A Latin American president faces a steep economic downturn. She introduces fiscal austerity measures, perhaps a tax hike, to try to contain the damage. Mass protests erupt, police clash with demonstrators, and the political mood grows darker by the day. Can the president and her party survive? The short answer is usually no. In a recent study, Martín Ardanaz, Mark Hallerberg … [Read more...] about When Tax Hikes Doom Governments at the Polls
Macroeconomics and Finance
Economists have long known that aggregate measures of economic activity vary during recessions. Unemployment rates increase, for example, while both GDP growth and investment rates decrease. But when we look at actual firms, the individual units of production in an economy, during a recession do they all behave in the same way? And if not, can we use that information to learn … [Read more...] about When Worsening Credit Conditions Trigger Recessions
Four decades ago, people in Latin America cheered as one after another dictatorship fell and gave way to democratic systems, with free elections, uncensored expression, and increasingly independent institutions. That transition, a part of the third wave of democratization, transformed Latin America and the Caribbean from a place of oppressive military regimes into the most … [Read more...] about What Can Restore Latin Americans’ Faith in Democracy
The 1988 Basel I Accord created a level playing field for international banks in terms of a minimum recommended amount of capital.It was probably the most successful financial standard ever conceived. More than 100 countries claimed to have implemented the agreement, and in many countries it was applied to all banks. Basel II was agreed upon in 2004. Many of its 216 pages … [Read more...] about Basel III and Financial Reforms: What Should Emerging Economies Do?
As the chair of the United States Federal Reserve from 2006-2014, Ben Bernanke liked to say that monetary policy is 98% talk and only two percent action. In other words, what the central bank says is hugely important. It can affect households, firms, and market expectations, and, in turn, impact the economy. That message could not be more important when considering inflation … [Read more...] about Fighting Inflation With Better Communication