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Germany Drew the Wrong Lessons From Its 1923 Hyperinflation


In recent years, the political discourse in Germany has been critical of the European Union and its institutions. This includes harsh criticism of the European Central Bank (ECB) regarding its response to the Euro crisis. One focal point of this criticism related to the ECB’s purchases of government debt, particularly its program of “Outright Monetary […]

Minibonds: Putting the Public Back in Public Finance


BY SARAH TESAR AND PITICHOKE CHULAPAMORNSRI The people of San Francisco, hoping to transform their city into a bustling economic metropolis, built the Golden Gate Bridge to connect two previously divided urban areas. During the peak of the Great Depression, the city issued forty-year municipal bonds that paid 5% interest in order to finance the […]

More Cash, More Problems: Why Governments Should Go Cashless


BY PITICHOKE CHULAPAMORNSRI During the first week at the Harvard Kennedy School, my orientation leaders encouraged us to download Venmo, a peer-to-peer money transfer app, which allows users to easily split bills at restaurants. Rather than giving the server multiple credit cards, one person can pay the bill, and the rest can just “Venmo” the […]

The Importance of Wall Street Reform for Latinos


While the recession devastated all Americans, Latinos were among those most severely affected, losing two thirds of all their wealth, mainly due to plummeting housing values.

Gender, Race and Identity

Ensuring Latino Inclusion in the Economic Recovery


There is a general optimism that the American economy is on an upswing, slowly recovering as it emerges from one of the worst recessions since the 1930s. Yet, one of the fundamental factors that caused the recession—housing finance—continues to be a barrier rather than an opportunity for millions of Americans, especially Latinos.

Gender, Race and Identity

Preventing Crashes: Lessons for the SEC from the Airline Industry


BY CHRIS CLEARFIELD, ANDRÁS TILCSIK, BENJAMIN BERMAN A small error on August 1, 2012 nearly bankrupted the Knight Capital Group. Code from a discontinued software component was accidentally reused after nine years, and in just 45 minutes Knight’s automated order router had flooded the market with millions of unintended orders. Knight lost $460 million when […]

Business and Regulation

Social Finance: Sorting Hope from Hype


BY JULIA FETHERSTON ADAM SMITH WOULD HAVE BEEN mystified by the bankers, government officials, analysts, and activists assembled in the City of London for the inaugural G8 Meeting on Social Impact Investment, a meeting convened at the behest of U.K. Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron. Smith, the pioneer of free market political economy, wrote […]

Making the Financial Sector Whole: Steve Lydenberg on Responsible Investment


Steve Lydenberg began his career in responsible investment in 1975, as he says, before “careers in responsible investment even existed.” He joined the now-dormant Council on Economic Priorities, one of the first organizations to investigate and publicize corporate misbehavior, to support his passion for writing off-Broadway plays. But in the 1980s, divestment from the apartheid […]

The Rise of a Narrative: Thomas Piketty at the Kennedy School


  BY JOSH RUDOLPH The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. – John Maynard Keynes Friday afternoons tend to be subdued affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. But the afternoon […]

Rethinking the Use of Sovereign Wealth Funds in a Knowledge Economy


By Will Hickey The time has come for sovereign wealth funds to produce some meaningful value. Now conservatively valued at around 6 trillion dollars, sovereign wealth funds, or SWFs, are massive state-owned investment vehicles of stocks, bonds, property, precious metals and other financial instruments, including private equity. They are overwhelmingly funded through oil and gas […]

America, Decoupled: Fighting the Trend


Note: This is part 2 of a 2 part series. Read Brian’s first post here. Photo credit: Michael S. Williamson (source here). BY BRIAN CHIGLINSKY Yesterday, we introduced the concept of the Great Decoupling – the idea that middle class income growth is no longer connected to the growth of the broader American economy. Today, we look […]

Will the Supreme Court Abolish Common Sense Limits on Campaign Spending?


BY PATRICK KIBBE Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for a case that could be worse for the American public than Citizens United v. FEC, and unleash countless millions of special interest dollars into political campaigns. In this case ­– McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee v. FEC – Shaun McCutcheon, an Alabama […]

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