Economics Roundtable

Technical Problems 3/9/15

The website was down several hours today, but is back up now.

May 2014 Payroll Employment

After 76 months, we finally got back to the prerecession level of payroll employment.

Click on the image to get a bigger version.


The best summary of the state of our economy is the graph (below) of employment as a fraction of population for people over 16 years old. The decrease is large, but the most troubling feature of the graph is the flat trend .

Click on the image to get a bigger version.

Graph-of-the-Year Candidates

Donald Marron likes European interest rates. Click on the image to get a bigger version. Can you find three distinct subperiods?

Brad DeLong favors the U.S. gdp gap.

Remember M1?

Money Supply M1 growth is now over 20% per year over a 12 month lag. M1 growth has touched 20% before, but not with excess reserves of $1.6 trillion. Where is M1 headed?

Click on the chart for a larger version.


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Stumbling and Mumbling

"An extremist, not a fanatic”

March 26, 2015, 12:35 pm, 1445804

Imagine if Ant and Dec had racially abused a colleague before lamping him. Would there be a big political campaign and a million-strong petition to save them? I'm not sure. This tells us that Clarkson's popularity isn't based solely on the fact that he's a talented ...

March 25, 2015, 10:35 am, 1445038

Matthew Syed in the Times gives us a wonderful example of Marxist thinking. He asks why marathon running is so popular, and says it's because it satisfies a desire for self-improvement which we cannot get from paid labour:

We live in a world where the connection between ...

March 24, 2015, 12:35 pm, 1444475

Ed Conway in the Times endorses Ken Rogoff's suggestion (pdf) that we should abolish cash. This seems to me completely infeasible, in at least three different ways:

- It is a grossly illiberal measure - the banning of capitalist acts between consenting adults, to use ...

March 23, 2015, 10:35 am, 1443709

Should politicians make false apologies? I ask because of Janan Ganesh's claim that Labour has been "monstrously incompetent" in failing to apologize for its fiscal policy before the crisis:

Had the Labour party owned up to its profligacy in office during the previous decade, it would now ...

March 20, 2015, 10:35 am, 1442698

"Nearly all future growth depends on a productivity resurgence" says Martin Wolf. This being so, Simon is right to deplore the fact that George Osborne never mentioned the productivity stagnation in his Budget.

This, though, raises a paradox - that whilst there seem ...

March 19, 2015, 10:34 am, 1442011

What is George Osborne up to? This is the question posed by what the OBR's Robert Chote calls (pdf) a "roller-coaster" path for public spending. He foresees current departmental spending falling by 9% in nominal terms between 2014-15 and 2018-19 - a cut of ...

March 17, 2015, 10:34 am, 1440607

Chris Bertram said yesterday:

When David Cameron announced that the Tories would reduce net migration to "the tens of thousands" it was obvious to anyone remotely well-informed that the policy was (a) bound to fail and (b) attempts to implement would result in illiberal nastiness on an ...

March 15, 2015, 10:34 am, 1439554

The film critic Pauline Kael is reputed to have said after the 1972 election: "I don’t know how Richard Nixon could have won. I don’t know anybody who voted for him." The quote is apocryphal, but it captures a widespread error of judgement - our tendency ...

March 14, 2015, 10:34 am, 1439322

Here are some things I've seen this week:

- Describing the decline of universities, Marina Warner says: "not everything that is valuable can be measured."

- Some US newspapers have signed up to Blendle, allowing readers to pay to read individual articles.

March 13, 2015, 10:34 am, 1438854

In all that's been written about Jeremy Clarkson, nobody has pointed out that there's a close analogy between him and central banks.

Mr Clarkson's critics seem to believe that he should have followed the rule "don't punch people." They are wrong. If he'd obeyed this ...