COMMENTARY: San Francisco’s Real Estate Nightmare: Office Vacancies and Urban Flight

Devan Bhumralkar, Stanford University -- In early 2023, the office vacancy rate in San Francisco climbed to a record 34.6%. The compounded effects of the remote work movement, massive layoffs in the tech industry, and the general economic downturn have left the city’s once-thriving financial district seemingly empty. Although one of the worst examples, San Francisco is not unique: High office vacancies have been the story nationwide, with cities like New York and Chicago seeing vacancy rates of 16% and 19%, respectively. 


LONG-FORM COMMENTARY: The True Cause of Silicon Valley Bank’s Collapse

Andrew Zeng, Stanford University -- On March 10th, 2023, Silicon Valley Bank, a premier financial institution in the startup world, suddenly collapsed. The federal government soon seized its assets, and as its clients tried, increasingly in vain, to withdraw their deposits, panic soon set in. Wealthy, platformed individuals began demanding that the government bail out the bank and compensate them, while news anchors and financial analysts predicted a ripple effect that would irreversibly end the dominance of Silicon Valley.

Commentary, Macroeconomics

LONG-FORM COMMENTARY: Meeting the Fed’s Mandate: The Recent Past and a Look Into the Future

Rutvij Thakkar, Claremont McKenna -- The Federal Reserve’s dual mandate is as simple as holding unemployment below 4% and inflation below 2%. Unemployment should ideally be at the “natural rate” or the lowest unemployment rate possible without creating inflation. According to the Federal Reserve Economic Database, it’s the rate of unemployment arising from all sources except fluctuations in aggregate demand. Since the Baby Boomer generation has chosen to leave the workforce and retire, the Natural Rate—now called the Noncyclical Rate—of unemployment has consistently declined since 1980 to approximately 4%.


COMMENTARY: New Crisis, New Plan: Lessons Learned From China’s Response to Its Recent Housing Crisis

Jenna Teterin, Stanford University -- 2008 and 2009. Mortgage defaults, foreclosures, bank bailouts. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These are all words and phrases that come to mind when talking about the housing crisis. The collapse of financial institutions caused by subprime mortgage rates in 2008 and 2009 was felt by the entire United States; more acutely by the over six million American households that lost their homes. But there’s a new housing crisis looming—just not in the United States. The Evergrande Crisis, eponymously named after the Chinese property giant, has introduced a new epidemic of individual and public real estate catastrophes.


COMMENTARY: The Digital African Giant

Chidera Ejueyitchie, University of Southern California -- With talk of self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and metaverses dominating the headlines, it is hard not to fantasize about the exciting technological innovations the future holds in store. But somehow, despite all the buzz, the prevailing vision of a futuristic new world still has a missing piece—a blank spot the size of a continent. This isn’t the first time Africa has been forgotten: The continent has lagged behind through each industrial revolution. Today, the African tech industry is ready to finally put an end to this game of catch up.


BLOG: Is Finance Making Geography Increasingly Insignificant?

By Yuxiang Hou, College of William and Mary
This paper attempts to revisit “the end of geography” debate by incorporating both established theoretical frameworks and the latest empirical evidence. It argues that for five reasons finance is not making geography increasingly insignificant. However, in the long run, things may be different.