The View from 2012: The Hiatus in Per Capita US GDP

If one was looking back at the data available a half a decade ago, an observer (not me) might have concluded that there was a hiatus in per capita output that signalled an end to growth.



Figure 1: GDP per capita in thousands of Chained 2005$, SAAR, as of September 28, 2012, calculated using GDP and population reported at that date. On log scale. Source: St. Louis Fed ALFRED, and author’s calculations.

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Defense Expenditures over the Last Half Century and Prospects for the Near Future

One common complaint heard about the current recovery is that the rate of growth has been particularly slow. In the past I’ve noted that omitting defense spending from GDP, the shortfall is not so large. Given past correlations, I believe we may soon see a pickup in defense spending which will boost GDP growth relative to what it otherwise would have been.

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Another event to study

One of the ways economists have tried to estimate the effects of the Fed’s program of large-scale asset purchases (LSAP) is using event studies of how the market responds in the thirty minutes following Fed statements of changes in the program. Yesterday’s announcement from the Federal Reserve that it is starting a gradual process of reducing its balance sheet gives us one new data point for such efforts.
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The great unwind begins

The Federal Reserve announced today that it will begin reducing the size of its balance sheet next month in very modest and deliberate steps. One reason the Fed is moving so slowly is that they don’t want a repeat of the May 2013 taper tantrum, in which a surprise hint that the Fed might slow the rate at which it would be growing its balance sheet led to a spike up in long-term interest rates. But there may also be another reason why the Fed is contracting its balance sheet so cautiously.
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Wildfires: Acres Burned, Suppression Costs

I received this message from USDA yesterday; it reminded me of some other adjustment costs of climate change.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that wildland fire suppression costs for the fiscal year have exceeded $2 billion, making 2017 the most expensive year on record. Wildfires have ravaged states in the west, Pacific Northwest, and Northern Rockies regions of the United States this summer.

That’s just USDA; it doesn’t include Interior Department expenditures.

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Guest Contribution: “EQCHANGE: A Worldwide Database on Actual and Equilibrium Effective Exchange Rates”

Today we are pleased to present a guest contribution written by Cécile Couharde (EconomiX-CNRS, University of Paris Nanterre), Carl Grekou (CEPII), Anne-Laure Delatte (CEPII, EconomiX-CNRS and CEPR), Valérie Mignon (EconomiX-CNRS, University of Paris Nanterre and CEPII) and Florian Morvillier (EconomiX-CNRS, University of Paris Nanterre).


The widening and persistence of current account disequilibria at the international level have refocused real exchange rate distortions at the core of international debates. What are the exchange rate adjustments needed to correct excessive imbalances? How to assess whether a currency is fundamentally misaligned, i.e. under- or over-valued? We introduce a new database, EQCHANGE, which includes nominal and real effective exchange rates, as well as equilibrium real effective exchange rates for more than 180 countries from 1973 onwards. It represents the longest and largest publicly available database on equilibrium exchange rates and corresponding misalignments.

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