggest that the disclosure of public financial mismanagement contributes by itself to the rise of populism during financial crises via the strategic entry of populist parties.”

    + + +

    +   “Today, the European effort to assert economic sovereignty is in service of a sanctions alliance with the US.” New on PW, Esfandyar Batmanghelidj on how sanctions are reshaping EU-US relations. Link

    +   “How would securitizing the World Bank’s portfolio work, and how does this tactic relate to the larger derisking turn in development finance?” New on the Polycrisis, Advait Arun analyzes securitization as a strategy for climate finance. Link.

    +   “Russia’s war on Ukraine concretely reveals what it means for countries to lose their food sovereignty.” A new issue of Siyada magazine on the Ukraine invasion and food supply in North African countries. Link

    +   Hugh Miller, Simon Dikau, Romain Svartzman, and Stéphane Dees on the shortage of three raw materials—copper, lithium, and nickel— needed for the low-carbon transition. Link.

    +   “The IRS and Treasury effectively cannot be challenged in court for an action or decision that favors taxpayers, causing the government to lose money.” Brian D. Galle and Stephen E. Shay on administrative law and taxes. Link

    +   Anne-Sophie Corbeau and Ann-Kathrin Merz on Germany’s gas price break. Link

    +   A 2005 article from Betül Sengezer and Ercan Koç on land use planning and earthquake mitigation in Turkey, from Disaster‘s larger collection around earthquakes in the country. Link to the article, link to the collection. 

    +    “A recent survey found that 63% of the population or around 130 million people are now ‘multi-dimensionally’ poor.” An interview with Alex Batubo on Nigeria’s upcoming presidential elections. Link

    +   “It may be argued that the prohibition of usury impeded the development of capitalism in at least two ways: first, by keeping the interest rate high and, second, by undermining the enforcement of contracts. As far as the Medici are concerned, unsound financing was perhaps a major factor in their downfall. It seems plausible that they placed themselves in the same position as that of a modern corporation which is trading on the equity and relies mostly on the issuing of bonds as a means of financing expansion. When business conditions became unfavorable and profits fell, the Medici should have reduced the return which they offered to depositors. Perhaps it was impossible to do so without losing prestige or without causing withdrawals of much needed cash at a critical moment. In any case the Medici were reluctant to cut interest charges, except as a last resort. When they finally decided to take this fateful step, it gave wide publicity to the extent of their losses and undermined their prestige both at home and abroad.” By Raymond de Roover. Link

  6. That Day, On The River

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    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. 

    In a classic 2004 study, ROBIN BLACKBURN studies how an aging demographic affects systems of pension provision around the globe. 

    From the book:

    “The term ageing society should be taken literally. The median age of the world’s population was 23.6 years in 1950; it rose to 26.4 in 2000 and is expected to reach 36.8 by 2050 in the UN’s 2002 medium projection. The ageing effect is proceeding most rapidly in Europe where 29.2 was the median age in 1950, rising to 35.4 in 2000 and where it is expected to reach 47.7 by 2050. If the over 65s are to comprise between a fifth and a quarter of the population, then they are going to need a big chunk of GDP. Overall those over pension age currently receive an income that is 70 to 75 percent of average income. This is income from all sources: the state pension, private pensions, earnings and other savings. To maintain the relative income of those past retirement age it is generally necessary for these sources to supply between 15 and 22 percent of GDP, depending on the dimensions of ageing in that society. In nearly all advanced countries today there is a likelihood, with current programmes, of an income shortfall amounting to between 3 and 6 percent of GDP showing up between 2030 and 2050.”

    +  “In 30 OECD nations, the labor force participation of older men and women has grown significantly since 1993.” Teresa Ghilarducci on the distribution of retirement and older working time in OECD countries Link

    +  “I examine three of the world’s demographically oldest democracies and ask whether or not an older electorate leads political parties to increasingly seek the support of older voters through their political party messages and to avoid policy measures that might harm older workers.” Jennifer Dabbs Sciubba on Germany, Italy, and Japan. Link

    +  “Approximately 70% of the total 60+ population receives no pension at all.” Charan Singh, Kanchan Bharati, and Ayanendu Sanyal call for a universal pension scheme in India. Link. And Michael Kpsessa and Daniel Béland on the ILO’s influence on pension schemes in sub-Saharan Africa. Link


    Electricity capital

    LUCY BAKER is a Senior Research Fellow in Science Policy Research at the University of Sussex Business School. In a recent paper, she studies the off-grid solar electricity market in in sub-Saharan Africa. 

