PERI Working Papers

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  • Publication
    Neoliberalism, Global Imbalances, and Stages of Capitalist Development
    (2005-01-01) Li, Minqi; Zhu, Andong
    This paper examines certain structural macroeconomic relations in the neoliberal global economy. The current global economy rests upon three unsustainable trends: the debt-driven U.S. consumption expansion; China’s excessive investment expansion; and the large and rising U.S. current account deficits. When these trends are eventually reversed or corrected, there could be major upheavals in the world economy. The decline of neoliberalism may pave the way for a new set of economic, political, and social institutions.
  • Publication
    The Effects of Neoliberal "Reforms" on the Post-Crisis Korean Economy
    (2005-01-01) Crotty, James; Lee, Kang-Kook
    In December 1997 the IMF offered Korea loans to help alleviate its financial crisis. These loans were accompanied by what the IMF called “extreme structural conditionality.” Korea was required to replace its traditional East Asian economic system with a neoliberal model. We review economic performance in the neoliberal era. Growth has slowed, poverty and inequality have risen, and investment spending has stagnated, while foreign ownership of Korean firms and banks has skyrocketed. We argue that foreign investment has not helped Korea. For example, by leading a shift from corporate to consumer lending, foreign control of Korea’s financial markets has constrained capital accumulation and helped create an excessively indebted household sector, while making it harder for the government to adopt progressive economic policies. We conclude that the eight year experiment with radical neoliberal restructuring has turned out well for foreign capital and wealthy Koreans, but has been a failure for the majority of Korea’s people.
  • Publication
    Monetary Policy and Financial Sector Reform For Employment Creation and Poverty Reduction in Ghana
    (2006-01-01) Epstein, Gerald; Heintz, James
    This report summarizes the findings of a UNDP-sponsored study on the structure of the financial sector, central bank policy, and employment outcomes in Ghana. The financial sector is the primary conduit through which monetary policy affects real economic outcomes, and monetary policy determines the resources available to financial institutions. Therefore, monetary policy must be coordinated with financial sector reforms in order to improve employment opportunities, reduce poverty and support human development. The report develops a critique of financial programming and inflation targeting, presents a series of empirical estimates on the impact of monetary policy variables in Ghana, and describes the elements of an alternative monetary policy. In addition, the report documents the institutional and structural constraints currently operating in the financial system which prevent the sector from facilitating investment, growth, and improved employment opportunities. Econometric estimates of the determinants of investment explicitly link financial variables to real economic activity. The report summarizes a series of financial sector reforms that would improve the financial sector's capacity to move Ghana onto an employment-intensive growth path.
  • Publication
    The Fallacy of the Revised Bretton Woods Hypothesis: Why Today’s System is Unsustainable and Suggestions for a Replacement
    (2006-01-01) Palley, Thomas I.
    Dooley et al. (2003) have argued that today’s international financial system has structural similarities with the earlier Bretton Woods (1946 – 71) arrangements and is stable. This paper argues that the comparison is misplaced and ignores fundamental microeconomic differences, and that today’s system is also vulnerable to a crash. Eichengreen (2004) and Goldstein and Lardy (2005) have also argued that the system is unsustainable. However, their focus is the sustainability of financing to cover the U.S. trade deficit, whereas the current paper focuses on inadequacies on the system’s demand side. The paper concludes with suggestions for a global system of managed exchange rates that should replace the current system – hopefully, before it crashes.
  • Publication
    Mandated Wage Floors and the Wage Structure: New Estimates of the Ripple Effects of Minimum Wage Laws
    (2006-01-01) Wicks-Lim, Jeanette
    Minimum wage laws have become a key political issue, following on the heels of over 130 successful living wage campaigns around the country. In the debates surrounding these mandated wage floors, one recurring issue has been whether the legislation has wider-ranging impacts on wages than the legally-required raises alone. Advocates on both sides of the debate dispute the potential magnitude of 'ripple effects'- the nonmandated raises given by employers to maintain a similar wage hierarchy before and after a change in the wage floor. These ripple effects have the potential to greatly expand the overall impact of mandated wage floors. This study uses data from twenty years of the Current Population Survey to assess the magnitude of ripple effects in the context of variations in minimum wage laws, and looks specifically at the retail trade sector to model the potential magnitude of ripple effects under living wage ordinances, where the 'bite' of the legislation would encompass a larger share of the workforce.