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 .
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.
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?
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"Small steps toward a much better world”
1. Yemen travelogue.
From Becker, Philipson, and Soares (pdf):
GDP per capita is usually used to proxy for the quality of life of individuals living in different countries. Welfare is also affected by quantity of life, however, as represented by longevity. This paper incorporates longevity into an overall assessment of the evolution ...
Mann and Corrado have new work on this topic, here is a brief excerpt from the Brookings summary:
The evidence suggests that increasing the role of small donors would have little effect on partisan polarization in either direction because small donors tend to be highly polarized. Although Mann and ...
One of the most surprising developments is the way that Bolivia has amassed foreign currency, salting away a rainy-day fund of about $14 billion, equal to more than half of its gross domestic product, or 17 months of imports, that can help it get through economic hard times.
According to the ...
3. How to make selfie toast (there is no great stagnation).
4. Roko’s Basilisk.
Dan Ariely and co-authors have an interesting new paper looking at moral behavior, specifially cheating, in people who grew up in either East or West Germany.
From 1961 to 1989, the Berlin Wall divided one nation into two distinct political regimes. We
exploited this natural experiment to investigate whether the socio-political ...
That is the theme of my new New York Times column. Here is one excerpt:
Income inequality has surged as a political and economic issue, but the numbers don’t show that inequality is rising from a global perspective. Yes, the problem has become more acute within most individual nations, ...
To enlist in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), potential recruits have to take tests. To make sure their sons and daughters pass, families pay up. At one recruitment office in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi, this year’s going rate, depending on your guanxi, or connections, is as much as ...
The working paper (pdf) describes it in this way:
Filecoin is a distributed electronic currency similar to Bitcoin. Unlike Bitcoin’s computation-only proof-of-work, Filecoin’s proof-of-work function includes a proof-of-retrievability component, which requires nodes to prove they store a particular file. The Filecoin network forms an entirely distributed file storage system, ...
Technological decline seems more plausible [as a cause]; see this Brookings Institution paper for the extended argument. Basically, health-care innovation is expensive, and for roughly the last decade, we’ve been doing less of it. As old innovations come off patent or are refined into cheaper and better versions, ...