October 8, 2013 | By

Making a 'World of Cents'

Once upon a time, economic matters were seen as peripheral in global affairs. International relations could be found in the front section; markets and finance were subjects for the business pages.

No more. A budget dispute in Washington has prevented President Obama from traveling to meet with Asia-Pacific leaders. Had he been able to attend, negotiations for a massive trade agreement would have been the most salient topic of discussion. And the entire European post-war political project now seems to revolve around questions of sovereign debt, bank supervision, and the promises of the European Central Bank.

This blog will be a forum to discuss such matters. In a world in which economic imperatives can drive foreign policies and political disputes can propel economic measures, the interconnections can be fascinating to explore.

I will freely share my thoughts – the perspective of a PhD economist who has also worked at the State Department – but I will also welcome select others who can enrich the conversation. One opportunity to bring in such voices will occur in the latter part of this month, when leading thinkers about international trade gather in Chicago to discuss the global trade policy agenda.

Whether the contributions are mine or from others, whether they deal with trade, finance, or development, the hope is that they will all offer insight into global affairs and they will all make a “world of cents.”


Phil Levy is senior fellow on the global economy at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Previously he was associate professor of business administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He was formerly a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and taught at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. From 2003 to 2006, he served first as senior economist for trade for President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers and then as a member of Secretary of State Rice’s Policy Planning Staff, covering international economic matters. Before working in government, he was a faculty member of Yale University’s Department of Economics for nine years and spent one of those as academic director of Yale’s Center for the Study of Globalization.

His academic writings have appeared in such outlets as The American Economic ReviewEconomic Journal, and theJournal of International Economics. He is a regular contributor to Foreign Policy magazine’s online Shadow Government section and writes on topics including trade policy, economic relations with China, and the European economic crisis. Dr. Levy has testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Joint Economic Committee, the House Committee on Ways and Mean, and the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He received his PhD in Economics from Stanford University in 1994 and his AB in Economics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1988.


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