As I watch the financial meltdown in Russia (and work on a chapter on financial crises), I am pervaded by a sense of déjà vu.
Today we are fortunate to have a guest contribution written by Luis Brandão-Marques, Senior Economist, Gaston Gelos, Chief of the Global Financial Stability Analysis Division, and Natalia Melgar, Economist, all at the IMF. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the IMF, its Executive Board, or its management.
West Texas Intermediate sold for $105 a barrel at the start of July, but ended last week at $58. The most important factor has been surging U.S. production. But another reason oil prices have slid so much is weakness in demand for the product, which may be related to a slowdown of overall world economic growth. Here I comment on the importance of that second factor.
A large literature has examined the effects on employment of raising the minimum wage, with different researchers arriving at conflicting conclusions. The core reason that economists can’t answer questions like this better is that we usually can’t run controlled experiments. There is always some reason that the legislators chose to raise the minimum wage, often related to prevailing economic conditions. We can never be sure if changes in employment that followed the legislation were the result of those motivating conditions or the result of the legislation itself. For example, if Congress only raises the minimum wage when the economy is on the rebound and all wages are about to rise anyway, we’d usually observe a rise in employment following a hike in the minimum wage that is not caused by the legislation itself. UCSD Ph.D. candidate Michael Wither and his adviser Professor Jeffrey Clemens have some interesting new research that sheds some more light on this question.
Government borrowing costs are spiking.
Nonfarm payroll employment clocks in substantially above consensus (321,000 vs Bloomberg: mean 230,000, range 140,000 to 275,000), solidifying trend growth. Previous months’ estimates revised upward. Wages continue to rise, but labor costs in productivity adjusted terms are stable.
Professor Tyler Cowen’s anti-Keynesian manifesto has been ably discussed by Professor Simon Wren-Lewis at Mainly Macro. I thought what merited additional attention is Professor Cowen’s first assertion:
1. Keynesians predicted disaster following the American fiscal sequester, and the pace of the recovery accelerated.