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

January 28, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1411702
(Don Boudreaux)

In an admirable comment on this post, regular Cafe patron Sam Grove (one of my favorites, I add to alert you to my partiality) writes in response to another commenter:

We [those of us of a free-market bent] do care about income inequality when it is a product ...

January 28, 2015, 10:04 am, 1411461
(Don Boudreaux)

In my latest Pittsburgh Tribune-Review column I ponder some of the reasons for the concern over income differences.  Here are the first few paragraphs:

I’ve never worried about income inequality. It’s not that I’ve not worried much about it; I’ve not worried about it at all.

Income inequality – like the color of ...

January 28, 2015, 8:04 am, 1411382
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 28 of my late colleague Gordon Tullock’s 1985 Quarterly Journal of Economics paper, “Adam Smith and the Prisoners’ Dilemma,” as reprinted in my colleague Dan Klein’s superb 1997 collection, Reputation: Studies in the Voluntary Solicitation of Good Conduct:

All of this, however, was ...

January 27, 2015, 8:04 pm, 1411072
(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a video of a superb appearance by Milton Friedman on Icelandic television in 1984.

January 27, 2015, 12:04 pm, 1410772
(Don Boudreaux)

One of the most frequently heard arguments in support of the so-called “war on drugs” is that a society whose government doesn’t actively discourage the use of many or most intoxicating and debilitating substances will inevitably become coarse (perhaps even downright uncivilized) and filled with all manner of ...

January 27, 2015, 8:04 am, 1410604
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 171 of David Henderson’s excellent 2002 book, The Joy of Freedom:

Markets teach or encourage at least three virtues: tolerance, honesty, and compassion.

January 26, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1410187
(Don Boudreaux)

Kevin Williamson reflects on the meeting of like-minds at Davos.  (HT Lyle Albaugh)  A slice:

Progressives say that they want inclusive social decision-making, but the most radically inclusive process we have for social decision-making is the thing that they generally distrust and often hate: capitalism — or, as ...

January 26, 2015, 12:04 pm, 1409997
(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Todd McCracken argues that export-loan subsidies doled out by the U.S. Export-Import Bank are justified, in part, because the private market consistently underestimates the profitability of unsubsidized export loans (“Should Congress Reauthorize the Export-Import Bank?” Jan. 26).

Let’s get this argument straight.  Hundreds of ...

January 26, 2015, 8:04 am, 1409841
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 168 of Virginia Postrel’s marvelous 1998 book, The Future and Its Enemies:

In a dynamic, decentralized system of individual choice and responsibility, people do not have to trust any authority but their own.

This reality is one reason, I believe, that so many intellectual elites as ...

January 25, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1409601
(Don Boudreaux)

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby is rightly impressed by the new book by Mark Krikorian and my former student Alex Nowrasteh, Open Immigration: Yea & Nay.  Alex makes a great case for the “yea” side of this question.

Despite the title that (presumably) the editors of the New ...