Winter 2015

I have posted the schedule and syllabus: no texts, just readings, and more readings.

Alongside your capstone project, this term I emphasize three overlapping themes. One is an overview of “modern” macro theory, begining with the Solow growth model, then overlapping generations models, then (rational) expectations and endogenizing […]

Think globally! – the US isn’t the world’s only trading partner

The recent depreciation of China’s exchange rate with the US$, to which it is pegged, garnered headlines. Until now those watching China believed that the RMB could only appreciate, leading to heightened foreign demand for Chinese assets by foreign speculators. Allowing a modest depreciation and increasing the intradaily trading band from 1% […]

See the FT series on US Labour Market Slack that contains quite excellent analysis…the prof

Social Security and the Recession

I regularly read a variety of blogs that cover macroeconomic issues. This is an item I picked up from the Economist’s View [also in the Blogroll ===>]. It ties into our discussion that Social Security offers insurance that cannot be readily (or reasonably) obtained through private markets. EV cites a paper from the […]

LF Participation

In the blogosphere there’s an ongoing discussion of labor force participation (cf. the decline in “headline” unemployment despite few additional jobs). A good example is the Atlanta Fed’s Macroblog, where in a January 17th post Ellyn Terry uses survey data on why people were […]

“The” Multiplier

To start thinking about this issue see Fiscal Policy Debates on the Economist’s View blog.

Some recovery!?

The US recovery continues at a snail’s pace; the auto industry is doing better. The rise in the SAAR [seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales] puts us below the bubble-inflated peak of 2005-6, […]

Winter 2014 Syllabus (Overview)

Economics 398 Winter 2014 MWF 1:25 am – 2:20 pm, Huntley 220

Econ 398 has two goals. The first is to develop a full research proposal. The second is to examine an array of topics in macroeconomics beyond those typically covered in Econ 211, using analysis of “the” multiplier (and […]

Why Support Higher Education?

…”flagship” colleges are not a local public good… I’ve long been puzzled by state support for elite universities. In contrast, I’ve long been puzzled by the lack of state support for community colleges. So what’s the puzzle? To make sense to an economist, states should support goods and services that private markets don’t […]

Stimulus or not?

We’ve read papers by DeLong, Ramey and others — this is a timely article on Bloomberg for our upcoming debate on multipliers and stimulus.

February Labor Data: On Trend – unfortunately

I track a variety of indicators, including age-specific employment-to-population data and employment relative to the normal level using census age-specific population projections. What the latest jobs data show is that we remain on our recent growth trend … which puts us back at normal employment levels in 2019. Since employment fell below trend in […]

When Elders Rule: Is Gerontocracy Harmful for Growth?

From EconPapers. The first article lets you follow up on the political economy of political systems that overrepresent the interest of retirees. (Of course, if you read the abstract that’s not their phrasing.) The second addresses the point I’ve made in class and on the blog, that the social security trust fund is economically meaningless; […]

Government Efficiency: A Natural Experiment

…sequestrian offers a “natural” experiment to test views of government… Microeconomists will thank Congress for providing a natural experiment to test competing views of government. One is that government is unnecessary, or at least inefficient in an allocative sense — lots of money on things that aren’t very useful (and perhaps not enough money on […]

Steve Rattner on Budget Issues

p {margin: 4pt 0pt 5pt 1pt; text-align: justify} p.level1 {margin: 4pt 5pt 4pt 15pt; text-align: justify} p.level2 {margin: 4pt 5pt 4pt 35pt; text-align: justify} Steve Rattner worked very hard on behalf of our economy with the Auto Task Force. The US was already in the throes of the Great Recession. Had the bankruptcy process not […]

Corsetti et al Multipliers

Corsetti et al (2012) use a “Taylor Rule” approach to estimate normal (endogenous) fiscal policy, and then use the error in the fitted values as a measure of “true” fiscal policy that would not be automatically included in the variables of a typical VAR. They then use this to test the size of the […]

Seasonal vs Non-seasonal data

Seasonally adjusted vs non-adjusted data: graphs say it all.

Sen. John McKeynes

Click the title for a post “the” multiplier from Jared Bernstein

IT and Productivity

A long-standing quip is that computers are seen everywhere but in the productivity numbers (due to Robert Solow? Dale Jorgenson?). Why?

James Kwak in the Baseline Scenario blog gives a nice example: electronic records in healthcare. Let me quote:


…how can you discuss policy if you can’t count?… Some comics are simply too good to pass up. I’ve seen jokes using the 110% quip, but this is a nice collage. I’ve linked this to the Dilbert web site via; if the link disappears you’ll need to look for the Jan 18th strip elsewhere. […]

Ron Paul at Washington and Lee University: Does gold shine?

There’s a certain fascination with gold; it seems to offer a way to constrain central bankers, at one end of the rules versus discretion debate. Mind you, central banks don’t have a stellar track record. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates during the onset of the Great Depression, surely worsening matters. That’s a core criticism […]