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.


The Economics Roundtable is sponsored by EconModel.

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April 19, 2015, 9:03 am, 1457898

From Vox EU:

How immigrants and job mobility help low-skilled workers, by Mette Foged, Giovanni Peri: Existing studies – largely based on the analyses of large immigration episodes (e.g. Friedberg 2001, Card 1991), and the experience of the US and the UK (Ottaviano and Peri 2012, Manacorda et al ...

April 19, 2015, 8:04 am, 1457897
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 218 of Bruno Leoni’s pioneering 1963 essay “Law and Economy in the Making,” as reprinted in the appendix to the 1991 Liberty Fund edition of Leoni’s 1961 volume, Freedom and the Law:

Law, like language, is not a gadget that a man can contrive at ...

April 19, 2015, 7:33 am, 1457895

As someone born in the great state of Texas, I found this quite interesting.

April 19, 2015, 7:23 am, 1457894

Readers Question: I only recently discovered your site, which is spectacular, and have been reading every article since then. However, I found that two of your articles are contradicting. In your article “Problems of Deflation” you state that the current ...

April 19, 2015, 6:04 am, 1457861
My regular column is available to subscribers on This is an excerpt. I would not want anybody to think a theme is developing here but, having warned last week that we should take economists’ views on austerity with...

April 19, 2015, 5:33 am, 1457859

It's not every day--or even every year--you see a goal like this.

April 19, 2015, 5:03 am, 1457827

April 19, 2015, 5:03 am, 1457826

April 19, 2015, 3:23 am, 1457825

Photo Credit: Simon Cunningham

How does capital get allocated to the public stock markets?  Through the following means:

Initial Public Offerings [IPOs]Follow-on offerings of stock (including PIPEs, etc.)Employees who give up wage income in exchange for stock, or contingent ...

April 19, 2015, 2:44 am, 1457778

The inflow of low-skilled migrants may encourage natives to upgrade their skills, taking advantage of immigrant-native complementarity. This column uses exogenous dispersion of refugees in Denmark to investigate this issue. The findings confirm that for low-skilled native workers, the presence of refugee-country immigrants spurred mobility and increased specialisation into complex ...

April 18, 2015, 11:33 pm, 1457767
"Ham" the humanoid robot drew crowds at a Hong Kong electronics event this week. Designed by US firm Hanson Robotics, Ham can recognize and respond to human facial expressions in natural way.

Please consider Aye, robot?

With his lively eyebrows, winkled cheeks and eyes that ...

April 18, 2015, 6:04 pm, 1457756
(April 18, 2015 05:06 PM, by Scott Sumner) George Selgin has a new post discussing a paper he wrote with David Beckworth and Berrak Bahadir. In the paper they argue that the Fed set its policy rate too low during the early 2000s, and that this decision contributed... (1 COMMENTS)

April 18, 2015, 6:04 pm, 1457755
(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a letter to Mother Jones:

Congratulations!  You’ve well and truly slain a straw man by reporting that “[c]onservatives have long portrayed minimum-wage increases as harbingers of economic doom, but their fears simply haven’t played out” (“As Cities Raise Their Minimum Wage, Where’s the Economic Collapse the Right Predicted?” ...

April 18, 2015, 5:33 pm, 1457754

April 18, 2015, 5:33 pm, 1457753
Today the NY Times has a front page piece on the mistreatment of specific dogs in China. The Times reports that you don't want to be Tibetan Mastiff. Here is a memorable quote: "

"There once was a time, during the frenzied heights of China’s Tibetan mastiff craze, ...

April 18, 2015, 5:03 pm, 1457742
Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said on Saturday that he wants an orderly appreciation of the dollar. Reuters

Finance officials from the world’s largest emerging-market nations are ...

April 18, 2015, 3:33 pm, 1457738
Congratulations. You are more productive than ever. Just don't expect to be paid more for it. In reality, some machine is doing all that for you.

Japan Times reports Robots Leave Behind Chinese Factory Workers

According to the International ...

April 18, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1457733
Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said on Saturday that he wants an orderly appreciation of the dollar. Reuters

Finance officials from the world’s largest emerging-market nations are ...

