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mir4q2014
October 2014

In this issue of the Milken Institute Review, Jason Furman, chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, documents the alarming stagnation of middle-class incomes, but contends that the growing fissure between the rich and everyone else need not be accepted as the price of the free market system. “Modern economics has long been in the thrall of the view that virtually any interference with free market incentives with the goal of a more progressive distribution of income would exact a price in economic efficiency,” he writes in “Inclusive Growth: For once, some good news.” In fact, “there is just no compelling reason to believe well-designed policies to narrow this widening gap would meaningfully reduce growth, and every reason to believe they could provide a meaningful boost to working families.”

Also, an article by Dani Rodrik of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton offers a reality check on the new optimism about Africa’s economic prospects. Robert Moffitt of Johns Hopkins University discusses the state of the U.S. social safety net, and Larry Fisher, a former New York Times reporter, points out that the state franchise laws in the U.S. that have long served to protect established businesses from the winds of change are now coming under scrutiny, partly thanks to Tesla Motors’ high-profile effort to sell its electric cars through company-owned stores. Bob Looney of the Naval Postgraduate School in California issues a warning about Puerto Rico’s prospects. Cars that drive themselves are poised to disrupt business as usual, but this will not have a great impact on productivity, says Rob Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Jayson Lusk of Oklahoma State University discusses GMOs as necessary to feed the planet’s growing population and cope with climate change. Matt Phillips, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, points out that the housing market in South Korea is changing quickly.

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MIRQ32014
July 2014

In this issue of the Milken Institute Review, Charles Castaldi, a former NPR reporter in Central America, explains how a Nicaraguan strongman and Chinese billionaire are planning to dig a $50 billion canal that will eclipse its rival to the south. "The decision to move forward on a project of this scale took a lot of time to make, of course," allows Castaldi. "Well, not really: the speed with which the concession was granted would make those who have been struggling obtain approval to build the 36-inch Keystone XL pipeline for the last six years green with envy."

Also in this issue: a report card on Abenomics, the Japanese prime minister's Hail Mary play to jolt the economy out of its rut; an analysis of the emerging Trans Pacific Partnership, "the most ambitious trade agreement the United States" has ever negotiated; an attack on the prevailing wisdom that Hollywood's road to success will be paved with ever-fewer, ever-more-expensive mega-movies; an argument for a no-strings-attached, "universal basic income approach" to reducing poverty; an explanation of why Russia's slippage into economic stagnation won't be easy to reverse; an estimate of the waste created by subsidies in countries that make gasoline as cheap as 9 cents a gallon at the pump; and an analysis of the unraveling of Thailand's economy and polity – and how it might be reversed. 

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May 2014
In the latest Milken Institute Review, David E. Bloom, Elizabeth Cafiero-Fonseca, Mark E. McGovern of Harvard and Klaus Prettner of Germany's University of Gottingen estimate the dimensions of the health crisis sneaking up on China and India. "The cost of non-communicable diseases (in particular, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes) will be high no matter what," they conclude. But "unless the issue is given top priority, it will be utterly staggering. Action will of course be costly, but far less costly than the alternative."

Also in this issue: A proposal to reform the income tax, stabilize entitlement spending and tame budget deficits in one grand bargain; a look at the role of financial derivatives in managing business risk and expanding access to capital; a response to jeremiads mourning the consolidation of the big carriers in the airline industry; a review of the Cash for Clunkers stimulus program of 2009; a view of the implications of our dependence on technology for continuing growth; and an argument that the rulers of Oman, Jordan and Morocco survived the Arab Spring because they deliver more of what their citizens crave.

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January 2014
In the latest Milken Institute Review, business journalist Larry Fisher looks closely at technology that is literally sneaking up on us. "A host of companies are racing to market with unmanned aerial vehicles intended for non-military applications, from wildlife tracking to real estate marketing to last-mile package delivery," he writes. "The technology is flying ahead, far in advance of regulations governing safety and privacy."

Also in this issue: A look at the sky-high interest rates paid by the working poor for "payday" loans, used to tide them over to the next check, as symptoms of reversible market failure; an optimistic view of the EPA's plans to regulate emissions and their likely effectiveness;; an economic analysis of the Baltic states surprising recovery after the great recession; a survey of the minefield of corporate income tax reform; a look at the crucial role of social services in closing de-stabilizing income gaps between rural and urban settings in China; a view of the gravity of the global "water crisis,"; a rundown of all you need to know about the economics copyright law, and more.

