Economics Roundtable

NOTICE 4/30/18

The Economics Roundtable is back. The technical problem that has limited the set of blogs has been resolved. The RSS feed is, however, still not working.

Flushing caches will likely cause some old posts to show up for a day or two.

Employment as a Percentage of Population

The graph below shows employment as a fraction of population for people over 16 years old.

Click on the image to get a bigger version.

March 2017 Payroll Employment

Payroll employment has not grown impressively since 2000. Some baby-boomers retired, but that does not totally account for this graph.

Click on the image to get a bigger version.

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.

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.

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Stumbling and Mumbling

"An extremist, not a fanatic”

July 11, 2018, 9:50 am, 1875058

The Times obituary of Lord Carrington says:

More commonly, he found himself sleeping in a hole beneath his tank with his four crew who came from poor backgrounds and had suffered hardship during the pre-war years. The experience shaped his politics, he said later. “You could not ...

July 10, 2018, 2:11 pm, 1874594

I’m pleased to see Phil McDuff joining free marketeers in complaining that anti-obesity strategies of the sort promoted by Jamie Oliver will hurt the poor. For me, though, there’s a deeper and nasty question here: if we can’t trust the poor to feed themselves properly, ...

July 10, 2018, 2:11 pm, 1874595

Rationalism and rationality, wrote Deirdre McCloskey, “are not often found in the same company.*” Robert Wright’s piece on the myth of perfectly rational thought reminded me of that saying. People who claim to be rationalists are often not wholly rational. As Robert says:

Cognitive biases are ...

July 10, 2018, 2:11 pm, 1874593

It’s not 1997 any more. This shouldn’t need saying, but attacks on Jeremy Corbyn such as this from Ian Austin suggests it does. He accuses Corbyn of wanting to turn Labour into “something very different” from its traditional mainstream social democracy.

What this misses is that ...

July 10, 2018, 2:11 pm, 1874592

Does economics matter? I ask because I suspect I would understand political debate better if I realized that it doesn’t.

Everybody tends to over-rate the importance of their profession: it’s part of deformation professionelle. Lawyers over-rate the importance of the law, artists of the arts and so ...

July 10, 2018, 2:11 pm, 1874590

Whilst cycling the other day, I crossed the Leicestershire-Rutland border. And I was shocked to see…nothing. No border controls, no passport checks, no customs officials. Here in Rutland we have an open borders policy. Any riff-raff can move in. I know: I was that riff-raff.

This is ...

July 10, 2018, 2:11 pm, 1874591

There’s no doubt that Jonathan Haskel is an excellent appointment to the MPC. What we should be asking is rather: isn’t he over-qualified?

What I mean is that not much hangs upon interest rate decisions. The Bank’s own work estimates that a quarter-point rise reduces ...

July 10, 2018, 2:11 pm, 1874583

We had great weather on the May Day bank holiday. This meant that pretty much everybody around here decided to drive to Rutland Water, with the result that there were hours of gridlock on our usually empty roads.

This was a common mistake. It’s what David Navon ...

July 10, 2018, 2:11 pm, 1874581

Daniel Hannan tweeted recently:

Libertarians want to break oligarchies, expand opportunity and let wealth spread. I can’t think of any political movement where the gap between what its supporters believe and what they are imagined to believe is wider.

Now, if people widely and persistently ...

July 10, 2018, 2:11 pm, 1874582

Whatever happens next, this has been a great World Cup for Gareth Southgate. What does this tell us?

The first thing is that, as William Goldman said, nobody knows anything. When Southgate was appointed, the reaction was underwhelming. Nobody said “this guy will take us ...