    From the text

    “Standalone solar home systems using pay as you go (PAYGO) mobile money have been proposed as a key solution to meeting the target of universal access to energy under Sustainable Development Goal 7. I investigate how through PAYGO, off-grid solar electricity in sub-Saharan Africa is being transformed into a cash flow, a financial asset and a conduit for consumer debt. In so doing I analyse evolving relationships between some of the key actors and institutions involved in this process, including mobile banking platforms such as MPesa, ‘next generation utilities’ such as M-KOPA and BBOXX, and powerful mobile network operators such as Safaricom and MTN. Theoretically I conceptualise energy access as a new frontier of ‘electricity capital,’ a developing field from political economy and energy geography, which is concerned with the way in which technological developments in the electricity sector are reconfiguring relationships between different institutions of the state, industry, finance, and users.”

    + + +

    +   “China produces more than half the world’s steel and cement, and those two sectors alone account for about 14 percent of global CO2 emissions.” New on the Polycrisis, Jeremy Wallace on China’s troubled real estate sector and climate. Link.

    +   “Contractionary fiscal shocks larger than 1.5 percent of GDP are associated, on average, with a negative effect of more than 3 percent on GDP, even after fifteen years.” New on PW, Guilherme Klein Martins on the long-run impacts of austerity. Link

    +   “Europe may be more intentional than the US in its energy transition policies, but it is also backward-looking.” This week’s Polycrisis newsletter, by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay, on the EU and the Inflation Reduction Act. Link

    +   Read highlights from last year’s second seminar of the Brasilian Sovereign Funds Forum, a partnership led by JFI and Fluminense Federal University. Link.  

    +   In Next City, JFI Vice President Halah Ahmad, Steve Nuñez, and Hope Wollensack argue that the future of guaranteed income is at the community level. Link

    +   Three on Adani: Aswath Damodaran on the stock meltdown, John Hyatton on how the fallout affects other investment funds, and Nikhil Agarwal and Ritesh Presswalla on impacts to the Life Insurance Corporation of India. Linklink, and link.

    +   “The Algerian financial system conceals two time bombs: an insane mass of subsidies which weigh a good quarter of the GDP and a constantly expanding budget deficit of almost the same dimensions.” By Jean-Pierre Sereni. Link.

    +   Paul Lasley and David Ostendorf on the American Farm Crisis of the 1980s. Link

    +   The Economist notes that “the US government is spending lavishly to revive green manufacturing.” Link. And see a talk with Ted Fertik and the Polycrisis’s Tim Sahay on climate and the Inflation Reduction Act. Link

    +   “Although some considerable distance lies between the emergent household specialization and the fullblown Aztec tortilla seller, the development of one into another can be explained by the opportunities afforded by the Aztec urban economy. The breadth of the tortilla seller’s inventory clearly is not aimed at poor households and minimal subsistence but at a wealthier status and luxury conscious clientele. Similar specialists entered households and organized the preparation of fancy maize foods for celebrations. In the broader economy, the volume of goods flowing into Aztec urban centers meant numerous visitors— merchants, load-bearers, itinerant craftspeople, and others distant from their own households—also created a demand for tortilla sellers. Other Aztec institutions fostered large-scale maize preparation. The large households and palaces of the elites were well suited to this practice. Similarly, the work of specialists attached to elite-sponsored craft workshops might have been subsidized with tortillas and other food.” By Martin Biskowski. Link

  7. To Monet, Giverny

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    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. 

    In a 2021 chapter, DERMOT O’CONNOR and JUAN PABLO  BOHÓRQUEZ MONTOYA examine the privatization of Colombia’s energy sector in the 1990s. 

