A Roadmap for Investment Promotion and Export Diversification: The Case of Jordan. Ricardo Hausmann, Miguel Angel Santos, December 2019, Paper, “Jordan faces a number of pressing economic challenges: low growth, high unemployment, rising debt levels, and continued vulnerability to regional shocks. After a decade of fast economic growth, the economy decelerated with the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09. From then onwards, various external shocks have thrown its economy out of balance and prolonged the slowdown for over a decade now. Conflicts in neighboring countries have led to reduced demand from key export markets and cut off important trade routes. Foreign direct investment, which averaged 12.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) between 2003-2009, fell to 5.1% of GDP over the 2010-2017. Regional conflicts have interrupted the supply of gas from Egypt – forcing Jordan to import oil at a time of record prices, had a negative impact on tourism, and also provoked a massive influx of migrants and refugees. Failure to cope with 50.4% population growth between led to nine consecutive years (2008-2017) of negative growth rates in GDP per capita, resulting in a cumulative loss of 14.0% over the past decade (2009-2018). Debt to GDP ratios, which were at 55% by the end of 2009, have skyrocketed to 94%.Link

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Six Tax-Based Ways to Tackle US Inequality. Jeffery Frankel, December 17, 2019, Opinion, “Some of the leading candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination have proposed radical measures to reduce inequality, such as a wealth tax. But there are many other progressive tax policies that would be both easier to enforce and more likely to get a Democratic candidate elected.Link

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Taxes and the macro economy. Robert Barro, December 17, 2019, Paper, “My research with Furman (2018) assessed the 2017 U.S. tax reform and concluded that economic growth would be boosted by about 1 percent per year for 2018-19 and to a lesser extent for the following eight years. This forecast accorded well with realizations through the first quarter of 2019, but subsequent growth is slower, likely due to adverse effects from the ongoing trade war. Extensions from the previous research consider effects from businesses’ choices of legal form between corporate and pass-through status. Corporate form conveys benefits from perpetual legal identity, limited liability, potential for public trading of shares, and ability to retain earnings. However, legal changes have enhanced pass-through alternatives, for example, through the invention of the S-corporation in 1958 and the improved legal status of LLCs (limited liability companies) at the end of the 1980s. Corporate form is subject to a time varying tax wedge, which offsets the productivity benefits. In a theoretical framework, with a distribution of firms’ productivities associated with corporate and pass-through status, the tax wedge determines the fraction of firms that opt for corporate status, the level of economywide output (productivity), and the share of output generated by corporations. This framework underlies the empirical analysis of corporate shares of business economic activity. Long-difference regressions for 1968-2013 show that a higher tax wedge reduces the corporate share of gross assets. The corporate share also exhibits downward trends, likely reflecting underlying legal changes.” Link

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Predicting mid-life capital formation with preschool delay of gratification and life-course measures of self-regulation. David Laibson, 2019, Paper, “How well do pre-school delay of gratification and life-course measures of self-regulation predict mid-life capital formation? We surveyed 113 participants of the 1967–1973 Bing pre-school studies on delay of gratification when they were in their…Link

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An Econometric Model of International Long-run Growth Dynamics. James Stock, December 15, 2019, Paper, “We develop a Bayesian latent factor model of the joint evolution of GDP per capita for 113 countries over the 118 years from 1900 to 2017. We find considerable heterogeneity in rates of convergence, including rates for some countries that are so slow that they might not converge (or diverge) in century-long samples, and evidence of “convergence clubs” of countries. The joint Bayesian structure allows us to compute a joint predictive distribution for the output paths of these countries over the next 100 years. This predictive distribution can be used for simulations requiring projections into the deep future, such as estimating the costs of climate change. The model’s pooling of information across countries results in tighter prediction intervals than are achieved using univariate information sets. Still, even using more than a century of data on many countries, the 100-year growth paths exhibit very wide uncertainty.Link

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Innovation Policy and the Economy: Introduction to Volume 20. Josh Lerner, 2019, Book Chapter, “Innovation Policy and the Economy provides a forum for research on the interactions among public policy, the innovation process, and the economy. Innovation Policy and the Economy | Vol 20 … Link

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Effective labor supply and growth outlook in China. Dale Jorgenson, December 12, 2019, Paper, “The falling projections of working-age population in China has led to predictions of much slower economic growth. We consider three mechanisms that could contribute to higher effective labor supply growth – further improvement in educational attainment due to cohort replacement and rising college enrollment, improvement in aggregate labor quality due to urbanization, and higher labor force participation due to later retirement. We find that these factors result in a projected growth rate of effective labor input of 0.40% for 2015-2030 compared to -0.60% for working age population. As a result, the projected growth rate of GDP will be 5.80% for 2015-2030 compared to 5.23% if these factors are ignored.Link

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Tackling Inequality from the Middle. Dani Rodrik, December 10, 2019, Opinion, “The rise of populist movements and street protests from Chile to France has made inequality a high priority for politicians of all stripes in the world’s rich democracies. But a fundamental question has received relatively little attention: What type of inequality should policymakers tackle?Link

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Public borrowing is cheap but ramping up debt is not without risk. Kenneth Rogoff, December 9, 2019, Opinion, “With interest rates on government debt at multi-decade lows, a number of leading economists have argued that almost every advanced economy can allow debt to drift up towards Japanese levels (over 150% of GDP even by the most conservative measure) without any great concern about long-term consequences. Advocates of much higher debt might be right, but they tend to downplay or ignore everything that can go wrong.Link

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