International Aspects of Fiscal Policies

University of Chicago Press
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This volume brings together nine papers from a conference on international macroeconomics sponsored by the NBER in 1985. International economists as well as graduate students in the fields of global monetary economics, finance, and macroeconomics will find this an outstanding contribution to current research. It includes two commentaries for each paper, written by experts in the field, and Frenkel's detailed introduction, which serves as a reader's guide to the arguments made, the models employed, and the issues raised by each contributor.

The studies analyze national fiscal policies within the context of the international economic order. Malcolm D. Knight and Paul R. Masson use an empirical model to show that fiscal changes in recent years in the United States, West Germany, and Japan have caused major disturbances in net savings and investment flows. Linda S. Kole uses a two-country simulation model to examine the effects of a large nation's expansion on exchange rates, interest rates, and the balance of payments. In other studies, Warwick J. McKibbin and Jeffrey D. Sachs discuss the influences of different currency regimes on the international transmission of inflation; Kent P. Kimbrough analyzes the interaction between optimal tax policies and international trade; Sweder van Wijnbergen investigates the interrelation of fiscal policies, trade intervention, and world interest rates; and Willem H. Buiter uses an analytical model to look at fiscal interdependence and optimal policy design. David Backus, Michael Devereux, and Douglas Purvis develop a theoretical model to investigate effects of different fiscal policies in an open economy. Alan C. Stockman looks at the influence of policy anticipation in the private sector, while Lawrence H. Summers shows the effects of differential tax policy on international competitiveness.
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About the author

Jacob A. Frenkel, the David Rockefeller Professor of International Economics at the University of Chicago, is currently the economic counsellor and director of research at the International Monetary Fund.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Dec 1, 2007
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Pages
490
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ISBN
9780226262543
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Finance / General
Business & Economics / General
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LECTURING BIRDS ON FLYING

For the past few decades, the financial world has often displayed an unreasonable willingness to believe that "the model is right, the market is wrong," in spite of the fact that these theoretical machinations were largely responsible for the stock market crash of 1987, the LTCM crisis of 1998, the credit crisis of 2008, and many other blow-ups, large and small. Why have both financial insiders (traders, risk managers, executives) and outsiders (academics, journalists, regulators, the public) consistently demonstrated a willingness to treat quantifications as gospel? Nassim Taleb first addressed the conflicts between theoretical and real finance in his technical treatise on options, Dynamic Hedging. Now, in Lecturing Birds on Flying, Pablo Triana offers a powerful indictment on the trustworthiness of financial theory, explaining—in jargon-free plain English—how malfunctions in these quantitative machines have wreaked havoc in our real world.

Triana first analyzes the fundamental question of whether financial markets can in principle really be solved mathematically. He shows that the markets indeed cannot be tamed with equations, presenting a long and powerful list of obstacles to prove his point: maverick unlawful human actions rule the markets, unexpected and unimaginable events shape the markets, and historical data is not necessarily a trustworthy guide to the future of the markets. The author then examines the sources of origin of many prevalent theories and mathematical dictums. He details how the field of financial economics evolved from a descriptive discipline to an abstract one dedicated to technically concocting professors' own versions of how such a world should work. He goes on to explain how Wall Street and other financial centers became eager employers of scientists, and how scientists became eager employees of financial firms. Triana concludes with an in-depth discussion of the most significant historical episodes of theory-caused real-life market malaise, with a strong emphasis on the current credit crisis.

In the end, Lecturing Birds on Flying calls for the radical substitution of good old-fashioned common sense in place of mathematical decision-making and the restoration to financial power of those who are completely unchained to the iron ball of classroom-obtained qualifications.

The past decade has witnessed a decline in saving throughout the developed world—the United States has the dubious distinction of leading the way. The consequences can be serious. For individuals, their own economic security and that of their families is jeopardized. For society, inadequate rates of saving have been blamed for a variety of ills—decreasing the competitive abilities of American industry, slowing capital accumulation, increasing our trade deficit, and forcing the sale of capital stock to foreign investors at bargain prices. Restoring acceptable rates of saving in the United States poses a major challenge to those who formulate national economic policy, especially since economists and policymakers alike still understand little about what motivates people to save.

In National Saving and Economic Performance, edited by B. Douglas Bernheim and John B. Shoven, that task is addressed by offering the results of new research, with recommendations for policies aimed to improve saving. Leading experts in diverse fields of economics debate the need for more accurate measurement of official saving data; examine how corporate decisions to retain or distribute earnings affect household-level consumption and saving; and investigate the effects of taxation on saving behavior, correlations between national saving and international investment over time, and the influence of economic growth on saving.

Presenting the most comprehensive and up-to-date research on saving, this volume will benefit both academic and government economists.
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