Five years after the first stirrings of the crisis, some countries have recovered, but others are still struggling. F&D looks at the world today and sees a complex and mixed picture for the future of the world economy. In "Tracking the Global Recovery" we learn that most emerging markets seem to have moved on from the effects of the crisis, but most advanced economies have not. "Fixing the System" looks at how the pace of reforms to strengthen financial regulation has now slowed. World Bank trade economist Bernard Hoekman takes stock of incipient moves toward protectionism in "Trade Policy: So Far So Good?". "Bystanders at the Collapse" looks at how emerging markets and low-income countries weathered the global recession. Financier Mohamed El-Erian weighs in on the potential threat posed by large payment surpluses and deficits in "Stable Disequilibrium." Also in the magazine, we explore what's happening in commodities markets, assess the rise of green technologies, take a look at the shifts in South Asia's labor force, and uncover the harm money laundering can inflict on national economies. F&D's People in Economics series profiles Laura Tyson, Minder of the Gaps, and the Back to Basics series explains how money markets provide a way for borrowers to meet short-term financial needs.
Recent technological developments and past technology transitions suggest that the world
could be on the verge of a profound shift in transportation technology. The return of the electric
car and its adoption, like that of the motor vehicle in place of horses in early 20th century,
could cut oil consumption substantially in the coming decades. Our analysis suggests that oil
as the main fuel for transportation could have a much shorter life span left than commonly
assumed. In the fast adoption scenario, oil prices could converge to the level of coal prices,
about $15 per barrel in 2015 prices by the early 2040s. In this possible future, oil could become
the new coal.
This paper provides a framework for examining environment taxes. It reviews the theoretical efficiency of three types of environment taxes: taxes on emissions or Pigouvian taxes; taxes on productive inputs or consumer goods whose use is related to environmental damage; and environment-related provisions in other taxes. A survey of environment taxes in 42 countries--drawn from developing countries, economies in transition, and industrial countries--illustrates that the use of environment taxes differs dramatically from the recommendations of environment tax theory. This divergence between the theory and practice of environment taxes can be attributed to several factors; environment taxes are difficult to implement, there are many factors that impede their effectiveness, and their introduction may be discouraged by their implications for other policy objectives.
This paper surveys decision-making roles of governing bodies of central banks that have formally adopted inflation targeting as a monetary framework. Governance practices seek to balance institutional independence needed for monetary policy credibility with accountability required to protect democratic values. Central bank laws usually have price stability as the primary monetary policy objective but seldom require an explicit numerical inflation target. Governments are frequently involved in setting targets, but to ensure operational autonomy, legal provisions explicitly limit government influence in internal policy decision-making processes. Internal governance practices differ considerably with regard to the roles and inter-relationships between the policy, supervisory, and management boards of a central bank.
This paper discusses structure, impact, costs, and efficiency of renewable energy supply in the eight largest advanced economies (the G-7 plus Spain), with focus on Germany. Renewables production costs are compared to benefits, defined as reductions in net carbon emissions; technological innovation, and increased energy security. The latter part of the paper centers on Germany, the main European producer of non-traditional renewables. We question whether the level of subsidies can be justified, relative to other means to increase energy security and reduce carbon emissions. We also find an excessive emphasis on current productive activity, relative to development of new technologies.