Emerging Market Business Cycles: The Cycle is the Trend. Mark Aguiar and Gita Gopinath, 2007, Paper. “Emerging market business cycles exhibit strongly countercyclical current accounts, consumption volatility that exceeds income volatility, and “sudden stops” in capital inflows. These features contrast with developed small open economies. Nevertheless, we show that a standard model characterizes both types of markets. Motivated by the frequent policy regime switches observed in emerging markets, our premise is that these economies are subject to substantial volatility in trend growth. Our methodology exploits…” Link

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Regulation by Generalization. Richard Zeckhauser, 2007, Paper, “Both criminal and regulatory laws have traditionally been skeptical of what Jeremy Bentham referred to as evidentiary offenses – the prohibition (or regulation) of some activity not because it is wrong, but because it probabilistically (but not universally) indicates that a real wrong has occurred. From Bentham to the present, courts and theorists have worried about this form of regulation, believing that certainly in the criminal law context, but even with respect to regulation, it is wrong to impose sanctions on a ‘‘Where there’s smoke there’s fire’’ theory of governmental interventionLink

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Strategic Trade in Pollution Permits. Ricardo Hausmann, 2007, Paper. “Current account statistics may not be good indicators of the evolution of a country’s net foreign assets and of its external position’s sustainability. The value of existing assets may vary independently of current account flows, so-called ‘return privileges’ may allow some countries to obtain abnormal returns, and mismeasurement of FDI, unreported trade of insurance or liquidity services, and debt relief may also play a role. We analyse the relevant evidence in a large set of countries and periods, and examine measures of net foreign assets obtained by capitalizing the net investment income and then estimating the current account from the changes in this stock of foreign assets. We call dark matter the difference between our measure of net foreign assets and that measured by official statistics. We find it to be important for many countries, analyse its relationship with theoretically relevant factors, and note that the resulting perspective tends to make global net asset positions appear relatively stable.Link

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Assessing China’s Exchange Rate Regime. Jeffrey Frankel, 2007, Paper. “The IMF Articles of Agreement forbid a country from manipulating its currency for unfair advantage. The US Treasury has been legally required since 1988 to report to Congress biannually regarding whether individual trading partners are guilty of manipulation. One part of this paper tests econometrically two competing sets of hypothesized determinants of the Treasury decisions: (1) legitimate economic variables consistent with the IMF definition of manipulation – the partners’ overall current account/GDP, its reserve changes and the real overvaluation of its currency, and (2) variables suggestive of domestic American political expediency – the bilateral trade balance, US unemployment and an election year dummy. The econometric results suggest that the Treasury verdicts are driven heavily by the US bilateral deficit, though other variables also turn out to be quite important.Link

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Efficient Expropriation: Sustainable Fiscal Policy in a Small Open Economy, By Aguiar, Mark, Manuel Amador, and Gita Gopinath. 2006

We study a small open economy characterized by two empirically important frictions – incomplete financial markets and an inability of the government to commit to policy. We characterize the best sustainable fiscal policy and show that it can amplify and prolong shocks to output. In particular, even when the government is completely benevolent, the government’s credibility not to expropriate capital endogenously varies with the state of the economy and may be “scarcest” during recessions. This increased threat of expropriation depresses investment, prolonging downturns. It is the incompleteness of financial markets and lack of commitment that generate investment cycles even in an environment where first best capital stock is constant. Link

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Institutions and Development: A View from Below. Rohini Pande, November 2006, Paper: “In this paper we argue the case for greater exploitation of synergies between research on specific institutions based on micro-data and the big questions posed by the institutions and growth literature. To date, the macroeconomic literature on institutions and growth has largely relied on cross-country regression evidence. This has provided compelling evidence for a causal link between a cluster of ‘good’ institutions and more rapid long run growth. However, an inability to disentangle the effects of specific institutional channels on growth or to understand the impact of institutional change on growth will limit further progress using a cross-country empirical strategy. We suggest two research programs based on micro-data that have significant potential. The first uses policy-induced variation in specific institutions within countries to understand how these institutions influence economic activity.Link

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Why the US Current Account Deficit is Sustainable. Ricardo Hausmann, May 27, 2006, Paper. “Over the last couple of years, the burgeoning of the US current account deficit, reaching $792 billion in 2005 alone, has led to significant concerns about the future of the United States and the possibility of a major global crisis. With a brief respite in 1991, it comes after twenty-four years of unbroken deficits, which have totalled over $5.2 trillion. According to some doomsayers, once the massive financing required to continue paying for such a widening gap dries up…” May require purchase or user account. Link

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Participatory Democracy in Action: Survey Evidence from South India. Rohini Pande, January 2006, Paper: “We use household and village survey data from South India to examine who participates in village meetings called by elected local governments, and what effect these meetings have on beneficiary selection for welfare programs. Our main finding is that it is the more disadvantaged social groups who attend village meetings and that holding such meetings improves the targeting of resources towards the neediest groups.” Link

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Economic and Social Progress Report 2000 (IPES). Ricardo Hausmann, 2000, Paper. “Competing in the world economy does not automatically boost a nation’s productivity and restructure its economy. Such progress requires mobilizing capital, employment, technology and knowledge. Opportunities beyond the business realm must be fully exploited to the benefit of society as a whole. The Report provides clear policy guidelines and priorities for both government and the private sector to foster competitiveness…” Link

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