Africa’s Success: More Than a Resource Story

By Antoinette M. Sayeh When meeting with people outside Africa, I’m often asked whether Africa’s growth takeoff since the mid-1990s has been simply a “commodity story”—a ride fueled by windfall gains from high commodity prices. But finance ministers and other policymakers in the region, and I was one of them, know that the story is richer […]

China’s Growth: Why Less Is More

By Steven Barnett (中文 Version) Less growth in China today will mean higher income in the future. So rather than worry, we should welcome the slowdown in China’s economy. Why? Because by favoring structural reforms over short-term stimulus, China’s leadership is illustrating their commitment to move to a more balanced and sustainable growth model. Current model is […]

Bubbles in the Broth

As below-trend GDP growth and high unemployment continue to afflict most advanced economies, their central banks have resorted to increasingly unconventional monetary policy. An alphabet soup of measures has been served up: ZIRP (zero-interest-rate policy); QE (quantitative easing, or purchases of government bonds to reduce long-term rates when short-term policy rates are zero); CE (credit […]

Shadow of the Sequester

The news shows this weekend were filled with optimism from across the political spectrum that the congressional budget conference, which begins Wednesday, will produce a deal. I am skeptical. The aim of the conference will be to find agreement on spending for the remainder of FY14 at levels of spending above those that resulted from the […]

Bank of England’s Interest Rate Calculations Weigh Productivity Against Unemployment

Friday’s gross domestic product figures, showing a 0.8% rise on the quarter, confirmed, instead of a triple-dip predicted by some earlier this year, Britain has has three consecutive quarters of pretty good growth. This is still not the longest sequence in what has been a stop-start recovery. In 2009 and 2010 there were four successive […]

Fed Watch: A Bit on the Hawkish Side

I fear I need to re-evaluate my conviction that March is the earliest to expect the Fed to begin tapering asset purchases.  That conviction was largely based on the belief that the Fed needed to see both stronger and sustainable data to justify tapering.  But the bar might be much lower, with only sustainable data necessary.  In […]

The Democrat’s Version of Health Insurance Would Have Been Cheaper, Simpler, and More Popular (So Why Did We Enact the Republican Version and Why Are They So Upset?)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says Republicans will seek to delay a requirement of the 2010 Affordable Care Act that all Americans obtain health insurance or face a tax penalty. ”With so many unanswered questions and the problems arising around this rollout, it doesn’t make any sense to impose this one percent mandate tax on the […]

ISM Manufacturing Index: October 2013 Preview

The ISM Manufacturing Index is expected to increase marginally to 56.3 in tomorrow’s October update (scheduled for release on November 1), based on The Capital Spectator’s average econometric forecast. The estimate reflects a trivial rise from the previously reported 56.2 for September. Meanwhile, the Capital Spectator’s average projection is substantially higher than three consensus forecasts […]

New Unemployment Claims Fall Again

It’s Halloween, but there are no goblins in today’s labor market report. New filings for unemployment benefits fell again last week, slipping 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000. That’s still at an elevated level relative to recent history, but we’re again moving in the right direction. The data glitches that harassed this series over the past month […]

Mazzucato: The Entrepreneurial State

I’ve been meaning to write a blog on a book by my friend, Mariana Mazzucato, titled The Entrepreneurial State. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the role played by government in encouraging innovation. For so many years we’ve been sold the notion that our nation’s Undertakers (also called Entrepreneurs or Capitalists) […]

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