    From the chapter:

    “In 2003, after more than fifty years of operations as a state-owned oil producer and refiner albeit one that relied heavily on partnerships with British, American, and Canadian firms for exploration, transportation, and marketing—Ecopetrol was restructured and re-established as a publicly traded corporation (although the state initially held 100 per cent of its shares). This was done in order to rationalize operations and enhance competitiveness internationally. After restructuring, Ecopetrol doubled production from 399,000 barrels of crude oil per day in 2007 to 755,400 barrels per day in 2014. Following price depressions in the oil sector in recent years, Ecopetrol has focused on sustaining operations, exploring for new deposits, and seeking international investors. In the petroleum industry, foreign direct investment in Colombia went from US$135 million in 1994 to US$5.4 billion in 2012. In the mining sector (including coal), foreign direct investment in 1994 was US$638 million, but it went up to US$3.01 billion by 2009. 

    The implications for Colombian citizens living within resource extraction zones have been profound and violent: large-scale land grabs and megaprojects have entailed the forced displacement of millions of rural people. In addition to violence and human rights violations, displaced persons have lost more than seven million hectares of property.”

    Link to the text.

    +  “These positive trends for Colombia’s oil sector have occurred during periods of intensifying civil war violence in Colombia.” David Maher on political violence and Foreign Direct Investment in Colombia’s petroleum industry. Link. And a 2017 article by Bruce M. Bagley and Jonathan D. Rosen examines energy security and environmental sustainability. Link

    +  “The Colombian government provided at least 5,610 billion pesos (around USD 1.7 billion) in subsidies to fossil fuel production and consumption in 2019, with around 60% of these directed to petroleum.” A 2022 report by Angela Picciariello, Adriana Quevedo, and Ipek Gençsü. Link

    +  Stefano Tijerina looks at oil extraction in Colombia from 1918 to 1938, focusing on the Canadian subsidiary Tropical Oil. Link


    Race and the US Housing Market

    BRIAN HIGGINS is a PhD candidate in economics at Stanford University. In a recent paper, he studies long-term trends in racial segmentation in the US housing market.

    From the paper: 

    “This paper quantifies the welfare consequences of racial segmentation in the housing market from 1960 to 2019. Using microdata on housing choices—what house to rent, what house to buy, and whether to buy or rent—I document large differences between Black and White households. I estimate a dynamic equilibrium model of the housing market, allowing for market segmentation by race, and use the model to map the differences in housing choices into differences in economic welfare. The main finding of the paper is that Black households pay higher quality-adjusted rents and prices, especially at higher qualities, which cause them to sort into lower quality homes. Relative to an integrated market, where Black and White households face the same rents and prices, the average Black household in 1960 is five percent worse off in terms of lifetime consumption equivalent welfare. The average White household is slightly better off (one half of a percent). Between 1960 and 2019, the welfare gaps have narrowed by four–fifths.”

    Link to the text, link to Higgins’s website.  

    + + +

    +   “In the opaque, patrimonial, and bureaucratic Georgian state, the dollar was used as a primary means of payment—serving the interests of rent-seeking political, economic, and financial elites.” New on PW, Ia Eradze on dollarization in Georgia. Link

    +   “Electrification, automation, and digitalization are together likely to increase efficiency and reduce costs of road freight. This is in many ways a positive development but could have unintended consequences.” A new report from the Stockholm Environment Institute on the transformation in road freight. Link

    +   Jayati Ghosh, Naomi Hossain, Ahilan Kadirgamar, Farooq Tariq, and Chamila Thushari discuss debt restructuring processes in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Link

    +   Eliot Chen appraises the future prospects of Chinese chipmaking giant Hua Hong Semiconductor. Link.

    +   “By impeding the government from extending special financing arrangements to other firms in the area, sanctions precluded the adoption of policy decisions that could have stabilized production at pre-sanctions levels.” A look at US sanctions on Venezuelan oil, by Francisco Rodrí­guez. Link

    +   A new report from the Fiscal Policy Report suggests that housing costs, rather than taxes, are driving migration out of New York City. Link.

