Economics Roundtable

Database Maintenance 7/4/15

Routine database maintenance will induce some duplicated items for the next day or two.

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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Economic Principals (David Warsh)

July 26, 2015, 4:34 pm, 1515908

It is not often that a book’s reception warrants front-page coverage in The New York Times, but this one did, in October 1946, some eighteen months after Oskar Morgenstern joined with John von Neumann to publish Theory of Games and Economic Behavior. The new approach, explained reporter Will Lissner, “has ...

July 19, 2015, 12:34 pm, 1511806

Having begun the laborious search for a new publisher, EP needed to attend to some housekeeping details before continuing its summer serial.

The next episode,  “An Altogether Different Angle,” will appear next week.

To those following the series closely, apologies for the delay.

To those discomfited  by the occasional 9,500 word column, not ...

July 12, 2015, 6:34 pm, 1507688

When Keynes died, in April 1946, The Times of London gave him the best farewell since Nelson after Trafalgar: “To find an economist of comparable influence one would have to go back to Adam Smith.” A few years later, Alvin Hansen, of Harvard University, Keynes’ leading disciple in the United ...

July 5, 2015, 4:34 pm, 1503883

Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, was “one of those days after which almost everything is different.” That’s how John Kenneth Galbraith described the Great Crash thirty years after the fact – a day of pandemonium on the New York Stock Exchange after a week of declines, the unmistakable end of ...

June 28, 2015, 8:34 pm, 1498294

(This is a re-worked section I cut from the bottom of the introductory episode of this fifteen-part serial, on May 17,  at a time when I was more worried about the length of installments than I am now. See if it helps make sense of what you have already ...

June 21, 2015, 6:34 pm, 1494609

If the first half of the nineteenth century in Britain was dominated by the Napoleonic wars and their aftershocks – strikes, demonstrations, suffrage demands – the nation settled down after 1850 to the far happier decades of the Victorian Era.  One conception of revolution replaced another. What had been universally ...

June 14, 2015, 4:34 pm, 1490926

Bankers who were Adam Smith’ contemporaries noted the political economist’s relative lack of curiosity about their business. They remembered the South Sea Bubble of 1720. They connected it with the experience of the Ayr Bank in 1772, as well as the other bank crises of 1745, 1763.

They knew, too, that ...

June 7, 2015, 6:34 pm, 1487318

Modern readers meet Adam Smith, if at all, as a caricature: on neckties, in op-ed articles, as a critic of government, a prophet of markets and laissez-faire. This think-tank version grossly distorts his significance. Like his friend Benjamin Franklin, Smith was astoundingly wide and deep: founder of a modern social ...

May 31, 2015, 6:34 pm, 1483485

Douglas, Heron and Co., popularly known as the Ayr Bank, had closed its doors amidst a run in June 1772.  A handful of local noblemen and gentry, mostly large landowners, had founded it a few years before to fund improvements in southwest Scotland’s booming linen industry and tobacco trade. But ...

May 24, 2015, 6:34 pm, 1479811

All that summer of 2008, decision-makers in Washington, D.C., were hoping for a soft landing – or so they said at the time. That was, after all, what happened in 1998, after the Russian debt crisis; or in March 2000, when the dot-com bubble collapsed. That speculative frenzy in tech-stock ...