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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"The Library of Economics and Liberty”

May 22, 2015, 6:04 pm, 1479352
(May 22, 2015 06:10 PM, by David Henderson) In 2009, Glenn Greenwald wrote, for the Cato Institute, a study of the effects of drug decriminalization in Portugal. Among his findings were that drug usage actually decreased among various populations. Greenwald writes: In fact, for those two critical groups... (2 COMMENTS)

May 22, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1479280
(May 22, 2015 02:17 PM, by Scott Sumner) All transactions are two-sided. However in most cases the market for the object being sold is impacted much more strongly than the market for the object being purchased. If a huge new silver mine started selling silver on the open... (1 COMMENTS)

May 22, 2015, 10:04 am, 1479032
(May 22, 2015 11:41 AM, by David Henderson) Bob Murphy has done a huge service by laying out clearly the economic reasoning behind my conclusions (here and here) that: (1) you can't make interpersonal utility comparisons and (2) utility is ordinal, not cardinal. His piece is not long... (0 COMMENTS)

May 22, 2015, 2:04 am, 1478816
(May 22, 2015 12:21 AM, by Bryan Caplan) Two strangely divergent reactions:1. When economists discuss worst-case macroeconomic scenarios, they often say stuff like, "Head for your bunker," "Dig a hole and jump in," and "Hopefully you've been hoarding canned goods."2. When foreign policy experts discuss worst-case war foreign... (0 COMMENTS)

May 21, 2015, 2:04 pm, 1478523
(May 21, 2015 02:28 PM, by David Henderson) David Friedman writes in a comment on my post on interpersonal utility comparisons: Von Neuman [sic] showed how to cardinalize utility most of a century ago, so your statement that utility is ordinal not cardinal is long out of date.... (0 COMMENTS)

May 21, 2015, 10:04 am, 1478357
(May 21, 2015 09:09 AM, by Scott Sumner) Aggregate demand is fundamentally a monetary concept, linked to each country's monetary unit. Only in a few cases, such as the eurozone, does it make sense to talk about aggregate demand as a regional concept. Indeed in the eurozone, aggregate... (0 COMMENTS)

May 21, 2015, 12:04 am, 1478082
(May 21, 2015 12:21 AM, by Bryan Caplan) If you could change the K-12 curriculum in one small way, what would you change?  My pick: Unlock the school library.  By this I mean...1. Give kids the option of hanging out at the library during every break period.  2.... (0 COMMENTS)

May 20, 2015, 2:04 pm, 1477727
(May 20, 2015 11:48 AM, by David Henderson) One of the things we are most sure of in economics is that you can't compare utility, marginal or otherwise, across individuals. Utility is ordinal, not cardinal. Which is why I don't understand Tyler Cowen's post this morning. He leads... (11 COMMENTS)

May 19, 2015, 10:04 pm, 1477463
(May 19, 2015 08:41 PM, by Scott Sumner) When I advocate a (progressive) consumption tax to replace our current income tax system, some commenters reply that wealth provides benefits beyond consumption, such as peace of mind and security. I think that's true, but to me it seems to... (3 COMMENTS)

May 19, 2015, 12:04 pm, 1477116
(May 19, 2015 12:54 PM, by David Henderson) I've been reading more about the "Deflategate" case than I ever would have imagined. It's not because I'm a Patriots fan or a Patriots hater. I'm neither. It's not because I'm a football fan. I'm not really; I don't tend... (0 COMMENTS)