Monthly Archives: January 2011

UK: No Expansionary Fiscal Contraction Yet

The UK can be seen as a kind of test case for the proposition that contractionary fiscal policy can induce an economic expansion, a proposition forwarded by most recently Alesina and Ardana (2010) [wp version] (following up earlier work by Alesina and Perroti). So far, admittedly early in the process, the evidence is not consistent with the view of expansionary contraction. Here’s Gavyn Davies’ view:

…The statistics were expected to show a significant slowdown in output growth, but nothing like the drop of 0.5% in real GDP (-2 per cent quarter-on-quarter annualised) which was actually announced this morning. …

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Three Years after the Great Recession’s Start

I thought it useful to take a look at a few retrospective macro indicators pertaining the December 2010, three years after the beginning of what some term “the Great Recession”. In particular, recall that some observers were, even ten months into the recession, and a month after Lehman’s collapse, denying the possibility of a truly deep loss in employment, and the idea of a lack of credit availability.

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Real-time analysis of the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index

One of the economic indicators to which we frequently call attention is the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index that is maintained by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. This uses a number of important economic indicators immediately upon release to get an updated view of the overall level of economic activity. One question that arises in using this index is that the raw data from which the index is constructed can be subject to considerable revision in subsequent data releases. A new analysis by the authors takes a look at this issue.

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The Fed’s new policy tools

We had to throw out our textbook descriptions of how monetary policy is implemented after the fall of 2008, as the Fed turned from its traditional tools to active use of large-scale asset purchases. A number of studies have now been conducted of the potential efficacy of these new policy tools. I surveyed some of the new studies last October. Today I’d like to discuss three new papers that have come out since then.

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How much are gasoline prices weighing on consumers?

On Friday Reuters reported:

Rising gasoline prices beat down U.S. consumer sentiment in early January, overshadowing an improved job outlook and passage of temporary federal tax breaks, a survey released on Friday showed. A year-end surge in gasoline prices ratcheted up consumer inflation expectations to their highest in more than two years, according to the latest data from Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan. The surveys’ preliminary January reading on the overall consumer sentiment slipped to 72.7, below 74.5 in December. It fell short of a 75.4 reading predicted by economists polled recently by Reuters.

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Cumulative Output Loss

…lest we forget how much the mindless deregulation and irresponsible fiscal policy induced-crisis [1] [2] [3] and great recession has cost us in terms of lost output, and how difficult the road to recovery remains. (Very important as certain forces seek to gut financial regulation by way of “defunding”. [4])

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