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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Cafe Hayek

February 27, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1430639
(Don Boudreaux)

In the latest (Winter 2015) issue of the Independent Review, I review Edmund Phelps’s 2013 book, Mass Flourishing.  Here are my opening few paragraphs:

Vertigo. That’s the sensation I experienced when reading Edmund Phelps’s Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change. The fault, however, isn’t Phelps’s; it’s mine. ...

February 27, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1430640
(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a video of a talk that Deirdre McCloskey gave last November at Wabash College on Piketty’s smash best-seller on economic inequality.  (The lecture series is named after the late, great Ben Rogge, who was an economics professor at Wabash.)

Around the 15-minute ...

February 27, 2015, 12:04 pm, 1430469
(Don Boudreaux)

Mike Munger’s latest EconTalk episode with Russ - on Mike’s new book (co-authored with Kevin Munger), Choosing in Groups – is great.

Inspired by this post by Tyler Cowen, my unconventional colleague Bryan Caplan shares some of his conventional views, such as this one (that I also share):

Most ...

February 27, 2015, 10:04 am, 1430368
(Don Boudreaux)

In a very real way, I’m grateful to Uncle Sam for his idiotic policy during the 1970s of putting price ceilings on energy.  Those ceilings bestowed upon me a great deal of first-hand experience with gasoline shortages and with waiting in the resulting long queues.  Those experiences were ...

February 27, 2015, 10:04 am, 1430367

February 27, 2015, 8:04 am, 1430293
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 128 of James Grant’s superb 2014 book, The Forgotten Depression – a volume about the U.S. experience with the depression of 1920-21 and the rapid recovery from that depression, a recovery not engineered, steered, or ‘stimulated’ by the state:

As far as the political-eocnomic mind ...

February 26, 2015, 6:04 pm, 1429866
(Don Boudreaux)

In Montgomery County, MD, (where Russ lives), the personal possession and discharge of firecrackers and other fireworks is prohibited.  (It’s “unlawful.”)  In bordering Fairfax County, VA, (where I live), the personal possession and discharge of firecrackers and other small fireworks is not prohibited. (It’s “lawful.”)

Suppose that some officious ...

February 26, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1429765
(Don Boudreaux)

This post is inspired by some comments at this EconLog post by David Henderson.


Money prices set by market forces play a uniquely important role in directing and disciplining economic actions.  This role is both so central to an economy’s health, as well as so deeply ignored or ...

February 26, 2015, 8:04 am, 1429431
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 423 of Robert Bork’s masterful 1978 volume, The Antitrust Paradox:

When an ideology is institutionalized it becomes, paradoxically, less visible – even to those who implement it.  The basic ideas are no longer apprehended or controverted, and hence it becomes easier to move further ...

February 25, 2015, 10:04 pm, 1429193
(Don Boudreaux)