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
Politics and Institutions
Policymakers in Latin America and the Caribbean may be keenly aware that the region's crumbling roads, inefficient energy systems, and inadequate water and sanitation hold their countries back. But efforts to improve these and other infrastructure services get the short end of the stick. When governments reduce fiscal deficits, they consistently shortchange capital spending on … [Read more...] about When Improving Infrastructure Can’t Wait
Economic performance has long been considered key to voter behavior. "It's the economy, stupid," said a campaign strategist for Bill Clinton, cementing a view that a government's economic record is what voters care most about. But too much emphasis on the economy may be missing other, no less consequential, factors. A recent study by George Ward of the Massachusetts … [Read more...] about Does Happiness Sway Elections?
Trust is rare in Latin America, and only getting rarer. Economic and financial mismanagement, corruption scandals, and inequality have taken their toll. According to Latinóbarometro, an annual public opinion survey of 18 countries from the region, trust in government dropped from 45% in 2009 to 22% in 2018, and the share of people who are discontent with democracy soared from … [Read more...] about Can Government Commitments Win Back Citizens’ Trust in Latin America?
Before the financial crisis of 2008, most governments lacked an institutional framework for handling financial policy. Central banks focused on monetary policy. They mostly used interest rates to influence inflation and output, believing such a focus could guarantee economic stability. But when it came to financial policy they were inclined to trust the invisible hand of the … [Read more...] about When Focusing on the Interest Rate is Not Enough