Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (January 1, 2019)


  1. A Lazy New Year's Eve Morn on Twitter...: I had thought that my brilliant-but-at-times-highly-annoying coauthor @Econ_Marshall was making a more sophisticated point—that here in America "libertarianism" is a Frankenstein's monster that got its lightning-bolt juice from massive resistance to the Civil Rights Movement. Dismantling the New Deal and rolling back the social insurance state were not ideas that had much potential political-economy juice back in the 1950s and 1960s. But if the economic libertarian cause of dismantling the New Deal could be harnessed to the cause of white supremacy—if one of the key liberties that libertarians were fighting to defend was the liberty to discriminate against and oppress the Negroes... #publicsphere #economicsgonewrong #moralphilosophy #ontwitter

  2. Note to Self: WTF?!?!: At a ten-percent pre-tax social return to investment, that would require a 1 trillion—a 5%-point of national income—permanent upward jump in the annual flow of investment into America. Given that it looks like Trump is raising the annual deficit by 400 billion, that would require a 1.4 trillion—a 75-point of national income—permanent upward jump in the sum of annual private savings plus the annual trade deficit. On what planet and on what definition of "reasonable" is it "reasonable" to argue that Trump's tax cuts are going produce such a thing?... #fiscalpolicy #economicsgonewrong #orangehairedbaboons #notetoself #wtf

  3. Not Only No Wage But Minimal Investment Boosts from Trump-McConnell-Ryan...: Admittedly, making an argument that complex is far beyond the attention span of your standard NYT insider-access journalist. But do we really have any alternative other than to play our position and make the accurate and correct argument? Just saying "no wage growth" is met with parry "it will come in the long run" and being able to say "we told you so" a decade hence is of limited use in today's policy debate, no?... #publicfinance #equitablegrowth #orangehairedbaboons #economicsgonewrong #playingourposition #ontwitter

  4. Would Small Minimum Wage Increases Raise or Have No Effect on Employment?: It is only a small minority of economists who follow David Neumark on this—who are confident that a higher minimum wage now would have a noticeable negative effect on employment. Thus Steve gets it wrong... #publicsphere #equitablegrowth #labormarket

  1. J. Bradford De Long: America's Only Peacetime Inflation: The 1970s: "The 1970s were America's only peacetime inflation, as uncertainty about prices made every business decision a speculation on monetary policy. In magnitude, the total rise in the price level from the spurt in inflation to the five-to-ten percent per year range in the 1970s was as large as the jumps in prices from the major wars of this century. The truest cause of the 1970s inflation was the shadow of the Great Depression. The memory left by the Depression predisposed the left and center to think that any unemployment was too much, and eliminated any mandate the Federal Reserve might have had for controlling inflation by risking unemployment. The Federal Reserve gained, or regained, its mandate to control inflation at the risk of unemployment during the 1970s as discontent built over that decade's inflation. It is hard to see how the Federal Reserve could have acquired such a mandate without an unpleasant lesson like the inflation of the 1970s. Thus the memory of the Great Depression meant that the U.S. was highly likely to suffer an inflation like the 1970s in the post-World War II period þ maybe not as long, and maybe not in that particular decade, but nevertheless an inflation of recognizably the same genus... #monetarypolicy #macro #highlighted

  2. Barry Ritholtz: What Minimum-Wage Foes Got Wrong About Seattle: "An initial study said the increase to $15 would cost workers jobs and hours. That didn’t happen.... The increase was an 'economic death wish' that was going to tank the expansion and kill jobs, according to the sages at conservative think tanks. The warnings were as unambiguous as they were specific... #minimumwage #labormarket #seattle #equitablegrowth

  3. Patriarchy and DNA: We Know Little About the Origins of High Patriarchy and the Extinction of Most Y-Chromosome Lineages ca. 5000 Years Ago, But... #gender

  4. Matthew Yglesias: Trump may be correct on Fed interest rate increases - Vox: "Premature interest rate increases hurt workers and the economy... #monetarypolicy

