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October 2018

Some Fairly-Recent Must- and Should-Reads

stacks and stacks of books

  1. (Late) Monday Smackdown: Why Does Clive Crook Think the EU Has a Duty to Sacrifice the Interests Rights of Its Constituents in Brexit Negotiations?: I did not punish this a year ago because it seemed... intemperate. Now it seems not extreme enough. Perhaps if Clive Crook and his colleagues had dared to say: "The Brexiters are bad people pursuing bad policies. They need to be stopped." Instead he and his ilk talked about how important it was that the U.K . have "a fundamentally new relationship" with the E.U., and that the E.U. should bend over backward to make the Brexiters look as good as possible. Not a good look... #globalization #journamalism #orangehairedbaboons

  2. Sigh Yet More Cleaning Up After the Cockroaches: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal: Only one of the many economists quoted by Weisman would sign on to the claims that "deficits don't matter" and that "the argument against deficits is more about self-righteous moralism than economics": Kevin Hassett. Eric Engen wouldn't. Glenn Hubbard wouldn't. I certainly wouldn't. Ben Friedman wouldn't. Peter Orszag wouldn't. Bill Gale wouldn't. Bill Niskanen wouldn't. If Weisman had bothered to read the last paragraph of the Engen-Hubbard paper he cites, he would have noted that they explicitly reject the claim that "deficits don't matter"... #journamalism

  3. Note to Self: machine learning is no better than the people it is learning from... #notetoself #riseoftherobots

  4. Note to Self: Griqua's Prayer https://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/06/what-is-griguas-prayer.html... #history #notetoself


  1. Wayne La Pierre, the rest of the National Rifle Administration, and Kevin McCarthy are very happy with the press reaction to the Pittsburgh murders. Just saying: Shakezula: It's Not Tone Deaf When They Know Exactly What Tone They're Setting: "The leaders of America’s white supremacist movement wants more implausibly deniable murders of people who aren’t acceptably white. A combination of arrogance and seeing how the press willingly leaps into the 'Who’s to blame? Who can say?' trap is why organizations like the NRA don’t see a downside to publishing this sort a thing, even as the victims of man well-versed in anti-Semitic propaganda are being buried. And the cycle of incitement and death won’t stop until white supremacy is stamped out of existence, not allowed to fester and emerge again in another decade or generation... #orangehairedbaboons #neofascism

  2. Steve Rathje: When Correcting a Lie, Don't Repeat It. Do This Instead: "Correcting false claims can often backfire, spreading them even further.... Talk about the truth first. Then, we should briefly note the lie before going back to the truth... a #truthsandwich... #orangehairedbaboons #publicsphere #cognition

  3. Martin Sandbu: The US’s Lost Decade: "The wasted economic output thus begins to approach 50 per cent of annual GDP. And this is still conservative. It does not consider that even faster demand growth might have been met by increased hours worked. Nor does it consider that overall or 'total factor' productivity (above that gained from simply having more capital) could have responded positively to a 'high-pressure economy'... #hysteresis #greatrecession #monetarypolicy

  4. Laura McGann: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is being held to a higher standard than men: "Male politicians aren’t told to put training wheels back on after a fact check... #gender #journamalism #politics

  5. My take was always that this was overwhelmingly that "feminized" occupations have low pay. But Folbre and Smith make a strong case that other causes are also important: Nancy Folbre and Kristin Smith: The wages of care: Bargaining power, earnings and inequality: "The earnings of managers and professionals employed in care industries (health, education, and social services), characterized by high levels of public and non-profit provision, are significantly lower than in other industries... #gender #labormarket

  6. U.S. Constitution: Emolument Clause: "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State... #orangehairedbaboon

  7. Sendhil Mullainathan: Using Machine Learning to Understand Health Care Systems: "Machine learning is earnestly being applied to automate tasks in medicine—in effect as a medical technology. The same tools, though, can also be used to improve our understanding of the health system itself... #riseoftherobots #berkeley

  8. Jamelle Bouie: Trump’s Embrace of Racial Bigotry Has Shifted What Is Acceptable in America: "Racial violence exists on a continuum. Trump’s use of racially violent language enables racially violent acts... #orangehairedbaboons

  9. David Anderson: Electoral victories and Medicaid: "In seventeen hours, Virginia will start accepting enrollment for their new Medicaid expansion. Coverage goes live on January 1, 2019. Virginia is expanding Medicaid because of a massive electoral victory of a coalition that highly values Medicaid expansion.... If you want to see Medicaid expanded, voting for candidates who, when they win, want to expand Medicaid is the best way of doing that...

  10. Susquehanna Polling and Research: PA Congressional District 16: "Brushfire Poll Conducted October 29-30, 2018 Sample Size: 405 Likely Voters.... In the election for United States Congress, if the election were held today would you vote for Republican Mike Kelly or Democrat Ron DiNicola?... Republican Mike Kelly 189 47%. 2. Democrat Ron DiNicola 205 51%... #politics

  11. Paul Gilster: ‘Oumuamua, Thin Films and Lightsails

  12. Jan Christian Smuts: Selections from the Smuts Papers: Volume 4, November 1918-August 1919: "The Griqua Prayer...

  13. Michael Mussa: Argentina and the Fund: From Triumph to Tragedy

  14. Doug Jones: “The Aryans”: "For most of the later twentieth century Anglo-American archeologists went out of their way to avoid topics like migration, barbarian invasions, and population replacements...

  15. Austin Clemens: Schumer and Heinrich Introduced a Bill to Create New Measures of Economic Growth: "Very excited.... @HBoushey and I have written extensively about the need to track growth not just for the economy as a whole but for Americans at every point along the income curve...

  16. Equitable Growth alumnus Nick Bunker: That’s Not to Say That Wage Growth Is Now Adequate or at a Healthy Level: "Time for our quarterly check-in on wage and compensation growth with the ECI. And here we are!...


#shouldreads

Note to Self: Griqua's Prayer https://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/06/what-is-griguas-prayer.html

At Versailles, South African Prime Minister Jan Christian Smuts wrote about how he and Keynes sat up night after night and:

rail[ed] against the world and the coming flood. And I tell him that this is the time for Grigua’s Prayer (the Lord to come himself and not to send his Son, as this is not a time for children). And then we laugh, and behind the laughter is [Herbert] Hoover’s horrible picture of thirty million people who must die unless there is some great intervention. But then again we think that things are never really as bad as that; and something will turn up, and the worst will never be. And somehow all these phases of feeling are true and right in some sense… (Robert Skidelsky, Hopes Betrayed, page 373, quoting J.C. Smuts).

Continue reading "" »


Susquehanna Polling and Research: PA Congressional District 16: "Brushfire Poll Conducted October 29-30, 2018 Sample Size: 405 Likely Voters.... In the election for United States Congress, if the election were held today would you vote for Republican Mike Kelly or Democrat Ron DiNicola?... Republican Mike Kelly 189 47%. 2. Democrat Ron DiNicola 205 51%...

