Steve Hanke's Blog

Professor of Applied Economics
The Johns Hopkins University

Steve H. Hanke is a Professor of Applied Economics and Co-Director of the Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., a Senior Advisor at the Renmin University of China’s International Monetary Research Institute in Beijing, a Special Counselor to the Center for Financial Stability in New York, a contributing editor at Central Banking in London, and a contributor at Forbes. Prof. Hanke is also a member of the Charter Council of the Society of Economic Measurement and of Euromoney Country Risk’s Experts Panel.

In the past, Prof. Hanke taught economics at the Colorado School of Mines and at the University of California, Berkeley. He served as a Member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers in Maryland in 1976-77, as a Senior Economist on President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers in 1981-82, and as a Senior Advisor to the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress in 1984-88. Prof. Hanke served as a State Counselor to both the Republic of Lithuania in 1994-96 and the Republic of Montenegro in 1999-2003. He was also an Advisor to the Presidents of Bulgaria in 1997-2002, Venezuela in 1995-96, and Indonesia in 1998. He played an important role in establishing new currency regimes in Argentina, Estonia, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ecuador, Lithuania, and Montenegro. Prof. Hanke has also held senior appointments in the governments of many other countries, including Albania, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yugoslavia.

Prof. Hanke has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees by the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (2003), the Free University of Tbilisi (2010), Istanbul Kültür University (2012), the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (2013), Varna Free University (2015), the Universität Liechtenstein (2017), and the D.A. Tsenov Academy of Economics (2018) in recognition of his scholarship on exchange-rate regimes. He is a Distinguished Associate of the International Atlantic Economic Society, a Distinguished Professor at the Universitas Pelita Harapan in Jakarta, Indonesia, a Professor Asociado (the highest honor awarded to international experts of acknowledged competence) at the Universidad del Azuay in Cuenca, Ecuador, a Profesor Visitante at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (the UPC’s highest academic honor), and the ECAEF Gottfried von Haberler Professor at the European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation in Liechtenstein. In 1998, he was named one of the twenty-five most influential people in the world by World Trade Magazine.

Prof. Hanke is a well-known currency and commodity trader. Currently, he serves as a member of the Supervisory Board of Advanced Metallurgical Group N.V. in Amsterdam and Chairman Emeritus of the Friedberg Mercantile Group, Inc. in Toronto. During the 1990s, he served as President of Toronto Trust Argentina in Buenos Aires, the world’s best-performing emerging market mutual fund in 1995.

Prof. Hanke’s most recent books are Zimbabwe: Hyperinflation to Growth (2008) and A Blueprint for a Safe, Sound Georgian Lari (2010), Juntas Monetarias para Paises en Desarollo (2015), and Currency Boards for Developing Countries: A Handbook (2015).

Prof. Hanke and his wife, Liliane, reside in Baltimore and Paris.

Monetary Policies Misunderstood

Ever since the US Federal Reserve (Fed) began to consider raising the federal funds rate, which it eventually did in December 2015, a cottage industry has grown up around taper talk. Will the Fed raise rates, or won’t it?

Those Gruelling US Tax Rates: A Global Perspective

The Tax Foundation released its inaugural “International Tax Competitiveness Index” (ITCI) on September 15th, 2014. The United States was ranked an abysmal 32nd out of the 34 OECD member countries for the year 2014.

The Monetary Approach Reigns Supreme

We are still in the grip of the Great Recession. Economic growth remains anemic and below its trend rate in most parts of the world. And what’s more, this state of subdued economic activity has been with us for over seven years.

Bitcoin Might Not Be Money, But Cryptocurrencies Are the Way of the Future

The intermediary-free, digital transactions characteristic of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are an important step towards exchanges free of regulatory meddling. In addition, this technology should enable low-cost banking accessible to anyone with a cellphone.

Let the Data Speak: The Truth Behind Minimum Wage Laws

President Obama set the chattering classes abuzz after his recent unilateral announcement to raise the minimum wage for newly hired Federal contract workers. During his State of the Union address in January...

Venezuela’s Plunging Petroleum Production and Exchange Controls Problem

A hallmark of socialism and interventionism is failure. Venezuela is compelling proof of this, having spent the past half century going down the tubes. Indeed, in the 1950’s, it was one of Latin America’s most well off countries.

Bernanke’s Monetary Mess

Most who have graded Prof. Ben Bernanke’s twelve years at the Federal Reserve have issued marks which range from A to a gentleman’s C. I think those marks are much too generous. Indeed, I think a failing mark would be more appropriate.

Venezuela’s Playbook: The Communist Manifesto

It seems as though each passing day brings yet another piece of bad economic news coming out of Venezuela. For months, I have been tracking the decline of Venezuela’s economy and its currency, the bolivar.

Europe’s Bank Money Blues

Well, it’s official, the economic talkinghead establishment has declared war on Germany. The opening shots in this battle were fired by none other than the United States Treasury Department,which had the audacity to blame Germany for a weak Eurozone recovery in its semi-annual foreign exchange report.

Hyperinflation Edges Closer in Venezuela

The story of the Venezuelan economy and its troubled currency, the bolivar, can be summed up with the following phrase: “From bad to worse”—over and over again. Yes, the ever deteriorating situation in Venezuela has taken yet another turn for the worse.

Rankings That Rankle

The World Bank has been producing its annual “Doing Business” report since 2004 and its 2014 edition ranking Hong Kong second out of 189 economies surveyed, in contrast to mainland China’s score of 96, hardly seems controversial.

The NSA’s Rent Is Too Damn High

For months, the American public has received a steady stream of new information detailing the massive scale and scope of the United States’ spying activities. Of course, maintaining a surveillance state powerful enough to reach into the inboxes of world leaders, friend and foe, is not cheap.

Yellen, the Hawk?

Well, it’s official. President Obama has picked Janet Yellen as his nominee to be the next Federal Reserve Chairman. In the months leading up to this announcement, the press unanimously dubbed Yellen the Queen of the Doves, pointing to her reluctance to roll back the Fed’s Quantitative Easing program.

Doing Business, Singapore Style

Since 2004, the World Bank has produced the annual Doing Business report, which ranks countries on ten factors reflecting the ease with which entrepreneurs and businesses may conduct economic activity in a given country.

The Federal Reserve vs. Small Business

Given all the attention that the Federal Reserve has garnered for its monetary “stimulus” programs, it’s perplexing to many that the U.S. has been mired in a credit crunch. After all, conventional wisdom tells us that the Fed’s policies...