The impact of Covid-19 on the value of online goods
Post

The impact of Covid-19 on the value of online goods

Consumer spending patterns changed substantially during lockdown in the UK, as in other countries, with online consumption in general increasing. This column uses findings from a survey of the UK online population conducted before lockdown in late February 2020 and again in May to reveal some large and significant changes in the valuations of goods and services,...

Covid-19: How to build better Early Warning Systems
Post

Covid-19: How to build better Early Warning Systems

The COVID-19 crisis has not only brought about a double whammy on global demand and supply, but also an assault on the very assumption upon which our societies, economies, and political systems rest: that we operate in a mostly predictable environment. Consumers, investors, workers, and policymakers tend to act as if the world was calculable...

Post

Finance and politics: New insights

There are two fundamentally different views on how financial sector policies and regulation develop across countries and over time. On the one hand, the public interest view argues that governments act in the best interest of society, ultimately maximising public welfare. Policy mistakes are driven by limited information and inefficiencies in the policymaking process. The...

The real cost of political polarisation
Post

The real cost of political polarisation

While uncertainty among firms and professional forecasters is known to be countercyclical (Bloom et al. 2018), a large share of the current literature focuses on the role of real economic factors, such as stock returns or employment growth. Uncertainty surged over the course of the pandemic and, while it has currently subsided, it remains above...

New East Asian trade blocs create tough choices for China
Post

New East Asian trade blocs create tough choices for China

The split in US-Asia relations opened by the US-China trade war is widening. The world’s two largest economies now impose Smoot-Hawley level tariffs on each other (Bown 2020a), and bilateral technological nationalism threatens to divide the Asia-Pacific region into separate innovation regimes. Relations are also deteriorating due to the toxic politics of the Covid-19 pandemic...

Post

The role of ethnicity – and democracy – for urbanisation

Ulrich J. Eberle, Vernon Henderson, Dominic Rohner, Kurt Schmidheiny 09 July 2020 Urbanisation is a major driver of economic development. Agglomeration forces that make cities productive and dispersion forces that limit their growth have been extensively studied, but the effect of ethnolinguistic diversity has been largely overlooked. This column shows that more diverse regions tend...

Testing the effects of reminders to promote social distancing
Post

Testing the effects of reminders to promote social distancing

Social distancing measures have been the cornerstone of the global effort to fight COVID-19 (Gourinchas 2020, Baldwin and Weder di Mauro 2020) and the main reason for the economic crisis that ensued (Furman 2020, Baldwin and Weder di Mauro 2020). Mandatory restrictions played an important role, especially in countries like France and Italy where strict...

Early lockdowns save more lives and livelihoods
Post

Early lockdowns save more lives and livelihoods

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in huge economic and human costs since its outbreak in early 2020 (Baldwin and Weder di Mauro 2020). While theoretical work on the COVID-19 pandemic is abundant, comparatively little is understood of its economic consequences, partly because the official economic indicators have not been published yet. An important unanswered question...

Gender norms and leadership roles in the legal profession
Post

Gender norms and leadership roles in the legal profession

The absence of women in top positions in the corporate, financial, and legal sectors, and among top income earners, has been widely documented (e.g. Bertrand et al. 2010, Blau and Winkler 2018, Boschini and Roine 2020). The legal sector has some of the largest gender gaps in leadership positions when compared to other professions, although...

Selecting the next WTO Director-General: What the trade community thinks
Post

Selecting the next WTO Director-General: What the trade community thinks

Matteo Fiorini, Bernard Hoekman, Petros Mavroidis, Douglas Nelson, Robert Wolfe 08 July 2020 On 14 May 2020, Roberto Azevedo, the Director-General of the WTO, announced he would step down from his position at the end of August. Governments are now in the process of selecting candidates for the position.1 In contrast to other international organisations, the...

Paid sick leave during the COVID-19 health and labour market crisis
Post

Paid sick leave during the COVID-19 health and labour market crisis

The critical role of paid sick leave in the COVID-19 health and labour market crisis Stefan Thewissen, Duncan MacDonald, Christopher Prinz, Maëlle Stricot 08 July 2020 The COVID 19 pandemic has turned from a public health crisis into an unprecedented labour market crisis in the course of only a few months. This has prompted economists...

Post

Economic policy under the pandemic: A European perspective

This column discusses challenges for economic policy in Europe in the current and next phases of the corona crisis. We especially emphasise: Basic principles for guiding domestic economic policy The need for clear communication of policy The need for cooperation across countries along several dimensions and The need for a clear and unified strategy in...

State ownership will gain importance as a result of COVID-19
Post

State ownership will gain importance as a result of COVID-19

Carolina Abate, Assia Elgouacem, Tomasz Kozluk, Jan Stráský, Cristiana Vitale 07 July 2020 State ownership in many economies is already extensive and may grow further during the current COVID-19 crisis. Globally, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have been among the largest and fastest expanding multinational companies in the past two decades, especially in emerging market economies (Kowalski...

Bank insiders impede equity issuances in times of crisis
Post

Bank insiders impede equity issuances in times of crisis

Banks with more equity tend to lend more, create more liquidity, have higher probabilities of surviving crises and if they do, they tend to recover faster. The degree to which a bank issues new stock to replenish bank equity in response to a crisis is therefore crucial. This column shows that ownership structure is an important...

Policing and race: The role of electoral accountability
Post

Policing and race: The role of electoral accountability

On 25 May 2020, George Floyd, an African American man accused of using counterfeit currency, was killed during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On 12 June, another black man, Rayshard Brooks, was found asleep in his car in a restaurant driveway in Atlanta, Georgia. A police officer shot and killed Brooks as he was trying...

Pandemic shocks and fiscal-monetary policies in the euro area
Post

Pandemic shocks and fiscal-monetary policies in the euro area

Yothin Jinjarak, Rashad Ahmed, Sameer Nair-Desai, Weining Xin, Joshua Aizenman 06 July 2020 The COVID-19 shock hit the euro area in March 2020, mushrooming into a major pandemic that tested the medical, social, and economic capabilities of euro area countries (Bénassy-Quéré and Weder di Mauro 2020).  Within two months, the enormity of the health and economic...