Continue reading "" »


U.S. Constitution: Emolument Clause: "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State...

Continue reading " " »


My take was always that this was overwhelmingly that "feminized" occupations have low pay. But Folbre and Smith make a strong case that other causes are also important: Nancy Folbre and Kristin Smith: The wages of care: Bargaining power, earnings and inequality: "The earnings of managers and professionals employed in care industries (health, education, and social services), characterized by high levels of public and non-profit provision, are significantly lower than in other industries...

Continue reading "" »


Martin Sandbu: The US’s Lost Decade: "The wasted economic output thus begins to approach 50 per cent of annual GDP. And this is still conservative. It does not consider that even faster demand growth might have been met by increased hours worked. Nor does it consider that overall or 'total factor' productivity (above that gained from simply having more capital) could have responded positively to a 'high-pressure economy'...

Continue reading "" »


Wayne La Pierre, the rest of the National Rifle Administration, and Kevin McCarthy are very happy with the press reaction to the Pittsburgh murders. Just saying: Shakezula: It's Not Tone Deaf When They Know Exactly What Tone They're Setting: "The leaders of America’s white supremacist movement wants more implausibly deniable murders of people who aren’t acceptably white. A combination of arrogance and seeing how the press willingly leaps into the 'Who’s to blame? Who can say?' trap is why organizations like the NRA don’t see a downside to publishing this sort a thing, even as the victims of man well-versed in anti-Semitic propaganda are being buried. And the cycle of incitement and death won’t stop until white supremacy is stamped out of existence, not allowed to fester and emerge again in another decade or generation...

Continue reading "" »


*Sigh* Yet More Cleaning Up After the Cockroaches: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal

Author: Sigh Yet More Cleaning Up After the Cockroaches: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal: "A normal person, reading Jonathan Weisman in the Washington Post on June 8, would conclude (i) that Steven Moore is an economist, and (ii) that Kevin Hassett, Eric Engen, Glenn Hubbard, Greg Mankiw, and many other economists are 'reevaluating' the view that budget deficits are a significant minus for the economy, believe that 'the argument against deficits is more about self-righteous moralism than economics', and broadly agree with Richard Cheney's declaration that 'deficits don't matter'...

Continue reading "*Sigh* Yet More Cleaning Up After the Cockroaches: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal" »


(Late) Monday Smackdown: Why Does Clive Crook Think the EU Has a Duty to Sacrifice the Interests Rights of Its Constituents in Brexit Negotiations?

I did not punish this a year ago because it seemed... intemperate. Now it seems not extreme enough. Perhaps if Clive Crook and his colleagues had dared to say: "The Brexiters are bad people pursuing bad policies. They need to be stopped." Instead he and his ilk talked about how important it was that the U.K . have "a fundamentally new relationship" with the E.U., and that the E.U. should bend over backward to make the Brexiters look as good as possible. Not a good look:

Brexit_Means_Brexit

Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Across my desk this morning comes this. And it makes me ask: Whatever happened to the sharp, thoughtful, and witty Clive Crook of 2000? Brexiteers lied, and said that Brexit would bring £350 million a week to boost Britain's National Health Service, that Britons would still be able to live in Europe at will while kicking undesirable continentals out, and that Briton would have a hard border with the EU while still having a soft border with the Irish Republic. It was always a grift. Clive Crook now seems to want... what? For the EU to work hard to make Brexit as small a catastrophe as possible? For the EU sacrifice the rights and interests of its citizens to promote the careers of a bunch of neo-fascist nativist grifter politicians in Westminster? Crook seems to think that the EU should be negotiating as if this were an "on what terms will Britain remain in the EU?" deal. But Brexit means Brexit: Clive Crook: The Harder Brexit Gets, the More Necessary It Seems: "The U.K. has been an ill-fitting member of the EU all along...

Continue reading "(Late) Monday Smackdown: Why Does Clive Crook Think the EU Has a Duty to Sacrifice the Interests Rights of Its Constituents in Brexit Negotiations?" »


Some Fairly-Recent Must- and Should-Reads...

  1. The Wrong Financial Crisis: Hoisted from the Archives (October 2008) #hoistedfromthearchives #highlighted #greatrecession #finance #behavioral #monetaryeconomics

  2. Dean Acheson's Lawyer's Brief for the Mid-Twentieth Century Democratic Party: A Historical Document: Weekend Reading #weekendreading #history

  3. Monday Smackdown: What Tobin Harshaw of the New York Times Wants to Be Remembered For: "I Am Not Authorized to Explain Why I Am Not Authorized..." #journamalism #hoistedfromthearchives #globalwarming #orangehairedbaboons #mondaysmackdown

  4. Self-Fulfilling Financial Crises: No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate #projectsyndicate #economicsgoneright #monetaryeconomics #behavioral #finance

  5. Tweed Jackets and Natural Disasters: No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate #projectsyndicate #globalwarming #highlighted

  6. Hoisted from the Archives: “Unknown Unknowns”: High Public Debt Levels and Other Sources of Risk in Today’s Macroeconomic Environment #hoistedfromthearchives #finance #behavioral #monetarypolicy #monetaryeconomics #fiscalpolicy #highlighted

  7. Monday DeLong Smackdown: Alan Kirman on Self-Fulfilling Financial Crises #commentoftheday #behavioral #finance #mondaysmackdown

  8. 8.

  1. Lily Batchelder: The “Silver Spoon” Tax: How to Strengthen Wealth Transfer Taxation: "30 percent of the correlation between parent and child incomes—and more than 50 percent of the correlation between the wealth of parents and the wealth of their children—is attributable to financial inheritances. This is more than the impact of IQ, personality, and schooling combined... #equitablegrowth #inequality #plutocracy

  2. Sarita Gupta, Stephen Lerner, and Joseph A. McCartin: It’s Not the 'Future of Work,' It’s the Future of Workers That’s in Doubt: "Nearly every discussion of labor’s future in mainstream media quickly becomes mired in a group of elite-defined concerns called 'The Future of Work'.... Rarely has a phrase been so ubiquitous in discussions of the economy or social policy.... [But] it is the concentration of wealth and power in this new economy, not computerization or artificial intelligence, that represents the gravest threat to our future... #riseoftherobots #labormarket #equitablegrowth

  3. I am keenly aware that since, say, 1997 one disagrees with Paul Krugman at one's grave intellectual peril. But I am not as confident as Paul Krugman is that "the past decade has been a huge validation for textbook macroeconomics". A large component of what Krugman calls "good old-fashioned macro" was that expectations were, if not rational, adaptive. Keynes's "speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise. But the position is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation. When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done..." had no place in "old-fashioned macro". And it is not as though this was a flaw and could be quickly, coherently, and satisfactorily patched. The integration of behavioral finance and macro is still not done—which is why I am such a booster of Nicola Gennaioli and Andrei Shleifer (2018): A Crisis of Beliefs: Investor Psychology and Financial Fragility https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0691184925. (That, and Andrei is my friend.) They are at least looking in the right direction: Paul Krugman: What Do We Actually Know About the Economy?: "Among macroeconomists, the self-criticism seems to me to be mainly too narrow: people berate themselves for, say, not giving financial markets a bigger role in their models, but few have done what they should, which is to question the whole direction macroeconomics has gone these past four decades or so... #economicsgonewrong #monetaryeconomics #finance #economicsgoneright

