Economic Growth: The Past, the Present, and the Future
Journal of Political Economy,
“Is there some action a government of India could take that would lead the Indian economy to grow like Indonesia’s or Egypt’s? If so, what, exactly? If not, what is it about the ‘nature of India’ that makes it so? The consequences for human welfare involved in questions like these are simply staggering: Once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think about anything else. (Lucas 1988, 5)”
These words by the Nobel laureate Chicago economist Robert Lucas Jr. summarize why so many great scholars found it hard to “think about anything else” and spent their careers trying to understand the process of economic growth. Economies are complex systems resulting from the actions of many actors. This complexity makes it challenging, but also infinitely interesting, to understand the determinants of economic growth. What are the roles of human capital, fertility, ideas, basic science, and public policy for growth? These are just some of the important questions that were posed by many highly influential studies featured in the issues of the Journal of Political Economy over the years. Indeed, this journal has been the platform to diffuse many of the brilliant ideas and start important debates in the field of economic growth. In this short paper, my goal is to revisit some of those seminal papers, briefly describe some of the more recent contributions, and end with some thoughts about the future direction of the field. The reader should note in advance that the list of work covered here is by no means exhaustive and mostly targets work that has been featured in issues of the JPE.
Global Food Prices and Monetary Policy in an Emerging Market Economy: The Case of India
Journal of Asian Economics,
This paper investigates a perception in the political debates as to what extent poor countries are affected by price movements in the global commodity markets. To test this perception, we use the case of India to establish in a standard SVAR model that global food prices influence aggregate prices and food prices in India. To further analyze these empirical results, we specify a small open economy New-Keynesian model including oil and food prices and estimate it using observed data over the period 1996Q2 to 2013Q2 by applying Bayesian estimation techniques. The results suggest that a big part of the variation in inflation in India is due to cost-push shocks and, mainly during the years 2008 and 2010, also to global food price shocks, after having controlled for exogenous rainfall shocks. We conclude that the inflationary supply shocks (cost-push, oil price, domestic food price and global food price shocks) are important contributors to inflation in India. Since the monetary authority responds to these supply shocks with a higher interest rate which tends to slow growth, this raises concerns about how such output losses can be prevented by reducing exposure to commodity price shocks.
24.06.2016 • 26/2016
UK’s “No” to EU will be costly for both sides
On Thursday 23rd, the British people have decided to leave the European Union (EU) Their vote not to remain in the European community was surprisingly clear. UK’s exit will have both political and economic consequences which are far-reaching for the country itself as well as the rest of Europe. “The reactions of the remaining member states are the crucial key now, especially France’s and Germany’s” says Reint E. Gropp, President of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association.
Read press release
Agrarrohstoffpreise und Lebensmittelpreise in armen Ländern
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
In der Politik und in den Medien wird darüber diskutiert, ob spekulativer Handel mit Agrarrohstoffen den Hunger in der Welt vermehrt. In diesem Aufsatz wird untersucht, in welchem Umfang sich Schwankungen von Agrarrohstoffpreisen auf nationale Verbraucherpreise für Lebensmittel in Indien als einem großen Land mit einem großen Anteil an armen Menschen übertragen. Es wird gezeigt, dass Agrarrohstoffpreisschwankungen mit einem Quartal Verzögerung signifikante Effekte auf die Verbraucherpreisinflation für Lebensmittel und die Verbraucherpreisinflation insgesamt in Indien haben. Quantitativ bedeutend waren diese Effekte etwa 2007/2008 und 2010/2011. Aufgrund der restriktiven Reaktion der indischen Zentralbank auf einen Anstieg der Verbraucherpreisinflation kommt es zusätzlich zu negativen Auswirkungen auf die Konjunktur. Allerdings sind andere Faktoren für die Schwankungen der Lebensmittelpreise in Indien wesentlich bedeutender.
Government Banking in Russia: Magnitude and New Features
IWH Discussion Papers,
State-controlled banks are currently at the core of financial intermediation in Russia. This paper aims to assess the magnitude of government banking, and to reveal some of its special features and arrangements. We distinguish between directly and indirectly state-controlled banks and construct a set of bank-level statistical data covering the period between 2000 and 2011. By January 2011 the market share of state-controlled banks reached almost 54 percent of all bank assets, putting Russia in the same league with China and India and widening the gap from typical European emerging markets. We show that direct state ownership is gradually substituted by indirect ownership and control. It tends to be organized in corporate pyramids that dilute public property, take control away from government bodies, and underpin managerial opportunism. Statecontrolled
banks blur the borderline between commercial banking and development
banking. Dominance of public banks has a bearing on empirical studies whose results might suggest state-owned banks’ greater (or lesser) efficiency or competitiveness compared to other forms of ownership. We tend to interpret such results as influenced by the choice of indicator, period of observations, sample selection, etc., in the absence of an equal playing field for all groups of players. We suggest that the government’s planned retreat from the banking sector will involve non-core assets mainly, whereas control over core institutions will just become more subtle.
Konjunktur aktuell: Aufschwung in Deutschland geht weiter – Krisenprävention und Krisenmanagement in Europa unter Reformdruck
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
We estimate that in 2010, the German GDP has expanded by 3.7%. In all probability, growth will continue in the two following years, with output rising by 2.3% in 2011 and by 1.7% in 2012. Thus, we see the recovery of the German economy after the Great Recession as a starting point for a strong upswing. In case the fiscal crisis of peripheral euro area countries intensified, however, or if confidence in the US dollar waned due to the extremely expansive policy in the US, expectations would quickly turn pessimistic. The key task for the European economic policy is improving its ability to manage and prevent financial and fiscal crises.
The recovery of the world economy continues. This is particularly true for the US, but for the European Union as well, in spite of drastic fiscal adjustment programs in Britain and Spain. In most of emerging markets economies, economic policy has been trying to dampen frothy upswings without damaging the high growth dynamics. As a consequence, growth slowed down in Asia after last spring. Leading indicators for China and India, however, point to an acceleration of economic activity during this winter. Neighboring economies, not least the Japanese, will soon benefit from higher exports.