Economics Roundtable

Technical Problems 1/21/15

The website was down for a day and a half, 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”

January 25, 2015, 8:34 am, 1409504

In the day job I call Arsene Wenger a great economist. I'm making a serious point.

An economist is not someone who sits in an armchair pontificating about what's wrong with economics or - worse still - about the future. He is someone who ...

January 23, 2015, 8:34 am, 1408656

One thing that has peeved me recently is the claim that falling inflation is good for real wages. This is partially true, and partially false.

It's true in the sense that lower oil prices raise the real incomes of oil consumers. It's also true that a surprise ...

January 22, 2015, 10:34 am, 1408011

I claimed the other day that those of us who are in the global 1% are apt to under-estimate our good fortune. There is, in fact, quite robust evidence from other contexts that we tend to under-rate luck and over-rate skill and causality.

For example, ...

January 21, 2015, 10:27 am, 1407443

Ryan Bourne's defence of economic growth against the Archbishop of York's call for a "just, sustainable and compassionate society" poses the question: is there really a trade-off here?

I'm thinking of two things. One is that, as Ben Friedman has shown, ...

January 20, 2015, 10:34 am, 1407204

I tweeted yesterday that there are more Guardian readers in the top 1% of the global rich than there are billionaires. This is because net wealth of $798,000 (£528,000) gets you into the top 1% (p99 of this pdf). This means that many people who have ...

January 18, 2015, 10:34 am, 1406403

Jose Mourinho yesterday issued a challenge to methodological individualism. When asked about Diego Costa, he replied (15'30" in): "I like my team more than my players."

This is a very reasonable attitude to have to a team that includes John Terry ...

January 16, 2015, 10:34 am, 1405682

Which interest rate would you rather borrow at - 4% or 0.6%? It sounds like a moronic question. Not if you're the Chancellor, it's not. In launching pensioner bonds yesterday which pay 4% pa over three years, he is choosing to borrow at a ...

January 15, 2015, 10:34 am, 1405010

It's not often I agree with David Cameron. But although his reluctance to take part in TV debates is motivated by base partisan considerations, I have some sympathy for it. I'm not at all sure that leadership debates are a good thing.

The problem with them is ...

January 14, 2015, 8:34 am, 1404194

Anna Hedge says the left must understand finance better. I wholly agree. I'd add three reasons why it should do so.

First, financial markets right now are corroborating two big leftist positions. Long-term real interest rates are negative and, given the shape of ...

January 13, 2015, 10:34 am, 1403537

Alex is right. David Cameron's speech on the deficit yesterday consisted of "intellectually lazy lies". This, in particular, is dubious:

The choice is clear: staying on the road to recovery – or choosing the path to ruin. Competence or chaos.

To see what's wrong ...