Economic Studies Group

Economic Studies Group A place to explore the most pressing economic policy concerns.
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The Economic Studies Group is committed to producing objective and unbiased, data-driven answers to the most pressing economic concerns of our era and to providing background information on current economic news events—whether regional, national, or international in scope. By engaging a broad audience, our ultimate goal is to foster innovation and progress in the multifaceted field of economics. Our collaborative and cross-disciplinary efforts are cultivated through research, publications, blog posts, and hosted events. We offer Policy Analysis, which are short pieces examining current developments in the economy; Primers that give the general background to current policy discussions; Policy Papers that provide a brief description of in-depth research conducted by our group.

The debate over healthcare is sure to be a hot topic in the upcoming United States presidential election. With the propo...
12/04/2019
Lessons from Taiwan's Healthcare Reform

The debate over healthcare is sure to be a hot topic in the upcoming United States presidential election. With the proposal for a Medicare for All-type plan increasing in popularity, how might a single-payer healthcare system impact Americans? In our latest analysis, ESG contributor William Thorne explores how Taiwan’s transition to single-payer healthcare can provide lessons for the American healthcare debate.

William B. Thorne November 27, 2019 Taiwan's National Health Insurance Overhaul Taiwan's single-payer National Health Insurance system was implemented in 1995 and designed using the U.S. Medicare program as a template. At a time when the future of the US healthcare system is an important topic that....

To counter looming weakness in the global economy the Fed is now pursuing quantitative easing, while the European Centra...
10/23/2019
Unconventional Monetary Policies Become Conventional After All?

To counter looming weakness in the global economy the Fed is now pursuing quantitative easing, while the European Central Bank has reverted to unconventional monetary policies. What are these policies, why are they unconventional, and how are they being implemented in Europe? ESG contributor F. Siokis explains in our latest analysis.

Fotios Siokis October 21, 2019 What are unconventional monetary policies? How are they implemented in the European Union? What does the future look like? In this article we address these questions. On September 12,2019, the President of the European Central Bank (ECB) announced a new monetary stimul...

Is Trump's #tradewar the new American quagmire? As American-Chinese relations continue to sour, both sides seem ready fo...
09/04/2019
Trump’s Trade Quagmire

Is Trump's #tradewar the new American quagmire? As American-Chinese relations continue to sour, both sides seem ready for a prolonged economic brawl. Our contributor Paul Krugman explains how this all might play out in this months ESG article: https://bit.ly/2LwHY6v

Paul Krugman August 30, 2019 Remember the Vietnam quagmire? In political discourse, “quagmire” has come to have a quite specific meaning. It’s what happens when a government has committed itself to a policy that isn’t working but can’t bring itself to admit failure and cut its losses. So, ...

How has the trade war, and its recent escalation, between the world's two largest economies impacted China? In our lates...
08/03/2019
U.S. – China Trade Conflict: Impacts on China

How has the trade war, and its recent escalation, between the world's two largest economies impacted China? In our latest analysis, ESG Contributor Zhuo Xi finds that its direct effect on GDP has so far been limited. Nevertheless, declining investor confidence and a shaky stock market are the result of the war and may portend future more serious difficulties for China.

Zhuo Xi July 23, 2019 Starting from the different positions held by the Trump administration and the Chinese government on issues such as the bilateral trade balance, market access, and intellectual property transfers, China and the U.S., the world’s two largest economies, have been quarreling ove...

Confused about Democratic Socialism? This month's analysis is a primer on the subject, written by ESG contributor Twisha...
07/12/2019
A Primer on Democratic Socialism

Confused about Democratic Socialism? This month's analysis is a primer on the subject, written by ESG contributor Twisha Asher. Inspired by lectures given by Paul Krugman, Twisha reviews what differentiates Democratic Socialism from the current economic and political system in the United States by comparing it with European countries.

Twisha Asher June 30, 2019 In 2017, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat Joe Crowley to claim the seat for New York’s 14th district in a momentous political upset. As a self-described Democratic Socialist, Ocasio-Cortez’s election spurred debate across the political spectrum. Her election was hailed si...

What were the causes and consequences of the Great Recession? In December, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sat...
06/03/2019
Janet Yellen in Conversation with Paul Krugman

What were the causes and consequences of the Great Recession? In December, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sat down with Paul Krugman at the The Graduate Center, CUNY to discuss the crisis. Read the summary of their conversation on our website http://bit.ly/yellen-talk

Fotios Siokis May 30, 2019 On December 10, 2018, the Graduate Center hosted an attention-grabbing discussion on the causes of the Great Recession and the possibility of a future downturn due to high levels of corporate indebtedness. Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve Chair, was interviewed by....