April 18, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1457732

This seems implausible to me, yet there seems to be evidence for it:

Are we kidding ourselves on competition?, by Joshua Gans: ...Consider a situation where there are 10 firms in a market and they compete with one another. Now suppose that all shareholders — say because they are following the ...

April 18, 2015, 2:44 pm, 1457731

April 18, 2015, 11:03 am, 1457654
Grocery prices, including tomatoes, are falling, the Labor Department said Friday. Paul J. Richards/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Americans saw some price ...

April 18, 2015, 11:03 am, 1457652

WASHINGTON–European Central Bank governing council member Ewald Nowotny said Friday the central bank’s emergency-lending program can’t become a long-term financing mechanism for Greek banks.

“Due to the legal structure, the ECB isn’t in the situation to substitute long-term financing, that’s a political decision,” Mr. Nowotny said at the International Monetary Fund’s ...

April 18, 2015, 11:03 am, 1457653

The U.S. economy has downshifted rather abruptly in the last few months, prompting new discussion within the Federal Reserve about delaying its first interest-rate increase. Yet the growth deceleration should not come as a surprise, because the Fed has already tightened.

True, the Fed’s interest-rate target remains close to zero. ...

April 18, 2015, 11:03 am, 1457650
The economic data flow waxes and wanes. The week ahead is another waning period. Despite the sparse calendar, here are five items worth watching.

April 18, 2015, 11:03 am, 1457651
Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The Federal Reserve released new details about the committee at the center of its bank supervision policy, giving the public its first look at what has become ...

April 18, 2015, 11:03 am, 1457649
The key economic reports this week are March new home sales on Thursday and existing home sales on Wednesday.

----- Monday, April 20th -----
8:30 AM ET: Chicago Fed National Activity Index for March. This is a composite index of other data.

----- Tuesday, April 21st -----

April 18, 2015, 10:44 am, 1457648

April 18, 2015, 9:33 am, 1457645
This past week, The House ofRepresentativespassed repeal of the estate tax. This is a policy change I have long supported, for reasons explained here.

April 18, 2015, 9:03 am, 1457628

From Vox EU:

Explaining the dearth of private investment, by Aqib Aslam, Samya Beidas-Strom, Daniel Leigh, Seok Gil Park, Hui Tong: Business investment in advanced economies contracted sharply during the global crisis and has recovered little since. This column argues that the main factor holding back investment is overall ...

April 18, 2015, 9:03 am, 1457627

First paper:

Declining Desire to Work and Downward Trends in Unemployment and Participation, by Regis Barnichon and Andrew Figura: Abstract The US labor market has witnessed two apparently unrelated trends in the last 30 years: a decline in unemployment between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, and a ...

April 18, 2015, 8:35 am, 1457626
● Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower By Henry M. Paulson Interview with author on CNBC Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson said Wednesday the growth model powering China’s economy is running out of steam. Paulson, author of the new book “Dealing With China: An Insider Unmasks ...

April 18, 2015, 8:34 am, 1457625

Finally, The Hill has unearthed a story that makes me care about Hillary Clinton’s lunch choices.

Do you tip at fast food restaurants?

It’s an ethical dilemma tailor made for HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and thrust ...

April 18, 2015, 8:04 am, 1457624
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 223 of the late Bernard Seigan‘s excellent 1997 volume, Property and Freedom:

Human experience reveals the fallibility of [Paul] Ehrlich’s position.  Even if there will, in time, be less tonnage of each of these resources, human ingenuity will provide substitutes to satisfy needs ...

April 18, 2015, 6:44 am, 1457595

Business investment in advanced economies contracted sharply during the global crisis and has recovered little since. This column argues that the main factor holding back investment is overall economomic weakness. In some countries other contributing factors include financial constraints and policy uncertainty. Fixing the investment dearth will require fixing the ...

April 18, 2015, 5:33 am, 1457594

Supposedly, everything is Indo-European except Finnish, Hungarian, and Estonian.

April 18, 2015, 5:33 am, 1457593

I'd guess it's as much for dad as it is for a stroller-aged tot.

April 18, 2015, 5:03 am, 1457580

April 18, 2015, 4:04 am, 1457579
I think you want to read this excellent post by Jonathan Chait. That is all.