All Tagged

shortform

Filter

August 6, 2022

Sources

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

July 30, 2022

Sources

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

July 30, 2022

Analysis

Odious Debts

Iraq, Haiti, and the politics of illegitimate debt

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

July 23, 2022

Sources

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

July 16, 2022

Sources

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

July 7, 2022

Sources

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

July 2, 2022

Sources

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

June 25, 2022

Sources

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

June 18, 2022

Sources

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

June 11, 2022

Sources

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

June 4, 2022

Sources

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

May 28, 2022

Sources

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

May 21, 2022

Sources

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

May 14, 2022

Sources

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

May 7, 2022

Sources

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

April 30, 2022

Sources

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

April 23, 2022

Sources

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

April 16, 2022

Sources

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

April 9, 2022

Sources

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

April 2, 2022

Sources

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

March 26, 2022

Sources

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

March 23, 2022

Analysis

A New Public Housing Model

Addis Ababa's Urban Transformation

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

March 19, 2022

Sources

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

March 12, 2022

Sources

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

March 5, 2022

Sources

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

February 26, 2022

Sources

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

February 19, 2022

Sources

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

February 15, 2022

Sources

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

February 11, 2022

Analysis

A New Developmentalism?

On the stages of Argentine developmentalism.

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

February 5, 2022

Sources

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

February 3, 2022

Analysis

Acute Dollar Dominance

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

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

January 29, 2022

Sources

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

January 22, 2022

Sources

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

January 15, 2022

Sources

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

January 8, 2022

Sources

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

December 23, 2021

Analysis

Stop, wait, go

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

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

December 18, 2021

Sources

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

December 17, 2021

Analysis

Death or glory?

