September 1, 2017
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U.S. lawmakers getting ready to rewrite the nation’s tax code have a fundamental question to answer: What are the priorities for tax reform? Do you want faster growth? Less income inequality? A tax cut that doesn’t increase the budget deficit? In a recent working paper, we find that, depending on how a tax cut is targeted, it is possible to make some progress toward the first two objectives. Personal income tax cuts can help support growth and, if well targeted, can also help improve income distribution. However, we find that lowering personal income tax rates does not raise growth enough to offset the revenue loss that is caused by the tax cut itself. Continue reading “The Benefits and Costs of a U.S. Tax Cut” »
August 28, 2017
Much as sailors use nautical charts to determine their location at sea, economists use charts to show who we are, where we are, and where we might be going.
In the Spring, we began our Chart of the Week feature on the blog: snapshots in time and over time of how economies work to help illuminate the uncharted waters ahead for the global economy.
Here are our top five charts of the week, based on readership:
August 24, 2017
Young adults in advanced economies must take steps to increase their retirement income security
Public pensions have played a crucial role in ensuring retirement income security over the past few decades. But for the millennial generation coming of working age now, the prospect is that public pensions won’t provide as large a safety net as they did to earlier generations. As a result, millennials should take steps to supplement their retirement income.
August 1, 2017
Six countries in central Africa have been hit hard by the collapse in commodity prices. Oil prices dropped, economic growth stalled, public debt rose, and foreign exchange reserves declined. A delayed response from policymakers, and a regional conflict have worsened the situation further for people in the region.
The countries of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community are Gabon, Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, and Equatorial Guinea. They share a common currency—the CFA franc—that is pegged to the euro, and have a common central bank that holds the region’s pool of foreign exchange reserves. Continue reading “A Common Cause for Sustainable Growth and Stability in Central Africa” »
By Poul Thomsen
July 27, 2017
In many ways, Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe is an incredible success story. In less than a generation, countries moved from centrally-planned economies to market-based ones—transforming their legal systems, public administrations, and economic policies, to name a few key elements. Yet, for the sake of higher growth in the future, countries need to continue enhancing institutions and good governance.
Enhancing institutions and good governance—the efficient governing of a country—remains at the core of the reform agenda to raise prosperity to advanced European living standards. Many countries have joined the European Union, a vital anchor toward these goals, and others are aspiring to join. Continue reading “Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe: Harnessing the Power of Good Governance” »
July 25, 2017
After disappointing growth over the past few years, economic activity in Latin America remains on track to recover gradually in 2017–18 as recessions in a few countries—notably Argentina and Brazil—are coming to an end. Our latest projections show the region growing by 1 percent in 2017 and 1.9 percent in 2018.
But amid low confidence, domestic demand continues to remain weak across most economies, and is expected to only recover slowly as actual output catches up to potential and internal sources of growth build strength, based on a decline in political and policy uncertainty across some major economies. Some countries in the region will need clear strategies to adjust further following a permanent loss in commodity revenues. Continue reading “Latest Outlook for The Americas: Back on Cruise Control, But Stuck in Low Gear” »
July 24, 2017
The recovery in global growth that we projected in April is on a firmer footing; there is now no question mark over the world economy’s gain in momentum.
As in our April forecast, the World Economic Outlook Update projects 3.5 percent growth in global output for this year and 3.6 percent for next.
The distribution of this growth around the world has changed, however: compared with last April’s projection, some economies are up but others are down, offsetting those improvements. Continue reading “A Firming Recovery” »
July 10, 2017
Think Londoners and New Yorkers have it bad when it comes to sky-high house prices? Residents of Oslo have reason to gripe, too.
House prices in the Norwegian capital are among the world’s highest, as measured by the average cost of a home relative to household median income. Prices in Oslo are perhaps the most visible symptom of a real estate boom across the oil-rich, Nordic nation of 5.2 million people.
June 30, 2017
Ireland’s economy continues to recover after a housing market crash in 2008 plunged the country into a deep and severe crisis. The strong social welfare system provided an important cushion against the worst effects of the crisis.
Ireland’s tax-benefit system is one of the most effective in the European Union in redistributing income. The tax system is relatively progressive and funds a robust system of social benefits, a significant share of which is means-tested. Income inequality before taxes and transfers in Ireland is high—37 percent of income is held by the top 10 percent of income earners. Social transfers make up about 70 percent of income for the bottom 20 percent of earners.