    +   Daniel K. Fetter, Lee M. Lockwood, and Paul Mohnen on the long-run intergenerational effects of social security. Link

    +   “In this article, I explore the conflicting beliefs of two groups of fashion professionals during the interwar years: one group held that fashion design should be protected, while the other maintained that everyone should have access to fashion designs and be allowed to copy them. In France, the creation of a system protective of fashion designs was founded on the principle that fashion was a branch of high art, whereas, in the U.S., fashion was perceived in functional terms, and thus its designs were not protected. Under French law, fashion creators were held in the same high regard reserved for artists, while American law assigned them a lower status.” By Véronique Pouillard. Link

  8. Camelid in the City

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    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. 

    In a 2013 chapter, JEAN-PAUL RÉVAUGER charts the long history of French pension reform, showing how successive administrations scaled back benefits by citing budgetary constraints and demographic trends.

    From the chapter:

    “The Fillon plan tried to embark on an exercise in social engineering by encouraging people to postpone retirement. Workers who, at age 60, left before they had accomplished 40 working years because they had started working after the age of 20 would see their pension reduced by 5 per cent per year, and those who exceeded 40 years would obtain an extra 3 per cent. In fact, the impact of this was extremely limited, since unemployment remained high. 

    However, in official discourse, the notion of individual choice came to replace that of ‘intergenerational solidarity.’ The principle of solidarity was the cornerstone of the system created after the war: the contributions of working people would not be saved or invested, but used in order to pay for the pensions of older workers. The ideological climate of the twenty-first century was under the influence of the Atlantic neoliberal winds. The idea that individuals should choose for themselves whether they decided to postpone their retirement age, with the promise of a higher pension, or retire as soon as they could, with a more modest one, was given wide credence. In practice, the notion of choice is certainly a contemporary notion in keeping with dominant individualism, but the degree of real choice enjoyed by people was very limited. Not being in employment after the age of 55 is not necessarily the outcome of a choice. The relative demise of ‘intergenerational solidarity’ was to a certain extent due to the extremely precarious situation new entrants in the market found themselves in.”

    Link to the text.

    +  “More generally, beyond the question of life expectancy, the old idea according to which the retirement system is only there to perpetuate into advanced old age the inequalities of working life does seem to me today to be outdated.” A 2019 article by Thomas Piketty. Link

    +  “Since 1993, the strategy has remained the same: first, the reform hits the pensions of private sector employees, that are less unionized than are public employees; then, after some years, new legislation is proposed to align the treatment of the public employees with the others.” Matthieu Montalban on the political economy of France’s pension reforms. Link

    +  Sarah Le Duigou, Bérangère Legendre, and Mareva Sabatier examine the effects of the 2003 French pension reforms on older workers. Link. And Carole Bonnet, Sophie Buffeteau, and Pascal Godefroy look at pension reforms and gender inequality. Link


    Private Prisons & Recidivism

    GRACE PHILLIPS is a PhD candidate in economics at Cornell University. In a recent paper, she links private prisons to increased recidivism rates.

    From the paper: 

    “I find that private prison openings have increased recidivism among states that open private prisons in the last 19 years. This effect grows over time. Six to nine years after a private prison opens, 1-year recidivism rates are 8.6 percentage points larger than if a state had not opened a private prison. Interestingly, the increased recidivism is not driven by a change in crime; it appears that the rise in prison admissions are increasingly the result of parole or probation violations. These results suggest that private prisons systematically change state prison systems, making individuals less able to meet their parole or probation requirements. As more people ‘churn’ through the criminal justice system and recidivate more frequently, the long-run cost to states increases.”

    Link to the text, link to Phillips’s website.  

    + + +

    +   “Far from painting a picture of worker empowerment, the data shows that ‘The Great Resignation,’ both in China and the US, has particularly affected women working in lower-salaried jobs.” New on PW, Aida Hozić and Xiao Sun investigate the gender and class dynamics of “The Great Resignation.” Link

    +   “In NATO’s new climate framework, the energy transition has been co-opted into an imperial project.” New on the Polycrisis, Mona Ali on the militarization of the climate agenda. Link

    +   Gishan Dissanaike, Ranadeva Jayasekera, and Geoff Meeks unpack the relationship between General Electrics and the US airline industry. Link

    +   A new report from the Climate and Community Project shows how the US can achieve zero-emissions transportation while limiting the amount of lithium mining. Link.

