Explaining inequality the world round: cohort size, Kuznets curves, and openness
Klaus Deininger and Lyn Squire have recently produced an inequality data base for a panel of countries from the 1960s to the 1990s. We use these data to decompose the sources of inequality into three central parts: the demographic or cohort size effect; the so-called Kuznets Curve or demand effects; and the commitment to globalization or policy effects. We also control for education supply, the so-called natural resource curse and other variables suggested by the literature. While the Kuznets Curve comes out of hiding when the inequality relationship is conditioned by the other two, cohort ...
How Has Germany's Economy Been Affected by the Recent Surge in Immigration?
Germany emerged as a leading destination for immigration around 2011, as the country's labor market improved while unemployment climbed elsewhere in the European Union. A second wave began in 2015, with refugees from the Middle East adding to already heavy inflows from Eastern Europe. The demographic consequences of the surge in immigration include a renewed rise in Germany's population and the stabilization of the country's median age. The macroeconomic consequences are hard to measure but look promising, since per capita income growth has held up and unemployment has declined. Data on ...
China's Growth Outlook: Is High-Income Status in Reach?
Can China build on its development success to achieve high-income status in the decades ahead? To shed light on this question, we examine the past and prospective future sources of growth in China through the lens of the neoclassical growth model. Our key finding is that China would need to sustain total factor productivity growth at the top end of the range achieved by its high-income Pacific Rim neighbors in order to match their success in raising living standards. While fast-growing working-age populations boosted per capita income growth elsewhere in the Pacific Rim, a rapidly aging ...
How Much Have Consumers Spent on Imports during the Pandemic?
The return of U.S. real GDP to its pre-pandemic level in the second quarter of this year was driven by consumer spending on goods. Such spending was well above its pre-pandemic path, while spending on services was well below. Despite the surge in goods spending, domestic manufacturing has increased only modestly, leaving most of the increase in demand being filled by imports. While higher imports have been a drag on growth, the size of this drag has been moderated by the value created by the domestic transportation, wholesale, and retail sectors in selling these goods. Going forward, a ...
Viewing the current account deficit as a capital inflow
With the 1998 current account deficit approaching $225 billion, attention is again focusing on the deficit's impact on U.S. jobs. Although a high deficit does adversely affect employment in export- and import-competing industries, it also means that considerable foreign capital is flowing into the United States, supporting domestic investment spending that stimulates growth and creates jobs.
Would a Stronger Renminbi Narrow the U.S.-China Trade Imbalance?
The United States buys much more from China than it sells to China—an imbalance that accounts for almost half of our overall merchandise trade deficit. China’s policy of keeping its exchange rate low is often cited as a key driver of that country’s large overall trade surplus and of its bilateral surplus with the United States. The argument is that a stronger renminbi (the official currency of China) would help reduce that country’s trade imbalance with the United States by lowering the prices of U.S. goods relative to those made in China. In this post, we examine the thinking behind ...
Purchasing power parity: three stakes through the heart of the unit root null
A recent influential paper (O'Connell 1998) argues that panel data evidence in favor of purchasing power parity disappears once test procedures are altered to accommodate heterogeneous cross-sectional dependence among real exchange rate innovations. We present evidence to the contrary. First, we modify two extant panel unit root panel unit root tests to eliminate the upward size distortion induced by contemporaneous cross-sectional dependence. Second, we exploit a recently-introduced test, based on SUR techniques, that also remains valid in the presence of cross-sectional dependence. Using ...
Tax Reform and U.S. Effective Profit Taxes: From Low to Lower
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) reduced the federal corporate profit tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Adding in state profit taxes, the overall U.S. tax rate went from 39 percent, one of the highest rates in the world, to 26 percent, about the average rate abroad. The implications of the new law for U.S. competitiveness depend on how these statutory tax rates compare with the actual rates faced by U.S. and foreign companies. To address this question, this post presents new evidence on tax payments as a share of profits, as well as analytical measures of tax impacts on profitability. ...
Second district housing prices: why so weak in the 1990s?
Between 1990 and 1997, poor economic fundamentals and a prolonged hangover from excessively rapid growth in the 1980s caused house prices in the New York metropolitan area to grow much more slowly than prices nationwide; these factors played a smaller role in the decline of upstate New York's house prices relative to the nation's.
What Is behind the Global Jump in Personal Saving during the Pandemic?
Household saving has soared in the United States and other high-income countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite widespread declines in wages and other private income streams. This post highlights the role of fiscal policy in driving the saving boom, through stepped-up social benefits and other income support measures. Indeed, in the United States, Japan, and Canada, government assistance has pushed household income above its pre-pandemic trajectory. We argue that the larger scale of government assistance in these countries helps explain why saving in these countries has risen more ...