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Mapping Income Polarization in the United States

2019-03-14T11:50:22-05:00May 15, 2018|

By Ali Alichi and Rodrigo Mariscal

May 15, 2018

Versions in EspañolPortuguês

Investment in education an important countervailing force in addressing income inequality (photo: Istock by Getty Images).

When it comes to income inequality among American households, outcomes have varied widely across the 50 U.S. states.  The impact of international competition gets a lot of the blame, along with automation, in states that have fared the worst. (more…)

IMF Support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

2019-03-25T12:40:32-05:00July 19, 2017|

By Stefania Fabrizio, Roland Kpodar, and Chris Lane

July 19, 2017

Versions in عربي (Arabic),  中文 (Chinese), Français (French), 日本語 (Japanese), Русский (Russian), and Español (Spanish)

Schoolchildren in line in Mali: Reducing the large gap between men’s and women’s education in some low-income states is one of the 2030 goals which IMF advice can address (photo: Stringer/Reuters/Newscom)

Since the adoption of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, we at the IMF have supported countries to reach their goals through policy advice, training, and financial support. Results will accrue over time, and we already see some notable progress. (more…)

Close But Not There Yet: Getting to Full Employment in the United States

2019-03-27T17:41:09-05:00April 28, 2015|

By Ravi Balakrishnan and Juan Solé

(Version in Español)

Last month’s report on U.S. jobs was disappointing, with far fewer jobs than expected added in March. A longer-term look at trends yields a different picture, however. Over the past year, U.S. job creation has been impressive. Payroll gains have averaged 260,000 per month—well above the 160,000 monthly average seen throughout the 2010–13 recovery.

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Heat Wave: Rising Financial Risks in the United States

2017-04-14T01:54:09-05:00October 10, 2014|

By Serkan Arslanalp, David Jones, and Sanjay Hazarika

Six years after the start of the global financial crisis, low interest rates and other central bank policies in the United States remain critical to encourage economic risk-taking—increased consumption by households, and greater willingness to invest and hire by businesses. However, this prolonged monetary ease also may have encouraged excessive financial risk-taking. Our analysis in the latest Global Financial Stability Report suggests that although economic benefits are becoming more evident, U.S. officials should remain alert to excessive financial risk-taking, particularly in lower-rated corporate debt markets.

Bullish financial risk-taking bears monitoring

Persistently low global interest rates have prompted investors to search for higher returns in a wide range of markets, such as stocks, and investment-grade and high-yield bonds. This has resulted in escalating asset prices, and enabled issuers to sell assets with a reduced degree of protection for investors (we give you an example below). The combined trends of more expensive assets and a weakening quality of issuance could pose risks to stability.

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More Jobs That Pay Decent Wages: How To Fight Poverty In The United States

2017-04-14T01:55:33-05:00August 28, 2014|

Deniz IganBy Deniz Igan 

(Version in Español)

Something unusual happened this year. For the first time in almost ten years, a book by an economist made it to Amazon’s Top 10 list. Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century captured the attention of people from all walks of life because it echoed what an increasing number of Americans have been feeling: the rich keep getting richer and poverty in America is a mainstream problem. 

The numbers illustrate the troubling reality. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 6 Americans—almost 50 million people—are living in poverty. Recent research documents that nearly 40 percent of American adults will spend at least one year in poverty by the time they reach 60. During 1968–2000, the risk was less than 20 percent. More devastatingly, 1 in 5 children currently live in poverty and, during their childhood, roughly 1 in 3 Americans will spend at least one year living below the poverty line.

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Managing Housing Market Risks in the United Kingdom

2017-04-14T01:58:22-05:00July 28, 2014|

Ruy LamaBy Ruy Lama

House prices are rising rapidly in the UK at an annual rate of 10.5 percent. House price inflation is particularly high in London (20 percent per year), and it is gradually accelerating in the rest of the country. The recent increases in house prices have been getting a lot of attention, and understandably have raised questions about living standards and whether another “boom-bust” cycle has begun.

House Prices

The current UK housing cycle raises two important questions. What is driving the rise in house prices? And how should macroeconomic policies respond?

Macroeconomic policies should tackle two crucial issues in the housing market: (i) mitigating systemic financial risks during upswings in house prices and leverage; and (ii) encouraging an adequate supply of housing in order to safeguard affordability. In this blog, we discuss how the UK authorities are addressing these two issues and what additional policies may be necessary to manage risks from the housing market.

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United States: How Inequality Affects Saving Behavior

2017-04-15T14:03:39-05:00September 13, 2012|

Following the crisis, sharp losses in the values of houses and financial assets, as well as difficulties in obtaining new credit, forced American families to save more and rebuild their wealth. The ensuing rise in the saving rate, which stood at 4 percent in the second quarter of 2012, has been an important reason why the recovery from the 2008–09 recession has been sluggish. Therefore, our study looked at which types of households drove the aggregate saving rate down before the crisis and those that drove it up afterwards, so as to improve our ability to assess the potential for future U.S. growth.

Alexei Kireyev

2019-04-23T15:54:15-05:00April 23, 2019|

Alexei Kireyev is a senior economist at the IMF and former IMF representative to the WTO. He leads advance IMF missions to member countries, provides advice on macroeconomic policies to countries with IMF-supported programs, and reviews IMF policy advice, financing and technical assistance. Before his IMF career, he was an economic advisor to President, economist at the World Bank, and professor of international economics at universities in Russia and the United States. His degrees include a MA in Economics from George Washington University and a Ph.D. (Doctor of Sciences) in Economics from Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Dr. Kireyev has researched and published extensively on international economics and trade, applied macroeconomics, principles of economics, and economic problems of low-income countries.

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