NEWS/OPINION

HKS faculty reimagine the world of work

January 28, 2021

Ljubica Nedelkoska in HKS Magazine

THIS PAST YEAR HAS ILLUMINATED the fragility and failures of work in new ways. The coronavirus pandemic resulted in layoffs and furloughs for millions around the world. Some have lost their jobs in struggling or shifting industries and don’t have the skills to explore other fields. Many essential workers—from health aides to grocery clerks—have been forced to make grim trade-offs between personal health and financial security. Unpredictable and stressful schedules, discriminatory and unfair organizational practices and procedures,...

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The Missing Link in Economic Development

December 29, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

Like the proverbial man with a hammer who sees every problem as a nail, economists study the world through the lens of incentives, and have developed a rich understanding of how market participants make decisions. But although incentives are important, developing countries must do more than institute the right ones.

The pandemic dealt a blow to global trade and revived an old dream: Self-reliance

December 23, 2020

The Atlas of Economic Complexity in The Washington Post

When the pandemic hit, Ghana called on companies to change gears. Shirtmakers switched to cotton masks. A cosmetics lab churned out hand sanitizer. Dress sewers crafted face shields.

Those goods normally came from Chinese factories, but China had largely closed for business. Beijing’s shipments to Ghana plunged by nearly 50 percent in March, sending the West African nation of 31 million scrambling for backups.

 

Miami Trumps Biden

December 3, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann and José Morales-Arilla for Project Syndicate

Joe Biden achieved a decisive victory in the US presidential election, beating Donald Trump by over six million votes nationwide. Powered by suburban voters, especially women, the Democratic candidate took back Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, which Trump won in 2016, flipped Arizona and Georgia, and garnered 306 of the 538 Electoral College votes.

But one key swing state where Trump performed better than he did four years ago was Florida – especially in its most heavily Hispanic sections...

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Venezuelan oil could become world’s biggest stranded asset, say experts

November 18, 2020

Financial Times

Once a wealthy oil exporter, Venezuela’s hopes of reviving its shattered economy are pinned on huge investment in extracting one of the world’s most carbon-heavy blends of crude.

But concerns about climate change are upending energy markets worldwide, and some experts believe much of the country’s most valuable asset will remain stranded in the ground.

Some insist that Venezuela’s oil has not yet lost its allure. Ricardo Hausmann, a former Venezuelan planning minister in the 1990s now at Harvard University’s Centre for...

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The Coming Equity Shortage

October 9, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

Let’s be optimistic and assume that one or more of the 11 COVID-19 vaccines currently undergoing Phase 3 clinical trials are found to be safe and effective by early 2021. Let us also assume that production can be ramped up quickly, so that countries can vaccinate a significant part of their populations by late next year.

In this rosy scenario, the current “special period,” when social distancing severely restricts economic activities – from schools to universities, restaurants to airlines, concerts to sports events,...

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Zoom and Gloom

October 8, 2020

The Economist

...Recent research by Michele Coscia of the University of Copenhagen, and Frank Neffke and Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard University, finds that a permanent shutdown of international business travel would shrink global gross product by an astonishing 17% by hindering flows of knowledge across borders. The shift in favour of remote work also looks curiously like an anglosphere phenomenon; workers in mainland Europe have been swifter to return to the office than those in Britain and America.

Nonetheless, the shift will lead to significant...

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Do We Look Down on the Less Educated?

September 12, 2020

Eric Protzer - New York Times/Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

Michael Sandel’s suspicion of meritocracy is misplaced. The working class in fact prizes success, wealth, status and fame. They want it for themselves and, more important, for their children and their children’s children.

What many members of the working class and increasingly also the middle class are furious about, and what politicians like Donald Trump have tapped into, is the broken promise of the American dream. Forty years of deeply unfair economic policy...

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After the Default: Argentina’s Unsustainable “20/80” Economy

September 10, 2020

Eduardo Levy Yeyati for Americas Quarterly

Argentina this week formally exited the ninth sovereign debt default in its history. The agreement with creditors took longer than expected, but was settled at reasonable levels, close to original projections, and just in time to avert another blow to the country’s suffering economy. Having reached a deal in the current, uncertain context and with no financial program in hand could be regarded as a success for the government.

The deal reduced Argentina’s debt payments by approximately 27% and — even more crucially...

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Planning for Crisis Resilience

September 10, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

When you throw a tennis ball to the ground, it bounces back up. But if you throw a wine glass, it shatters. Many countries’ economies are in free fall. Will they bounce back or shatter? What can be done to assure a strong recovery?

The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be obvious, as ongoing research with Sebastián Bustos on previous crises suggests. In the 2008 global financial crisis, among the least affected countries...

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