Debt Dynamics

We looked at a paper Hoshi & ItoNote that argues Japan’s budget deficits are not sustainable, indeed that without adjustment bond issues will exceed total domestic financial assets in the mid- to late-2010s. Since bonds ARE a domestic asset, something will have to give. Their focus isn’t on what that means, but in effect […]

National Transfer Accounts

The National Transfer Accounts project is spearheaded by Ronald Lee and Andrew Mason. It has compiled data on income and consumption by age, as well as demographic data, for an array of countries. Note that the focus below is on labor income, and is age-specific rather than aggregate [since different ages have different […]


Try to build a simple Excel simulation of our growth model, streamlined. We can embed it in a full production function, but just use the following for simplicity:

Y0 = AK0α – output is a function of capital I0 = S0 = sY0 – investment is equal to savings K1 = K0 (1-δ) + […]

The Logic of a Tax Cut

We frequently see claims that a lower tax rate – particularly of corporate or personal income taxes – will work miracles. That is seldom the case.

First, the stated tax rates are not the realized tax rates. While on paper someone with $500,000 in income is paying a 39.9% rate, the rate on […]

Long and Short Rates

Arbitrage. With perfect foresight and no risk premium the return one-year bond should be equal to the interest rate on a six-month bond bought today, reinvested in a six-month bond bought six months from now. (1+i1)(1+i2)=(1+yr) reflects compounding. Now rates are quoted as one-year rates, so if the six-month rate is quoted as […]

Winter 2017 Syllabus

TuTh 11:50am-1:15pm

Early-Fielding 200

under construction (duh!)

Winter 2017 Capstone TuTh 11:50am-1:15pm

“Long” Treasuries yield a scant 2.6% over 30 years. Basic theory suggests this should should equal expected growth rate plus inflation. If a rise in the CPI of 2% per annum is the Fed’s target, then do investors really expect that to never be attained? or attained but with real growth bouncing around at 1% […]

Monday’s paper

Clements, Benedict, Kamil Dybczak, Victor Gaspar, Sanjeev Gupta, and Mauricio Soto. 2015. “The Fiscal Consequences of Shrinking Populations.” SDN/15/21. International Monetary Fund.

What is “fiscal sustainability”? They provide a very specific approach.

How do they use “solow”?

What is the “demographic dividend”?

Social Security and Retirement

We will continue our discussion of intergenerational transfers and overlapping generations issues. To make it concrete, we’ll look at the US Social Security programs.

FAQs: Current SS system stats: Summary of program and issues: The full Trustees Report: Wikipedia: See in particular for the history of the […]

Youth (Non)employment

As a followup to our class conversation on summer jobs on Friday, here’s a link to an item on “What happened to summer jobs?” on the Forbes Modeled Behavior site.

Dynamic Scoring

I post expanded notes from my weekly radio show at Autos and Economics on This week I was asked to comment on Trump’s tax proposals. That’s a moving target, so I shifted my focus to another theme of the Republican candidates: tax cuts will pay for themselves.

Can you add graphs on […]

test to see whether commenting works

Will commenting now work on new posts, given changes made by Helen of ITS? I still apparently have to enable comments in old posts by clicking the option, which shows up only in the “quick edit” screen.

Fall 2015 Schedule & Syllabus

These should now appear correctly using the tabs at the top. I initially failed to shift the menu location of this term’s syllabus so it didn’t show, WordPress issues.

Update on the economy

I do a weekly radio segment on the economy on WREL, the local radio station. Here are my notes from the Aug 20th show. These are not necessarily the order in which I presented them, and I avoid numbers when I can – radio is not the medium for conveying data – but I like […]

Fall 2015

I will add a schedule and syllabus in late August. This iteration will incorporate many changes, but you can look at the Winter 2015 Archive for an inkling of potential topics and content.

tis the season outside … but leave seasons out of our data

As yet more snow falls, we’re reminded … that it’s the start of spring? While this year is colder than any I remember, though not so bad in terms of total snow, it does raise the question of how to interpret economic data. Of course housing […]

Unemployment and Unemployment Insurance

There are 20,000 members of the American Economic Association, the profession’s premier professional association. There are many PhD economists in the US who are not members, particularly at smaller universities. Many – likely most – economists in other countries are not members. So … 40,000 PhD economists globally? What that means is that if a […]

World Economic Outlook

Learn about the global macro outlook … the IMF publishes in English, too. Click to download.



Select blogs from this morning, one way to look for ideas: ponder the macro issues each raises. Remember the resources are at the left: EconPapers, EconLit, blogs…this is a very, very quick sampling.

Oil & gas & the US economy also the global perspective Argentine economy as viewed through wine Canadian […]


PPI All Commodities

PPI less food & energy

Here are 4 graphs that give an overview of inflation from the perspective of both producers and consumers. Data are percent change from the same month of the previous year.

On the left is the overall movement, […]