Slower Productivity and Higher Inequality: Are They Related?

Slower Productivity and Higher Inequality: Are They Related? Peterson Institute for International Economics. Working Paper 18-4. Jason Furman and Peter Orszag. June 2018

Income growth for typical American families has slowed dramatically since 1973. Slower productivity growth and an increase in income inequality have both contributed to this trend. This paper addresses whether there is a relationship between the productivity slowdown and the increase in inequality, specifically exploring the extent to which reduced competition and dynamism can explain both of these phenomena. Productivity growth has been uneven across the economy, with top firms earning increasingly skewed returns. At the same time, the between-firm disparities have been important in explaining the increase in labor income inequality. Both these findings are consistent with the observed reductions in competition, as evidenced by increasing concentration and economic rents, and business dynamism. The authors also explore the scenarios under which government policies can help mitigate, or contribute to, declining competition and dynamism. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 15 pages].


Resources for Key Economic Indicators

Resources for Key Economic Indicators.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Jennifer Teefy, Julie Jennings. May 30, 2018

 An understanding of economic indicators and their significance is seen as essential to the formulation of economic policies. These indicators, or statistics, provide snapshots of an economy’s health as well as starting points for economic analysis. This report contains a list of selected authoritative U.S. government sources of economic indicators, such as gross domestic product (GDP), income, inflation, and labor force (including employment and unemployment) statistics.

 [PDF format, 7 pages].

Confronting the Global Forced Migration Crisis: A Report of the CSIS Task Force on the Global Forced Migration Crisis

Confronting the Global Forced Migration Crisis: A Report of the CSIS Task Force on the Global Forced Migration Crisis. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Daniel F. Runde et al. May 29, 2018

 The size and scope of the global forced migration crisis are unprecedented. Almost 66 million people worldwide have been forced from home by conflict. If recent trends continue, this figure could increase to between 180 and 320 million people by 2030. This global crisis already poses serious challenges to economic growth and risks to stability and national security, as well as an enormous human toll affecting tens of millions of people. These issues are on track to get worse; without significant course correction soon, the forced migration issues confronted today will seem simple decades from now. Yet, efforts to confront the crisis continue to be reactive in addressing these and other core issues. The United States should broaden the scope of its efforts beyond the tactical and reactive to see the world through a more strategic lens colored by the challenges posed—and opportunities created—by the forced migration crisis at home and abroad. CSIS convened a diverse task force in 2017 to study the global forced migration crisis. This report is a result of those findings. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 67 pages].

Building a Smart Partnership for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Building a Smart Partnership for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  Atlantic Council.  Beau Woods et al.  April 27, 2018

 The emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution offer unprecedented avenues to improve quality of life, advance society, and contribute to global economic growth. Yet along with greater prospects for human advancement and progress, advancements in these technologies have the potential to be dramatically disruptive, threatening existing assumptions around national security, rules for international cooperation, and a thriving global commerce. This report by the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) addresses emerging technologies in key areas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and explores innovative ways by which the United States and the Republic of Korea can cooperate around advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics; biotechnology; and the Internet of Things. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 92 pages].

The Dangerous Inadequacies of the World’s Crisis-Response Mechanisms

The Dangerous Inadequacies of the World’s Crisis-Response Mechanisms. Brookings Institution. Adam Triggs. May 4, 2018

 The paper war-games crisis scenarios based on past crises to test the adequacy of the global financial safety net: the international institutions and arrangements designated to help economies facing an economic or financial crisis. It calculates the size of the safety net in aggregate terms and from the perspective of each G-20 economy. It explores whether the safety net is large enough, how the different components of the safety net would need to interact during a crisis and how this differs for different countries and regions. For some widespread shocks, the paper finds that the safety net struggles to provide even the same level of support as it has in the past. Even for smaller shocks, multiple components of the safety net need to be coordinated, a process complicated by the differing objectives, mandates and interdependencies of each component. The paper shows how the safety net’s coverage has become patchier, leaving many emerging market and developing economies exposed. It explores what the G-20 could do to strengthen the safety net, reporting the results from in-depth interviews with 61 leaders, central bank governors, ministers and officials from across the G-20, including Janet Yellen, Kevin Rudd, Ben Bernanke, Haruhiko Kuroda, Jack Lew, Mark Carney and 55 others. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 47 pages].

Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe

Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe. Atlantic Council.  Frances Burwell. May 8, 2018

 In an age of transatlantic tensions over the Iran deal, trade balances, and steel tariffs, digital policy is uniquely poised to offer opportunities for greater US-EU cooperation. At the same time, the digital arena also has the potential to be a policy minefield, with issues such as privacy, digital taxation, and competition policy still unresolved. Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe addresses these challenges and explores how the US-EU digital agenda fits in the larger transatlantic relationship. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 24 pages].

What’s Happening to the World Income Distribution? The Elephant Chart Revisited

What’s Happening to the World Income Distribution? The Elephant Chart Revisited. Brookings Institution. Homi Kharas and Brina Seidel. April 2, 2018

 In 2013, Christoph Lakner and Branko Milanovic published a graph—quickly dubbed the “elephant chart”—that depicts changes in income distribution across the world between 1988 and 2008. The chart has been used to support numerous reports of rising inequality fueled by increased globalization. Every time a populist movement rises, every time the elite gather in Davos, every time Oxfam publishes a new report on inequality, the elephant chart resurfaces. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 34 pages].