Economics

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Economics is a discipline concerned with the consumption, production, and transfer of wealth by and among individuals (microeconomics) and communities or nations (macroeconomics); subspecialties range from economic development and planning to health economics and international economic relations. RAND's many economists contribute to multidisciplinary research projects by exploring the intersections where economics informs social, military, and governmental policy decisions.

  • U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer meet with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to wrap up work on coronavirus economic aid legislation, Washington, D.C., March 20, 2020, photo by Mary F. Calvert/Reuters

    Q&A

    The Economic Wallop of COVID-19: Q&A with RAND Experts

    Mar 26, 2020

    As Washington continues to weigh economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, here are insights from RAND experts on how aid money might be best allocated, how this crisis compares to the 2008 recession, what business communities can do right now, and more.

  • People wait in line to file for unemployment following an outbreak of COVID-19 at an Arkansas Workforce Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas, April 6, 2020, photo by Nick Oxford/Reuters

    Commentary

    Millions Need Unemployment Benefits. Unfortunately, the Delivery System Is Broken

    Apr 6, 2020

    More than 10 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance in March as businesses closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington's stimulus package enacted welcome measures to tide people over, but these temporary fixes don't address some serious structural problems.

Explore Economics

  • Blog

    Political Violence, COVID-19 Vaccine Questions, Mental Health Care: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on why we need to brace for more political violence after the Capitol attack, COVID-19 vaccine questions and answers, how to reform the U.S. mental health system, and more.

    Jan 15, 2021

  • A woman stands on a ruined building after Hurricane Eta, in Wawa Bar, a Miskito indigenous community in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, November 23, 2020, photo by Katlyn Holland/CRS /Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Previous Disasters Provide Important Lessons for Central America's Recovery from Hurricanes

    As the global community works together to assist Central America in recovering from the disastrous 2020 hurricane season, experiences from other recent disaster recovery efforts offer some helpful lessons, both for the governments of the region as well as outsiders providing resources and support.

    Jan 11, 2021

  • Signage posted on the entrance of the New York State Department of Labor offices in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, March 20, 2020, photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Bell That Can't Be Unrung: The CARES Act and Unemployment Insurance

    The CARES Act broadcasted to everyone that Unemployment Insurance can do better by workers and employers. Congress can debate the hows of permanent reform, but its actions in 2020 proved the need.

    Jan 7, 2021

  • A woman from Minnesota holds up her U.S. bottle of NovoLog insulin and a Canadian box of NovoRapid, which she bought at a pharmacy in Ontario, Canada, June 29, 2019, photo by Geoff Robins/The Canadian Press via AP

    Essay

    The Astronomical Price of Insulin Hurts American Families

    More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and nearly a quarter of them use insulin to manage their symptoms and prevent life-threatening complications. The price they have to pay for insulin is more than ten times higher than the average prices in 32 other countries combined.

    Jan 6, 2021

  • New members of Congress are sworn in during the first session of the 117th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, January 3, 2021, photo by Tasos Katopodis/Reuters

    Commentary

    Unemployment Insurance and the Failure to Reform

    Unemployment Insurance is the primary U.S. policy tool for sustaining workers during periods of high unemployment. But it has a history of being repeatedly neglected. Federal reform has been stalled for nearly 50 years.

    Jan 5, 2021

  • Chilean president Sebastián Piñera receives the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines in Santiago de Chile, Chile, December 24, 2020, photo by Sebastian Rodríguez/Presidencia/Reuters

    Commentary

    Vaccine Nationalism Has Real Economic Consequences

    Vaccine nationalism, in which countries prioritize their domestic needs at the expense of others, will have significant global economic consequences. Major economies actually have more to gain by helping to make an effective COVID-19 vaccine widely available globally.

    Dec 30, 2020

  • A consignment of USAID medical equipment is offloaded at the Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, August 24, 2014, photo by James Giahyue/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why We 'Send Them Money'

    Why does the United States send foreign countries American taxpayer money? The answer, in short, is because it serves U.S. self-interest to do so. Aid is not some act of charity at the American taxpayers' expense; it can help keep Americans safer, more prosperous, and secure.

    Dec 30, 2020

  • Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and China's Premier Li Keqiang shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China July 4, 2019, photo by Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Isn't Backing Down in South Asia

    Much to India's frustration, China's influence is on the rise across South Asia. India will probably have to work overtime, and in concert with like-minded partners such as Australia, Japan, and the United States to complicate and rein in China's successes in the region.

