Weekly Roundup

Weekly Roundup

Printer-friendly version
a a
Type Size: Small

On August 5, three U.S. International Trade Commission economists published a commentary in which they examined the potential for increasing employment by increasing exports. They find that the potential for direct employment gains is not great because most exports involve manufactured goods. However, the potential for indirect employment gains in related service sectors is much better.

On August 4, the Bank for International Settlements published a study that strongly correlates housing prices with a nation’s age profile. It predicts that the aging of the world population will cause real housing prices to decline in coming decades.

Also on August 4, the Center for Retirement Research issued a study advocating the creation of “longevity bonds” that would be linked to the longevity of particular birth cohorts. Insurance companies and pension plans could use such bonds to protect themselves in the event that longevity rises more than expected.

On August 2, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report on federal aid to private companies such as General Motors during the recent crisis. Among the changes that such aid brought about was an almost complete turnover among the companies’ directors.

On August 1, Northwestern University law professors John O. McGinnis and Max Schanzenbach published an article highly critical of public sector unions.

On July 30, the International Monetary Fund released a staff report on the U.S. economy. Among the findings: the structural unemployment rate may have risen by as much as 1.75 percentage points due to a lack of worker mobility resulting from collapse of the housing market, leading to a geographical mismatch of skills; employment could rebound faster than projected if economic uncertainty were to decline; the projected increase in the federal debt will add 0.5 to 1.5 percentage points to the long-term bond yield; subsidies for home ownership should be curtailed; and the U.S. should begin the process of fiscal adjustment sooner rather than later because delay increases the cost.

On July 29, the Census Bureau reported that the number of businesses with paid employees declined by 104,000 establishments in 2008.

A July 20 study from the National Conference of State Legislatures detailed changes in state laws relating to immigration between January and June, 2010.

A July study from the Small Business Administration by economist Brad Schiller found that small business play a critical role in providing initial jobs for youths.

A July paper from the Institute for the Study of Labor found that the U.S. unemployment rate is persistently underestimated by reporting and coding errors. Over the period 1996 to 2009, it finds that the true rate was 1.9 percentage points higher. On a monthly basis, the error was as high as 4.6 percentage points.

Another July paper from the ISL found that entrepreneurship is inversely related to government size; bigger governments reduce entrepreneurship. The authors believe that extensive welfare states and high taxation reduce incentives for potential entrepreneurs.

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Read his most recent column here. Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.