Nelson Schwartz reports that the US unemployment rate is now at its lowest point in half a century; however, this econom...
05/19/2019
Job Growth Underscores Economy’s Vigor; Unemployment at Half-Century Low

Nelson Schwartz reports that the US unemployment rate is now at its lowest point in half a century; however, this economic expansion is unlike past booms. The rate of growth is notably slower and wages are only now starting to increase tepidly. Contributor James Orr finds that in New York, in particular, finds that job growth rates are largest in healthcare, construction and information, all areas of the economy that have been growing since the recovery began: bit.ly/nyc-job-growth

With 263,000 added to payrolls in April and the jobless rate at 3.6 percent, the recovery shows no sign of losing steam.

Nine years after the Great Recession and New York City continues to demonstrate strong job growth. Compared to the year ...
05/06/2019
Sturdy Job Growth in New York City Continues

Nine years after the Great Recession and New York City continues to demonstrate strong job growth. Compared to the year prior, jobs have grown at a rate of two percent, even stronger than the nationwide growth rate. Yet not all industries are growing equally, with the healthcare and social assistance as well as the information industries showing the largest increases. In our latest analysis, ESG contributor James Orr explores recent data on job growth in New York City.

James Orr April 29, 2019 The recovery and expansion of employment in New York City that began following the financial crisis and downturn continued into its ninth year in early 2019. This post examines recent overall job growth in the city and then looks at the variation in growth rates across indus...

Billionaire Investor Ray Dalio has called for a national emergency over rising inequality, arguing that a disparity in v...
04/28/2019
Dalio Says Capitalism's Income Inequality Is National Emergency

Billionaire Investor Ray Dalio has called for a national emergency over rising inequality, arguing that a disparity in values as well as wealth creates toxic populist mix. In our latest analysis, contributor A. Kakolyris similarly considers different ways of gauging inequality and its myriad effects - http://bit.ly/beyond_gdp

While President Donald Trump is focused on the national emergency he’s declared to secure the southern U.S. border, the billionaire founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund is more worried about losing the American dream.

Are conventional measures of inequality the most effective?  How do changes in GDP fair in measuring individual well-bei...
04/09/2019
Measuring Inequality… Are we doing it right?

Are conventional measures of inequality the most effective? How do changes in GDP fair in measuring individual well-being or social mobility? In our latest analysis, ESG contributor A. Kakolyris critically examines several measures of economic inequality.

Andreas Kakolyris April 01, 2019 Two years after the death of Sir Anthony Barnes “Tony” Atkinson, characterized as the father of modern inequality research by Paul Krugman, the question of measuring inequality remains more crucial than ever. The need for improved economic indicators was echoed r...

As the results of the local Turkish Elections come in, commentators are pointing to the current Turkish recession and th...
04/01/2019
Erdogan, Turkey’s Leader, Staring at Major Electoral Defeat

As the results of the local Turkish Elections come in, commentators are pointing to the current Turkish recession and the administration's response as the cause for the AK party's declining vote share. In September of last year, ESG contributors M. Uctum and Z. Xi examined the causes of the recent lira crisis, which marked the beginning of the present Turkish recession: bit.ly/tr_crisis

Istanbul, the president’s hometown and stronghold, seemed poised to slip through his fingers in municipal elections that signaled a political earthquake.

Is Greece out of the doldrums yet? In the second part of his analysis, ESG contributor F. Siokis argues that the crisis ...
03/11/2019
The Sword of Damocles (Part II): The Precariousness of the Greek Banking System during the Great Sovereign Debt Crisis

Is Greece out of the doldrums yet? In the second part of his analysis, ESG contributor F. Siokis argues that the crisis revealed a negative feedback loop between the state and the banks and that a high number of non-performing loans may be the country's Achilles heel to recovery.

Fotios Siokis March 04, 2019 Part II With the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 and the transmission of the crisis to world financial markets, financial liquidity started to drain and investors’ confidence began to deteriorate. Central banks around the globe initiated unprecedented exp...

Whatever happened in the Greek crisis? In August of 2018, the Greek government announced it had exited its third bailout...
02/22/2019
The Sword of Damocles: The Precariousness of the Greek Banking System During the Great Sovereign Debt Crisis

Whatever happened in the Greek crisis? In August of 2018, the Greek government announced it had exited its third bailout signaling a more stable economy. Yet the Greek banking system is still vulnerable and is unable to lend capital sufficiently years after the crisis in the Eurozone. ESG contributor F. Siokis explains the impact of the crisis on the Greek banking system in the first of a two-part analysis.