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October 2013
In the latest Milken Institute Review, Ellen Seidman (Urban Institute), Phillip Swagel (Milken Institute), Sarah Rosen Wartell (Urban Institute) and Mark Zandi (Moody's Analytics) offer a sweeping plan for rebooting America's housing finance system. "Our proposal would keep a federal backstop in place, but limit taxpayer risk by putting investors' capital in a first-loss position. We would retain several roles for the feds, including insuring the system against catastrophe, standardizing mortgage securitization and only subsidizing homeownership in visible and easily understood ways."

Also in this issue: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's go-for-broke program to jolt the Japanese economy from its slumber, the road to obsolescence for TV programming, Burma's path to integration with the global community, a critical look at personalized medicine, an analysis of Mexico's political and economic future, an outline to the depths in which the Palestinian economy has fallen, and more.

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July 2013
In the latest Milken Institute Review, Alan Manning, economist from the London School of Economics takes on the conventional wisdom that President ObamaaEUR(TM)s proposed $9 minimum wage will price unskilled workers out of the market. The latest research, he says, suggests that a government-mandated increase would actually create jobs. Yet, aEURoefaced with a conflict between the evidence and 20th century economic models, many economists reject the evidence rather than the theory.aEUR?

Also in this issue: how to reverse unprecedented problems from the Federal Reserve accumulating more than $3 trillion in assorted securities; the global impact on the resurgence of natural gas; the seductiveness of financial transaction taxes for the EU; the emergence of reflexively protectionist interest groups in supply chain manufacturing; the transformation of small-market baseball franchises into pots of gold; ChinaaEUR(TM)s new challenges in redirecting the economy; and more.

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April 2013
In the latest Milken Institute Review, Jonathan Morduch of NYU challenges the conventional wisdom of what microfinance can do for developing countries, saying the evidence suggests that better financial access does, indeed, give families improved ways to cope with poverty, but seldom offers the means to escape it.

Also in this issue: hard evidence showing that bankers are your friends; the method in the madness of K-Pop; a silver lining for the world in IsraelaEUR(TM)s seeming endless struggle for survival; a comparison of the parallel disasters that beset the Icelandic and Irish economies when the global financial bubble burst, and their very different approaches; rationale against regulating giant Internet companies; a primer on resurrecting the economies of countries (like Afghanistan) that are collateral damage in modern wars; a review of Benn SteilaEUR(TM)s new book, The Battle of Bretton Woods; and more.

