Over at Equitable Growth: Claims that the Bulk of the Post-2008 Decline in Labor Force Participation Are "Structural" Need to Surmount a Very High Bar Indeed: Friday Focus for September 5, 2014
Playing with GGraph: Basic Market Equilibrium Calculator--GGraph Version

Noted for Your Morning Procrastination for September 5, 2014

Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog


Must- and Shall-Reads:


  1. Gerard Roland and Yuriy Gorodnichenko: Putin’s endgame: "To Putin’s surprise, the Ukrainian government and army have put up serious resistance to his earlier moves. The level of popular support for his people’s republics in the East has also been surprisingly low.... The possible outcomes: (1) Ukraine continues fighting without any material help from the West.... (2) Ukraine continues fighting, the West radically tightens economic sanctions and gives more economic help to Ukraine.... (3) Ukraine continues fighting, the West radically tightens economic sanctions, gives more economic help to Ukraine, and provides military help. While Mr Putin has spent copious amounts of oil dollars to modernise the Russian army, it is no match for Western forces. Even if the West does not send troops to Ukraine and limits military support to supplies of weapons and intelligence, the Ukrainian forces will be able to have an upper hand in combat and it will be a matter of time before they retake the east of Ukraine.... It may take many thousands of lives on both sides before the war is over (scenario 1), or the war may end soon. The tally largely depends on the West’s policy response.... The West’s policy of appeasement has so far been utterly ineffective..."

  2. Daniel Kuehn: Study Design and the Minimum-Wage Debate: "Studies that match labor markets experiencing a minimum-wage increase with an appropriate comparison labor market... tend to find that minimum-wage increases have little or no effect on employment.... Studies that do not match labor markets experiencing a minimum-wage increase with a comparison labor market tend to find that minimum-wage increases reduce employment.... Labor market policy analysts strongly prefer studies that match 'treatment' with 'comparison' cases in a defensible way over studies that simply include controls and fixed effects in a regression model..."

  3. Paul Krugman: Dangerous for Evil: "2009, when I was lamenting bad ideas from freshwater economists and Justin Fox was dismissing them as having no influence on policy.... It turned out that the bad ideas mattered a lot.... The Keynesian policy consensus... was fragile.... Republicans in the US, Germany, and the Trichet-era ECB were strongly anti-Keynesian by instinct. They were temporarily bowled over by the vocal Keynesian consensus... but were ready to grab hold of seemingly credentialed people willing to offer justifications for austerity and hard money. And a quorum of economists obliged. Alesina-Ardagna... good enough to give the austerians an intellectual fig leaf.... Reinhart-Rogoff and the 90 percent of doom. Having John Cochrane insist that Keynesian economics had been proved wrong and nobody was teaching it helped the austerian case even though it was completely untrue; so did having Robert Lucas accuse Christy Romer of being intellectually corrupt. Bad economic ideas didn’t really drive bad policy, but they acted as enablers for bad policy instincts. And the people who promulgated these bad ideas therefore have a lot to answer for."

  4. Jonathan Chait: Economist Denounces One-Sided Slavery Account: "The Economist reviews The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, by Edward Baptist. Not having read the book, I cannot credibly assess it. I do have enough familiarity with the basic facts to know that The Economist's reviewer’s argument that the book is fatally biased seems a little... off: 'Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; it is advocacy.' I can think of reasons other than ideological bias to explain why almost all the black people would be victims, and the white people villains, in a book about white people who captured black people and subjected them to torture, rape, murder, humiliation, and oppressive forced labor. Unless The Economist wants to suggest that there were overlooked cases of deserved slavery, it seems pretty intuitive that the black people are mostly going to be victims in a book about slavery. It also seems like the white people are inevitably not going to come off terribly well, either, in a book about slavery. Sure, there were plenty of white people who had nothing to do with slavery, but they may not feature so heavily in a book about slavery."

  5. Richard Mayhew: En bancing on Halbig "Noted a---- and Washington Post blogger Jonathan Adler’s quest to deny poor people the freedom of getting subsidized health insurance that could improve their well-being was dealt another blow... 'the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted rehearing en banc in Halbig v. Burwell....' Oral argument is scheduled for December 17.  In all likelihood, an opinion would not issue before mid-to-late Spring.... En banc rehearings only occur... to... re-affirm a high priority decision or to correct what the majority of that circuit believes to be a monumental f-----. Halbig is a monumental f-----. Vacating Halbig means there is no Circuit disagreement at this time, so the Supremes are highly unlikely to grant cert for the Oklahoma King case..."

  6. Cosma Shalizi (2012): No, Really, Some of My Best Friends Are Data Scientists: "If, however, the name 'statistician' is avoided because that connotes not a powerful discipline which transforms profound ideas about learning from experience into practical tools, but, rather, a meaningless conglomeration of rituals better conducted with twenty-sided dice, then we as a profession have failed ourselves and, more importantly, the public, and the blame lies with us. Since what we have to offer is really quite wonderful, we should not let that happen."

  7. The Economist: American slavery: Blood cotton: "How slaves built American capitalism: Apology: In our review of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward Baptist, we said: 'Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains.' There has been widespread criticism of this, and rightly so. Slavery was an evil system, in which the great majority of victims were blacks, and the great majority of whites involved in slavery were willing participants and beneficiaries of that evil. We regret having published this and apologise for having done so. We are therefore withdrawing the review but in the interests of transparency, anybody who wants to see the withdrawn review can click here."

And Over Here:

Should Be Aware of:

  1. Gillian Tett: An unequal world is an uncharted economic threat: "What is really interesting about this year’s WEF report... [is] a furtive debate bubbling about income inequality.... If a country (such as America) is becoming polarised, in other words, does this make it less likely to grow?... Since the global economic crisis of 2008, western growth rates have been disappointing.... What is also evident is that inequality has grown in the past few decades in America and many other rich countries. The issue is not simply that wealth has become concentrated (as Thomas Piketty, the French economist, explains in his bestselling book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century). Wage inequality has increased, too.... Then there is the thorny issue of social cohesion and political stability.... Perhaps the biggest single contribution that groups such as the WEF can now make is the simplest: talk loudly about data voids and force governments to collect better data on inequality in America and elsewhere. Particularly if the level of inequality keeps growing..."

  2. Robin Harding: Inequality rises in US despite recovery: "The boom in the stock market and a recovery in house prices fuelled large gains in the wealth of the richest, with the share of assets held by the top 3 per cent of households rising from 51.8 per cent in 2007 to 54.4 per cent in 2013.... Real pre-tax incomes fell in every part of the income distribution except the very top, as income was redistributed upwards. Average incomes for the decile of households rose by 10 per cent from $361,500 to $397,500. Families at the bottom of the income distribution saw continued substantial declines in average real incomes between 2010 and 2013, continuing the trend observed between the 2007 and 2010 surveys.... An important reason for the rising wealth share of the richest was the surge in asset prices that has seen the S&P 500 rally by more than 100 per cent from its trough to trade above 2,000. But again, Fed economists said that is not the whole story.... Ownership rates of housing and businesses fell substantially between 2010 and 2013. For families in the bottom 50 per cent, participation in retirement plans kept falling, further reducing their asset ownership."