Fotios Siokis February 19, 2019 Part I The Greek economy appears finally to have turned the corner with the Government’s announcement, in August 2018, that the country has exited its third bailout package. This article examines the role of banks in the recovery and the debt crisis. Economic activi...

After having imposed austerity on the previous administration during the recession, the GOP has been silent on exploding...
02/06/2019
Melting Snowballs and the Winter of Debt

After having imposed austerity on the previous administration during the recession, the GOP has been silent on exploding debt during the recovery under the current administration. Olivier Blanchard's presidential address to the American Economic Association points out that as long as the interest rate on debt is less than the economic growth rate, debt levels shouldn’t matter. ESG contributor Paul Krugman argues that in a growing economy debt melts away, and instead of worrying about private investment, the government should prioritize public investment.

Paul Krugman January 31, 2019 Do you remember the winter of debt? In late 2010 and early 2011, the U.S. economy had barely begun to recover from the 2008 financial crisis. Around 9 percent of the labor force was still unemployed; long-term unemployment was especially severe, with more than 6 million...

The 2018 corporate tax cuts may not only disappoint those expecting a large refund: they are also unlikely to generate t...
01/29/2019
Expecting a Big Tax Refund? Don’t Be So Sure

The 2018 corporate tax cuts may not only disappoint those expecting a large refund: they are also unlikely to generate the much-announced wage growth. ESG contributor Paul Krugman explains in an analysis of the tax cuts from last year: bit.ly/esg-tax

There is an important unknown for most Americans as the first filing season under the 2017 tax overhaul starts Monday: How big will their refunds be?

The United States government's proposed elimination of the International Entrepreneur Rule threatens to decrease immigra...
01/14/2019
Immigrant Entrepreneurship in the United States

The United States government's proposed elimination of the International Entrepreneur Rule threatens to decrease immigrant entrepreneurship. Immigrant startups promote #innovation, #competition, and create #jobs. ESG contributor Y. Oka explores the impact of the proposed changes in our newest analysis.

Yoshiko Oka January 10, 2019 On May 25, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a proposal to end the International Entrepreneur Rule, which was published at the end of the Obama Administration. Unlike many other countries, the United States has no visa for immigrant entrepren...

The US economy ended 2018 on a positive note adding more #jobs than expected; however, continued sources of volatility p...
01/10/2019
U.S. Adds Stronger-Than-Expected 312,000 Jobs; Unemployment Rises To 3.9 Percent

The US economy ended 2018 on a positive note adding more #jobs than expected; however, continued sources of volatility persist, including the possibility of an inverted yield curve, low consumer confidence, and the lingering partial government #shutdown.

The economy added 312,000 jobs in December — topping analysts' expectations of 180,000 jobs added. Unemployment climbed as more people felt confident enough to quit their jobs and look for new ones

Nobel Prize-winning economist and ESG contributor Paul Krugman talked in recent episode of Trade Talk, discussing NAFTA,...
12/17/2018
Trade Talks Episode 66: Paul Krugman Talks Trade

Nobel Prize-winning economist and ESG contributor Paul Krugman talked in recent episode of Trade Talk, discussing NAFTA, trade policy, and US-China trade.
https://piie.com/experts/peterson-perspectives/trade-talks-episode-66-paul-krugman-talks-trade

Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown sit down with Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman (CUNY and New York Times) in a wide-ranging interview about international trade. They discuss NAFTA, labor standards, and the USMCA (2:25); the current toxicity of trade politics (8:00); the wonky economics of comp...

What was the cause of the Great Recession following the financial crisis of 2007-2008? A collapsed housing market and sh...
12/12/2018
The Credit Crunch and the Great Recession

What was the cause of the Great Recession following the financial crisis of 2007-2008? A collapsed housing market and shrinking economy, or financial panic? ESG contributor Paul Krugman contributes to an ongoing debate with @Ben Bernanke on the cause of the global slump in our newest analysis.

Paul Krugman December 08, 2018 Ben Bernanke wrote a paper arguing that the financial crisis and the resulting credit crunch were central to the Great Recession. His summary measures of financial conditions fall into two categories: Panic Factors (related to the financial panic) and Balance Sheet Fac...

Thank you to all those who joined us at the Perspectives on the Financial Crisis Conference in person or via livestream....
12/04/2018

Thank you to all those who joined us at the Perspectives on the Financial Crisis Conference in person or via livestream. You helped make the event a success.

