June 3, 2023Reviews
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…
April 27, 2023Analysis
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 12, 2023Analysis
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 5, 2023Analysis
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…
March 30, 2023Analysis
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, 2023Reviews
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 16, 2023Analysis
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, 2023Analysis
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,…
February 25, 2023Reviews
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 1, 2023Analysis
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 18, 2023Reviews
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 7, 2023Interviews
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…
December 20, 2022Analysis
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…
November 16, 2022Reviews
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…
September 24, 2022Analysis
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…
August 5, 2022Analysis
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, 2022Analysis
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 20, 2022Interviews
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, 2022Sources
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, 2022Analysis
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 7, 2022Interviews
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, 2022Sources
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, 2022Sources
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…
June 25, 2022Sources
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 16, 2022Reviews
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 2, 2022Reviews
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, 2022Sources
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 25, 2022Analysis
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 19, 2022Analysis
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, 2022Sources
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, 2022Analysis
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, 2022Analysis
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 4, 2022Analysis
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, 2022Sources
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 23, 2022Sources
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, 2022Sources
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 2, 2022Interviews
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 24, 2022Interviews
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 12, 2022Sources
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, 2022Interviews
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 1, 2022Interviews
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 11, 2022Analysis
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, 2022Sources
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…
January 22, 2022Sources
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 12, 2022Analysis
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…
December 23, 2021Interviews
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 4, 2021Sources
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.
October 30, 2021Sources
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 16, 2021Sources
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 2, 2021Sources
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 18, 2021Analysis
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 4, 2021Sources
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…
August 24, 2021Analysis
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 11, 2021Analysis
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, 2021Sources
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 24, 2021Sources
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, 2021Analysis
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 10, 2021Sources
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.
June 10, 2021Analysis
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 5, 2021Sources
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 22, 2021Sources
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 8, 2021Sources
In the late 2000s, the term "land grab" rose to prominence to describe large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
April 28, 2021Analysis
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, 2021Sources
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 3, 2021Sources
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.
March 13, 2021Sources
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.
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…
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…
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…
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, 2021Sources
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 13, 2021Sources
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, 2021Sources
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…
January 30, 2021Sources
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 16, 2021Sources
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, 2021Analysis
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, 2021Sources
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, 2021Analysis
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 3, 2020Reviews
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…
October 1, 2020Analysis
A Popular History of the Fed
n 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 5, 2020Analysis
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 26, 2020Interviews
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 10, 2020Sources
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 3, 2020Sources
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 22, 2020Analysis
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 16, 2020Analysis
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?
June 30, 2020Sources
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…
June 15, 2020Sources
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 8, 2020Sources
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, 2020Sources
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 12, 2020Sources
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, 2020Sources
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…
April 24, 2020Interviews
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 13, 2020Sources
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, 2020Sources
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…
March 31, 2020Sources
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, 2020Analysis
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, 2020Sources
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…
February 24, 2020Sources
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 18, 2020Sources
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, 2020Interviews
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, 2020Sources
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…
January 30, 2020Analysis
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, 2020Interviews
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 23, 2020Analysis
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…
October 28, 2019Sources
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…
September 16, 2019Sources
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, 2019Analysis
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.
July 15, 2019Sources
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…
June 17, 2019Sources
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, 2019Interviews
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.
May 16, 2019Interviews
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 3, 2019Interviews
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…
January 5, 2019Sources
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…
November 9, 2018Analysis
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, 2018Sources
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 6, 2018Sources
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…
September 22, 2018Sources
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…
August 4, 2018Sources
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, 2018Sources
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 14, 2018Sources
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…
June 23, 2018Sources
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…
March 17, 2018Sources
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…