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A Comparative Analysis of Causes, Consequences, and Reform

Contrary to general belief, and to Japan's own self-image, inequality of income and wealth distribution in Japan has grown in the past two decades. In this well-written and accessible book, Toshiaki Tachibanaki analyzes the movement toward more income inequality in Japan and offers policy recommendations to counter the trend.

A country's stance on international trade is an important component of its economic welfare. Yet relatively little theoretical attention has been paid to developing accurate methods to assess trade policies, leaving practitioners and policy makers with ad hoc solutions that lack theoretical foundation. In this book, James Anderson and Peter Neary present a new approach to gauging trade restrictiveness. Extending the standard theory of index numbers that apply to prices, output, or productivity, Anderson and Neary develop index numbers that apply directly to policy variables.

Problems and Prospects

Colombia, once a model of fiscal discipline for other Latin American nations, has seen its fiscal situation deteriorate since the early 1990s. Higher government spending, taxes that did not keep pace with expenditures, and severe recession led to an unsustainable debt-to-GDP ratio of 52 percent in 2002. Short-term tax increases, even coupled with spending reforms, have not restored Colombia to fiscal balance.

The process of monetary integration in Europe began amid widespread skepticism among economists about the project. But today the success of the euro has prompted a reconsideration of whether monetary unions should be implemented elsewhere. This CESifo volume assesses contemporary theoretical and empirical work on optimal currency areas, considering such questions as the expansion of the eurozone, the institution of monetary unions in Latin America and East Asia, and the effect of monetary unions on the working of the "real economy."

The volatility that has hit many middle-income countries (MICs) after liberalizing their financial markets has prompted critics to call for new policies to stabilize these boom-bust cycles. But, as Aaron Tornell and Frank Westermann point out in this book, over the last two decades most of the developing countries that have experienced lending booms and busts have also exhibited the fastest growth among MICs. Countries with more stable credit growth, by contrast, have exhibited, on average, lower growth rates.

Problems and Prescriptions

Japan, the world's second largest economy, has suffered from a prolonged period of stagnation and malaise since 1991. Subpar growth, failing banks, plummeting real estate and stock prices, deflation, unprecedented unemployment, and huge government liabilities have persisted, despite extraordinary fiscal and monetary policy fixes.

The International Financial System, Stabilization, and Development

Stanley Fischer served as First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund from 1994 to 2001. IMF Essays from a Time of Crisis collects sixteen essays written for the most part during his time at the IMF, each updated with Fischer's later reflections on the issues raised.

Reconciling Theory and Evidence

Though competition occupies a prominent place in the history of economic thought, among economists today there is still a limited, and sometimes contradictory, understanding of its impact. In Competition and Growth, Philippe Aghion and Rachel Griffith offer the first serious attempt to provide a unified and coherent account of the effect competition policy and deregulated entry has on economic growth.

Selected Essays of Arthur M. Okun

Arthur Okun - teacher at Yale in the 1950s, member and later Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors in the 1960s, and Fellow of the Brookings Institution throughout the 1970s - was one of the three or four most important macroeconomists of the past twenty years. He was perhaps unique in having the respect and admiration of both academic economists and practical politicians. Okun was an effective mediator between the realms of economic theory and analysis and the making and implementation of public policy.

Recursive methods offer a powerful approach for characterizing and solving complicated problems in dynamic macroeconomics. Recursive Macroeconomic Theory provides both an introduction to recursive methods and advanced material, mixing tools and sample applications. The second edition contains substantial revisions to about half the original material, and extensive additional coverage appears in seven chapters new to this edition. The updated and added material covers exciting new topics that further illustrate the power and pervasiveness of recursive methods.