25 January 2020

Kenneth Rogoff

Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Harvard University. He was formerly chief economist at the IMF.
  • The claim that issuing government debt has become a veritable free lunch, similar to government profits from currency issuance, has been dangerously overblown, says the author. Photo: Bloomberg

    Government debt is not a free lunch

    - Dec 9, 2019 4:41pm
    With interest rates on government debt at multi-decade lows, a number of leading economists have argued that almost every advanced economy can allow debt to drift up toward Japanese levels (over 150 percent of GDP even...
  • Facebook's Libra plan has inspired many advanced-economy central banks to accelerate their programs to provide broader-based retail digital currencies. Photo: Reuters

    The high stakes of the coming digital currency war

    - Nov 12, 2019 11:40am
    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was at least half right when he recently told the United States Congress that there is no US monopoly on regulation of next-generation payments technology. You may not like Facebook’s proposed Libra...
  • It’s high time to ask how to refocus the IMF's mandate for dealing with emerging-market debt crises, says the author. Photo: Xinhua

    The IMF after Argentina

    - Oct 3, 2019 10:45am
    In case you blinked, the Argentine government built up a pile of debt out of almost nothing with surprising speed, and then proceeded to default on it almost as quickly. Compared to the country’s slow-motion 2002...
  • People take to the streets in an anti-government protest in Caracas, Venezuela, on March 9. Venezuela owes its plight not so much to Trump-era economic sanctions as to its own populist leaders, writes Kenneth Rogoff. Photo: Bloomberg

    As populists rise, Latin America’s economies will fall

    - Jun 6, 2019 9:54am
    Though US President Donald Trump tends to grab most of the headlines, he is hardly a global exception. Populist autocrats have enjoyed a breathtaking rise to power in countries around the world, and nowhere is the...
  • Keeping the renminbi’s exchange rate stable against the US dollar would require China either to match changes in US interest rates, or go through capital-control contortions to try to offset exchange-rate pressures. Photo: Reuters

    Leave the renminbi out of US-China trade talks

    - May 6, 2019 7:42am
    Will a possibly imminent US-China trade agreement exacerbate global business cycles or even plant the seeds of the next Asian financial crisis? If the eventual agreement – assuming there is one – forces China to hew...
  • US 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren participates in a moderated discussion at the We the People Summit in Washington on April 1. Photo: Reuters

    Elizabeth Warren’s big ideas on Big Tech

    - Apr 2, 2019 10:00am
    Displaying a degree of courage and clarity that is difficult to overstate, US senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has taken on Big Tech, including Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple. Warren’s proposals amount to a total rethink...
  • Federal Chair Jerome Powell disagrees with the idea that deficits don’t matter for countries that can borrow in their own currency. Photo: Bloomberg

    Modern monetary nonsense

    - Mar 5, 2019 9:40am
    Just as the US Federal Reserve seems to have beaten back blistering tweets from President Donald Trump, the next battle for central bank independence is already unfolding. And this one could potentially destabilize the entire global...
  • A significant Chinese slowdown may already be unfolding. But China’s economy has been proving doubters wrong for many years. Photo: AFP

    Risks to the global economy in 2019

    - Jan 14, 2019 10:28am
    As Mark Twain never said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you think you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Over the course of this year and next,...
  • Over-reliance on countercyclical fiscal policy will not work any better in this century than in it did in the last, writes Kenneth Rogoff. Photo: Bloomberg

    Central bankers’ fiscal constraints

    - Jan 7, 2019 9:52am
      If you ask most central bankers around the world what their plan is for dealing with the next normal-size recession, you would be surprised how many (at least in advanced economies) say “fiscal policy.” Given...
  • Despite the gyrations in the market, it is too soon to say how the new world of digital currencies will play out. Photo: Reuters

    Betting on dystopia

    - Dec 11, 2018 9:36am
    With the price of Bitcoin down 80 percent from its peak a year ago, and the larger cryptocurrency market in systemic collapse, has “peak crypto” already come and gone? Perhaps, but don’t expect to see true...
  • Norway's Magnus Carlsen (left) and the United States' Fabiano Caruana plot their moves at the World Chess Championship Final in London. Photo: Reuters

