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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Worthwhile Canadian Initiative

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

May 21, 2015, 11:34 am, 1478433

The rising expense of local government services is increasingly capturing the attention of pundits and policy makers alike.† The rising cost of policing and fire services in particular and their effects on local budgets and ratepayers, has drawn the attention of Canadian municipal leaders.† ...

May 21, 2015, 5:34 am, 1478223

Take a macro model of an economy with two different goods being produced; call them Carrots and Grapes (there can be many different varieties of carrots, and many different varieties of grapes, if you like). Suppose the demand for grapes falls, because of a change in preferences. Will there be ...

May 17, 2015, 7:34 pm, 1475986

"It is a great comfort to have you so rich"†- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

Stripped down to the barest essentials, taxation works like this:

taxes owing = tax rate * tax base + lump sum taxes - income guarantees and tax credits.

The appropriate tax base, rate and income guarantee are the ...

May 8, 2015, 9:34 am, 1470239

The most useful university courses and degrees are the hardest to get into. For example, most people would benefit from knowing something about accounting. But do universities facilitate the study of accounting? No. Everywhere admission into Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Business Administration programs is restricted.†

It's the interests of ...

May 7, 2015, 11:34 am, 1469609

I suppose I have become somewhat obsessed with Ontario‚Äôs economy and its performance but here I go again with a few comparisons. Ontario is strategically located on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence waterway adjacent to the huge population of the US northeast.† Its neighbours are trade partners and markets as well ...

May 4, 2015, 9:34 am, 1467069

Other than government bonds? That's a rhetorical question. They can.

David Andolfatto has gone over to the Dark Side, and all the lefty keynesians are celebrating their new convert to Big Government Deficits. (Tongue in cheek warning.)

Not so fast.

David imagines a world where the demand for (central bank money ...

April 30, 2015, 1:34 pm, 1464933

Vector auto regressions (VARs) are supposed to tell us how the economy would respond over time if hit by a shock, by looking at past patterns of responses to shocks. A "shock" means "a deviation of one of the variables in the VAR from the level that was forecast by ...

April 29, 2015, 9:34 am, 1463937

Noah Smith says: "Maybe people are perfectly smart and rational enough to understand the David Ricardo idea,..."

I'm not so sure.

I must have been taught the David Ricardo idea two or three times, and I must have taught it to my students about 20 times, and then this happened:

I ...

April 27, 2015, 7:34 am, 1462283

Here is a very simple model of a pure exchange economy where the mechanics of exchange (who can trade what with whom) determine whether very small departures of prices from market-clearing cause very large welfare losses.

There are three goods, apples, bananas, and carrots, with prices Pa, Pb, and Pc.

There are ...

April 24, 2015, 3:34 pm, 1461420

Well, another Ontario budget has come and gone.† The government still plans to balance its budget by 2017.† According to the budget projections it will do this largely by increasing revenues and restricting expenditure growth.†

Between 2014/15 and 2017/18, revenues are expected to grow from ...