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Multiplier Effect

Multiplier Effect is the blog of The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, an economics research organization. The posts focus on economic policy in the United States and the rest of the world, prompting a reasoned discussion on current issues.

Popular topics: Global economic policy.

Why “Output Gap” Is Inadequate

by Lekha Chakraborty and Amandeep Kaur[1] The macroeconomic uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic is hard to measure. Economists and policymakers use the “output gap” variable to capture “slack.” It is a deviation between potential output and actual output, which is a standard representation of a “cycle.” The potential output is an unobserved variable. There is an increasing concern about the way we measure potential output—decomposing the output into trends and cycles. This is...

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Increasing Diversity in Economics Is Not Only a Moral Obligation

November 3rd, 2019, I delivered remarks on the closing panel of The New School/UMASS Amherst Graduate workshop held in New York City. The panel theme was “Broadening the boundaries of political economy”. I have since graduated and successfully gone through the job market. I hope my remarks from last year can serve as encouragement for fellow female, black, African-American, Latinx, and ethnic minority economic students, as well as all students in the field who have ever felt...

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The Pandemic, “Flexible” Work, and Household Labor in Brazil (Interview)

[The following is an interview by Paula Quental of Lygia Sabbag Fares, one of my coauthors for this post on how home quarantine has impacted domestic violence. The interview originally appeared in Portuguese and is posted here with permission.] Labor market deregulation is bad for all workers and even more perverse for women, says economist. According to Lygia Sabbag Fares, a specialist in Labor Economics and Gender Studies, labor reform is a way for the powerful to transfer the burden...

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The Reserve Bank’s Pandemic Predicament

by Lekha Chakraborty and Harikrishnan S As the Reserve Bank of India Governor Shri Shaktikanta Das puts it upfront, these are extraordinary times, and we need to respond with “whatever it takes” to deal with the pandemic. Over the past few days, our hope for systematically “flattening the curve” by containing the COVID-19 pandemic and moving to a quick V-shaped or U-shaped recovery is waning[i]. Evidence is increasingly pointing towards the situation worsening to a dual crisis — a...

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Eulogy for Carlos Lessa

I have translated this eulogy on behalf of the Economics Institute of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where I have spent many of my years of economic formation. Carlos Lessa is part of a generation of brilliant Brazilian economists that have shaped the public debate and the discipline in Brazil. This is an effort to pay homage and make more visible the work and life of scholars whose writings are hardly ever translated into English but who are extremely important to our...

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Higher Education in Brazil: Interrupted Inclusion?

by Ana Luíza Matos de Oliveira Brazil is a highly unequal country — so is the access to its higher education system. However, in the beginning of the 21st century (2001-2015), there was a convergence between the profile of Brazilian higher education students and the Brazilian population in terms of income, race, and region, although many inequalities still exist. Now, this process might be at risk. From 2001 to 2015, economic growth and improvements in the labor market affected...

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The Political Economy of Lockdown in India

by Harikrishnan S and Lekha Chakraborty As predictable as it can be, the Indian Prime Minister announced lockdown at 8 PM on March 24th 2020, giving the country and its 1.3 billion people all of four hours to get ready, evoking memories of the demonetisation announcement and the midnight launch of the GST! This was done by invoking the National Disaster Management Act of 2005. While many analysts lauded the communication strategy of the leader “directly” speaking to the people as...

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What MMT Is, and Why We Should Not Wait for the Next Crisis to Live Up to Our Means

L. Randall Wray | April 4, 2020 by Yeva Nersisyan and L. Randall Wray As MMT has been thrust into the spotlight, misrepresentations and misunderstanding have followed. MMT supposedly calls for cranking up the printing press, engaging in helicopter drops of cash or having the Fed finance government spending by engaging in Quantitative Easing. None of this is MMT. Instead, MMT provides an analysis of fiscal and monetary policy applicable to national governments with...

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We Need Class, Race, and Gender Sensitive Policies to Fight the COVID-19 Crisis

Luiza Nassif-Pires, Laura de Lima Xavier, Thomas Masterson, Michalis Nikiforos, and Fernando Rios-Avila Disproving the belief that the pandemic affects us all equally, data collected by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and a piece published today in the New York Times shows that the novel coronavirus is “hitting low-income neighborhoods the hardest.”[1] In a forthcoming policy brief, we share evidence that this pattern would be the case and provide a solid...

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