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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Worthwhile Canadian Initiative

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

July 28, 2015, 7:33 pm, 1517319

Let's start simple. There are two physically identical islands, Alpha and Beta. There are two agents, A and B. Initially, A lives on Alpha, and B lives on Beta.

Under "Open Borders", each agent has the right to move to either island, if he wishes to.

Under "Forced Emigration", each agent has ...

July 26, 2015, 3:33 pm, 1515902

Mark Perry shows that textbook prices have been increasing, a lot.

I don't know why that is. But maybe there's something that profs could do about it.

The publisher's rep drops by your office. She asks which book you will be adopting for your course. She really wants the sale. ...

July 26, 2015, 11:33 am, 1515874

Very interesting. But was it also stupid?

Leave aside the political/legal aspects. How would it work? In theory, at least. (Did I really need to add that?)

Here are some very quick thoughts:

If I hold $20 in paper currency, it is as if I have a chequing account ...

July 25, 2015, 11:33 am, 1515625

I hadn't read Silvio Gesell. I only knew about him from Chapter 23 of Keynes' General Theory, from Miles Kimball's post on Gesell's plan for negative interest rates on money, and from the Wikipedia entry. But I'm halfway through writing a paper on Keynes ...

July 24, 2015, 7:33 am, 1514999

The title is more inflammatory than I want it to be, but I can't think of a simple way to ask the question properly. And it is a genuine question, because I don't know how they construct GDP data for Eurozone countries. And I know there's no chance I will ...

July 23, 2015, 9:33 pm, 1514719

Perhaps we should think about monetary policy this way.

If all prices were perfectly flexible, monetary policy wouldn't matter much. Monetary policy matters because not all prices are perfectly flexible, which means that bad monetary policy causes monetary disequilibrium, which is what happens when prices want to change but don't change. ...

July 22, 2015, 7:33 am, 1513434

[This post is unfinished. I was writing it yesterday, thinking it would work out, then I realised there was a problem. I slept on it, but can't see any obvious resolution. But sometimes we learn from seeing that things don't work out the way we thought they would. So I'm ...

July 21, 2015, 1:33 pm, 1512918

The purpose of this post is to lay out the intuition behind my discussion/argument with Steve Randy Waldman.

We need to distinguish between the individual and aggregate incentives of cutting prices. (Steve gets this, of course, which is why he is talking about coordination problems). But we also need to distinguish ...

July 20, 2015, 9:33 am, 1512049

Just a quickie. This is for Steve Randy Waldman, who says "Downward price stickiness is a coordination problem, plain and simple."

It is a coordination problem (I think), but it's a bit more than just a coordination problem. There must be something else too, like a discontinuity, or something, ...

July 19, 2015, 11:33 am, 1511802

The conventional Canadian view is that American beer is bad; watery and weak. Yet American breweries produce some of the world's best beers - superb brews coming out of microbreweries across the country.