Economics

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Essay, May/June 2014
Christopher Blattman and Paul Niehaus

Cutting-edge research shows that giving things to the world’s poor is much more expensive than one might expect. When it comes to reducing poverty, therefore, simply sending cold hard cash is often the best and most efficient form of aid.

Review Essay, May/June 2014
Tyler Cowen

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century is a truly important a book, a groundbreaking work of analysis of economic inequality. It is frequently brilliant, but also flawed, and its policy recommendations are wildly impractical.

Snapshot,
Jonathan Hopkin and Mark Blyth

Wealthy Russian expats seem to wield substantial influence over the British government's approach to the Ukraine crisis, which points to the outsized role that such super-rich play in British politics. But all that foreign money reveals deep structural weaknesses in the British economy.

Essay, May/June 2014
Marina Ottaway and David Ottaway

Iraqi Kurdistan has achieved new prosperity by exporting its own oil and gas to Turkey, against the objections of Iraq’s central government. By challenging Baghdad’s claims to exclusive control of Iraq’s natural resources, the Kurds are showing how economic cooperation can make Middle Eastern borders more porous.

Snapshot,
Ricardo Soares De Oliveira

The countries of East Africa are in the early throes of an oil boom, with an unprecedented opportunity for economic development. Unless they avoid the mistakes of those before them, though, the region's governments could easily squander it.

Snapshot,
Robert Kahn

Although sanctions have a spotty record of achieving political objectives, they could be unusually powerful in Russia. The country's relationship to global financial markets -- integrated, highly leveraged, and opaque -- creates vulnerability, which sanctions could exploit to produce a Russian “Lehman moment”: a sharp, rapid deleveraging with major consequences for Russia’s ability to trade and invest.

Snapshot,
Tom Keatinge

Sanctions have not forced Russia to withdraw from Ukraine, and for that reason, some consider them a failure. In fact, they have worked just as intended, causing the ruble to weaken, inflation to rise, and investor demand for Russian stocks to dry up. They have also, apparently, pushed Putin into talks with the West.

Snapshot,
Andrew Wilson

Belarus signed up early to join the Eurasian Union, but has started hedging its bets since Russia's annexation of Crimea -- and understandably so. According to Putin’s reasoning for seizing Crimea, Belarus could be the next target.

Snapshot,
Lee S. Wolosky

Economic sanctions and visa bans seem like an appealing way to punish Putin, both because there aren’t any realistic military options for countering him and comprehensive economic sanctions have had remarkable success in recent years, including in Iran. Unfortunately, Iran-like sanctions are not politically feasible in this case, and half measures won't get the United States what it seeks.

Snapshot,
Alexander J. Motyl

It is time to imagine what once seemed impossible: In addition to Crimea, Putin attempts to annex the other southeastern Ukrainian provinces that are generally regarded as most susceptible to conquest -- Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhzhya. Ukraine would be the immediate loser but might find itself better off in the long run. Russia, on the other hand, would quickly discover that it is in possession of economically unviable provinces that cannot survive without massive infusions of rubles.

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