Benn Steil


A graphical take on geoeconomic issues, with links to the news and expert commentary.

How Bad Might It Get?

by Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It has been an astonishing year for the world economy. Housing prices have declined sharply, major financial institutions have failed leading to massive government bailouts, inflation fears have given way to concerns of deflation, and forward looking measures indicate that conditions will deteriorate further. What does the year ahead hold for the global economy? The following articles give forecasts for 2009. Read more »

The Holidays Are Coming Late

by Monday, December 22, 2008

The economic crisis has shrunk the holiday season, which typically lasts for about 35 days. Happy regions-those in which real estate markets have held up relatively well-have seen their holiday season decline by 10 days. Sad regions-those that have suffered a large number of foreclosures-have lost 24 days. To restore some cheer, we have collected some links that provide a lighter take on the economic crisis. Read more »

Trade Troubles

by Monday, December 15, 2008

The World Bank is predicting a 2.1% fall in world trade for 2009, the first decline since 1982. As our chart shows, East Asian exports are slowing in tandem with Western world imports. Although G20 leaders pledged to maintain open trade at the November 15th summit, there is concern that politicians will exacerbate the problem by turning inward. Already Russia and India have raised tariffs and China is under pressure to take steps to support exports. Read more »


by Monday, December 8, 2008

Ben Bernanke gave a speech in late 2002 discussing the risks associated with falling prices. According to bond market pricing, investors are more worried about deflation today than they were in 2002. Policymakers are debating how to respond. Standard monetary policy may be insufficient, but, as Chairman Bernanke pointed out 6 years ago, we have other somewhat untested tools to fight deflation. Read more »

Capitalism’s End?

by Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The financial crisis has triggered a sharp expansion in government. Some commentators portray this as a paradigm shift–a shattering of the faith in free markets and small government in the U.S. But our chart shows that past recessions have also caused government to grow as a share of the economy. If the effect is more powerful this time, that is because the recession is likely to prove longer and deeper-not necessarily because of shifting paradigms. Read more »