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Seldomly updated

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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What If We Nationalized Payroll?

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, the US Congress appropriated a whopping $2 trillion budget to tackle it (about 10% of GDP). The focus was on expanded unemployment benefits and cash assistance to families, as well as grants and loans to small firms and large corporations in hopes that they will halt the torrent of layoffs. Across the ocean, Denmark took a different approach. The Danish government announced that it would cover 75–90% of certain worker salaries for the next 3 months....

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Home Quarantine: Confinement With the Abuser?

by Ana Luíza Matos de Oliveira, Lygia Sabbag Fares, Gustavo Vieira da Silva, and Luiza Nassif Pires Even though Covid-19 has already killed thousands worldwide and is paralyzing global economic activity, President Jair Bolsonaro insists on referring to it as a “little flu.” Despite the president’s efforts to avoid a halt to the economic activity in Brazil, the rhythm in the country has slowed down and people who can afford to stay confined at home are doing so. This week, several cities...

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COVID-19: Winners and Losers

By James Kwak I think it’s highly likely that the dust will clear eventually and that our economy will come back to life at some point in the next two or three years. I know there are certain disaster scenarios that can’t be ruled out, but I think they are unlikely. I’m not going to guess when things will return to a semblance of normal. Really, no one knows. Photo by Free-Photos from PixabayThe question for now is: what will that economy look like? A few things, I think, are clear. The...

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