  4. THE MUST-READ OF MUST-READS on the links between behavioral finance and macro: John Maynard Keynes (1936): The State of Long-Term Expectation: The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money: Chapter 12: "If I may be allowed to appropriate the term _speculation for the activity of forecasting the psychology of the market, and the term enterprise for the activity of forecasting the prospective yield of assets over their whole life, it is by no means always the case that speculation predominates over enterprise. As the organisation of investment markets improves, the risk of the predominance of speculation does, however, increase... #johnmaynardkeynes #books #behavioral #finance #monetaryeconomics

  5. But, says Mohammed bin Sultan, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times told me I had carte blanche that I was the real Arab Spring. And Jared Kushner assured me that America was eager for me to do hat was necessary. So why, suddenly, are they claiming that Khashoggi was not one of the torturable class?: Graham Greene: Our Man in Havana https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1504052536: ".‘How are you so certain that Cifuentes is not my agent?’ ‘By the way you play checkers, Mr Wormold, and because I interrogated Cifuentes.’ ‘Did you torture him?’ Captain Segura laughed. ‘No. He doesn’t belong to the torturable class.’ ‘I didn’t know there were class-distinctions in torture.’ ‘Dear Mr Wormold, surely you realize there are people who expect to be tortured and others who would be outraged by the idea. One never tortures except by a kind of mutual agreement’... #books #torture #security #orangehairedbaboons

  6. I don't know why Paul Krugman is tweeting about Marvin Goodfriend's stalled Federal Reserve nomination again, but his main point is worth highlighting: Rand Paul's opposition to Goodfriend is not a bad thing for the country in itself But it is a very bad thing as a sign of the craziness of the Republicans because of the reasons that Rand Paul objects: Paul Krugman: Characteristic: "[Marvin] Goodfriend['s Federal Reserve nomination] is in trouble, not for constantly predicting inflation that never materialized, but because of what he got right: acknowledging that the zero lower bound on interest rates can be a problem... #monetarypolicy

  7. Dictionary of National Biography: Fitzurse, Reginald: "The eldest son of Richard Fitzurse, on whose death about 1168 he inherited the manor of Williton, Somersetshire (Collinson, iii. 487); he also held the manor of Barham,Kent (Hasted, iii. 536), and lands in Northamptonshire (Liber Niger, p. 216). He is sometimes called a baron, for he held of the king in chief. He was one of the four knights who were stirred up by the hasty words of Henry II to plot the archbishop's death... #orangehairedbaboons #history

  8. Depressing news: hints that we are not still far from "full employment" and thus have little room to grow rapidly: Rob Valletta and Nathaniel Barlow: The Prime-Age Workforce and Labor Market Polarization: "U.S. labor force participation by people in their prime working years fell substantially... and it remains depressed... #monetarypolicy #labormarket

  9. Elisabeth Jacobs and Liz Hipple: Are Today’s Inequalities Limiting Tomorrow’s Opportunities?: "An individual’s place on the economic distribution is supposed to reflect individual effort and talent, not parental resources and privilege. Yet this perspective ignores the mounting evidence of the myriad ways that poverty and economic inequality foreclose equality of opportunity... Elisabeth Jacobs and Liz Hipple: Are Today’s Inequalities Limiting Tomorrow’s Opportunities?: "An individual’s place on the economic distribution is supposed to reflect individual effort and talent, not parental resources and privilege. Yet this perspective ignores the mounting evidence of the myriad ways that poverty and economic inequality foreclose equality of opportunity... #equitablegrowth

  10. EPI: Interactive: The Unequal States of America: "Income trends have varied from state to state, and within states. But a pattern is apparent: the growth of top 1% incomes. Explore inequality in this interactive feature.... Adapted from Estelle Sommeiller and Mark Price, The New Gilded Age: Income Inequality in the U.S. by State, Metropolitan Area, and County... #regionaleconomics

  11. John Bell: Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics: "Einstein declares the notions ‘really resting’ and ‘really moving’ as meaningless. For him only the relative motion of two or more uniformly moving objects is real. Lorentz, on the other hand, preferred the view that there is indeed a state of real rest, defined by the ‘aether’, even though the laws of physics conspire to prevent us identifying it experimentally. The facts of physics do not oblige us to accept one philosophy rather than the other. And we need not accept Lorentz’s philosophy to accept a Lorentzian pedagogy... #science #relativity

  12. Neo-fascism in Brazil: "a crusade of second-class citizens against non-citizens, orchestrated by those who rights and privileges are never in doubt": Matthew Richmond: Understanding “Bolsonarismo Popular”: "People who work long hours for low pay, struggle to continue their studies, despair about the healthcare of their parents and schooling of their children. Their lives are hard and they believe they are doing the right thing. Then they look around themselves and see those they believe are undeserving... #orangehairedbaboons #neofascism

  13. Will McGrew sends us to Allegretto, Godoey, Nadler, and Reich taking a narrow look at food services and drinking places and the minimum wage. Back when David Card and Alan Krueger wrote their Myth and Measurement about how the costs of rising minimum wages had been vastly overstated, many—I might even say most—American economists believed that their claim that the evidence showed that recent minimum wage increases had raised rather than lowered business demand for employees was overstated. Now I believe that is no longer the case: the majority view is that employers have market power, so a minimum wage is much more like good rate regulation of a monopoly utility rather than an anti-competitive "interference" in a well-working competitive market: Will McGrew: The latest research on the efficacy of raising the minimum wage above $10 in six U.S. cities: "Sylvia Allegretto, Anna Godoey, Carl Nadler, and Michael Reich... local labor markets... particularly affected by... local legislative changes... food services and drinking places... six cities... substantial earnings growth and inconsistent employment effects... #labormarket

Continue reading "Some Fairly-Recent Must- and Should-Reads..." »


Baker's Dozen of Fairly-Recent Links

stacks and stacks of books

  1. "Listen to the yell of Leopold's ghost/Burning in Hell for his hand-maimed host./Hear how the demons chuckle and yell/Cutting his hands off, down in Hell..." Sara Lowes

  2. Galileo Galilei: And Yet It Moves

  3. Wikipedia: Myth of Er

  4. 2017: Reading Notes for Robert Skidelsky: "Keynes: A Very Short Introduction"...: John Maynard Keynes was brought up a classical liberal and a classical economist. He believed in free trade, economic progress, cultural uplift, and political reason. He then found himself working for the British Treasury during World War I, unable to stop what he thought were disastrous post-World War I political decisions. He then found himself watching as the classical economic mechanisms he had been taught to admire all fell apart. He then picked himself up. After World War I Keynes used what power he had to—don't laugh—try to restore civilization. He had, all things considered, amazing success and an amazing impact...