    +   “The post-disaster market might select for wealthier buyers as they have a greater ability to both absorb the price increase and any ensuing insurance cost increases.” Joshua Graff Zivin, Yanjun Liao, and Yann Panassié on hurricanes and gentrification in Florida. Link

    +  “Can Serbia survive EU’s economic ultimatum?” By Branko Milanovic. Link.

    +   A report from the New Economics Foundation argues that the UK government needs to spend 50 billion pounds more that it does at present per year to adequately fund the country’s care system. Link

    +   Amy Janzwood, Kate J. Neville, and Sarah J. Martin on the assetization of Canada’s oil pipelines. Link

    +   “Adhikari’s translation of The Communist Manifesto must be seen in the context of the long history of the making of a Marathi literary sphere in colonial western India. When Adhikari and his colleagues in the Meerut jail translated the Manifesto, they had to navigate the structures of language and a social structure in which caste was an important feature to make the Jahirnama comprehensible to other intellectuals, trade union leaders and workers. It was in this process that the strategy of obscuring caste subjectivities and creating a new identity of class found its greatest success and also its ultimate failure. The paradoxical outcome of the vernacularisation of the Manifesto can be gauged by considering the Jahirnama’s strategies of denoting categories of people in the city of Mumbai such as kamgaar, Mavali and dalit. These categories may have seemed natural to the publisher and their readers but they had no fixed referents and their meanings were contested at the time Adhikari was translating the Manifesto and continue to be contested today.” By Juned Shaikh. Link

  9. Z’s Table

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    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 rather than corporate taxes to raise revenue. 

    In their 2013 book, JEAN DRÈZE and AMARTYA SEN analyze the aftermath of the liberalization of India’s economy in the early-1990s, arguing that even as the country recorded major growth, it had fallen behind in living standards. 

    From the book:

    “Contrary to the increasingly used rhetoric which suggests that India is well on its way to becoming an economic ‘superpower’, this is far from the real picture, even in terms of per capita income. In fact, despite rapid economic expansion in recent years, India remains one of the poorest countries among those outside sub-Saharan Africa. According to the World Bank, only 15 countries outside sub-Saharan Africa had a ‘gross national income per capita’ lower than India’s in 2011: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Haiti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Moldova, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen. India does indeed have a large gap in world living standards to overcome, as was discussed in the last chapter. What is disturbing, given the past, is not India’s comparatively low position in terms of income per head among the countries in the world outside sub- Saharan Africa, but how badly India does in terms of non-income features of living standards even within this group of poorest non-African countries.”

    Link to the text.

    +  “Liberalization and high growth in India drove inequality upwards after the 1980s, due to the pattern of private investment, the less interventionist state and a rather flexible labour market.” A 2018 article by Gerry Rodgers. Link. And Sripad Motiram and Karthikeya Naraparaju study why economic growth in India has not been inclusive. Link

    +  “The inability or unwillingness to to collect taxes from large corporations and rich individuals has several adverse consequences.” C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh on India’s corporate tax laws. Link

    +  “The picture that emerges is one of comprehensive and persistent disadvantage for the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe groups in contemporary India.” Vamsi Vakulabharanam and Ajit Zacharias on wealth inequality and caste divisions. Link.


    Latrine Construction & Water Quality

    KAZUKI MOTOHASHI is a PhD candidate in the Economics and Public Policy at Tufts University. In a recent paper, he examines the negative externalities of latrine construction on water quality and health in India.

    From the abstract: 

    “Developing countries have increased sanitation investment to reduce diarrheal diseases. However, the direct health benefits of latrine construction can be offset by water pollution and negative health effects due to poor treatment of fecal sludge. I estimate these negative externalities of a sanitation policy in India that subsidized the construction of over 100 million latrines. Exploiting geographical variation in soil characteristics and the differential increase in latrine coverage across districts, I find that the policy increases river pollution by 72%. While it reduces diarrheal mortality overall, this positive health effect is two-thirds smaller in areas with lower capacities for treatment of fecal sludge where water pollution externalities are consequently larger.”

