Economics & Politics

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union raises three huge questions. Why did a majority vote “leave”? What will be the consequences? And, of course, what should be done now? These questions are as pertinent for the United States as they are for the UK and Europe. Read the full article at The Boston Globe.

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June 27th, 2016

The Meaning of Brexit

The Brexit vote was a triple protest: against surging immigration, City of London bankers, and European Union institutions, in that order. It will have major consequences. Donald Trump’s campaign for the US presidency will receive a huge boost, as will other anti-immigrant populist politicians. Moreover, leaving the EU will wound the British economy, and could [...]

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Few if any issues in public policy are as muddled and contentious as international migration. There is no international regime that establishes standards and principles for national migration policies other than in the case of refugees (migrants escaping persecution). My aim here is to describe some economic and ethical principles that may underpin an international [...]

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Hillary Clinton’s recent foreign policy speech was an attack on Donald Trump but was also a reminder that Clinton is a deeply flawed and worrisome candidate. Her record as Secretary of State was one of the worst in modern U.S. history; her policies have enmeshed America in new Middle East wars, rising terrorism and even a new [...]

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There are two opposing narratives of the “robot revolution,” by which I mean the rising productivity and falling costs of smart ICT-enabled systems, including robots, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, remote monitoring and sensing, and other ICT-based systems.  In the positive narrative, highly productive robots do the work of humans, thereby raising output, productivity, [...]

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In 2015, around 5.9 million children under the age of five, almost all in developing countries, died from easily preventable or treatable causes. And up to 200 million young children and adolescents do not attend primary or secondary school, owing to poverty, including 110 million through the lower-secondary level, according to a recent estimate. In both cases, massive [...]

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Mainstream U.S. economists have criticized Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s proposals as unworkable, but these economists betray the status quo bias of their economic models and professional experience. It’s been decades since the United States had a progressive economic strategy, and mainstream economists have forgotten what one can deliver. In fact, Sanders’s recipes are supported [...]

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May 13th, 2016

The age of impunity

THE PANAMA PAPERS opened yet another window on the global system of financial corruption, showing how political leaders and businesses use shell companies in secrecy havens like the British Virgin Islands and many US states to evade taxes and hide corruption and other crimes. Yet the system of corruption depends on another factor beyond secrecy, one that [...]

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The fight against corruption entails no small amount of absurdity, since so much of the corruption these days occurs in broad daylight. The corruption is so blatant, so indefensible, that attempts at justification are necessarily surreal. Recently, 300 economists, including me, made the point thanks to Oxfam’s mobilization. Prime Minister David Cameron’s job at Thursday’s Anti-Corruption [...]

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