    Why human chess survives

    - Nov 29, 2018 10:00am
    With so much angst about artificial intelligence and the future of work, the recent world chess championship in London offers some hope. It is not that mankind has turned the tables on the march of progress....
  • The arbitrary and politically driven nature of Trump’s trade war with China will hurt US growth, argues Kenneth Rogoff. Photo: Bloomberg

    The global impact of a Chinese recession

    - Nov 8, 2018 9:59am
      When China finally has its inevitable growth recession – which will almost surely be amplified by a financial crisis, given the economy’s massive leverage – how will the rest of world be affected? With US...
  • Although Singapore’s growth has slowed, it still compares favorably to Europe. Photo: Bloomberg

    Crazy Rich Asia

    - Oct 10, 2018 9:54am
    In the surprise hit movie “Crazy Rich Asians” (based on a 2013 Kevin Kwan novel), a New York University economics professor (Rachel), travels with her boyfriend to Singapore to meet his family. There, she learns, apparently...
  • Thousands try to cross the Venezuela-Colombia border through the Simon Bolivar International Bridge in San Antonio del Tachira, Venezuela. Photo: Reuters

    The regional costs of Venezuela’s collapse

    - Sep 6, 2018 8:30am
    As Venezuela’s great experiment with “Bolivarian” socialism implodes, it is creating a humanitarian and refugee crisis comparable to Europe in 2015. Traveling by bus, boat, and even on foot through treacherous terrain, around one million Venezuelans...
  • Even if the best bet is that any emerging-market bond meltdown would remain contained, today’s jitters ought to be a wake-up call, even for advanced economies. Photo: Bloomberg

    Are emerging markets the canary in the financial coal mine?

    - Jun 7, 2018 9:38am
      Are brewing exchange-rate and debt crises in Argentina and Turkey localized events without broader implications? Or are they early warning signs of deeper fragilities in bloated global debt markets that are being exposed as the...
  • China’s gains still come largely from adoption of Western technology, and in some cases, appropriation of intellectual property. Photo: Reuters

    Will China really supplant US economic hegemony?

    - Apr 4, 2018 9:53am
    As China and the United States engage in their latest trade tussle, most economists take it as given that China will achieve global economic supremacy in the long run, no matter what happens now. After all,...
  • AI and other new technologies will eventually come to have a much larger impact on global growth than they have up to now. Photo: Bloomberg

    Economists vs scientists on long-term growth

    - Mar 5, 2018 10:39am
    Most economic forecasters have largely shrugged off recent advances in artificial intelligence (for example, the quantum leap demonstrated by DeepMind’s self-learning chess program last December), seeing little impact on longer-term trend growth. Such pessimism is surely...
  • In the US, tertiary education accounts for over 2.5 percent of GDP, and yet much of the money is spent quite inefficiently. Photo: Bloomberg

    When will tech disrupt higher education?

    - Feb 7, 2018 10:50am
      In the early 1990s, at the dawn of the Internet era, an explosion in academic productivity seemed to be around the corner. But the corner never appeared. Instead, teaching techniques at colleges and universities, which...
  • Policy uncertainty in the US is nothing compared to the UK, where businesses face the twin disruptions of Brexit and (potentially) a Labour government led by the far-left Jeremy Corbyn. Photo: Bloomberg

    Giddy markets and grim politics

    - Jan 9, 2018 2:07pm
    Economic growth worldwide picked up in 2017, and the best guess is that the global economy will perform strongly in 2018 as well. At the same time, a rising tide of populism and authoritarianism poses a...
  • Rapidly rising obesity rates could slow or even reverse the dramatic gains in health and life expectancy that much of the world has enjoyed over the past few decades, experts warn. Photo: Bloomberg

    The US is exporting obesity

    - Dec 4, 2017 9:36am
    As US President Donald Trump’s administration throws sharp elbows in trade negotiations and systematically rescinds regulations introduced by President Barack Obama, one casualty is likely to be efforts to fight the global obesity epidemic. Left unchecked,...