The second day of our Perspectives on the Financial Crisis conference now with presentations from @paulkrugman @JeffDSac...
11/28/2018

The second day of our Perspectives on the Financial Crisis conference now with presentations from @paulkrugman @JeffDSachs and @andrewrsorkin, join us via livestream at http://bit.ly/gc-livestream

The first day of our Perspectives on the Financial Crisis conference kicked off with a presentation by Richard W. Fisher...
11/28/2018

The first day of our Perspectives on the Financial Crisis conference kicked off with a presentation by Richard W. Fisher on the impact of monetary policy. Join us for day two starting at 3:00pm or follow the conference via livestream at: bit.ly/gc-livestream

“What have we learned from the financial crisis? Tune in tomorrow for the conference at the GC on Perspective on Financi...
11/28/2018

“What have we learned from the financial crisis? Tune in tomorrow for the conference at the GC on Perspective on Financial Crisis with @paulkrugman @JeffDSachs @andrewrsorkin @eisingerj @neilbarofsky @DanielAlpert co-sponsored by the Economics Program, the Economic Studies Group and the Graduate Center. Info & live stream:https:
bit.ly/FinancialCrisisNov2728
http://videostreaming.gc.cuny.edu/videos/livestreams/page1/“

Loans from the International Monetary Fund have temporarily restored investor confidence in the Argentinian economy afte...
11/20/2018
Argentina’s Latest Crisis

Loans from the International Monetary Fund have temporarily restored investor confidence in the Argentinian economy after a stunning fall in the nation's currency earlier this year. Nevertheless, Moody's has predicted an economic contraction as early as 2019. What are the origins of the latest crisis in Argentina and what can be done to further stabilize the economy? Contributors M. Chen and J. van der Naald discuss the crisis in our latest analysis.

Meng-Ting Chen and Joseph van der Naald November 16, 2018 Following a stunning fall in the value of its peso, a total loss of nearly 50% for 2018, and interest rates hitting 60%, Argentina’s economy appeared to be facing the strong likelihood of a crisis. While the government responded by taking ...

The Economics Studies Group invites you to join us on November 27 to 28 for our Perspectives on the Financial Crisis con...
11/16/2018
Perspectives on the Financial Crisis

The Economics Studies Group invites you to join us on November 27 to 28 for our Perspectives on the Financial Crisis conference at The Graduate Center, CUNY, where experts will discuss the nature of the 2008 crisis, the economic response to it, and how governments should prepare for the next crisis. Speakers will include Jeffrey Sachs, Paul Krugman, Richard Fisher, and Andrew Ross Sorkin.

A Conference Sponsored by the Economics Program, the Economics Studies Group and the Graduate Center The collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 2008 marked the beginning of one of the most important crises of our era.  The Economics Program and the Economics Studies Group

Neil Irwin argues that strong job growth can be hindered by the declining impact of the financial stimulus, inflation, a...
11/07/2018
Three Key Factors That Will Determine How Long the Hot Job Market Lasts

Neil Irwin argues that strong job growth can be hindered by the declining impact of the financial stimulus, inflation, and available labor. Our latest contribution finds that job growth is moderating in New York City, and that it is due to slowing growth in key sectors with outright declines in job growth in others: bit.ly/nyc-slow-job

Where is this growth really coming from; how real is the concern over inflation; and how many more workers are out there?

New York's unemployment is at a 40-year low, though New York job growth is cooling compared to the rates reached earlier...
11/02/2018
Why is New York Job Growth Slowing?

New York's unemployment is at a 40-year low, though New York job growth is cooling compared to the rates reached earlier in the recovery. ESG contributors F. Demiralp and J. Orr look at the sources of moderation in the State’s and the city’s economies in our latest analysis.

Fadime Demiralp and James Orr October 31, 2018 Employment data through the third quarter of 2018 show job growth in New York City and State continuing to moderate from the relatively high rates reached earlier in the recovery. In this post we examine the sources of this cooling off of job growth by....

In September, the New York State Department of Labor reported an increase of 6,300 jobs. Employment in the State is up 1...
10/23/2018
State’s Unemployment Rate Hits 4.1%, Reaches 30-Year Low

In September, the New York State Department of Labor reported an increase of 6,300 jobs. Employment in the State is up 1.0% over a year ago, yet below the nationwide increase of 1.7%. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that New York City gained 9,000 jobs in September, above the state’s overall reported gain, and employment in the city is up 1.3% over a year ago.

New York State’s unemployment rate fell to 4.1% in September 2018, reaching its lowest level since June 1988, according to preliminary figures released today by the New York State Department of Labor. Contributing to this statewide rate drop was another monthly decline in New York City’s unemplo...

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