Inequality in the Middle East

Survey estimates suggest that inequality in the Middle East is not particularly high despite considerable political conflict. This column uses new ‘distributional national accounts’ data to show that the Middle East is in fact the most unequal region in the world, with both enormous inequality between countries and large inequality within countries. The results emphasize the need to develop mechanisms of regional redistribution and to increase transparency on income and wealth data.  

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Is China’s International Joint Venture Policy Effective in Diffusing Technology?

The US administration launched a trade war against China in response to what it sees as unfair trade practices—especially the requirement that foreign firms entering “restricted” sectors partner with a Chinese firm. New research from an international team of economists gauges whether the requirement has the intended effect of diffusing technology transfer in these sectors, and finds the answer is a resounding yes.  

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How the Triple Tax Exemption on Puerto Rico’s Bonds Financed Its Territorial Status—and Helped Spark Its Debt Crisis

How did Puerto Rico manage to incur a monumental debt of $72 billion without raising red flags among the sophisticated investors who continuously bought its bonds? Here associate professor of business Evaluz Cotto–Quijano points to the role of a tax exemption designed by the US Congress over 100 years ago to finance Puerto Rico’s territorial government by inflating its bond debt instead of appropriating federal funds.  

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A Change to Policy on All-Cash Housing Purchases Reveals How Anonymous Capital Can Distort Markets

Until 2016, anonymous buyers could purchase US real estate in cash through shell companies without reporting their real identities. But that year a new Treasury Department regulation closed this loophole in key US housing markets—and sparked an enormous drop in these types of transactions. The result points to how important anonymous capital flows are for global money launderers.  

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Any Press is Good Press? Study Finds Federal Investigations of University Responses to Sexual Misconduct Cases May Help Enrollments

Despite concerns among administrators that news coverage of campus sexual assault will harm universities’ reputations and bottom lines, a study finds an increase in applications and enrollment for both female and male students following federal Title IX investigations highlighting the issue on campuses.

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When Social Policy Saves Lives: Analyzing Trends in Mortality Inequality in the United States and France

Understanding how inequalities in health and inequalities in income are connected is key for policymaking. New research analyzing mortality trends in the United States and France finds that inequalities in income and health do not necessarily move in tandem and that public policy can help to break the link.

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