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Assaf Razin

Assaf Razin is Friedman Professor of International Economics at Cornell University. He is the coauthor of Fiscal Policies and Growth in the World Economy, International Taxation in an Integrated World, and Migration and the Welfare State: Political-Economy Policy Formation, all published by the MIT Press, and other books.

Titles by This Author

An Emerging Paradigm

Financial crises have some common storylines, among them bursting asset bubbles, bank failures, sharp tightening of credit, and downturn in trade. They are also different from one another. Some start with sudden reversal of international capital flows, others with domestic credit implosions. A challenge to economic research is to integrate common as well as disparate threads into a coherent analytical framework that is at the same time empirically testable. In Understanding Global Crises, Assaf Razin offers a review of an emerging paradigm that is consistent with the key features of recent global financial crises. This paradigm presents in a transparent way basic analytical elements of the theories of financial and monetary crises and how these elements fit together in macroeconomic analysis of global crises.

Razin surveys the credit implosion that led to a severe banking crisis in Japan in the 1990s, the Asian financial crisis that began in 1997, the global meltdown of 2008, and the Euro-zone crisis. He reviews the analytics of financial fragilities, credit frictions, currency crises, and balance of payments crises, and addresses international capital flows with information frictions. He then presents key developments in the New Keynesian analytical framework by examining the surge of re-modeling efforts aimed at the development of an analytical framework to underpin monetary and fiscal policy in the post-2008 economic era.

Political-Economy Policy Formation

Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman once noted that free immigration cannot coexist with a welfare state. A welfare state with open borders might turn into a haven for poor immigrants, which would place such a fiscal burden on the state that native-born voters would support less-generous benefits or restricted immigration, or both. And yet a welfare state with an aging population might welcome young skilled immigrants. The preferences of the native-born population toward migration depend on the skill and age composition of the immigrants, and migration policies in a political-economy framework may be tailored accordingly. This book examines how social benefits-immigrations political economy conflicts are resolved, with an empirical application to data from Europe and the developed countries, integrating elements from population, international, public, and political economics into a unified static and dynamic framework.
Using a static analytical framework to examine intra-generational distribution, the authors first focus on the skill composition of migrants in both free and restricted immigration policy regimes, drawing on empirical research from EU-15 and non-EU-15 states. The authors then offer theoretical analyses of similar issues in dynamic overlapping generations settings, studying not only intragenerational but also intergenerational aspects, including old-young dependency ratios and skilled-unskilled conflicts. Finally, they examine overall gains from or costs of migration in both host and source countries and the race to the bottom argument of tax competition between states in the presence of free migration.

The ongoing process of increased integration of national economies, culminating in the single European market of 1992, still leaves as virtually separate the national fiscal systems. In this book international economists Jacob Frenkel and Assaf Razin join forces with public finance economist Efraim-Sadka to provide a new treatment of international taxation, one that focuses on the interactions between fiscal policies of sovereign nations and the magnitude and directions of international capital and goods flow in an integrated world economy. They unfold a lucid and clear analysis of the implications of tax competition, tax harmonization, capital flight, external imbalances, and the terms of trade for the design of efficient national tax systems. The book extends concepts developed in Frenkel and Razin's Fiscal Policies and the World Economy and includes a theory of taxation in an open world economy.

International Taxation in an Integrated World presents the stylized facts and concepts and outlines the main issues of international taxation and the implications for the international movements of goods and capital. It reviews the principles of international taxation and international macroeconomics, analyzes the international transmission of various tax and budget policies, and provides a rigorous analysis of optimal open economy tax policy in an integrated world economy. Special emphasis is placed on the interdependence between direct and indirect taxes and on the international allocation of saving, investment, and production.

Demography and Globalization

In The Decline of the Welfare State, Assaf Razin and Efraim Sadka use a political economy framework to analyze the effects of aging populations, migration, and globalization on the deteriorating system of financing welfare state benefits as we know them. Their timely analysis, supported by a unified theoretical framework and empirical findings, demonstrates how the combined forces of demographic change and globalization will make it impossible for the welfare state to maintain itself on its present scale.

In much of the developed world, the proportion of the population aged 60 and over is expected to rise dramatically over the coming years—from 35 percent in 2000 to a projected 66 percent in 2050 in the European Union and from 27 percent to 47 percent in the United States—which may necessitate higher tax burdens and greater public debt to maintain national pension systems at current levels. Low-skill migration produces additional strains on welfare-state financing because such migrants typically receive benefits that exceed what they pay in taxes. Higher capital taxation, which could potentially be used to finance welfare benefits, is made unlikely by international tax competition brought about by globalization of the capital market. Applying a political economy model and drawing on empirical data from the EU and the United States, the authors draw an unconventional and provocative conclusion from these developments. They argue that the political pressure from both aging and migrant populations indirectly generates political processes that favor trimming rather than expanding the welfare state. The combined pressures of aging, migration, and globalization will shift the balance of political power and generate public support from the majority of the voting population for cutting back traditional welfare state benefits.

