The District of Columbia has a lot going for it, even during the recession: population continued to grow, at least from 2006 to 2008; incomes went up; there were fewer murders in 2009 than any year since 1966, and there are signs that the District’s troubled public schools are starting to improve. Moreover, including its surrounding counties, in 2008 the D.C. metro was the most highly educated large metropolitan area in the country, which helps explain why its unemployment rate is one of the lowest. But that good news has a serious downside: Long-time residents of D.C.
In the national conversation on trade policy, it’s rare to get beyond exchange rates and trade agreements. While these are certainly important topics in their influence on the volume and balance of trade, the focus relegates the debate to federal policy and misses a myriad of opportunities at the state, local, and metropolitan level to promote exports. So what do exports look like on the ground level?
Amid all the talk of U.S. trade recently, The Economist just published a series on the importance of exports. A piece entitled “Export or Die” described how a New York-based architecture firm barely avoided massive layoffs by finding projects in China, Korea, and the Middle East, where demand has not faltered as sharply over the last two years. In other words, service exports prevented unemployment. One wonders: Is this just an anecdote, or is it representative of an important trend? As it turns out, it is a trend.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama announced the creation of a “National Export Initiative,” as part of an ambitious goal of doubling exports in five years. (The real value of exports typically double every 13 years, and a five-year doubling hasn’t happened since the years immediately following World War II, an anomalous period to be sure).
As January comes to a close, it’s safe to say that it’s been a rough first year for the Obama administration. On the right, he is hammered for being a big government liberal, and on the left for being too cozy with big business and Wall Street (and don’t forget the two wars).
Are regional college education rates a stay against metro unemployment in bad times?
When it comes to the value of the dollar, there are clear trade offs between American export competitiveness and import prices. How these opposing forces balance out nationally and across regions is the subject of a great deal of debate but surprisingly little empirical work. Paul Krugman, in a recent post, predicts advantageous outcomes if the dollar depreciates but cites no convincing evidence. Dani Rodrik’s recent paper, which is the most solid and relevant econometric work I’ve seen on the subject, finds that an under-valued currency increases economic growth.
In a recent post citing our data on metro cap-and-trade costs, Free Exchange, the blog of the Economist, feared that people are moving from “clean” metropolitan areas with low carbon emissions to “dirtier” ones with higher emissions. As evidence, the author points to a recent paper by Ed Glaeser and Matthew Kahn, who argue that cleaner cities have set up the most onerous barriers to population growth. There are two empirical problems here, but before getting into those, it is worth affirming the link between reform efforts related to exclusionary zoning and the environmental movement.
Economists continue to debate whether the U.S. can rebalance its trade deficit and lead itself into recovery through exports, with skeptics’ doubts prompted anew by the fact that U.S. consumer spending explained the bulk of last week’s announced 3.5 percent third-quarter GDP rise. Given that, it’s worth asking: Does the U.S. have a national export strategy? Though it may come as a surprise, the answer is yes.
Yesterday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to report out climate legislation, with ten Democrats voting yes, one Democrat (Montana’s Sen. Baucus) voting no, and all of the Republicans boycotting. If you look at the vote tally (using Project Vulcan data), you find that the states of senators voting "no" emitted 29.4 tonnes of carbon per capita, and the states of "yes" voters emitted 13.3 tonnes per capita, compared with a national average of 20.9 tonnes per capita. What do you think?