Columnnist

Jeffrey Frankel

Professor

Jeffrey Frankel is Professor of Capital Formation and Growth at Harvard University.

Jeffrey Frankel
22 Jun 2022

International trade: Is it a help or a hindrance?

Leading economies have been afflicted with new problems over the past year. The United States is struggling with both supply-chain blockages and a critical shortage of baby formula. The European Union faces the threat of scarce energy supplies, owing to sanctions on Russian fossil-fuel exports. And almost all countries are experiencing high inflation.

22 Jun 2022
6 Jun 2022

Get ready for 'reverse currency wars' phenomenon

The US dollar is up 12% against the euro over the past year and, at €0.93 (34.22 baht), is approaching parity. If prices of oil and other commodities now seem high in dollar terms, they look even higher in euros. With the greenback surging, and inflation in many countries currently at multi-decade highs, we may be entering so-called "reverse currency wars" -- in which countries compete to strengthen their currencies' foreign-exchange values.

6 Jun 2022
Get ready for 'reverse currency wars' phenomenon
4 Mar 2022

Fighting the 'last inflation war' once again

In 1955, then-US Federal Reserve chair William McChesney Martin famously said that the Fed's job was to take away the punch bowl "just when the party was really warming up", rather than waiting until the revellers were drunk and raucous. Decades later, in the aftermath of 1970s inflation, it became an article of faith among monetary policymakers that they should not wait until elevated inflation showed its face before reining in an overheating economy. Today, with inflation surging, they are developing a renewed appreciation for the punch-bowl metaphor.

4 Mar 2022
30 Sep 2021

El Salvador's Bitcoin bet is a dangerous folly

El Salvador this month became the first country to adopt a cryptocurrency -- in this case, Bitcoin -- as legal tender. I say the first, because others might follow. But they should think twice, because the idea is highly dubious -- and likely to be economically dangerous for developing countries in particular.

30 Sep 2021
27 Aug 2021

The G20's coronavirus agenda

Finance ministers, central bank governors, and political leaders are hard at work preparing for the 2021 G20 Heads of State and Government Summit in Rome on Oct 30-31. With the Covid-19 pandemic stretching well into its second year, the meeting will come at a time of heightened uncertainty about public health and the global economy. And though the mechanisms of international cooperation have been weakened by the pandemic and remain bruised by former US President Donald Trump's legacy, they are more important than ever.

27 Aug 2021
5 Jun 2021

Good statistics are crucial amid the pandemic

'There are three kinds of lies," Mark Twain famously wrote. "Lies, damned lies, and statistics." Too often, the Covid-19 crisis has lent support to the suspicions Twain's bon mot expresses.

5 Jun 2021
1 Jan 2021

Terms which misdefined 2020

US President Donald Trump and the Covid-19 pandemic dominated the news headlines in 2020. Three terms, in particular, came to symbolise the year: "witch hunt", "black swan" and "exponential".

1 Jan 2021 3
2 Oct 2020

The connection between Covid-19 and climate

From early on in the Covid-19 pandemic, a common refrain has been, "At least maybe now we will get serious about addressing climate change." One can certainly see the logic behind this thinking. The terrible toll the pandemic has taken should remind us of the importance of three things that are also necessary to tackle global warming: science, public policy, and international cooperation.

2 Oct 2020
26 Jun 2020

So what exactly's in a recession?

On June 8, the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research declared that economic activity in the United States had peaked in February 2020, formally marking the start of a recession. But we already knew that we were in a recession that had likely begun around that date. So, why does the NBER's formal declaration matter?

26 Jun 2020 1
15 Jun 2018

Protectionist Pedigree

Contrary to popular belief, Trump's tariffs are not an unprecedented departure from historical Republican orthodoxy.

15 Jun 2018