  5. Andrew Kent: Faithful Execution of the Office and Laws: New Research on the Original Meaning of Article II: "Since President Trump’s inauguration, we have seen him time and again prove correct the most pessimistic predictions about his character and the manner in which he would use the office. New research on the original meaning of the Constitution suggests that actions taken in bad faith—as many of President Trump’s actions appear to be—are not authorized by, and hence violate, Article II...

  6. Allison C. Morgan, Dimitrios J. Economou, Samuel F. Way, and Aaron Clauset: Prestige Drives Epistemic Inequality In The Diffusion Of Scientific Ideas: "We consider comprehensive data on the hiring events of 5032 faculty at all 205 Ph.D.-granting departments of computer science in the U.S. and Canada, and on the timing and titles of 200,476 associated publications.... Research from prestigious institutions spreads more quickly and completely than work of similar quality originating from less prestigious institutions...

  7. Don Kuehn: A few more thoughts on monopsony and the minimum wage: "Monopsony is definitely not the only and not even really the best theoretical argument for why we see no disemployment effects.... We have work that suggests there is monopsony power in low wage labor markets, and we know that under certain conditions (but not all conditions) dynamic monopsony can explain the no disemployment effect result, so it seems reasonable to me to keep it on the table...

  8. John Stuart Mill (1829): Of the Influence of Consumption on Production: "Those who have, at periods such as we have described, affirmed that there was an excess of all commodities, never pretended that money was one of these commodities; they held that there was not an excess, but a deficiency of the circulating medium. What they called a general superabundance, was not a superabundance of commodities relatively to commodities, but a superabundance of all commodities relatively to money. What it amounted to was, that persons in general, at that particular time, from a general expectation of being called upon to meet sudden demands, liked better to possess money than any other commodity. Money, consequently, was in request, and all other commodities were in comparative disrepute...

  9. Òscar Jordà, Moritz HP. Schularick, and Alan M. Taylor (2014): Betting the House: "Is there a link between loose monetary conditions, credit growth, house price booms, and financial instability? This paper analyzes the role of interest rates and credit in driving house price booms and busts with data spanning 140 years of modern economic history in the advanced economies. We exploit the implications of the macroeconomic policy trilemma to identify exogenous variation in monetary conditions: countries with fixed exchange regimes often see fluctuations in short-term interest rates unrelated to home economic conditions. We use novel instrumental variable local projection methods to demonstrate that loose monetary conditions lead to booms in real estate lending and house prices bubbles; these, in turn, materially heighten the risk of financial crises. Both effects have become stronger in the postwar era...

  10. Pia Ceres: 3 Smart Things About Animal-Inspired Robotics: "When turkeys strut, their leg muscles work as shock absorbers to boost energy efficiency.... Though it has a brain, the lamprey—an eel-like beast—doesn’t need it to wiggle about.... Cockroaches can react in 1⁄50 of a second and skitter 25 body lengths per second...

  11. Karl Polanyi: Aristotle Discovers the Economy https://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/06/notes-polanyi-aristotle-discovers-the-economy-hoisted-from-the-archives.html http://delong.typepad.com/polanyi-aristotle.pdf https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0GwzWFlWB8EGxTiETO8L6-OkA

  12. Notes: Polanyi: Aristotle Discovers the Economy: Hoisted from the Archives

  13. Dylan Matthews: Human Extinction: How To Help People Millions Of Years From Now: "A few brief thoughts on the very, very distant future...


#shouldread
#weblogging

Will McGrew sends us to Allegretto, Godoey, Nadler, and Reich taking a narrow look at food services and drinking places and the minimum wage. Back when David Card and Alan Krueger wrote their Myth and Measurement about how the costs of rising minimum wages had been vastly overstated, many—I might even say most—American economists believed that their claim that the evidence showed that recent minimum wage increases had raised rather than lowered business demand for employees was overstated. Now I believe that is no longer the case: the majority view is that employers have market power, so a minimum wage is much more like good rate regulation of a monopoly utility rather than an anti-competitive "interference" in a well-working competitive market: Will McGrew: The latest research on the efficacy of raising the minimum wage above $10 in six U.S. cities: "Sylvia Allegretto, Anna Godoey, Carl Nadler, and Michael Reich... local labor markets... particularly affected by... local legislative changes... food services and drinking places... six cities... substantial earnings growth and inconsistent employment effects...

Continue reading "" »


Note to Self: Alan Greenspan and the Bush Tax Cut: Was Alan Greenspan in 2001 playing a subtle reputation-enhancing game—anxious to give testimony that the administration and its press lapdogs would spin as a green-light endorsement, but in which economists like me and financiers like Robert Rubin would be unable to find any sentence that was truly objectionable? Perhaps... Perhaps not...

Let's give the mike to Alan Greenspan, p. 220 ff.:

Bob Rubin phoned.... With a big tax cut, said Bob, "the risk is, you lose the fiscal discipline."... "Bob, where in my testimony do you disagree?"

Continue reading "" »


Dean Acheson's Lawyer's Brief for the Mid-Twentieth Century Democratic Party: A Historical Document: Weekend Reading

For the Weekend: A Historical Document: Dean Acheson's Lawyer's Brief for the Mid-Twentieth Century Democratic Party: From Dean Acheson (1955): A Democrat Looks at His Party:

p. 23 ff: From the very beginning the Democratic Party has been broadly based... the party of the many... the urban worker; the backwoods merchant and banker; the small farmer... the largelandowners of the South, who saw themselves as being milked by the commerical and financial magnates gathered under Hamilton's banner; the newly arrived immigrants... the party of the underdog.... The many have an important and most relevant characteristic. They have many interests, many points of view, many purposes to accomplish, and a party which represents them will have their many interests, many points of view, and many purposes also. It is this multiplicity of interests which, I submit, is the principal clue in understanding the vitality and endurance of the Democratic Party...

Continue reading "Dean Acheson's Lawyer's Brief for the Mid-Twentieth Century Democratic Party: A Historical Document: Weekend Reading" »


Neo-fascism in Brazil: "a crusade of second-class citizens against non-citizens, orchestrated by those who rights and privileges are never in doubt": Matthew Richmond: Understanding “Bolsonarismo Popular”: "People who work long hours for low pay, struggle to continue their studies, despair about the healthcare of their parents and schooling of their children. Their lives are hard and they believe they are doing the right thing. Then they look around themselves and see those they believe are undeserving...

