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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Worthwhile Canadian Initiative

"Who would have thought an economics blog could be this exciting?”

February 26, 2015, 9:33 am, 1429503

I'm trolling Elizabeth Breunig. Because she said that "Human capital is one of the more odious terms in the capitalist lexicon". And I like the term "human capital", because I think it helps us think more clearly about investment in training and education.

Are new-born babies "human capital"? My ...

February 25, 2015, 11:33 am, 1428826

Well, there seems to be a fair amount of fuss over the proposed doubling of the contribution limit to Tax Free Savings Accounts(TFSAs).  Kevin Milligan says the case for raising the annual TFSA limit is shaky as the benefit will be mostly to high wealth households rather than ...

February 25, 2015, 7:34 am, 1428666

Stephen Poloz is Governor of the Bank of Canada. Here is the speech he delivered at Western. The whole thing is worth reading.

Perhaps I'm reading too much into it. But I see a tension in Steve's speech. He recognises that Divine Coincidence has failed, and that inflation targeting ...

February 24, 2015, 11:33 am, 1428019

[Ages ago, as a graduate student, I "wasted" my time (when I should have been finishing my thesis) reading capital theory, including the more "heterodox" stuff. My memory is pretty hazy, but I still think about the old questions occasionally. There's nothing new here for economists familiar with "dated goods".]

1. ...

February 22, 2015, 5:33 am, 1426799

That's the motto of Carleton University, where I work. Carleton's task, and my task, and the students' task, is to produce educated students. It takes a lot of resources to do this: my time, the students' time, the support staff's time, plus the use of buildings and land, and hydro. ...

February 21, 2015, 1:33 pm, 1426641

Or could they all use foreign banks? Dumb question. I don't know the answer. Are there some laws that make it hard to use foreign banks? Tourists seem to manage OK without opening a foreign bank account. It ought to be easier still if the foreign country uses the same ...

February 21, 2015, 9:33 am, 1426579

Let there be two players. The apple producer buys bananas from the banana producer; and the banana producer buys apples from the apple producer. Each must place his order for how much fruit he wants to buy before observing the other's order. Each player's action depends on his expectation of ...

February 18, 2015, 9:34 am, 1424431

There is a parallel universe in which the Euro was never invented, and the Eurozone countries kept their own moneys and their own central banks, with flexible exchange rates. I think the economic outcomes would have been better. But let's just suppose they weren't.

Suppose that each of those independent central ...

February 16, 2015, 1:34 pm, 1423289

Dunno. I was never that good at micro/math. That's why I'm asking.

The government has a banana machine that converts any number of apples into the same number of bananas. If it starts the machine up we get a new equilibrium, where people will produce more apples and fewer bananas, and/or ...

February 14, 2015, 7:33 pm, 1422635

Branko Milanovic (HT Mark Thoma) misses the point about the usefulness of the concept "human capital". To explain the point, let me talk about "land capital" instead.

Raw land, in it's natural state often isn't very productive. Before you can grow wheat on it, you usually need to clear ...