New Research on Trade, Monetary Policy, and Voting in the Midst of COVID-19

New Mercatus Research from March 30-Apr 3

A Pivot to a Services Trade Agenda Can Help Economic Growth

Christine McDaniel | Policy Brief

The coronavirus pandemic has restricted people’s physical movement, but not the exchange of information, knowledge, and other digitally delivered services. The post-coronavirus future will likely continue to include an ever-expanding range of associated business, professional, and technical services that firms and workers deliver digitally.

In her recent policy brief, Christine McDaniel explains how policymakers need to expand their focus beyond goods trade to include a trade agenda that embraces US services in the world economy. She explores trade data, the importance of services for economic growth, key restrictions and how to evade them, and solutions policymakers can pursue to help prevent a dramatic and devastating drop in international commerce in both the short-term and long-term. 

Reforming the Fed’s Toolkit and Quantitative Easing Practices: A Plan to Achieve Level Targeting

Scott Sumner and Patrick Horan | Policy Brief

The COVID-19 pandemic is a major shock to the American economy. Indeed, we are already seeing signs that the United States will experience a severe recession. Market indicators suggest that a weak economy may persist well beyond the actual pandemic, especially if policy responses are poorly designed. 

The pandemic has also pushed short-term interest rates down close to zero, making it difficult for the Federal Reserve to conduct monetary policy by adjusting its traditional primary instrument, the federal funds rate. Scott Sumner and Patrick Horan provide a plan for steps the Fed can take to produce effective monetary policy even when interest rates are at zero.

Time to Prepare for Voting by Mail

Stan Veuger and Daniel Shoag | Policy Brief

The COVID-19 pandemic has arrived just as the American electoral season is dawning. It is easy to imagine a potentially devastating drop in turnout this election cycle, and to ensure the smooth functioning of the US electoral system this fall, it is important to start building a back-up infrastructure that can operate even in the midst of a resurgent pandemic. 

In their recent policy brief, Stan Veuger and Daniel Shoag suggest that states need to start planning immediately to facilitate voting by mail. They discuss its benefits and drawbacks, while demonstrating the importance of innovative voting solutions, given low turnout of the most recent primaries as well as the continuation of preventative measures due to COVID-19.