    Link to the text, link to Motohashi’s website.  

    + + +

    +   “Central banks cannot have it both ways: they cannot equally fight both inflationary and recessionary forces if they are to preserve institutional expectations.” New on PW, Manuela Moschella on the Fed, the ECB, and the limits of reputation. Link

    +   “The first Bush administration continued to link export controls to non-proliferation and proceeded to strengthen trade ties with the PRC, prioritizing American high-tech firms in the wake of the Tiananmen massacre.” Also new on PW, Ella Coon reviews Daniels and Krige’s Knowledge Regulation and National Security in Postwar AmericaLink

    +   The International Energy Agency’s new report on the global manufacturing of clean energy technologies. Link

    +   Matthew A. Kraft, Megan Lane Conklin, and Grace T. Falken examine the labor supply decisions of of substitute teachers in Chicago public schools. Link.

    +   “The decade-long, House Republican-driven budget cuts have created dysfunction at the IRS, where relatively few millionaires are now audited.” By Chuck Marr. Link

    +   Four ways the Biden Administration can ensure offshore wind development benefits tribes and indigenous people. Link.

    +  “We show that the case law on the legality of bond purchases by Eurosystem central banks is partly based on the economic theory of monetarism.” From our friends at Dezernat Zukunft. Link to the paper, and link to a thread by co-author Philipp Orphal. 

    +   “The Federal Reserve is consistent in its view that low interest rates (and by extension, economic expansion and lower unemployment) is contingent on the radical post-1970s ‘decline in workers bargaining power.’ ” PW contributing editor Tim Barker shares a 1996 memo from Janet Yellen. Link

    +   “Local authorities, both as landowners and planning authorities, have the opportunity to sidestep the private property trap.” Kate Swade on rural regeneration in the UK. Link

    +   “This article examines banditry, embezzlement, and other insider crimes along Egyptian railway lines during a period when British officials exerted centralized control over the Egyptian railway and financial austerity had a negative impact on the rail sector. By exploring the motives and tactics of railway crimes, I posit that criminals, by making claims on and use of the technology outside the purview of state regulations, expressed their heterogeneous desires to redistribute social wealth, repurpose the technological promise of modern railways, and confound intentions of colonial governance.” By Xiaoyue Li. Link

  10. Landscape with a Boat

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    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, which is seeking a $3 billion IMF loan.

    In a 2017 article, NAABORKO SACKEYFIO-LENOCH examines the GTUC after independence, focusing on the union’s international labor alliances from 1957 to 1971. 

    From the article:

    “At the beginning of 1957, Ghanaian trade unions, like many African trade unions, embraced a global perspective on worker issues even within the context of the nationalist struggles. Within less than two years, however, that viewpoint had been replaced by an inward-looking perspective that focused on developing an African labor movement on African terms and separate from the international labor movement. Because the Nkrumah government and the GTUC advocated the Pan-African trade union model, they had not explored the issue of how such a union would be financed and instead had focused on issues related to international affiliation. The Pan-African and nationalist framework intersected with the question of financing imperatives such that national and continental efforts superseded GTUC’s endeavors to work with European or American groups at this pivotal moment.

    In spite of ongoing ideological divisions among African trade unions related to the issue of international affiliation, union leaders continued to seek and international organizations continued to provide development assistance. Trade unions across the continent invariably were identified with one or the other of the competing Cold War blocs. Despite some African countries’ refusal to affiliate with international entities, the underlying competition between the ICFTU and the International Federation of Christian Trade Unions, which represented the West, and the WFTU, representing the Eastern bloc, meant that all three groups continued to provide financial support that enabled delegations, study groups, and technical advisers to travel to and from Africa. African labor unions’ need for external assistance to develop their programs contributed to this contested landscape.”

    Link to the text.

