Peterson Institute for International Economics

Archive for March, 2012

  • The World Bank’s Next President Must Arrest Its Institutional Decline

    The World Bank is the second best international organization after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in terms of reputation and quality, but it is an institution of diminishing significance. Its current president, Robert B. Zoellick, is stepping down at the end of his five-year term, and the Obama administration has announced that it will nominate […]

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  • Can Microcredit Lenders Fill the Gap?

    The Chinese press is full of stories documenting the difficulties small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have obtaining financing. Contrary to popular belief, the problem is not that SMEs are being crowded out by large enterprises. The SME share of total business loans has been relatively stable in the past several years. Moreover, the pace of […]

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  • Gasoline Prices and Electoral Politics in the Age of Unconventional Oil

    With average US gasoline prices approaching $4 per gallon, markets are trying to gauge the impact of high oil costs on a fragile US economic recovery. Some analysts have argued that surging unconventional oil production in North America will make this price spike less harmful than those in the past. But for the political class, […]

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  • Is the Risk Free Status of Euro Area Sovereign Debt in Tatters?

    In the first week of March, the euro area experienced the biggest sovereign debt restructuring in history and the first ever triggering of sovereign credit default swaps (CDSs) for an industrialized country. Yet nothing happened after these events struck Greece. It was a market non-event that was fully anticipated. For the often maligned euro area […]

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  • A New Era for Global Financial Standards

    Even as headlines remain dominated by the euro area crisis, the financial world is transforming itself along multiple other dimensions. One intriguing but so far little-noticed development is the gradual shift in the role of global financial standard setters, which are becoming more assertive in looking at how their standards are adopted and implemented around […]

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  • Will the French Elections Derail the Fiscal Compact in Europe?

    On March 2, 25 European Union members signed their long-discussed fiscal compact, the treaty committing them to balance their budgets in the future, paving the way for national ratification of the compact before January 2013. Most analysts expect the compact to be ratified in most countries. But a few signs of doubt have emerged over […]

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  • China’s Economic Outlook in 2020 and Beyond

    Near-term China investment decisions and US trade and economic policymaking are influenced by competing views of China’s longer-term outlook. Yet economic models of China’s long-term growth are shaky, debatable and hence few in number. Official statements from China’s leadership about long-term expectations, and more importantly about the composition of long-term economic growth, are even more […]

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  • Why President Obama Can Stop Worrying About Europe

    Can President Obama’s increasingly confident reelection drive come undone because of the economic turmoil in Europe? That is a question that many in the White House are said to be worrying about. The fears have some foundation based on recent experience. The relatively strong US economic recovery in early 2010—3.9 percent growth in the first […]

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  • Chinese Household Wealth and the Housing Market

    The Chinese housing market is clearly undergoing a correction that may eventually bring housing prices back to a more reasonable level. As the past several years have made all too apparent, housing downturns are economically painful and can lead to larger economic crises. The network of financial leverage that fueled the US housing bubble turned […]

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  • Why Greece Must Not Leave the Euro Area

    The two most crucial questions about the Greek public debt crisis have been whether the country would be forced to default on its public debt and whether it would have to leave the euro area. At present Greece has pursued an orderly default on its privately held debt, but it remains in the euro area. […]

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