New forms of fascism haunt Chile’s presidential election

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

December 11, 2021

Sources

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

December 4, 2021

Sources

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

November 23, 2021

Analysis

Trade and Growth

Revisiting the effects of trade liberalization on economic growth

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

November 20, 2021

Sources

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

November 18, 2021

Analysis

The Wall Street Consensus at COP26

Finance Day at COP26 shows a ruthless dedication to voluntary decarbonization

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

November 13, 2021

Sources

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

November 6, 2021

Sources

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

November 4, 2021

Analysis

Negotiations

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

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

October 30, 2021

Sources

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

October 23, 2021

Sources

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

October 19, 2021

Analysis

Gas and Labor

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

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

October 16, 2021

Sources

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

October 9, 2021

Sources

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

October 2, 2021

Sources

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

September 25, 2021

Sources

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

September 18, 2021

Sources

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

September 11, 2021

Sources

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

September 4, 2021

Sources

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

August 28, 2021

Sources

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

August 21, 2021

Sources

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

August 14, 2021

Sources

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

August 7, 2021

Sources

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

July 31, 2021

Sources

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

July 24, 2021

Sources

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

July 20, 2021

Analysis

Path Persistence

Global trade hierarchies across two eras of globalization

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

July 17, 2021

Sources

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

July 10, 2021

Sources

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

July 8, 2021

Phenomenal Works

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

July 3, 2021

Sources

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

June 26, 2021

Sources

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

June 19, 2021

Sources

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

June 12, 2021

Sources

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

June 5, 2021

Sources

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

May 29, 2021

Sources

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

May 22, 2021

Sources

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

May 15, 2021

Sources

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

May 8, 2021

Sources

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

May 4, 2021

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Laleh Khalili

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

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

May 1, 2021

Sources

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

April 24, 2021

Sources

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

April 17, 2021

Sources

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

April 10, 2021

Sources

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

April 3, 2021

Sources

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

April 2, 2021

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Ho-fung Hung

Rereading Imperialism for twenty-first century tensions

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

March 27, 2021

Sources

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

March 20, 2021

Sources

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

March 13, 2021

Sources

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

March 6, 2021

Sources

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

February 27, 2021

Sources

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

February 20, 2021

Sources

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

February 13, 2021

Sources

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

February 6, 2021

Sources

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

January 30, 2021

Sources

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

January 23, 2021

Sources

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

January 16, 2021

Sources

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

January 9, 2021

Sources

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

December 19, 2020

Sources

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

December 12, 2020

Sources

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

December 5, 2020

Sources

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

November 21, 2020

Sources

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

November 14, 2020

Sources

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

November 7, 2020

Sources

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

October 31, 2020

Sources

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

October 24, 2020

Sources

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

October 17, 2020

Sources

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

October 10, 2020

Sources

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

October 3, 2020

Sources

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

September 28, 2020

Sources

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

September 19, 2020

Sources

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

September 12, 2020

Sources

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

September 5, 2020

Sources

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

August 31, 2020

Sources

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

August 25, 2020

Sources

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

August 13, 2020

Reviews

Geoeconomics and the Balance of Payments: A Reading List

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

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

August 10, 2020

Sources

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

August 3, 2020

Sources

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

July 27, 2020

Sources

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

July 20, 2020

Sources

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

July 13, 2020

Sources

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

July 6, 2020

Sources

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

June 24, 2020

Sources

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

June 18, 2020

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Mehrsa Baradaran

Banking between states and markets

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

June 15, 2020

Sources

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

June 8, 2020

Sources

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

June 2, 2020

Sources

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

May 26, 2020

Sources

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

May 19, 2020

Sources

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

May 12, 2020

Sources

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

May 4, 2020

Sources

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

April 28, 2020

Sources

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

April 21, 2020

Sources

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

April 13, 2020

Sources

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

April 7, 2020

Sources

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

April 3, 2020

Analysis

Crisis and Recovery

The underlying problems in the US economy

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

March 31, 2020

Sources

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

March 25, 2020

Analysis

The First Services Recession

The shape of the Covid-19 recession

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

March 25, 2020

Sources

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

March 16, 2020

Sources

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

March 9, 2020

Sources

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

March 6, 2020

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Nathan Lane

History, empirics, and industrial policy

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

March 2, 2020

Sources

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

February 24, 2020

Sources

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

February 20, 2020

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Mark Blyth

On growth models, supply chains, and dollar hegemony

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

February 18, 2020

Sources

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

February 10, 2020

Sources

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

February 3, 2020

Sources

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

January 27, 2020

Sources

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

January 21, 2020

Sources

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

January 13, 2020

Sources

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

January 9, 2020

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Alice Evans

Four books and papers on the 'despondency trap'

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

January 6, 2020

Sources

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

December 16, 2019

Sources

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

December 9, 2019

Sources

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

November 28, 2019

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Alexander Hertel-Fernandez

On unions, advocacy, and influence

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

November 25, 2019

Sources

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

November 18, 2019

Sources

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

November 14, 2019

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Beth Popp Berman

On knowledge, institutions, and social policy

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

November 12, 2019

Sources

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

October 31, 2019

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Leah Stokes

Networks of climate denial

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

October 28, 2019

Sources

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

October 15, 2019

Sources

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

October 7, 2019

Sources

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

September 30, 2019

Sources

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

September 23, 2019

Sources

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

September 16, 2019

Sources

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

September 9, 2019

Sources

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

September 3, 2019

Sources

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

August 26, 2019

Sources

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

August 19, 2019

Sources

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

August 12, 2019

Sources

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

August 5, 2019

Sources

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

July 29, 2019

Sources

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

July 22, 2019

Sources

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

July 15, 2019

Sources

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

July 8, 2019

Sources

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

July 1, 2019

Sources

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

June 24, 2019

Sources

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

June 17, 2019

Sources

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

June 10, 2019

Sources

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

June 3, 2019

Sources

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

May 28, 2019

Sources

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

May 20, 2019

Sources

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

May 13, 2019

Sources

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

May 6, 2019

Sources

April 20, 2019

Sources

April 13, 2019

Sources

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

April 6, 2019

Sources

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

March 30, 2019

Sources

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

March 23, 2019

Sources

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

March 16, 2019

Sources

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

March 9, 2019

Sources

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

March 2, 2019

Sources

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

February 23, 2019

Sources

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

February 16, 2019

Sources

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

February 9, 2019

Sources

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

February 2, 2019

Sources

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

January 26, 2019

Sources

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

January 19, 2019

Sources

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

January 12, 2019

Sources

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

January 5, 2019

Sources

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

December 22, 2018

Sources

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

October 18, 2018

Analysis

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

Artificial intelligence, ethics, and public health social work

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