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January 2013
In the latest Milken Institute Review, Drew Shindell, a climate scientist at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, urges policymakers to postpone the showdown on carbon emissions to focus on other potent sources of warming such as methane, soot particles and ozone whose containment would yield a quick, low-cost payoff. Also in this issue: what you need to know about crowdfunding, the future of North Korea under the newest Kim, the mess created by unfunded public pension liabilities that may exceed $4 trillion, stemming the illicit financial flows from developing countries ranging from drug money to tax dodges, the economic challenges facing post-revolutionary Egypt, and measuring "currency aggression" to understand the impact on jobs.
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October 2012
In the latest Milken Institute Review, demographer Brad Edmondson describes a battle for the hearts and lungs of billions of women in the emerging markets as Big Tobacco tries to expand sales outside the West. Also in this issue: signs of a truce between drug makers and developing nations over intellectual property rights, the triumph of privatized ocean fisheries, making the case for oil, how small changes in the design of 401(k) plans make huge differences in retirement, the promise and pitfalls of virtual banking, an inside peek at the Milken Institute's Best Cities for Successful Aging index, and why the experience of big business is pertinent to administering the Affordable Care Act.
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July 2012
James R. Barth, Apanard Prabha and Phillip Swagel of the Institute report on what's been done to prevent another financial meltdown -- and the prospects for their success. Menzie Chinn (University of Wisconsin) and Jeffry Frieden (Harvard) offer a crazy idea about how to deal with the global debt overhang -- crazy like a fox. Also in this issue: startling (and welcome) information on population change in predominantly Muslim countries, an exploration of long-term unemployment, analysis of the economics of antibiotics, a look at bringing snail mail into the 21st century, what needs to happen in housing, what could drive improvement in energy efficiency, and an excerpt from "Why Nations Fail."
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April 2012
Milken Institute Economist Tong Li explains why China risks all in delaying fundamental reforms in financial markets, while Stanford's Karen Eggleston documents the nation's crash effort to build a health-care system worthy of a superpower. Also in this issue: cutting the fat from military pensions without undermining incentives to serve; surprising findings from the 2010 Census; the cost of tightly regulating who's allowed to practice law; and an excerpt from Robert Shiller's book "Finance and the Good Society."
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January 2012
A book excerpt from "Guardians of Finance" (by the Milken Institute's James Barth and co-authors Gerard Caprio and Ross Levine) argues for a super-watchdog to better enforce banking regulation. Also in this issue: the ironies of Saudi Arabia's "bizarre-world economy"; the mysteries of online cash that circulates without oversight from any government; the decoupling of emerging market economies from the U.S. business cycle; a challenge to the notion that structural unemployment can't be alleviated with government stimulus; and the fallout from the stalemated World Trade Organization Doha Round negotiations.
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October 2011
Clark Johnson, author of an acclaimed book on the Great Depression, challenges those who believe that monetary policy has run out of gas. A book excerpt from Sylvia Nasar's "Grand Pursuit" recounts the birth of modern economics. Also in this issue: a plan for re-privatizing the mortgage market; the surprising curse of natural resource abundance; an argument for setting federal energy efficiency requirements; a look at how global warming will affect Africa; and analysis of the daunting cost - and necessity - of building out high-speed rail in the U.S.
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July 2011
Michael Greenstone of MIT and Adam Looney of the Brookings Institution document the disastrous fortunes of men in the American labor force. This issue also features a series of articles exploring proposals to cut the deficit: practical ways to pare the defense budget by $60 billion; approaches to bringing health-care inflation to heel; and radical reforms for one of the most expensive and least-noticed entitlement programs, Social Security Disability Insurance.
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May 2011
Institute Chairman Michael Milken argues that the "American century" does not have to end if the U.S. undertakes bold policy reforms in energy, housing, entitlements, education, health and immigration. Also in this issue: the technological change that should be at the heart of climate policy; Mexico's startling downward spiral; a big-picture view of what it will take to revive the economies of Western Europe and the U.S.; and an intriguing look at medical tourism.
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January 2011
Josh Rauh of Northwestern University outlines the consequences of the state and local pension mess aEUR" and examines the case for a federal bailout with strings attached. Also in this issue: reconsidering the unloved VAT; breaking the stalemate over immigration reform; and why many economists fear deflation more than inflation.
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October 2010
Agricultural economist Matin Qaim examines the potential of genetically engineered crops, while Howard Kunreuther and Erwann Michel-Kerjan of Wharton analyze the myopia that contributed to the BP oil spill and other catastrophes. Also in this issue: the future of North Korea; a call for eliminating government subsidies from the housing market; the case for allowing the market to allocate water in the Western U.S.; and a book excerpt from "Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us."
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July 2010
Berkeley's Barry Eichengreen examines the euro zone in the wake of the Greek crisis, a perfect counterpart to a book excerpt from Raghuram Rajan's "Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy." Also in this issue: ChinaaEUR?s global grab for oil and other raw materials; why the time for electric cars is now; the case for using advanced engineering techniques to offset global warming; the difficult process of deleveraging the world economy after the bubble; and the trend toward privatizing police functions.
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April 2010
This issue argues that the rising costs of health care, combined with wage stagnation, are eating away at the middle class, while another article imagines what kind of dramatic event would be needed to alter the politics of U.S. deficit reduction. Also inside: reforming the war on drugs; how to help poor countries cope with the consequences of climate change; a sobering view of RussiaaEUR?s future under Putin; an endorsement of U.S. railroads as a critical part of the answer to the nationaEUR?s transportation system; and an excerpt from Eli Berman's "Radical, Religious and Violent: The New Economics of Terrorism."
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January 2010
Institute Chairman Mike Milken wades into the debate over health-care reform, arguing that prevention and cures are at least as important as fixing a flawed insurance system. Also in this issue: a look at the alliances formed between smart phone makers and carriers; Iceland's spectacular flameout; an analysis of the Cash for Clunkers and Energy Star programs; a glimpse into Cuba's economic future; and a book excerpt from Stephen Roach's "The Next Asia."
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