  5. Dev Patel, Justin Sandefur and Arvind Subramanian: Everything You Know about Cross-Country Convergence Is (Now) Wrong: "A quarter-century after the empirical growth literature set out to explain why poor countries aren’t catching up with rich ones, cross-country regressions have mercifully gone out of fashion. But in the interim, the core facts have changed... #economicgrowth #convergence #divergence

  6. Richard Thaler: The Power of Nudges, for Good and Bad: "All nudging should be transparent and never misleading.... It should be as easy as possible to opt out.... There should be good reason to believe that the behavior being encouraged will improve the welfare of those being nudged.... Government teams in Britain and the United States that have focused on nudging have followed these guidelines scrupulously. But the private sector is another matter. In this domain, I see much more troubling behavior... #behavioral #economics

  7. Benjamin Page and William Gale: CBO estimates imply that TCJA will boost incomes for foreign investors but not for Americans: "CBO estimates that TCJA will increase U.S. GDP by 0.5 percent in 2028.... Most of that additional capital will be financed by foreigners... net payments of profits, dividends, and interest to foreigners also will rise... boost GNP by just 0.1 percent in 2028.... To maintain that larger capital stock a larger share of output must be devoted to offsetting depreciation.... Thus, long-run incomes for Americans as measured by NNP will be more or less unchanged by the TCJA... #publicfinance #orangehariedbaboons

  8. Howard Shelanski and Michael Kades: Judge Kavanaugh-Would He Increase the Divide Between the Public and Judicial Debate Over Antitrust Enforcement?: "Over the past decade, the Supreme Court has, with one exception that we discuss below, followed a path of reduced enforcement, reflected in decisions weakening prohibitions against vertical restraints... #monopoly #equitablegrowth

  9. Everybody in any way associated with National Review knows that ObamaCare must be repealed and replaced. Not a single person is qualified to say how; National Review: Obamacare Court Ruling—Republicans Can’t Rely on the Courts on Health Care: "Republican politicians have repeatedly counted on the courts to deliver them from Obamacare without their having to take any heat for abolishing its popular elements, to come up with workable alternatives, or to accommodate the interests of people who rely on the law while pleasing those who oppose it. O’Connor’s decision is giving them a new dodge: As it winds its way through the courts, they can continue telling the opponents of the law that victory is at hand, continue telling those who benefit from the law that they will protect them whatever happens, and—continue not working on health care. But the courts will almost certainly not, as they should not, deliver Republicans from their duties... #ObamaCare #orangehairedbaboons

  10. Barbara Kiviat: The Art of Deciding with Data: Evidence From How Employers Translate Credit Reports into Hiring Decisions: "Half of US employers consider personal credit history when hiring.... They... reach beyond credit reports, both by inferring events that led to delinquent debt and by testing to see if candidates can offer morally redeeming accounts... #equitblegrowth

  11. Jonathan Baker: Market Power or Just Scale Economies?: "Growing market power provides a better explanation for higher price-cost margins and rising concentration in many industries, declining economic dynamism, and other contemporary US trends, than the most plausible benign alternative: increased scale economies and temporary returns to the first firms to adopt new information technologies (IT) in competitive markets. The benign alternative has an initial plausibility.... Yet six of the nine reasons I gave for thinking market power is substantial and widening in the US in my testimony cannot be reconciled with the benign alternative.... None of the reasons is individually decisive: there are ways to question or push back against each. But their weaknesses are different, so, taken collectively, they paint a compelling picture of substantial and widening market power over the late 20th century and early 21st century... #monopoly

  12. Paul Krugman (2013): Eco 348, The Great Recession #macro #teachingeconomics #greatrecession

  13. If you missed Anne Case and Angus Deaton on "deaths of despair" when it came out at the start of this year, you need to go back and read it: Iris Marechal: The Opioid Crisis: A Consequence of U.S. Economic Decline?: "Anne Case and Angus Deaton at Princeton University attribute the sharp increase in drug overdoses between 1999 and 2015 to 'deaths of despair' rather than to the increased ease of obtaining opioids: That is, their research suggests that higher drug suicides are attributable to social and economic factors such as a prolonged economic decline in many parts of the United States. They show that white Americans are more affected by the opioid epidemic, yet less affected by economic downturns than other racial and ethnic groups in the country... #equitablegrowth