Atrios on the Federal Reserve's Bill Poole
Liveblogging World War II: February 21, 1943

Noted for February 21, 2013

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  • Paul Krugman: The Great Dollar Decline: "Matt O’Brien is covering the continuing Scarborough freakout over bearded prophets of non-doom; better him than me…. JoScar… [has] graduated from frantic appeals to imagined authority… to efforts to make his case with actual data…. But this particular episode jogged me into doing something I’ve been meaning to do for a while: talk about the causes of the big decline in the dollar during the Bush years. As O’Brien says, it’s ludicrous to blame this pre-crisis decline on deficits that only ballooned after the crisis struck; it’s also bizarre to think of the dollar’s decline as a tragedy, when it actually took place in the context of mostly low inflation and a growing economy. Still, what was actually going on?… [M]aybe the question isn’t why the dollar fell so much during the Bush years, but rather why it was so strong during the late Clinton years. (The tech boom/bubble is an obvious answer). It’s also interesting to ask who the dollar declined against. And the main answer is Canada and Europe…. [T]he decline in the dollar under Bush probably had more to do with what was going on in our trading partners than with what was going on here. And in any case, again, it was not a problem for America."

  • Steve Benen on the sequester: Reality 1, Boehner 0

  • Lisa D. Cook, Trevon D. Logan, John M. Parman: Distinctively Black Names in the American Past: "We document the existence of a distinctive national naming pattern for African Americans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We use census records to identify a set of high-frequency names among African Americans that were unlikely to be held by whites. We confirm the distinctiveness of the names using over five million death certificates from Alabama, Illinois and North Carolina from the early twentieth century. The names we identify in the census records are similarly distinctive in these three independent data sources. Surprisingly, approximately the same percentage of African Americans had 'black names' historically as they do today. No name that we identify as a historical black name, however, is a contemporary black name. The literature has assumed that black names are a product of the Civil Rights Movement, yet our results suggest that they are a long-standing cultural norm among African Americans. This is the first evidence that distinctively racialized names existed long before the Civil Rights Era, establishing a new fact in the historical literature."

  • Linda Beale: ataxingmatter: Mark Thoma puts Holtz-Eakin on (figurative) hot seat

  • Project Syndicate: Dismal Soothsaying

  • Chris Meissner: Capital Flows, Credit Booms, and Financial Crises in the Classical Gold Standard Era: "The classical gold standard period, 1880-1913, witnessed deep economic integration. High capital imports were related to better growth performance but may also have created greater volatility via financial crises. I first document the substantial output losses from various types of crises. I then explore the relationship between crises and two forces highlighted in the recent literature on financial crises: international capital movements and credit growth. Neither factor is sufficient to explain financial crises in this period. Instead, interactions between the informational environment, the fiscal situation, the exchange rate regime, and events beyond a nation’s borders all help explain crises. Some examples are provided."

  • Andrew Sullivan: Why Hagel Matters: "[A] huge amount of this is opposition to any US defense secretary who doesn’t see Israel as a 51st state or somehow subject to evangelical theological doctrines… they particularly oppose a defense secretary who believes that Israel’s continued settlement of the West Bank is a huge liability for the US in its relationship with the entire Muslim and Arab world…. Then there’s Hagel’s deadly combination of two Purple Hearts and a foreign policy realism versus Dick Cheney’s five deferments in Vietnam and “ignorant interventionism”. But Josh Marshall also notes the broader generational fact that Hagel and Obama do not see the Middle East as the center of America’s security challenges…. 'Hagel… is part of the Scowcroft/Brezinzski et al. running critique of Bush era foreign policy…. [T]hat’s extremely threatening to some people.' Indeed it is. For that is one reason they get up in the morning…. [T]he neocon fanatics are threatened. As history unfolds, their catastrophic ideology will come to seem the temporary and horrifying exception, not the new rule. And when a member of their own party helps advance their consignment to the dustbin of failed ideologies, you can see why they are having a conniption. Meep meep."

  • How Paul Krugman broke a Wikipedia page on economics: "There’s a lockdown on the Wikipedia page for Austrian economics… Paul Krugman’s fault…. One side… is objecting… on the grounds that what Krugman describes as Austrian economics doesn’t actually represent the reality of Austrian economics…. The Krugman critique in question pointed out that many self-styled Austrians had declared that a dire, disastrous, Zimbabean/Weimar Germany outbreak of hyperinflation would be the inevitable consequence of the stimulus spending and other federal policies expanding access to credit in the wake of the financial crash…. Krugman… did say this: 'That is my experience with the Austrians: whenever you try to pin them down, they insist that you fail to understand their profound ideas. And they have indeed been predicting runaway inflation for years now; it’s interesting that they can neither explain why they were wrong nor admit that this poses a problem.'"

  • Andrew Gelman "Louis Mittel writes: 'Do you know why David Brooks has such a beef with data?' My reply: 'I have no idea, but I’m happy that we’re now considered the establishment that he has to rebel against!'"

  • Andrew Jalil: Seminar 237/281 - Feb 26th: Occidental College: Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 2:00pm - 3:30pm, 597 Evans Hall: "Comparing Tax and Spending Multipliers: It's All About Controlling for Monetary Policy."

  • Dean Dad: Confessions of a Community College Dean: Thoughts on Graduate Training: "[N]o intelligent observer can deny that the production of doctoral candidates in the evergreen disciplines far exceeds the demand for them in academic positions…. That’s why I see no contradiction between saying 'students would benefit from taking Intro to American Government' and 'I wouldn’t encourage my kids to do what I did'.  The former speaks to the intellectual richness of the subject; the latter speaks to the institutional economics of higher education.  Those are not the same thing.  I can simultaneously believe that many students would benefit from a thoughtful examination of politics, and that it’s unlikely that tenure-track jobs in poli sci will suddenly explode.  I love jazz, but I have no illusions that this year it will outsell Bieber…. [S]top overproducing.  Yes, that may lead to a loss of 'access', but in a setting in which so many people can’t find anything more lucrative than adjuncting, I have to ask 'access to what?'  Some graduate programs should shrink, some should re-focus, and some should phase out.  After forty years of this, it’s unethical not to. Finally, and again, I can’t believe this is controversial, pay some attention to teaching."

  • M. Keith Chen: The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from Savings Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets

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On February 20, 2013: