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Seldomly updated

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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Quick Housekeeping Note

By James Kwak I’ve been asked if you can sign up for email notifications when I write stories on Medium. Apparently you can, but the option is a bit buried. (One of the nice things about Medium is the clean interface. One downside of that clean interface is that sometimes you have to go looking for things.) If you’re on my main page (jamesykwak.medium.com), you have to click on About at the top. Then you get to this page, and at the bottom there’s a link to an email...

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Moving On

By James Kwak I’ve decided not to post on The Baseline Scenario anymore. I’ve thought about this on and off during the several years that the site has been mostly dormant, but I never pulled the trigger, mainly because this blog still has thousands of email subscribers and an unknown number of followers on Facebook. But I obviously haven’t been into blogging for a long time now, and it feels weird to continue using a platform whose peak was in 2010 and 2011 (when we were regularly...

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Leverage

By James Kwak One of Congress’s top priorities this week and next is to pass some kind of funding bill that will keep the federal government operating past December 11. There are basically two ways this could happen. Option A is that Congress could pass a continuing resolution that maintains funding at current levels until, say, the end of January—that is, when we’ll have a new Congress and a new administration. Option B is to pass an omnibus fiscal year 2021 spending bill that...

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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 COVID-19 Economy: What Can We Do?

By James Kwak Today, the Washington Post’s Outlook section published my article on the future of the American economy in the wake of the pandemic. They invited me to write it because of my earlier blog post on “Winners and Losers.” (Hey, despite all appearances, maybe blogs are still worth writing.) Photo by skeezeThe article is pretty gloomy. The short summary is that the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate and reinforce the two primary economic trends of our time: consolidation and...

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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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