Author Archives: karimfoda

What is a better measure of (Workers’) productivity than GDP (PPP) per hour worked?

My answer on Quora: The ideal measure is output or value-add per worker. I say ideal because true output or true value is hard to measure. GDP has been labelled one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, but it is not well suited for the 21st century. When output is a physical item, like […]

What did John Maynard Keynes get right about economics?

My answer on Quora: Two things: 1) Fiscal Policy Very simply (and very broadly), Keynes established that fiscal policy can play a role in managing aggregate demand. In plain English: government spending (whether it’s increasing or decreasing) can help the economy from getting too hot or too cold. When it is too hot (resources (capital […]

Comment: On the Fed engaging with the public

Gillian Tett of the Financial Times recently posed this question in an opinion piece: “How should the Federal Reserve engage with the public?” Soon after becoming chairman of the Fed, Jerome Powell did something no other Fed chairperson (or perhaps any major central bank governor) has done before. He posted a video where he speaks […]

Competition Challenges in the Digital Economy

From Brookings (with Nirav Patel): Slow productivity growth and rising income inequality have shaped the world economy in a time of rapid technological change. A variety of explanations have emerged to help us understand these related trends, but one overarching theme is the decline in competition. The combination of increasingly concentrated markets, rising market power of large firms, and […]

Africa in the World Cup: Building cohesion through the world’s most-watched sport

From Brookings, Africa in Focus blog (with Mariama Sow): The World Cup, which starts this week, is the most-watched sporting event in the world, having reached more than 3 billion people in 2014. This year, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia will be representing Africa. African teams in the World Cup are rarely predicted to advance beyond the […]

Why do people have such strong political opinions about economic issues? If we knew what works economically, why wouldn’t all people already support that?

My answer on Quora: Two key points stand out to me on this issue. The first is on what we know about the economy. The second is on how we talk about the economy. We do know a lot about the economy, but we don’t always know what the best way forward is. This is […]

Assuming all countries have the same rates, what is the optimal average tariff? Is it 0%, or does a small nominal rate produce better outcomes?

My answer on Quora: I do not believe there is such a thing as a common optimal tariff rate across countries. I also do not believe that a world with zero tariffs will produce better outcomes than having a range of country- and industry-specific tariffs (from zero to above zero). This is because countries differ […]