Mapping Income Polarization in the United States

2019-03-14T11:50:22-04:00May 15, 2018|

By Ali Alichi and Rodrigo Mariscal

May 15, 2018

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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. […]

Trust and the Future of Multilateralism

2019-03-14T11:54:36-04:00May 10, 2018|

By David Lipton

May 10, 2018
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Where trust exists and is reciprocated—where there is “confidence” in policies, institutions and systems—economies will achieve more (photo: iStock by Getty Images).

We live in an era of doubts and questions about the global order.  We have seen an erosion of trust in bedrock institutions—political parties, national governments, regional authorities, and among international trade and investment partners. […]

The Decline in Manufacturing Jobs: Not Necessarily a Cause for Concern

2019-03-14T13:10:21-04:00April 9, 2018|

By Bertrand Gruss and Natalija Novta

April 9, 2018

Version in عربي (Arabic), 中文 (Chinese),  Español (Spanish), Français (French), 日本語 (Japanese), Português  (Portuguese), Русский (Russian)

Textile manufacturing plant in Recife, Brazil: in many countries, the share of manufacturing jobs is declining (photo: Ingram Publishing/Newscom).

Manufacturing jobs are waning. In many emerging market and developing economies, workers are shifting from agriculture to services, bypassing the manufacturing sector. In advanced economies, the rise in service sector employment typically reflects the outright disappearance of manufacturing jobs. […]

Welfare Versus GDP: What Makes People Better Off

2019-03-15T09:46:00-04:00March 7, 2018|

By Geoffrey Bannister and Alexandros Mourmouras

March 7, 2018

Oslo, Norway. In rich countries like Norway, that have greater life expectancy, more leisure, and lower inequality, measured well-being is higher than income (photo: iStock by Getty Images).

For years, economists have worked to develop a way of measuring general well-being and comparing it across countries. The main metric has been differences in income or gross domestic product per person. But economists have long known that GDP is an imperfect measure of well-being, counting just the value of goods and services bought and sold in markets.

The challenge is to account for non-market factors such as the value of leisure, health, and home production, such as cleaning, cooking and childcare, as well as the negative byproducts of economic activity, such as pollution and inequality. […]

The Struggle to Manage Debt

2019-03-14T15:22:45-04:00March 1, 2018|

By Christoph Rosenberg

March 1, 2018

Good economic times offer an opportunity to tackle budget deficits

The global economy has a spring in its step. Growth is picking up, and we at the IMF have been ratcheting up our forecasts. Government coffers are filling and, with more people at work, demand for public social support is receding. The fiscal woes of the past decade seem behind us.

But this sunny perspective ignores debt levels that remain close to historic highs and the inevitable end of the cyclical upswing. Estimates of underlying growth potential have hardly budged, and interest rates—the cost of servicing all this debt—are starting to rise, which will eventually make it harder to refinance bonds and loans. […]

Chart of the Week: China’s Thrift, and What to Do About It

2019-03-15T10:18:30-04:00February 26, 2018|

February 26, 2018

By IMFBlog

A pedestrian walks in front of a branch of the Postal Savings Bank of China in Nanjing. China’s saving rate is one of the world’s highest (photo: Imagine China/Newscom).

What makes China’s citizens so thrifty, and why does that matter for China and the rest of the world? The country’s saving rate, at 46 percent of GDP, is among the world’s highest. Households account for about half of savings, with corporations and the government making up the rest.

Saving is good, right? Up to a point. But too much saving by individuals can be bad for society. That’s because the flip side of high savings is low consumption and low household welfare. High savings can also fuel excessive investment, resulting in a buildup of debt in China. And because people in China save so much, they buy fewer imported goods than they sell abroad. That contributes to global imbalances, according to a recent IMF paper, China’s High Savings: Drivers, Prospects, and Policies. The country’s authorities are aware of the […]

Game-Changers and Whistle-Blowers: Taxing Wealth

2019-03-15T10:39:51-04:00February 13, 2018|

By James Brumby and Michael Keen

February 13, 2018

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

New Delhi, India: there are now very few effective explicit wealth taxes in either developing or advanced economies (photo: Jens Kalaene/Corbis).

High and rising income inequality is a serious concern in many countries, as highlighted in the IMF’s recent Fiscal Monitor. Wealth, however, is distributed even more unequally than income, as in the picture below. […]

A Dream Deferred: Inequality and Poverty Across Generations in Europe

2019-03-15T11:51:49-04:00January 24, 2018|

By Christine Lagarde

January 24, 2018

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

A young apprentice learns a trade in Palmela, Portugal: the right policies can help reduce inequality and poverty across generations in Europe (photo: Tim Brakemeier/DPA/Newscom).

The poet Langston Hughes once asked, “What happens to a dream deferred?” It is a relevant question to millions around the world today, especially young people, because of inequality and poverty.

This week IMF staff are launching new, European Union-focused research highlighting the impact of unemployment and the long-term consequences of inadequate social protection on the young. The study also explores ideas that can help fix the problem and reduce inequality and poverty for the next generation. […]

[…]

5 Things You Need to Know About Inequality

2019-03-15T12:00:53-04:00January 23, 2018|

By IMFBlog

January 23, 2018

Versions in عربي (Arabic),  中文  (Chinese), Español (Spanish), Français (French),  Русский (Russian)

A man with donations from a food bank in Los Angeles, California: inequality within countries is on the rise, including in advanced economies like the United States (photo: Lucy Nicholson/Newscom).

Tackling inequality is not only a moral imperative. It is critical for sustaining growth.

Global income inequality has declined in recent years, with the Gini index—a statistical measure of income distribution with a value of zero indicating perfect equality—dropping from 68 in 1988 to 62 in 2013, reflecting relatively strong growth in many emerging and developing economies, particularly in China and India. However, inequality has increased within many countries, including in many advanced economies. […]

Top Ten Blogs of 2017

2019-03-15T12:43:01-04:00December 28, 2017|

By IMFBlog

December 28, 2017

Read the top ten blogs of 2017 (photo: Times Square- New York-Pacific Press/SipaUSA/Newscom)

We have all had quite the year. Our readers’ interests in 2017 focused on topics that affect how people live their lives: why wages are low, rising income and wealth inequality, household debt, climate change, and the scourge of corruption, to name a few.

As we wrap up the highs and lows of 2017 and get ready for whatever 2018 has in store, here is the list of the top ten blogs of the year based on readership. From all the elves editors at IMFBlog, we wish you a year of peace and interesting reads.

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