M. Henry Linder, Richard W. Peach, and Sarah K. Stein
Correction: This post was updated on April 25 to correct the label on the y-axis in the top panel of the "Gauging Hurricane Impact" chart. We also corrected the explanatory text in the preceding paragraph.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce has reported that real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased at a very sluggish 0.4 percent annual rate in the final quarter of 2012. A natural question to ask is to what extent, if any, did superstorm Sandy contribute to this weak performance. While not a particularly intense storm, it was the largest Atlantic storm on record with a diameter of roughly 1,100 miles. The storm severely disrupted economic activity from late October until well into November along the eastern seaboard from the Mid-Atlantic region into New England, an area that is densely populated and that represents a significant portion of total economic activity of the entire country. Nonetheless, we suggest that superstorm Sandy likely had a relatively modest impact on the fourth-quarter growth rate, and that we cannot even be certain of the sign of that impact.
Continue reading "The Effect of Superstorm Sandy on the Macroeconomy" »
Recent financial developments are calling into question the future of regional economic integration. Market confidence deteriorates across countries in a contagious way. The place is Europe, the time is . . . now? Or twenty years ago? In fact, in the early 1990s Europe went through a systemic crisis that displays remarkable similarities to today’s events. In this post, we go back to those momentous times and briefly recall how the last Europe-wide crisis started, unfolded, and concluded. The 1992 crisis was eventually resolved, suggesting that there may be some light at the end of the current tunnel as well.
Continue reading "Back to the Future: Revisiting the European Crisis" »
In 1937, on the eve of a major policy mistake, U.S. economic conditions were surprisingly similar to those in the nation today. Consider, for example, the following summary of economic conditions: (1) Signs indicate that the recession is finally over. (2) Short-term interest rates have been close to zero for years but are now expected to rise. (3) Some are concerned about excessive inflation. (4) Inflation concerns are partly driven by a large expansion in the monetary base in recent years and by banks’ massive holding of excess reserves. (5) Furthermore, some are worried that the recent rally in commodity prices threatens to ignite an inflation spiral.
Continue reading "Commodity Prices and the Mistake of 1937: Would Modern Economists Make the Same Mistake?" »