    Dec 30, 2020

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    The economic benefits of equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines

    Researchers used a global macroeconomic model to examine the economic effects of vaccine nationalism. This brief highlights the cost to 30 high-income countries if low and middle-income countries miss out on initial access to COVID-19 vaccines.

    Dec 17, 2020

  • People walk near India Gate on a smoggy afternoon in New Delhi, India, November 15, 2020, photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Curb Climate Change After COVID-19? Fast-Growing India and Brazil Are Key

    India and Brazil are facing pressure to launch recoveries after the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. Will they backslide on their Paris climate agreement commitments, or will the expected return of the United States to the pact encourage them to build a more sustainable economic future?

    Dec 15, 2020

  • Overhead view of a container ship in port, photo by CHUNYIP WONG/Getty Images

    Commentary

    RCEP Forms the World's Largest Trading Bloc. What Does This Mean for Global Trade?

    In November, 15 nations signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free-trade agreement of economic and political significance eight years in the making. Why have some heralded RCEP as a landmark agreement?

    Dec 9, 2020

  • A lightbulb depicting innovation and technology, photo by Blackboard/Adobe Stock

    Report

    China's Propensity for Innovation in the 21st Century

    China aspires to be a major creator of new technologies and novel value-adding applications for those that already exist. How far will China be able to go toward achieving this goal? And what information is needed to better understand China’s propensity for innovation?

    Dec 3, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Estimating the Global Economic Benefits of Physically Active Populations Over 30 Years (2020–2050)

    We assess the potential benefits of increased physical activity for the global economy for 23 countries and the rest of the world from 2020 to 2050. The main factors taken into account in the economic assessment are excess mortality and lower productivity.

    Dec 1, 2020

  • South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a meeting in Seoul, December 04, 2019, photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Pool via Reuters

    Report

    The Geopolitics of South Korea–China Relations

    As Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific increases, U.S. allies and partners are adapting their strategic posture. But even as a key U.S. ally, South Korea seems different. How is Beijing’s growing influence in regional affairs affecting relations between South Korea and China? And what effect do they have on U.S. policy in the Indo-Pacific?

    Nov 18, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    On the Value of the Umbilical Cord Blood Supply

    Several public cord blood banks are struggling financially, and the question remains whether additional allocations of funds to them are justified. This article estimates the social benefits of public cord blood bank inventory net of cord blood banks' operational costs.

    Nov 17, 2020

  • Empty Wallet

    Multimedia

    Income Distribution in the United States: How It’s Changed Since the 1970s

    RAND senior mathematician Carter Price describes how income distribution and the sharing of economic growth has changed since the 1970s.

    Nov 11, 2020

  • A nurse prepares to inject a potential COVID-19 vaccine into a human patient, photo by PordeeStudio/Adobe Stock.

    Research Brief

    Unequal Access to COVID-19 Vaccines Would Further Damage the Global Economy

    As long as the coronavirus is not under control in all regions of the world there will continue to be a global economic cost associated with COVID-19. Vaccine nationalism could cost up to $1.2 trillion a year in GDP. If the poorest countries cannot access vaccines, the loss would be between $60 and $340 billion a year.

    Nov 5, 2020

  • Laos Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith (L) and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi following a meeting in Beijing, China, August 3, 2016, photo by Rolex Dela Pena/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Vietnam Is Losing Its Best Friends to China

    The wide range of Chinese activities with Cambodia and Laos must be jarring for Vietnamese leaders. China has eclipsed Vietnam in Indochina, and that means that Hanoi's angst will only continue to rise in its own backyard. Vietnam will likely have to find alternative means of engaging Cambodia and Laos to combat Chinese influence in this critical region in the years to come.

    Nov 2, 2020

  • Vials of COVID-19 vaccine, photo by MarsBars/Getty Images

    Report

    COVID-19 'Vaccine Nationalism' Could Cost $1.2 Trillion a Year

    Nationalistic behavior by governments may exclude some countries from access to COVID-19 vaccines. This could cost the world economy up to $1.2 trillion a year in GDP. A globally coordinated effort to fight the pandemic is key, not only from a public health perspective but also an economic one.

    Oct 28, 2020

  • Arrows with UK and EU flag images pointing in opposite directions on the ground, with legs and shoes viewed from above, photo by Delpixart/Getty Images

    Commentary

    A Free Trade Agreement Still Comes with Costs

    Major issues must be resolved before any UK-EU agreement on post-Brexit trade and economic relations is completed. There will be substantial costs associated with even a zero-tariff trade deal.

    Oct 23, 2020