    +  “Trade union discord ‘produced perhaps the angriest of all divisions on the Pan-African front.'” A 1986 article by Tiyambe Zeleza. Link. And Opoku Agyeman examines the All-African Trade Union Federation. Link

    +  “Ghana stands out as an inflation-targeting country where inflation has been persistently some way above the target.” Michael Bleaney, Atsuyoshi Morozumi, and Zakari Mumuni on Ghana’s monetary policy since 2007. Link. And from 1991, Jon Kraus on the GTUC’s opposition to IMF and World Bank-supported structural adjustment policies. Link

    +  “The unionization of drivers reflected the culmination of nearly three decades of African attempts to claim control of motor transportation from the colonial authorities.” Jennifer Hart on drivers’ unions in colonial Ghana. Link.


    “Blacklisting” in the Soviet Union

    VITALIIA YAREMKO is a PhD candidate in the economics department at the University of California, Berkeley. In a recent paper, she examines the long-term consequences of “blacklisting,” a Soviet policy enforced in Ukraine during the 1932-33 famine.

    From the abstract: 

    “Under blacklisting, all village residents could be banned from trade and provision of crucial goods, prohibited from moving, and imposed harsh in-kind fines. Formally, the policy was meant to punish the communities underperforming in terms of state food procurement (similar to in-kind taxation) because local procurement shortfalls supposedly were a consequence of intentional, profit-seeking behavior. Using a weather-based instrument for the locality’s blacklisting status, I document that blacklisting significantly reduced the present-day nightlight intensity (a proxy measure for economic development). Additional evidence points to entrepreneurship and trust as channels for this effect. My results support the notion that policies that suppress economic freedoms and disrupt social structure can have persistent negative effects on economic performance.”

    Link to the text, link to Yaremko’s website.  

    + + +

    +   We’re thrilled to announce a publishing collaboration with the University of Chicago Press: Phenomenal World Books, a new book series on political economy and the social sciences. The series’s editorial board is Mehrsa Baradaran, Melinda Cooper, Daniela Gabor, Destin Jenkins, Ndongo Samba Sylla, and Adam Tooze. Read the full announcement here.  

    +   “Germany has lower emissions in part because the US imports them.” New from The Polycrisis, Daniel Driscoll on dollar hegemony and the green transition. Link

    +   “A key finding in our paper is the fundamental importance of fossil-fuel dependence. Trying to overcome this dependence underscores the challenges for monetary stability.” Also new in The Polycrisis, Kate Mackenzie interviews Isabella Weber on inflation and the energy sector. Link

    +   A new podcast hosted by Matt Klein and Michael Pettis, co-authors of Trade Wars Are Class Wars, examines the global financial system. Link. And see Adam Tooze’s PW interview with Klein and Pettis. Link.

    +   Samuel Dodini, Michael F. Lovenheim, Kjell G. Salvanes, and Alexander Willén on overestimates of monopsony power in the labor market. Link.

    +   “Solar geoengineering—that is, shooting aerosol particles into the stratosphere to block some of the incoming sunlight and thereby cool the Earth—sits in the back of the consciousness of climate politics.” By Andreas Malm. Link

    +   Labor Market Strength Is No Justification for a Recession. By Justin Bloesch and Mike Konczal. Link.

    +   An interactive database from Common Wealth shows which companies—including ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell—own oil and gas licenses in the North Sea. Link

    +   “What we hope to find out in the coming months is the pace of labor income growth that is sufficient for bringing inflation down to more desirable rates.” Employ America’s new project estimates the labor market and inflation outcomes the Fed should aim for. Link

    +   “Service was associated, first, with small to medium sized farms. On these ‘family’ farms, farmers faced the acute problem of balancing family needs and family labor over the developmental cycle of the family. Servants were hired to fill the economic role of missing adolescent children (as they were also hired to replace dead husbands and wives). Smaller farmers found it simple to integrate their small hired labor force into their families. Farm service was associated, next, with the keeping of livestock. Animals required constant care, and servants hired for the year and resident on the farm were ideally suited to these tasks. Discontinuous and seasonal tasks, on the other hand, were those to which laborers hired for the day, week, or task were better suited. The presence of commons and wastes, and of rural by-employment, enhanced the demand for servants by depressing the supply of full-time adult laborers.” By Ann S. Kussmaul. Link