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”

March 4, 2015, 10:34 am, 1433303

Here's Leicester manager Nigel Pearson talking about tonight's game against Man City:

Do I expect any backlash or do I take encouragement from their recent results? I think a bit of both.

This is an example of how mistaken beliefs can cancel out. On the ...

March 3, 2015, 10:34 am, 1432492

In the day job, I point out that it is impossible for young people to save optimally for their retirement. This isn't just because of the well-known problems of weakness of will or low incomes, but also because of unavoidable uncertainties about how future tastes and ...

February 28, 2015, 8:34 am, 1430933

I'm in two minds about Frances' critique of macroeconomics. A bit of me disagrees, but a bit thinks she might be understating the problem.

First, a disagreement. In one respect, the 2008 crisis actually strengthened economics. The investor who followed the sell in May ...

February 27, 2015, 10:34 am, 1430371

Simon's claim that fiscal austerity has been a disaster reminds me of a big bias in the media - the misuse of the word "cost".

Very often, when the press use the word "cost" to describe a policy, what they really mean is a transfer. ...

February 26, 2015, 10:34 am, 1429512

Ed Miliband is right. MPs should be banned from having paid directorships and consultancies. However, I don't say this for the conventional reasons.

It's not because such jobs distract MPs from their duties to voters and the country. The way to stop an MP doing ...

February 25, 2015, 10:34 am, 1428749

I probably shouldn't say so in these censorious times, but I have a little sympathy for Sir Malcolm Rifkind's desire "to have the standard of living that my professional background would normally entitle me to have."

Of course, an MP's salary of £67,060pa is high ...

February 24, 2015, 10:35 am, 1427945

The juxtaposition of David Cameron's claim that we have a "fundamental duty" to care for pensioners with the FT's story that 20-somethings have low incomes after housing costs reminds us that intergenerational justice is now a big issue.

But I wonder: is this ...

February 23, 2015, 10:34 am, 1427207

Is Harry Kane really the new Alan Shearer? Or is he simply this season's Michael Ricketts? The question is crying out for an application of Bayes theorem.

I say so because otherwise we risk being misled by cognitive biases.

One of these ...

February 21, 2015, 10:34 am, 1426585

In a superb piece Frankie Boyle raises the question of what counts as punching up:

You might have imagined that routines "punching up" against the big targets of the day would have to involve the international banking system; the arms industry; or even just the fact that ...

February 20, 2015, 10:34 am, 1426020

Experimental evidence suggests that Marx was right.

In Capital, Marx describes the selling of labour power thus:

He, who before was the money-owner, now strides in front as capitalist; the possessor of labour-power follows as his labourer. The one with an air of importance, smirking, intent ...