Economics Roundtable

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”

August 18, 2014, 2:35 pm, 1320469

What is the optimum number of migrant deaths? The answer is not zero.

Think of this from the point of view of UK voters. They want tougher immigration controls. But these impose the risk of death upon migrants. If people can't ...

August 17, 2014, 8:35 am, 1319914

I have pointed out before that rightists are prone to a rhetorical trick which I've called "small truths, big errors" - a tendency to use a small factual claim to obfuscate a bigger issue. Tim Worstall gives us an example of this today. In ...

August 7, 2014, 10:35 am, 1313811

"Local politician considers becoming MP" should, be rights, be a story only of interest to local newspapers. If the national media take an interest, it should only be to ask whether a man who has twice been sacked for dishonesty and who has

August 6, 2014, 10:35 am, 1312997

"Corporations are people" said Mitt Romney. He was more right than he knew, because two new NBER papers by Christopher Parsons and colleagues show that companies are like people, in the sense that they are prone to peer effects:

We find ...

August 5, 2014, 8:35 pm, 1312449

In the day job, I've coined a newish word - decorporatization.

My chart shows what I mean. It shows that in recent years we haven't seen just a squeeze on wages, but also a squeeze on profits; the share of these in

August 4, 2014, 10:36 am, 1311120

In a comment here, I propose the creation of a new job, or jobs - professors for the public understanding of economics, analogous to the professorships at Bristol and Oxford which do the same for science.

I'm not thinking that such jobs should necessarily be ...

August 3, 2014, 6:36 am, 1310632

What are academics good for? asks Simon Wren-Lewis. I'm tempted to reply along the lines of Edwin Starr - absolutely nothing, as least for British academia.

Simon is right to say that the academics are correct to take a dim view of austerity. ...

August 2, 2014, 8:36 am, 1310312

The other day, I sympathized with Oakeshott's anti-rationalism. Bang on cue, rationalist-in-chief Richard Dawkins showed one of the weaknesses in rationalism. He tweeted:

Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how ...

August 1, 2014, 10:36 am, 1309706

Is poverty structural or due to individuals' failings? Matt Bruenig and Noah Smith are debating this. I'm inclined to agree with both of them.

I agree with Noah that the two are not mutually exclusive. A quick thought experiment shows this. ...

July 31, 2014, 10:35 am, 1308876

Am I a Tory, or is Jesse Norman a socialist? I'm prompted to ask because the other day he reminded me of his superb lecture (pdf) on Burke and Oakeshott.

What I mean is that, as Jesse says, both men, in their different ways, supported ...