China’s Export Restrictions and the Limits of WTO Law. Mark Wu, October 2017, Paper, “In recent years, China has enacted export restrictions on a range of minerals and other raw materials. They include export quotas, export duties, export licenses, and other administrative actions. Although such export restrictions have already been found to be inconsistent with China’s WTO obligations, the practice persists. This article advances an explanation for why this is the case. It argues that the problem lies with the lack of retrospective remedies in WTO dispute settlement. Consequently, China is able to breach its WTO obligations temporarily with minimal consequence. Although such restrictions may have negative consequences for upstream extraction firms, China is able to implement the restrictions because several upstream firms are state-owned enterprises.” Link

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Building Emergency Savings Through Employer-Sponsored Rainy Day Savings Accounts. John Beshears, David Laibson, October 2017, Paper, “Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, carry revolving credit balances, and have little liquidity to absorb financial shocks (Angeletos et al. 2001; Kaplan and Violante 2014). One consequence of this financial vulnerability is that many individuals use a portion of their retirement savings during their working years. For every $1 that flows into 401(k)s and similar accounts, between 30¢ and 40¢ leaks out before retirement (Argento, Bryant, and Sabelhaus 2015). We explore the practical considerations and challenges of helping households accumulate liquid savings that can be deployed when urgent pre-retirement needs arise. We believe that this can be achieved cost effectively by automatically enrolling workers into an employer-sponsored payroll deduction “rainy day” or “emergency” savings account, and present three specific implementation options.Link

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The Productivity Slowdown and the Declining Labor Share: A Neoclassical Exploration. Elhanan Helpman, October 2017, Paper, “We explore the possibility that a global productivity slowdown is responsible for the widespread decline in the labor share of national income. In a neoclassical growth model with endogenous human capital accumulation a la Ben Porath (1967) and capital-skill complementarity a la Grossman et al. (2017), the steady-state labor share is positively correlated with the rates of capital-augmenting and labor-augmenting technological progress. We calibrate the key parameters describing the balanced growth path to U.S. data for the early post-war period and find that a one percentage point slowdown in the growth rate of per capita income can account for between one half and all of the observed decline in the US labor share.Link

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American Danger: United States Empire, Eurafrica, and the Territorialization of Industrial Capitalism, 1870–1950. Sven Beckert, October 2017, Paper, “During the last third of the nineteenth century, a debate emerged in a number of European countries on the “American danger.” Responding to the rapid rise of the United States as the world’s most important economy, some European observers feared their nations’ declining competitiveness in the face of the territorial extent of the United States, and its ability to integrate a dynamic industrial sector with ample raw material supplies, agriculture commodities, markets, and labor into one national economy. This “second great divergence” provoked a range of responses, as statesmen, capitalists, and intellectuals advocated for territorial rearrangements of various European economies, a discussion that lasted with greater or lesser intensity from the 1870s to the 1950s.Link

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Summers Says Trump Officials Are Making Things Up About Their Tax Plan. Lawrence Summers, October 13, 2017, Video, “Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said officials in President Donald Trump’s administration are making false claims when it comes to tax reform.  “When you have — and I hate to be in a position of using this word about our government — when you have senior economic officials making claims that are made-up,” said Summers, who served under Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, adding that “it’s very hard to have a dialogue, and compromise, and get to a good place.Link

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White House Tax Plan ‘Indefensible’. Lawrence Summers, October 12, 2017, Video, “Larry Summers, the former Treasury secretary and key economic advisor to President Barack Obama, ripped the Trump administration Thursday for “real sacrifices of seriousness and credibility” about its tax reform proposal.Link


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Do Fire Sales Create Externalities? Adi Sunderam, October 12, 2017, Opinion, “We develop three novel measures of how much of the price impact of their trading different mutual funds internalize. We show that mutual funds that internalize more of their price impact hold larger cash buffers and use these buffers more aggressively to accommodate inflows and outflows. As a result, stocks held by these funds have lower volatility, and flows out of these funds have smaller spillover effects on other funds holding the same securities. Our results suggest that there are meaningful fire sale externalities in the mutual fund industry, and that a planner coordinating among funds would choose different liquidity management policies.Link

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Political institutions and economic growth in Africa’s ‘Renaissance’. Robert H. Bates, October 11, 2017, Paper, “In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, many African states replaced authoritarian political regimes with competitive electoral systems; the economies of many also began to grow, some for the first time in decades. We argue that democratic reform led to economic growth, as did Acemoglu, Naidu, Restrepo and Robinson in an earlier paper. Our approach differs from theirs in that while we to seek to identify a causal relationship between democracy and development, we build our analysis around the qualitative accounts of regional specialists and the reasoning of political economists. Where others test for the existence of a causal account, we test for the existence of specific casual mechanisms.Link

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Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy: International Economy Issues. Gita Gopinath, October 10, 2017, Paper, “In this paper I make the following ten remarks on the topics of exchange rate policy, capital flow management, protectionism, and global cooperation: 1) The gains to exchange rate flexibility are worse than you think; 2) The ‘Trilemma’ lives on; 3) The U.S. dollar exchange rate drives global trade prices and volumes; 4) Gross capital flows matter as much as net flows, and global banks have internationalized U.S. monetary policy. 5) Emerging markets tilt away from foreign currency to local currency debt reduces their exposure to global risk factors; 6) Low interest rate environments can lead to misallocation of resources and lower productivity; 7) The relationship between global imbalances, reserve accumulation, and currency manipulation is not well identified. 8) Uniform border taxes are not neutral; 9) Trade is not the main driver of earnings inequality, but at the same time policy has failed to address its redistributive consequences. 10) Global coordination of financial regulation is essential alongside country level macroprudential polices. Reserve accumulation and currency swap lines do not substitute for the lender of last resort role of the IMF.” Link

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