Economic Policy

No Free Lunches: The Hard Arithmetic of Economics

By ·September 28, 2018
Wellesley College

The Issue:

Key policy initiatives often are presented to the public as providing benefits with no real costs. While sugarcoating may be a useful political strategy, such narratives mask the difficult tradeoffs implicit in many economic policy decisions and the invariable presence of budget constraints. Such promises ...
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What Information Does the Yield Curve Yield?

By ·April 26, 2018
Fletcher School, Tufts University

The Issue:

Forecasting the twists and turns of the economy is difficult. One set of indicators used to gauge where the economy is headed draws on information from financial markets since the yields paid by financial assets reflect the collective market view of the future state of the economy. An inverted yield ...
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Where Have All the (Male) Workers Gone?

By Sandra Black and Wilson Powell·July 10, 2017
University of Texas, Austin and Harvard Kennedy School

The Issue:

Does the unemployment rate of 4.4 percent provide an accurate picture of the health of the United States’ economy? This is almost a full percentage point below its pre-recession average. But the unemployment rate only accounts for those who are actively looking for a job. If an unemployed worker becomes ...
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The Decline in the Dollar

By Michael W. Klein and Jay C. Shambaugh·June 2, 2017
Fletcher School, Tufts University and George Washington University

The Issue:

The dollar got stronger (appreciated) against the currencies of its major trading partners in the immediate wake of the election of President Trump. This reflected the market’s view of the expected effects of policies advocated by Candidate Trump, such as tax cuts, infrastructure spending, and higher ...
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Are Economic Statistics Fake News?

By ·April 2, 2017
Wellesley College

The Issue:

Is the unemployment rate published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics a good gauge of the state of the labor market?  The credibility of economic data produced by government statistical agencies increasingly has been called into question.  Before becoming president, Donald Trump repeatedly criticized ...
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Agricultural Implications of President Trump’s Policies

By ·March 20, 2017
Robert M. La Follette School, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Issue:

Nearly 70 percent of rural votes cast in the 2016 election went to Donald Trump. This phenomenon has been attributed in part to the declining fortunes of farmers. But rather than helping reverse this trend, several of the Trump administration's policy proposals would negatively affect the fortunes of ...
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The Council of Economic Advisers and the Role of Expert Economic Advice

By Kadee Russ·February 21, 2017
University of California, Davis

The Issue:

During a television interview in the run-up to the Brexit vote in June 2016, British Justice Secretary Michael Gove refused to name any economists who supported Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union but said instead “People in this country have had enough of experts.” Politicians have denigrated ...
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