I have been the Managing Editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives since the first issue in Summer 1987. The JEP is published by the American Economic Association, which decided about a decade ago–to my delight–that the journal would be freely available on-line, from the current issue all the way back to the first issue. You can download individual articles or entire issues, and it is available in various e-reader formats, too. Here, I’ll start with the Table of Contents for the just-released Summer 2023 issue, which in the Taylor household is known as issue #145. Below that are abstracts and direct links for all of the papers. I will probably blog more specifically about some of the papers in the few weeks, as well.


Symposium on Supply Chains

How Far Goods Travel: Global Transport and Supply Chains from 1965–2020,” by Sharat Ganapati and Woan Foong Wong

This paper considers the evolution of global transportation usage over the past half century and its implications for supply chains. Transportation usage has more than doubled as costs decreased by a third. Participation of emerging economies in world trade and longer-distance trade between countries contribute to this usage increase, thereby encouraging longer supply chains. We discuss technological advances over this period, and their interactions with endogenous responses from transportation costs and supply chain linkages. Supply chains involving more countries and longer distances are reflective of reliable and efficient transportation, but are also more exposed to disruptions, highlighting the importance of considering the interconnectedness of transportation and supply chains in policymaking and future work. Full-Text Access | Supplementary Materials

The Changing Firm and Country Boundaries of US Manufacturers in Global Value Chains,” by Teresa C. Fort

This paper documents how US firms organize goods production across firm and country boundaries. Most US firms that perform physical transformation tasks in-house using foreign manufacturing plants in 2007 also own US manufacturing plants; moreover, manufacturing comprises their main domestic activity. By contrast, “factoryless goods producers” outsource all physical transformation tasks to arm’s-length contractors, focusing their in-house efforts on design and marketing. This distinct firm type is missing from standard analyses of manufacturing, growing in importance, and increasingly reliant on foreign suppliers. Physical transformation “within-the-firm” thus coincides with substantial physical transformation “within-the-country,” whereas its performance “outside-the-firm” often also implies “outside-the-country.” Despite these differences, factoryless goods producers and firms with foreign and domestic manufacturing plants both employ relatively high shares of US knowledge workers. These patterns call for new models and data to capture the potential for foreign production to support domestic innovation, which US firms leverage around the world. Full-Text Access | Supplementary Materials

Global Value Chains in Developing Countries: A Relational Perspective from Coffee and Garments,” by Laura Boudreau, Julia Cajal-Grossi and Rocco Macchiavello

There is a consensus that global value chains have aided developing countries’ growth. This essay highlights the governance complexities arising from participating in such chains, drawing from lessons we have learned conducting research in the coffee and garment supply chains. Market power of international buyers can lead to inefficiently low wages, prices, quality standards, and poor working conditions. At the same time, some degree of market power might be needed to sustain long-term supply relationships that are beneficial in a world with incomplete contracts. We discuss how buyers’ market power and long-term supply relationships interact and how these relationships at the export-gate could be leveraged to enhance sustainability in the domestic part of the chains. We hope that the lessons learned by combining detailed data and contextual knowledge in two specific chains—coffee and garments—have broader applicability to other global value chains. Full-Text Access | Supplementary Materials

Symposium on International Dimensions of Climate Change

Are Developed Countries Outsourcing Pollution?” by Arik Levinson

Have rich countries improved their environments by importing polluting goods? No, the mix of goods imported has shifted towards those from cleaner industries, not dirtier. Has pollution worsened in poor countries manufacturing goods for export to rich ones? That depends. Emissions intensities for similar industries are higher in poor countries, which means that even balanced trade causes more pollution there, even for the same goods. And proportional growth in trade has increased that gap. Whether we should consider that to be “outsourcing pollution” is debatable. Have environmental regulations enacted by rich countries caused either of the first two changes? No, the evidence does not show that regulations cause outsourcing. Full-Text Access | Supplementary Materials

Think Globally, Act Globally: Opportunities to Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, by Rachel Glennerster and Seema Jayachandran

Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are a global public good, which makes it efficient to act globally when addressing this challenge. We lay out several reasons that high-income countries seeking to mitigate climate change might have greater impact if they invest their resources in opportunities in low- and middle-income countries. Specifically, some of the easiest and cheapest options have already been tapped in high-income countries, land and labor costs are lower in low- and middle-income countries, it is cheaper to build green than to retrofit green, and global targeting matters in integrated economies. We also discuss economic counterarguments such as the challenge of monitoring emissions levels in low- and middle-income countries, ethical considerations, the importance of not double-counting mitigation funding as development aid, and policy steps that might help realize this opportunity. Full-Text Access | Supplementary Materials

Carbon Border Adjustments, Climate Clubs, and Subsidy Races When Climate Policies Vary,” by Kimberly A. Clausing and Catherine Wolfram

Jurisdictions adopt climate policies that vary in terms of both ambition and policy approach, with some pricing carbon and others subsidizing clean production. We distinguish two types of policy spillovers from these diverse approaches. First, when countries have different levels of climate ambition, free-riders benefit at the expense of more committed countries. Second, when countries pursue different approaches, carbon-intensive producers within cost-imposing jurisdictions are at a relative competitive disadvantage compared with producers in subsidizing jurisdictions. Carbon border adjustments and climate clubs respond to these spillovers, but when countries have divergent approaches, one policy alone cannot address both spillovers. We also consider the policy dynamics arising from carbon border adjustments and climate clubs; both have the potential to encourage upward harmonization of climate policy, but come with risks. Further, the pressures of international competition may result in subsidy races, with attendant risks and benefits. Full-Text Access | Supplementary Materials

Global Transportation Decarbonization,” by David Rapson ⓡ Erich Muehlegger

Replacing fossil fuels in the name of decarbonization is necessary but will be particularly difficult due to their as-yet unrivaled bundle of attributes: abundance, ubiquity, energy density, transportability and cost. There is a growing commitment to electrification as the dominant decarbonization pathway. While deep electrification is promising for road transportation in wealthy countries, it will face steep obstacles. In other sectors and in the developing world, it’s not even in pole position. Global transportation decarbonization will require decoupling emissions from economic growth, and decoupling emissions from growth will require not only new technologies, but cooperation in governance. The menu of policy options is replete with grim tradeoffs, particularly as the primacy of energy security and reliability (over emissions abatement) has once again been demonstrated in Europe and elsewhere. Full-Text Access | Supplementary Materials


Compensating Wage Differentials in Labor Markets: Empirical Challenges and Applications,” by Kurt Lavetti

The model of compensating wage differentials is among the cornerstone models of equilibrium wage determination in labor economics. However, empirical estimates of compensating differentials have faced persistent credibility challenges. This article summarizes the Rosen model of compensating differentials and chronicles the advances, setbacks, and lessons learned from empirical studies. The progression from cross-sectional to panel models alleviated biases caused by unobserved human capital but yielded new insights into the importance of other biases, including those caused by labor market frictions and endogenous job mobility. I discuss recent approaches that use matched employer-employee data and quasi-random variation in job amenities to address some of these challenges. I then present two examples of applications of compensating differentials: the evaluation public health and safety policies that rely on the value of statistical life, and the measurement and interpretation of earnings inequality. Full-Text Access | Supplementary Materials

What Can Historically Black Colleges and Universities Teach about Improving Higher Education Outcomes for Black Students?” by Gregory N. Price and Angelino C. G. Viceisza

Historically Black colleges and universities are institutions that were established prior to 1964 with the principal mission of educating Black Americans. In this essay, we focus on two main issues. We start by examining how Black College students perform across HBCUs and non-HBCUs by looking at a relatively broad range of outcomes, including college and graduate school completion, job satisfaction, social mobility, civic engagement, and health. HBCUs punch significantly above their weight, especially considering their significant lack of resources. We then turn to the potential causes of these differences and provide a glimpse into the “secret sauce” of HBCUs. We conclude with potential implications for HBCU and non-HBCU policy. Full-Text Access | Supplementary Materials

“Recommendations for Further Reading,” by Timothy Taylor Full-Text Access | Supplementary Materials