Economic Studies Group

Economic Studies Group A place to explore the most pressing economic policy concerns. 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.
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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 job market bounces back as New York begins its reopening phases, with most gains has been seen in regions outside th...
06/30/2020
New York’s Labor Market Steadies in May

The job market bounces back as New York begins its reopening phases, with most gains has been seen in regions outside the city. The state has seen a decrease in the unemployment rate, while the city has seen an increase. While unemployment claims have decreased in both groups. ESG contributor J.Orr reports:https://bit.ly/3i6xFp5

By Jim Orr, The New York State Department of Labor reported that employment statewide increased by 98,000 (seasonally adjusted) in May, a recovery of about 5.0 % of the nearly 2 million jobs lost in the March/April period.  This gain was below the nationwide recovery in May of about 11.0 % of the j...

How has the global COVID-19 pandemic affected emerging market economies? What is the role of capital flight from these e...
06/11/2020
The Pandemic and the Emerging Markets Crisis: How Fragile are the Economies?

How has the global COVID-19 pandemic affected emerging market economies? What is the role of capital flight from these economies and how does it impact their international reserves? ESG contributors Utku Demir and Merih Uctum discuss which nations are at particular risk of economic crisis.

Utku Demir and Merih Uctum  June 11, 2020 The Emerging Market (EM) economies that came out of the 2008 financial crisis relatively faster than advanced economies are hard hit by a quadruple-whammy this time: the pandemic, capital outflows, economic recession, and debt crisis. In March 2020, more th...

In April, New York State lost 1.83 million jobs with a year-over-year decline of 19.4%. One-third of this loss in jobs w...
05/25/2020
New York Employment Declines Severely in April

In April, New York State lost 1.83 million jobs with a year-over-year decline of 19.4%. One-third of this loss in jobs was concentrated in the hospitality industry, but the state saw losses in trade, particularly retail trade, transportation and utilities jobs as well. The State's job year-over-year loss exceeded that of the nation as a whole, which stood at 12.9% in April.

By Jim Orr, The New York State Department of Labor reported a (seasonally adjusted) loss of 1.83 million jobs statewide in April, a year-over-year decline of 19.4%.  This decline exceeds the 12.9% job loss nationwide in April reflecting the much stronger impact of COVID-19 in New York.  Combining ...

#COVID19 is affecting all sectors of New York's economy, with an estimated increase of 207,000 unemployment claims dispr...
04/28/2020
The New York Economy Amid the Coronavirus Crisis

#COVID19 is affecting all sectors of New York's economy, with an estimated increase of 207,000 unemployment claims disproportionately impacting service and hospitality. How does the current crisis compare to previous crises? ESG contributors J. Orr and Z. Xi explain in our latest analysis.

James Orr and Zhuo Xi April 26, 2020 New York, along with the rest of the nation and world, is in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. It is hard to comprehend the tragic loss of more than almost 17,000 lives (as of April 27) statewide including more than 11,000 in New York City.  The state’s

An additional 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment last week. The four week total now stands at 22 million joble...
04/16/2020
U.S. Jobless Claims Top 20 Million Since Start of Shutdowns

An additional 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment last week. The four week total now stands at 22 million jobless.

Another 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total seeking aid in a month of coronavirus-related shutdowns to 22 million and showing a broad shock for the U.S. labor market.

The rate of unemployment claims growth due to the COVID-19 Crisis has been unprecedented. Preliminary estimates reported...
04/09/2020
‘Sudden Black Hole’ for the Economy With Millions More Unemployed

The rate of unemployment claims growth due to the COVID-19 Crisis has been unprecedented. Preliminary estimates reported by the New York Times suggest that the annual rate of GDP could fall as much as 35 percent from the prior three months.

Jobless claims now exceed 16 million as shutdowns from the coronavirus pandemic widen and problems with getting benefits persist.

While the corona virus is shutting down many different sectors of the economy, the real damage is yet to be seen. The lo...
03/30/2020
U.S. Economic Slowdown In Coming Months Expected To Be Worst On Record

While the corona virus is shutting down many different sectors of the economy, the real damage is yet to be seen. The long term effects are unknown, but might be the onset of the next recession. https://n.pr/2Uchix9

Forecasters say the government's aggressive efforts to curtail the spread of the virus will trigger the sharpest slowdown on record. Some see the economy shrinking a staggering 24%.

As COVID-19 spreads Eurozone nations begin coordinating economic response. Yet it remains unclear whether increasing cre...
03/13/2020
Europe Pledges Billions in Economic Aid in Rare Sign of Unity

As COVID-19 spreads Eurozone nations begin coordinating economic response. Yet it remains unclear whether increasing credit and social spending can stem a recession while not impacting jobs when the root cause of weak demand is unprecedented uncertainty.

Announcements from government leaders contrast with the bickering that characterized Europe’s response to the financial crisis a decade ago.

Despite the optimistic economic outlook, people continue to die from #opioids. Pundits disagree about why. ESG contribut...
02/29/2020
The Opioid Crisis in the New York Area: A First Look

Despite the optimistic economic outlook, people continue to die from #opioids. Pundits disagree about why. ESG contributor R. Utzinger examines competing theories in our latest analysis.https://bit.ly/39bzXhP

Robert Utzinger February 17, 2020 The United States has been experiencing an increase in the number of deaths due to suicide and drug overdose. In this article I first explain this problem, review the theories behind this phenomenon focusing on drug abuse; I then summarize an analytical study I cond...

Is the New York employment growth holding up?  ESG contributors MT Chen and J.Orr show that while NYC job growth continu...
12/30/2019
New York City Jobs Up but Growth Moderates Through the Third Quarter 2019

Is the New York employment growth holding up? ESG contributors MT Chen and J.Orr show that while NYC job growth continues to be strong, led by the healthcare and information industries, the average workweek has fallen slightly, suggesting an increase in part-time employment.

Meng-Ting Chen and James Orr December 29, 2019 New York City employment is now well into its ninth year of growth and jobs across a variety of sector continue to expand.  Data for the third quarter show employment was up 1.6% over the same period last year, down from the stronger third quarter 2018...

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...

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