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”

May 27, 2015, 10:35 am, 1481159

All economists know the theory of the second-best. This is the idea that a government action that would be sub-optimal in an ideal world can in fact improve welfare in a less than perfect one; for example, if there is monopoly, price controls which would be ...

May 26, 2015, 10:35 am, 1480433

A front page headline in today's print edition of the FT reads: "Malone close to victory in Charter's $55bn battle for Time Warner Cable."

Why use military terms to describe an everyday commercial transaction? When I bought a pint of milk this morning, I didn't consider it ...

May 22, 2015, 10:35 am, 1479037

One effect of growing old is that you get to see history being rewritten. So, I fear, it is with the description of Liz Kendall as being a Blairite because she rejects the idea that England has moved leftwards and supports Toryish policies such ...

May 21, 2015, 10:35 am, 1478361

David Clark writes:

To abandon the search for a more equitable, productive and democratic economy out of a desire to appear “pro-business” would be a serious error.

This hints at an under-appreciated possibility - that some pro-growth policies are not pro-business. What might these ...

May 20, 2015, 2:35 pm, 1477733

In discussing Paul Romer's wonderful concept of mathiness*, Peter Dorman criticizes economists' habit of declaring a theory successful merely because it is "consistent with" the evidence. His point deserves emphasis.

If a man has no money, this is "consistent with" the theory that ...

May 19, 2015, 10:35 am, 1477037

Many lefties have long believed that false consciousness causes some workers to vote against their own interests: I have some sympathy for this view. However, reading Dan Davies makes me suspect that it's not just workers who do this.

He points out that ...

May 16, 2015, 6:35 am, 1475576

Many of us believe that if Labour is to have a future, it must embrace decentralization and attack managerialism. The very way in which the leadership election is beling conducted, however, suggests that managerialism remains entrenched.

What I mean ...

May 15, 2015, 10:35 am, 1475153

Tim Worstall, Bryan Caplan and Tyler Cowen have been wondering why people hate libertarians.

I'm not sure many do: if you want to see hate, just look at the abuse dished out to even the most innocuous feminists. But let's ...

May 14, 2015, 8:35 am, 1474356

If the Labour leadership election is anything like the General Election, it will be completely uninformed by sensible economics. This is to be regretted because there's one fact which - if it continues - must shape leftist politics, namely the stagnation in productivity growth. This is ...

May 12, 2015, 10:35 am, 1472854

Labour needs a new Tony Blair.

I mean this in a specific sense. In the 90s, Blair realized that the economy and society had changed and so old-style leftist and rightist policies were no longer relevant; one of the key texts of New Labour was entitled Beyond ...