VoxEU (18)

The impact of demographics on long-term discount rates

How the future is discounted in cost-benefit analyses is a contested issue, with economists disagreeing on whether approaches to discounting should be prescriptive or descriptive. This column presents a new way to model individuals' discounting based on a demographic approach. The advantages of a ...

Smaller firms suffer far more from organised, mafia-style crime

Whether organised crime undermines productivity has been studied extensively in broad terms, but not at the firm level. This column uses extensive firm-level data from across Italy to suggest that this is firmly the case, both through direct and indirect channels. The results point to a substantial ...

Online exports and the wage gap

The reduction in the cost of exporting offered by international transactions over the internet helps small firms in developing countries reach consumers all over the world. This column argues that this bias in favour of small firms has an impact on labour markets, as small firms tend to hire ...

The LiTS survey: A decade of measuring transition

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, post-communist countries have experienced an overhaul of their economic and political institutions. This column highlights five core messages from the most recent Life in Transition Survey, which is conducted periodically by the EBRD and the World Bank to ...

Missing growth

Slowing growth of total factor productivity has led some to suggest that the world is running out of ideas for innovation. This column suggests that the way output is measured is vital to assessing this, and quantifies the role of imputation in output measurement bias. By differentiating between ...

Mobility and growth in top and bottom incomes

Current approaches to measuring top and bottom incomes cannot track the fortunes of the same group of individuals over time. This column addresses this shortcoming by developing a new method for measuring income mobility. After accounting for mobility, the incomes of those who start out rich grow ...

Why Trump's protectionist trade agenda will fail

Since taking office, US President Donald Trump has been an increasingly vocal proponent of protectionist measures. This column presents five reasons why he is unlikely to resort to full-blown protectionism: political motivations, WTO membership, the possibility of retaliation, the existence of ...

Don't blame the global financial cycle

Policymakers in small countries fear the 'global financial cycle' that is apparently driven by US fundamentals. This column argues, in contrast, that 25 years of financial data show that the global financial cycle has explained at most a quarter of the variation in capital flows in these countries. ...

Financial globalisation and market volatility

While some studies suggest that financial globalisation increases volatility and leads to economic instability, others appear to show that it leads to more efficient stock markets, with higher returns but no increase in volatility. Using a new measure of financial globalisation, this column argues ...

Measuring how much universities spend on teaching

In an attempt to improve incentives for university teaching, the UK government recently introduced a Teaching Excellence Framework. This column uses data on contact hours and class size to measure how much teaching students receive at university. The results reveal large variation across ...

What economists study: A guide for the curious

With the press continuing to cast economics in a negative light, it is worth rethinking how our field is described to a lay audience. This column argues that even elementary principles can surprise non-economists with their power to explain a broader set of questions than most would think possible.

Migration and terror

Stricter immigration and visa policies are a common reaction to terrorist attacks. This column uses historical data from 20 OECD countries to show that while the number of terror attacks increased with the number of foreigners living in a host country, migrants were not more likely to become ...

Trilemma redux: Evidence from emerging market economies

The synchronous rise and fall of cross-border capital flows, domestic credit, and asset prices across countries has raised questions about the relevance of the exchange rate regime in a world of high capital mobility. This column presents evidence from emerging market economies, which shows that ...

The portfolio rebalancing effects of the ECB's asset purchase programme

By the end of April 2017, the Eurosystem's balance sheet contained €1.8 trillion of assets, mainly as a consequence of asset purchase programmes. This column analyses the portfolio rebalancing effects of the ECB's programme. The original holders of the assets eligible for purchase by the ECB ...

Investing in roads versus schools

Despite investment in education appearing to be a more pressing need in many developing countries, spending on roads often exceeds that on schools. This column argues that the different pace with which roads and schools contribute to economic growth is central to governments' optimal allocation ...

Job-related mobility and plant performance in Sweden

While job-related mobility is key to knowledge sharing, it may also undermine on-the-job training through labour poaching, and assessing its overall impact on productivity and growth is not straightforward. This column uses data on nearly 2.7 million new hires in Sweden to analyse the impact of ...

Post-crisis regulation and CEO bonuses

Since 2011, the Financial Stability Board has implemented compensation principles and standards for executives and material risk-takers in many financial institutions. This column presents evidence that banks in jurisdictions that adopted them changed their compensation policies more than other ...

Globalisation and US labour markets

There is some evidence that communities hit hardest by globalisation shifted away from centrist candidates towards ideologically extreme candidates in the most recent US election. This column, taken from a recent Vox eBook, asks what policies those who were elected on a promise of turning the tide ...