Continue reading "" »


John Bell: Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics: "Einstein declares the notions ‘really resting’ and ‘really moving’ as meaningless. For him only the relative motion of two or more uniformly moving objects is real. Lorentz, on the other hand, preferred the view that there is indeed a state of real rest, defined by the ‘aether’, even though the laws of physics conspire to prevent us identifying it experimentally. The facts of physics do not oblige us to accept one philosophy rather than the other. And we need not accept Lorentz’s philosophy to accept a Lorentzian pedagogy...

Continue reading "" »


EPI: Interactive: The Unequal States of America: "Income trends have varied from state to state, and within states. But a pattern is apparent: the growth of top 1% incomes. Explore inequality in this interactive feature.... Adapted from Estelle Sommeiller and Mark Price, The New Gilded Age: Income Inequality in the U.S. by State, Metropolitan Area, and County...

Continue reading "" »


Note to Self: I am once again teaching the origin of business cycles and "general gluts" via John Stuart Mill's 1829 "excess demand for money is excess supply of everything else", and in an economy of sticky prices, wages, and debts produces the recessions and depressions that we all know and love so well. It is a quick way to get into the subject. It is a convincing way. But is it a correct way?

Smart people say: "no"!:

  • Daniel Kuehn: Nick Rowe, Brad DeLong, and Me on Whack-A-Mole General Gluts and Money: "The interest rate is really one price functioning in two markets: the bond market and the money market. People want loanable funds and people want liquidity.... This is a major problem.... You can arbitrage your way out of whack-a-mole gluts. You cannot arbitrage your way out of an overdetermined system...
  • Nick Rowe: Walras' Law vs Monetary Disequilibrium Theory: "Walras' Law says that a general glut (excess supply) of newly-produced goods (and services) has to be matched by an excess demand for some other good. But it could be matched by an excess demand of anything that is not a newly-produced good. It could be an excess demand for money. Or it could be an excess demand for: bonds; land; old masters; used furniture; unobtainium; whatever. Daniel Kuehn calls this the 'whack-a-mole' theory of general gluts. The excess demand that matches the excess supply of newly-produced goods could pop up anywhere. Monetary Disequilibrium Theory says that a general glut of newly-produced goods can only be matched by an excess demand for money. There's only one mole to whack. Money is special. A general glut is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon...
  • Paul Krugman: There's Something About Macro: "The idea of treating money as an ordinary good begs many questions: surely money plays a special sort of role in the economy. Second, almost all the decisions... involve choices over time:.... So there is something not quite right about pretending that prices and interest rates are determined by a static equilibrium problem.... Finally, sticky prices play a crucial role.... While I regard the evidence for such stickiness as overwhelming, the assumption of at least temporarily rigid nominal prices is one of those things that works beautifully in practice but very badly in theory...

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Dictionary of National Biography: Fitzurse, Reginald: "The eldest son of Richard Fitzurse, on whose death about 1168 he inherited the manor of Williton, Somersetshire (Collinson, iii. 487); he also held the manor of Barham,Kent (Hasted, iii. 536), and lands in Northamptonshire (Liber Niger, p. 216). He is sometimes called a baron, for he held of the king in chief. He was one of the four knights who were stirred up by the hasty words of Henry II to plot the archbishop's death...

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I don't know why Paul Krugman is tweeting about Marvin Goodfriend's stalled Federal Reserve nomination again, but his main point is worth highlighting: Rand Paul's opposition to Goodfriend is not a bad thing for the country in itself But it is a very bad thing as a sign of the craziness of the Republicans because of the reasons that Rand Paul objects: Paul Krugman: Characteristic: "[Marvin] Goodfriend['s Federal Reserve nomination] is in trouble, not for constantly predicting inflation that never materialized, but because of what he got right: acknowledging that the zero lower bound on interest rates can be a problem...

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But, says Mohammed bin Sultan, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times told me I had carte blanche that I was the real Arab Spring. And Jared Kushner assured me that America was eager for me to do hat was necessary. So why, suddenly, are they claiming that Khashoggi was not one of the torturable class?: Graham Greene: Our Man in Havana https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1504052536: ".‘How are you so certain that Cifuentes is not my agent?’ ‘By the way you play checkers, Mr Wormold, and because I interrogated Cifuentes.’ ‘Did you torture him?’ Captain Segura laughed. ‘No. He doesn’t belong to the torturable class.’ ‘I didn’t know there were class-distinctions in torture.’ ‘Dear Mr Wormold, surely you realize there are people who expect to be tortured and others who would be outraged by the idea. One never tortures except by a kind of mutual agreement’..."

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A Baker's Dozen of Fairly-Recent Links

stacks and stacks of books

  1. Joe Nocera: Forsyth Tech Shows How Community Colleges Can Help Middle Class: "Partnerships between schools and employers can better train students for available jobs.... Forsyth Tech under Green has become an exemplar of what a community college ought to be. Let me rephrase that: In this era when even blue-collar labor requires knowledge and training to make a decent wage, it is what community colleges have to be...

  2. Tim Duy: Monday Morning Notes: Fed Week: "The reason the Fed continues to press on with the rate hike campaign is quite simple – the economy refuses to catch a cold, let along give up the ghost. As long as that is the case, the Fed will continue to ratchet up the pressure with gradual rate hikes. To be sure, there is plenty to worry about. Trade wars. Oil prices. Emerging markets. Political crisis in the U.S. It is reasonable to be concerned that these factors will eventually cause a real dent in the U.S. economy, but so far the economy and financial markets have remained remarkably resilient...

  3. Joe Peek, Eric S. Rosengren, and Geoffrey M.B. Tootell: Some Unpleasant Stabilization Arithmetic: "Likely that FFR will hit ELB, short-circuiting countercyclical MP. Effects will not fall evenly on states. Limitations on what has been the first, and often the last, resort for countercyclical policy heightens importance of establishing adequate buffers for nonmonetary policy tools. Concerns about rising federal debt, limited state and local fiscal policy buffers, and any weakening of bank capital regulations...

  4. Rev Rabia: Music Earthy and Spiritual

  5. Baker and Commons: 2900 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

  6. Abbey Perreault: How Fish and Chips Migrated to Great Britain: "The fried fish was introduced by Jews fleeing religious persecution...

  7. Courtney Lichterman: The Hidden History of Shanghai's Jewish Quarter: "... >As Hitler’s bid to rid the world of Jews escalated, so did the world’s refusal to let them in. What’s not well known is that when those borders, ports, doors, windows, and boundaries began shutting Jews out, in part by refusing to issue them visas, Shanghai, though already swollen with people and poverty, was the only place on Earth willing to accept them with or without papers...

  8. Walter Jon Williams: Lifestyles of the Rich and Stupid: ".One of the joys of reading contemporary literary fiction is enjoying... close observation... done right, is delightful, but you have to hope that whatever is being observed is worth the effort, and so often it isn’t, as (for example) when the subject is adultery among the white American upper middle classes. (If you’re going to write about sex, why set it among the most boring people in the world?  But I digress.)... East Coast white upper-middle class (which is one of the rules of literary fiction since the CIA’s cultural coup in the 1950s, meant to assure that serious writers would not insert political content into their works)...

