All for One examines inequality and the many ways it matters. In our overview article, the World Bank's Branko Milanovic explains how income inequality is measured and tells us that it's increased in most countries. The good news, he says, is that global inequality--between countries--could be on the downturn. IMF economists Andrew Berg and Jonathan Ostry find that a more equal society has a greater likelihood of sustaining longer-term growth. Other IMF research on inequality finds that financial sector development not only 'enlarges the pie' by supporting economic growth but divides it more evenly; that higher income inequality in developed countries is associated with higher indebtedness--at home and abroad; and that while fiscal consolidation is necessary in the medium term, slamming on the brakes too quickly can harm jobs and cut wages, exacerbating inequality. Also in this issue, we profile Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for economics. In a tour of the globe, we look at how the African diaspora can help their home countries from afar, try to draw some early lessons from the euro area's debt crisis, investigate how the United States and its neighbor Canada handled public debt--with different results, and find out about the rise of emerging markets as systemically important trading centers. Back to Basics explains the difference between micro- and macroeconomics, and Data Spotlight tells us about a new worldwide survey of foreign direct investment.
The Crisis and Miss Emily's Perceptions draws an analogy between the theme and the characters in Faulkner's short story "A Rose for Emily" and the global financial crisis. In Faulkner's story, all the characters try to deny realities, thus allowing an unstable situation to last longer than it should have. The paper briefly reviews the literature on perception biases and argues that all economic actors have, to some degree, been refusing to face realities, which helped the crisis to unfold.
We propose a method for solving and estimating linear rational expectations models that exhibit indeterminacy and we provide step-by-step guidelines for implementing this method in the Matlab-based packages Dynare and Gensys. Our method redefines a subset of expectational errors as new fundamentals. This redefinition allows us to treat indeterminate models as determinate and to apply standard solution algorithms. We provide a selection method, based on Bayesian model comparison, to decide which errors to pick as fundamental and we present simulation results to show how our procedure works in practice.
I develop a model of firm-to-firm search and matching to show that the impact of falling trade costs on firm sourcing decisions and consumer welfare depends on the relative size of search externalities in domestic and international markets. These externalities can be positive if firms share information about potential matches, or negative if the market is congested. Using unique firm-to-firm transaction-level data from Uganda, I document empirical evidence consistent with positive externalities in international markets and negative externalities in domestic markets. I then build a dynamic quantitative version of the model and show that, in Uganda, a 25% reduction in trade costs led to a 3.7% increase in consumer welfare, 12% of which was due to search externalities.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has helped accelerate the digitization of public services. The lockdown initiated by most governments to curb the spread of the coronavirus forced most public agencies to switch to online platforms to continue providing information and services to the public. It is widely recognized that information diffusion and communication technology play a large role in improving the quality of public services in terms of time, cost, and interface with the public, business, and other agencies. Potentially, e-government could enhance a country’s locational advantages and attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows. This hypothesis is tested empirically using an unbalanced panel data analysis for 178 host countries over the period 2003-2018. The results suggest that e-government stimulates the inflow of FDI.
In the United States and a few European countries, inventory behavior is mainly the outcome of demand shocks: a standard buffer-stock model best characterizes these economies. But most European countries are described by a modified buffer-stock model where supply shocks dominate. In contrast to the United States, inventories boost growth with a one-year lag in Europe. Moreover, inventories provide limited information to improve growth forecasts particularly when a modified buffer-stock model characterizes inventory behavior.