Benn Steil and Dinah Walker analyze the market reaction to the publication of the European Central Bank's long-awaited bank stress test results. The ECB's coddling of stress-tested banks — through the use of inflated inflation estimates and generous treatment of tax offsets against future profits which may never arise — precipitated a sell-off of bank stocks in a period when broad European indexes were up significantly. Unlike with the successful 2009 U.S. stress tests, there is no credible backstop of public funds available for Eurozone bank recapitalization, which would account for the ECB's reluctance to draw attention to the sector's undercapitalization.
The recent oil price crash came as a surprise to many observers due to several critical misconceptions about oil markets, writes Michael Levi. As for prices going forward, “only the reckless would bet with any confidence on one particular outcome.”
The Wall Street Journal asks Michael Levi and Andrew P. Morriss whether the U.S. should act unilaterally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Levi answers “yes,” arguing that cutting greenhouse gas emissions now would enhance public health and the international credibility of the United States, and that reasonable action now would reduce long-term costs.
The recent U.S.-China climate deal has inspired both celebration and skepticism. Michael Levi responds to each, noting that while the terms of the agreement are in themselves insufficient to reign in global warming, the deal is a “genuine success” as diplomatic progress toward reducing climate risk.
Countries are increasingly turning to sanctions and other economic tools to advance their geopolitical interests. Jennifer Harris explains how attitudes toward these economic techniques of statecraft have evolved over the years.
As oil prices continue to drop, Michael Levi argues that the benefit to American consumers will outweigh any damage to the U.S. economy. However, how you view this plunge in oil prices "depends a lot on where you live and what work you do."
Peter R. Orszag writes that the common U.S. conception of state capitalism in China is dated and wrong, which creates dangerous complacency among policymakers about the risks of a Chinese economic slowdown.
Peter R. Orszag argues that the rise of tattoos reflects a broader trend of anti-establishmentarianism, and he predicts that tattoos will become even more popular as long as most Americans' sense of opportunity and upward mobility remains limited.
The new BRICS Bank and Contingent Reserve Arrangement initiatives are, despite stated Russian ambitions, wholly unconvincing responses to the shortcomings of the Bretton Woods institutions and the dollar-based global financial architecture.
A. Michael Spence argues that the eurozone has an opportunity to jumpstart economic recovery by relaxing fiscal constraints on the condition that member states use the reprieve to initiate public sector investment and structural reforms.
In Money, Markets, and Sovereignty, the authors present a fascinating intellectual history of monetary nationalism from the ancient world to the present and explore why, in its modern incarnation, it represents the single greatest threat to globalization. More
In The Closing of the American Border, Edward Alden goes behind the scenes to tell the story of the Bush administration’s struggle to balance security and openness in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. More
In this report, Benn Steil shows that the financial crisis is the inevitable bust of a classic credit boom, and explains how monetary, taxation, and home ownership promotion policy combined with other features of the financial system to fuel an unsustainable buildup in debt. He recommends significant reforms to reverse the debt financing bias and make the system more resilient to falls in asset prices. More
In order for policymakers to tackle today’s global economic crisis, this report argues, they must go beyond bailouts and stimulus packages and focus on one of the crisis's root causes: imbalances between savings and investment in major countries. More