  9. Jenna Chandler: Proposition 10: California’s Rent Control Ballot Measure, Explained: "Who’s behind it, who’s against it, and what it will mean for Los Angeles...

  10. Nicola Gennaioli and Andrei Shleifer: A Crisis of Beliefs: Investor Psychology and Financial Fragility https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0691184925

  11. Wikipedi: Recessional: "Deuteronomy 6,12: 'Then beware lest thou forget the Lord which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt...'

  12. John Stuart Mill: Of the Influence of Consumption on Production

  13. Nick Maggiuli: Why The Best Predictor of Future Stock Market Returns is Useless: "When average investor allocation to stocks is high, returns for the next 10 years are low, and when average investor allocation to stocks is low, returns for the next 10 years are high...

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Monday Smackdown: What Tobin Harshaw of the New York Times Wants to Be Remembered For: "I Am Not Authorized to Explain Why I Am Not Authorized..."

Clowns (ICP)

Monday Smackdown: What Tobin Harshaw of the New York Times claims he wants to be remembered for. From 2007. No quality control at the New York Times whatsoever. Let us take him at his word, and remember him for this:

Hoisted from 2007: As you may recall, last Friday there was a lot of discussion about revisions to the GISS global warming series of estimated average temperatures in the United States—a revision that changed the hottest year to date in the U.S. from 1998 (which in the old data was 1/100 of a degree hotter than 1934) to 1934 (which in the new data is 2/100 of a degree hotter than 1998) https://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2007/08/why-oh-why-ca-1.html. One surprising thing was that the New York Times's Opinionator weblog https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/... went way overboard on the story:

Among global warming Cassandras, the fact that 1998 was the “hottest year on record” has always been an article of faith.... James Hansen, the climate scientist who has long accused the Bush administration of trying to “silence” him.... [A] Y2K bug played havoc with some of the numbers.... Michael Ashe... explains.... "The changes are truly astounding. The warmest year on record is now 1934. 1998 (long trumpeted by the media as recordbreaking) moves to second place.... [T]he effect on the U.S. global warming propaganda machine could be huge...

This surprised me: "effect... huge," "havoc," the scare quotes around "silence," "data meltdown," et cetera seemed very out of place for a three-one-hundredths of a degree shift--either complete mendacity or total innumeracy, or both.... The Opinionato... Tobin Harshaw, wh... [had] also served as an enthusiastic stenographer for last Friday's Stupidest Man Alive nominee, Tom Nugent of National Review, who slipped a decimal points and wrote a totally off-the-rails piece... overestimating how much money such a tax might raise by a factor of ten. It seemed that Harshaw had failed to do the slightest amount of quantitative due diligence on either story before he committed fingers to keyboard and thus electrons to the nöosphere.... So I called Toby Harshaw.... It seems to me that he and the New York Times have much bigger problems than simple innumeracy:

Brad DeLong: Good afternoon. I'm Brad DeLong, an economics professor calling from UC Berkeley. I read your Cassandra post about global warming data revisions, and had a couple of questions. Can you help me out?

Tobin Harshaw: Certainly.

Brad DeLong: Did you eyeball the data--either in a graph or a table--before you wrote your "Cassandra" post about GISS global warming data revisions?

Tobin Harshaw: Are you writing something about this?

Brad DeLong: I will be, yes.

Tobin Harshaw: Then no, I cannot speak to you. You will have to speak to our public relations department.

Brad DeLong: Why won't you talk to me?

Tobin Harshaw: Because I am not authorized to speak to the press.

Brad DeLong: Because?

Tobin Harshaw: Because that is our policy. Our policy is that editorial staff are not allowed to speak to the press.

Brad DeLong: Seriously? Why is that your policy?

Tobin Harshaw: I am not authorized.

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Self-Fulfilling Financial Crises: No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate

As Published: Self-Fulfilling Financial Crises: Many mistaken assumptions about the 2008 financial crisis remain in circulation. As long as policymakers believe the crisis was rooted in the housing bubble rather than human psychology, another crisis will be inevitable. | My Earlier Draft: The 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession left the Global North 10% poorer than it otherwise would have been, based on 2005 forecasts. For those hoping to understand this episode better, for a while now I have been recommending four very good books on and about the financial crisis of 2008 and what has followed—the catastrophes that have left the Global North 10% poorer now than we confidently forecasted back in 2005 that we would be today. They are:

  1. Kindleberger's Manias, Panics, and Crashes https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0230365353,
  2. Reinhart and Rogoff's This Time It's Different https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0691152640,
  3. Martin Wolf's The Shifts and the Shocks https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1101608447, and
  4. Barry Eichengreen's Hall of Mirrors https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0190621079.

Now I want to add on a fifth book: Nicola Gennaioli and Andrei Shleifer's A Crisis of Beliefs: Investor Psychology and Financial Fragility https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0691184925. (Full disclosure: Shleifer was my roommate in college and graduate school; to this day, I credit him more than anybody else with whatever positive skills or reputation as an economist I may have.)

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I am keenly aware that since, say, 1997 one disagrees with Paul Krugman at one's grave intellectual peril. But I am not as confident as Paul Krugman is that "the past decade has been a huge validation for textbook macroeconomics". A large component of what Krugman calls "good old-fashioned macro" was that expectations were, if not rational, adaptive. Keynes's "speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise. But the position is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation. When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done..." had no place in "old-fashioned macro". And it is not as though this was a flaw and could be quickly, coherently, and satisfactorily patched. The integration of behavioral finance and macro is still not done—which is why I am such a booster of Nicola Gennaioli and Andrei Shleifer (2018): A Crisis of Beliefs: Investor Psychology and Financial Fragility https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0691184925. (That, and Andrei is my friend.) They are at least looking in the right direction: Paul Krugman: What Do We Actually Know About the Economy?: "Among macroeconomists, the self-criticism seems to me to be mainly too narrow: people berate themselves for, say, not giving financial markets a bigger role in their models, but few have done what they should, which is to question the whole direction macroeconomics has gone these past four decades or so...

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Tweed Jackets and Natural Disasters: No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate

Harris tweed Tweed cloth Wikipedia

No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate: For Whom the Climate Bell Tolls: As I began my first lecture this fall here at the University of California at Berkeley, I immediately realized that I was too hot: I desperately wanted to take off my professorial tweed jacket.

A tweed jacket is, in many ways, a wonderful albeit peculiar costume. For one thing, it is the closest thing you can get to Gore-Tex if all you have for raw material is a sheep. Thus it is perfect for a cloudy climate with frequent fog and drizzle. For another, it is surprisingly warming—wet or dry—for its weight. Hence in the world as it was before central heating, it—and the rest of what we today think of male formal and semi-formal attire—were effective and comfortable garb in the Oxfords and Cambridges, in the Edinburghs and Londons, in the Bristols and Norwiches where they were originally devised.