From Malthus to Becker, the economic approach to population growth and its interactions with the surrounding economic environment has undergone a major transformation. Population Economics elucidates the theory behind this shift and the consequences for economic policy.Razin and Sadka systematically examine the microeconomic implications of people's decisions about how many children to have and how to provide for them on population trends and social issues of population policy. The authors analyze how these decisions affect labor supply, consumption, savings and bequests, investments in human capital, and economic growth, along with related new issues such as migration and income redistribution across generations, in an integrated microeconomic framework.Population Economics is a thoroughly modern treatment of population economics as a field in public economics. It integrates and extends Marc Nerlove's Household and Economy: Welfare Economics of Endogenous Fertility, as well as work written jointly with colleagues that has appeared in various journals and other publications.


Covering a full array of topics in open economy macro and public economics, Fiscal Policies and Growth in the World Economy has been thoroughly revised and extended. The added material in this new edition includes stochastic rational-expectations extensions of the Mundell-Fleming model, the development of a dynamic-optimizing approach of the trade balance, and an entirely new part on issues of international economic convergence, which also contains a comprehensive policy overview.

Other chapters have been updated or reorganized, and there is a brief guide to solving typical dynamic macro problems along with a printout of software suitable for numerical simulations. A companion diskette containing solutions in dynamic macro problems and some sample programs is available in GAUSS for IBM. The exercises and solutions manual by Krueger, Ostry, and Yuen has also been updated and extended.

Fiscal Policies and Growth in the World Economy has been used successfully in graduate and senior undergraduate courses in international economics and public finance. The objective of this new edition remains the same as before: to treat the major topics in macro and public economics using both traditional and modern approaches. The traditional approach is first explained, from the simple income-expenditure model to the more advanced stochastic Mundell-Fleming model. The modern intertemporal approach is then presented, starting with the simple two-period model and extending it to a full-fledged dynamic model. Other sections review recent developments in the world economy; government spending, budget deficits, and differences across international taxation; and economic growth in the world economy, especially the convergence of income and growth levels across countries.

Titles by This Editor

Centering on questions of the potential optimality of some trade protection, these original contributions present research at the frontier of international trade and trade policy. They expand and test the new trade theory that has developed during the last decade, incorporating elements of industrial organization and political economy into the study of trade structure and the formation of trade policy.

Essays in the first two parts take up trade policy, addressing issues such as the formation of trading blocks, strategic trade policy, the political economy of protection, growth-oriented trade policies, and including empirical studies of the welfare effects of quality - upgrading voluntary export restrictions and import quotas. Essays in the third part discuss various structural issues such as trade in services, intersectoral adjustments, and the advantage of early entry.

Contents: Trade Policy: Theory. Is Bilateralism Bad? Paul R. Krugman. Strategic Trade Policy and Direct Foreign Investment: When Are Tariffs and Quotas Equivalent? James A. Levinsohn. Making Altruism Pay in Auction Quotas, Kala Krishna. On the Ineffectiveness of Made-to-Measure Protectionist Programs, Aaron Tornell. Export Subsidies and Price Competition, Peter Neary. Adverse Selection in Credit Markets and Infant Industry Protection, Harry Flam and Robert W. Staiger. Protection, Politics, and Market Structure, Arye L. Hillman. Growth and Welfare in a Small Open Economy, Gene M. Grossman and Elhanan Helpman. Trade Policy: Evidence. Quality Upgrading and Its Welfare Cost in U.S. Imports, 1969-74, Randi Boorstein and Robert C. Feenstra. Counting the Cost of Voluntary Export Restraints in the European Car Market, Alasdair Smith and Anthony J. Venables. Structural Issues. Services in International Trade, Wilfred J. Ethier and Henrik Horn. First-Mover Advantages, Blockaded Entry, and the Economics of Uneven Development, James R. Markusen. Wage Sensitivity Rankings and Temporal Convergence, Ronald W. Jones and Peter Neary.

The effects of a government's budget on society and the political economy are of considerable concern to economists as well as to consumers and taxpayers. The original contributions in this book analyze all of the budget's components expenditures, revenues, the deficit - with a special emphasis on issues that have assumed increasing importance over the last decade or so, such as intergenerational transfers of debt and declines in corporate tax revenues.

Chapters deal with both microeconomic and macroeconomic aspects of the effects of budgets, and demonstrate how budgetary policies affect inflation, efficiency, the balance of payments, exchange rates, and the decision-making process.

The contributions are grouped into five sections. The first covers the revenue side of the budget - taxation policy and its interaction with emigration, corporate tax revenues, personal income taxes, and fiscal policies. The second takes up intergenerational transfers, consumption decisions, and Ricardian equivalence and neutrality. Budget deficits and optimal policies, inflation and its relationship to budget deficits are examined in parts three and four.

The book concludes by looking at stabilization in open economies, and includes treatments of the consequences of balance-of-payments crises, exchange rate management under uncertainty, and foreign exchange operations.

Elhanan Helpman, Assaf Razin, and Efraim Sadka are professors of economics at Tel-Aviv University.