Blame the British Empire for the spread of these garments around the globe.

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The Wrong Financial Crisis: Hoisted from the Archives (October 2008)

stacks and stacks of books

Hoisted from the Archives (October 2008): The Wrong Financial Crisis: Catastrophic failures of risk management throughout the entire banking sector multiplied a relatively minor collapse in housing prices into a paralysis of the global finance system not seen since the Great Depression. To fix it, governments should embark on a coordinated fiscal and monetary expansion and a coordinated bank recapitalisation:

All of us from Lawrence Summers to John Taylor were expecting a very different financial crisis. We were expecting the ‘Balance of Financial Terror’ between Asia and America to collapse and produce chaos. We are not having that financial crisis. Instead we are having a very different financial crisis. Catastrophic failures of risk management throughout the entire banking sector caused a relatively minor collapse in housing prices to freeze up global finance to a degree that has not been seen since the Great Depression.

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Hoisted from the Archives: “Unknown Unknowns”: High Public Debt Levels and Other Sources of Risk in Today’s Macroeconomic Environment

Preview of Hoisted from the Archives Unknown Unknowns High Public Debt Levels and Other Sources of Risk in

Next time I give a "general macro-finance" talk, I should give this one—updated, of course. But how much updating is needed>: “Unknown Unknowns”: High Public Debt Levels and Other Sources of Risk in Today’s Macroeconomic Environment (NEEDS REVISION) https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0_py01Y-ZrGddLKba8Rl2r9eQ

It's alternative title is: Confusion: High Public Debt Levels and Other Sources of Risk in Today’s Macroeconomic Environment:

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THE MUST-READ OF MUST-READS on the links between behavioral finance and macro: John Maynard Keynes (1936): The State of Long-Term Expectation: The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money: Chapter 12: "If I may be allowed to appropriate the term _speculation for the activity of forecasting the psychology of the market, and the term enterprise for the activity of forecasting the prospective yield of assets over their whole life, it is by no means always the case that speculation predominates over enterprise. As the organisation of investment markets improves, the risk of the predominance of speculation does, however, increase...

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Per Kurowski: Self-Fulfilling Financial Crises: "The risk weighted capital requirements for banks guarantee: 1. Especially large exposures to what’s perceived as especially safe, against especially little capital, which dooms or bank system to especially severe crises. 2. Especially low exposures to what is perceived as risky, like loans to entrepreneurs and SMEs, which dooms our economy to weakness and not being able to reach its potential. And that has yet not even been discussed, much less learned http://perkurowski.blogspot.com/2016/04/here-are-17-reasons-for-why-i-believe.html...

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Monday DeLong Smackdown: Alan Kirman on Self-Fulfilling Financial Crises

Smackdown

Alan Kirman is wise. Listen to him: Monday DeLong Smackdown: Alan Kirman: Self-Fulfilling Financial Crises: For the first time I feel moved to disagree with your assessment here Brad. The behavioral approach proposed by the authors suffers from the same disease as many that have been proposed earlier. It is the idea that one particular "bias" will help to understand and explain the causes and consequences of economic crises. This seems to me to be at odds with what really goes on. Already in 1900 Poincaré criticised Bachelier because he ignored the fact that people tend to behave like sheep. People do not simply receive their information independently and then act on it and in so doing reveal that information. Herd behaviour would suggest that people's beliefs change and are strongly influenced by those with whom they interact...

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Some Fairly-Recent Must- and Should-Reads

  1. Stagnant Real Wages and Secular Stagnation Are Not Closely Related: DeLong FAQ

  2. Cosma Shalizi: Machine Learning: Data, Models, Intelligence: Weekend Reading

  3. Rodney Brooks: The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions: Weekend Reading

  4. The Federal Reserve Is Raising Interest Rates Again for Probably All The Wrong Reasons: Last Month Over at Equitable Growth

  5. Groucho Marx in 1969: For the Weekend

  6. How Confident Are We That Middle-Income Convergence to the Global Productivity Frontier Is Now the Rule? Not at All...

  7. Nicholas Foulkes: Jony Ive on the Apple Watch and Big Tech’s Responsibilities: "The Apple Watch is the latest in the bloodline of the totemic Apple products.... Sales are now such that Apple claims to be the number-one watch brand—though I question whether a wrist-worn device of this type is really a watch... #riseoftherobots

  8. Matthew Yglesias: Affordable Housing Is Just the Beginning of YIMBY: "high-cost metropolitan areas should revise their zoning rules to allow for more and denser construction, and that this will, among other things, improve the situation for low-income renters and reduce the displacement associated with gentrification. As a matter of tactical politics, adding affordable housing advocates to the YIMBY coalition is certainly a good idea... #NIMBYism #regionaleconomics

  9. Kai Stinchcombe: Ten Years In, Nobody Has Come Up with a Use for Blockchain: "Everyone says the blockchain, the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, is going to change EVERYTHING. And yet, after years of tireless effort and billions of dollars invested, nobody has actually come up with a use... besides currency speculation and illegal transactions... #grifters

  10. Meg Benner, Erin Roth, Stephenie Johnson, and Kate Bahn: How to Give Teachers a $10,000 Raise: "While CAP believes that a new federal investment is necessary to dramatically improve teacher pay, other efforts at the federal, state, and local levels are essential to maximize compensation for all teachers...

  11. Nicola Gennaioli and Andrei Shleifer: Two Myths of the 2008 Meltdown: "The 2008 financial crisis was not the result only of moral hazard; nor was it unforeseeable. While too-big-to-fail banks believed–rightly, it turned out–that they would be bailed out, consumers, rating agencies, and policymakers all bet on housing as well, destabilizing the system.... Two misconceptions in the current retrospectives of the crisis. These misunderstandings may seem purely academic, but they are not. They have major consequences for the ability of policymakers to prevent future crises...

  12. Laura Tyson and Lenny Mendonca: Universal Basic Income or Universal Living Wage?: "The challenge for the future of work is not really about the quantity of jobs, but their quality, and whether they pay enough to provide a decent standard of living.... A universal basic income (UBI) would be both regressive and prohibitively expensive. Yet the idea continues to attract a motley crew... #equitablegrowth #labormarket

  13. Corey Husak: How Not To Help Distressed Mortgage Borrowers: Evidence From The Great Recession In The United States: "The federal government has been criticized by many for failing to provide adequate assistance to U.S. homeowners who were financially devastated by the housing crisis and subsequent Great Recession and its aftermath in the late 2000s. New evidence suggests that even when assistance was given, it was poorly designed... #greatrecession #finance

  14. An insightful twitter thread from earlier this year on how too much of the discussion on marriage rates implicitly takes a male point of view, and so misses about half the subject: Kate Bahn: @LipstickEcon: "I'm having a lot of feelings about this article that summarizes AEI and Opportunity America on how men's declining economic stability has reduced marriage rates... #gender

  15. Github: Licenses: "GNU LGPLv3: Permissions of this copyleft license are conditioned on making available complete source code of licensed works and modifications under the same license or the GNU GPLv3. Copyright and license notices must be preserved. Contributors provide an express grant of patent rights. However, a larger work using the licensed work through interfaces provided by the licensed work may be distributed under different terms and without source code for the larger work... #riseoftherobots #intellectualproperty #opensource

  16. Interesting. The question is always: do you make money by devoting effort to selling them things they will be happy they bought, or do you make money by devoting effort to selling them things they will be unhappy they bought—by grifting them? And what determines the balance of providing value vs. deception in selling commodities aimed at different income classes? I am not sure they have it right here. I am sure that this is very important: James T. Hamilton and Fiona Morgan: Poor Information: How Economics Affects the Information Lives of Low-Income Individuals: "How information is produced for, acquired by, and utilized by low-income individuals... #behavioral #riseoftherobots

  17. Reuters: CVS, Aetna Win U.S. Approval for $69 Billion Merger: "Pharmacy chain CVS Health Corp (CVS.N) won U.S. antitrust approval for its $69 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna Inc (AET.N), the Justice Department said on Wednesday... #monopoly

  18. Darrick Hamilton definitely is asking the right questions. And he might have the right answers. But I suspect not. Yes, there is something very deep in America's culture that discourages public responsibility for the conditions of poor and especially poor black Americans, to the country's shame. Adam Smith wrote in 1776 that: "no society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity... that they who feed, clothe, and lodge... the people, should... be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged..." We today can replace his "greater part" with "substantial part", and it is still true. But I suspect that the health gaps between high-status, high-income, and high-wealth African Americans and their white peers have other origins—not that I know what those other origins are, mind you: Darrick Hamilton: Post-racial rhetoric, racial health disparities, and health disparity consequences of stigma, stress, and racism: "High achieving black Americans, as measured by education, still exhibit large health disparities... #racism

  19. Untitled 15 numbers John Cole annoys me by directing me to Irwin Stelzer and his claim that under Trump economic growth is "around... 4%". It is not. GDP growth under Trump has been and is widely projected to be roughly 2.7% per year, not "around... 4%". Irwin Stelzer is a liar. Liars are not worth reading. The Weekly Standard needs to step up its game. Badly: Irwin Stelzer: National Debt Under Trump Rises to $21.7 Trillion: "The economy is growing at around a 4 percent rate in response to the tax cuts and to a revival of animal spirits as entrepreneurs and corporate chieftains wake up in the morning wondering not what the government is going to do to them, but what it might do for them... #economicsgonewrong #moralresponsibility #orangehairedbaboons

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How Confident Are We That Middle-Income Convergence to the Global Productivity Frontier Is Now the Rule? Not at All...

Everything You Know about Cross Country Convergence Is Now Wrong PIIEInteresting from:

Paul Krugman: Notes on Global Convergence: "I take a short break from our national crisis. Political anxiety will resume shortly.... In the 1970s... development economics... was mostly non-development economics...

...True, we were already seeing a growth takeoff in smaller East Asian economies, but few saw this as a trend.... Something happened.... It’s a good guess that it has something to do with hyperglobalization.... But we don’t really know even that.... At any given time, not all countries have that mysterious “IT” that lets them make effective use of the backlog of advanced technology developed since the Industrial Revolution. Over time, however, the set of countries that have IT seems to be widening. Once a country acquires IT growth can be rapid... because best practice is so far ahead.... The frontier keeps moving out.... Japan’s postwar growth was vastly faster... countries catching up... in the late 19th century; Korea’s growth... faster than Japan’s had been; China’s growth faster still. The IT theory also... explains... middle-income countries grow [ing]faster than either poor or rich countries. Countries that are still very poor... haven’t got IT; countries that are already rich are already at the technological frontier.... In between are countries that acquired IT not too long ago.... The result is a world in which inequality among countries is declining if you look from the middle upward, but rising if you look from the middle down.... a story of diminishing Western exceptionalism, as the club of countries that can take full advantage of modern technology expands...

Hmmm... One of us, probably me. seems confused...

Continue reading "How Confident Are We That Middle-Income Convergence to the Global Productivity Frontier Is Now the Rule? Not at All..." »


Untitled 15 numbers

John Cole annoys me by directing me to Irwin Stelzer and his claim that under Trump economic growth is "around... 4%". It is not. GDP growth under Trump has been and is widely projected to be roughly 2.7% per year, not "around... 4%". Irwin Stelzer is a liar. Liars are not worth reading. The Weekly Standard needs to step up its game. Badly: Irwin Stelzer: National Debt Under Trump Rises to $21.7 Trillion: "The economy is growing at around a 4 percent rate in response to the tax cuts and to a revival of animal spirits as entrepreneurs and corporate chieftains wake up in the morning wondering not what the government is going to do to them, but what it might do for them...

Darrick Hamilton definitely is asking the right questions. And he might have the right answers. But I suspect not. Yes, there is something very deep in America's culture that discourages public responsibility for the conditions of poor and especially poor black Americans, to the country's shame. Adam Smith wrote in 1776 that: "no society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity... that they who feed, clothe, and lodge... the people, should... be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged..." We today can replace his "greater part" with "substantial part", and it is still true. But I suspect that the health gaps between high-status, high-income, and high-wealth African Americans and their white peers have other origins—not that I know what those other origins are, mind you: Darrick Hamilton: Post-racial rhetoric, racial health disparities, and health disparity consequences of stigma, stress, and racism: "High achieving black Americans, as measured by education, still exhibit large health disparities...

Continue reading "" »


Matthew Yglesias: Affordable Housing Is Just the Beginning of YIMBY: "high-cost metropolitan areas should revise their zoning rules to allow for more and denser construction, and that this will, among other things, improve the situation for low-income renters and reduce the displacement associated with gentrification. As a matter of tactical politics, adding affordable housing advocates to the YIMBY coalition is certainly a good idea...

Continue reading "" »


Neal Ascherson: Anna of All The Russians by Elaine Feinstein: Weekend Reading

Neal Ascherson: Observer Review: Anna of All The Russians by Elaine Feinstein: "Our lady of sorrows: Elaine Feinstein tells how poet Anna Akhmatova, whose son was in the Gulag, spoke for millions of Russians of their hell under Stalin...

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Interesting. The question is always: do you make money by devoting effort to selling them things they will be happy they bought, or do you make money by devoting effort to selling them things they will be unhappy they bought—by grifting them? And what determines the balance of providing value vs. deception in selling commodities aimed at different income classes? I am not sure they have it right here. I am sure that this is very important: James T. Hamilton and Fiona Morgan: Poor Information: How Economics Affects the Information Lives of Low-Income Individuals: "How information is produced for, acquired by, and utilized by low-income individuals...

Continue reading "" »