HispanicPundit + economist   253

Religious competition was to blame for Europe’s witch hunts - Toil and trouble
When Mr Leeson and Mr Russ compared their witch-trial data to the timing and location of over 400 battles between Christian denominations, they found a much closer link. Where there was more conflict between Catholics and Protestants (in Britain, between Anglicans and Presbyterians), witch trials were widespread; in places where one creed dominated there were fewer. The authors conclude that churches engaged in a sort of “non-price competition”, gaining converts in confessional battlegrounds by advertising their commitment to fighting evil by trying witches.
Religion  Catholic  History  economist 
september 2018 by HispanicPundit
Python has brought computer programming to a vast new audience - Programming languages
Python is not perfect. Other languages have more processing efficiency and specialised capabilities. C and C++ are “lower-level” options which give the user more control over what is happening within a computer’s processor. Java is popular for building large, complex applications. JavaScript is the language of choice for applications accessed via a web browser. Countless others have evolved for various purposes. But Python’s killer features—simple syntax that makes its code easy to learn and share, and its huge array of third-party packages—make it a good general-purpose language.
engineering  economist 
july 2018 by HispanicPundit
A new paper rekindles a tiresome debate on immigration and wages
Mr Borjas’ work has sparked plenty of controversy–his blog notes at least three challenges to his work, see here, here and here. After a few months of relative tranquility, Mariel has once again come into the limelight thanks to a new paper by Michael Clemens of the Centre for Global Development, a think-tank, and Jennifer Hunt of Rutgers University. Mr Borjas has since responded to this critique; their correspondence appears to have proceeded ad infinitum. (A working-paper response to Mr Clemens and Ms Hunts' critique can be found here.)
immigration  wages  Borjas  debates  economist 
june 2017 by HispanicPundit
Welfare and warfare - Marginal REVOLUTION
But it is also a question of history and, more specifically, of how welfare states in the rest of the world developed alongside warfare. European welfare states began in Prussia at the end of the 19th century, when war with France required the mobilisation of a large number of civilians. Britain’s welfare state has its origins in the discovery that many of the men who presented themselves to recruiting offices during the Boer war were not healthy enough to fight. Before the second world war, British liberals would have seen the creation of a government-run national health service as an unwarranted intrusion of government into private life. After 1945 it seemed a just reward for a population that had suffered.

In America this relationship between warfare and health care has evolved differently. The moment when the highest proportion of men of fighting age were at war, during the civil war (when 13% of the population was mobilised), came too early to spur the creation of a national health system. Instead, the federal government broke the putative link between war and universal health care by treating ex-servicemen differently from everyone else. In 1930 the Veterans Administration was set up to care for those who had served in the first world war. It has since become a single-payer system of government-run hospitals of the kind that many Americans associate with socialised medicine in Europe. America did come close to introducing something like universal health care during the Vietnam war, when once again large numbers of men were being drafted. Richard Nixon proposed a comprehensive health-insurance plan to Congress in 1974. But for Watergate, he might have succeeded.
welfare  wars  economist  cowen 
march 2017 by HispanicPundit
Obamacare’s squeezed middle: Admit it: Republicans’ proposed Obamacare overhaul offers relief for some middle earners | The Economist
In total, there are 9m unsubsidised buyers for whom criticisms of Obamacare resonate strongly. Most of these people are not rich: a family-of-four stops receiving subsidies at an income of just under $100,000. Obamacare forced such buyers onto the same plans as a lot of people with pre-existing medical conditions who could not previously afford insurance. That pushed their premiums and deductibles up—and they have risen further over time.
TrumpCare  obamacare  economist 
march 2017 by HispanicPundit
Cheeseburger bills: A bit of a pickle | The Economist
Using data from 2000 to 2012, the authors find that cheeseburger bills did not change the average number of McDonald’s outlets per state (it held constant at about 270). Yet they did result in a significant increase in the number of company-owned McDonald’s restaurants, and a decline in franchises. In cheeseburger-bill states, the prospect of hefty settlements faded. With a corresponding rise in expected profitability, the authors suppose, McDonald’s reacquired stores from franchisees.
regulations  obesity  economist 
may 2015 by HispanicPundit
Economic history: What was mercantilism? | The Economist
At the heart of mercantilism is the view that maximising net exports is the best route to national prosperity. Boiled to its essence mercantilism is “bullionism”: the idea that the only true measure of a country’s wealth and success was the amount of gold that it had. If one country had more gold than another, it was necessarily better off. This idea had important consequences for economic policy. The best way of ensuring a country’s prosperity was to make few imports and many exports, thereby generating a net inflow of foreign exchange and maximising the country’s gold stocks.
history  economist  economics  sidebar 
august 2013 by HispanicPundit
Mobility: Low mobility associated with inherited ability is no social tragedy | The Economist
The children of earlier elites will not succeed because they are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, and an automatic ticket to the Ivy League. They will succeed because they have inherited the talent, energy, drive, and resilience to overcome the many obstacles they will face in life. Life is still a struggle for all who hope to have economic and social success. It is just that we can predict who will be likely to possess the necessary characteristics from their ancestry
genetics  economist  IQ  sidebar  mobility 
february 2013 by HispanicPundit
Labour markets: Raise the floor? | The Economist
Messrs Neumark and Wascher still demur. They have published stacks of studies (and a book) purporting to show that minimum wages hit jobs. In a forthcoming paper they defend their methods and argue that the evidence still favours their view. But even they are no longer blanket opponents. In a 2011 paper they pointed out that a higher minimum wage along with the Earned Income Tax Credit (which tops up income for poor workers in America) boosted both employment and earnings for single women with children (though it cost less-skilled, minority men jobs).
sidebar  economist  jobs  minorities  minimum-wage 
november 2012 by HispanicPundit
Trade: Mexico rising | The Economist
Conveniently, the most recent issue of The Economist features a special report on Mexico, which includes a long look at the country's promising economy. The changing dynamics of global market potential are indeed part of the story:
sidebar  economist  mexico 
november 2012 by HispanicPundit
Mexico and the United States: The rise of Mexico | The Economist
And Mexico itself is more than the bloody appendix of American imaginations. In terms of GDP it ranks just ahead of South Korea. In 2011 the Mexican economy grew faster than Brazil’s—and will do so again in 2012.
sidebar  economist  mexico 
november 2012 by HispanicPundit
College Enrollment: Mr Clinton should be less concerned | The Economist
The U.S. education system certainly leaves many things to be desired but Mr Clinton’s concern about the number of Americans enrolled in college, as expressed in his speech last night to the Democratic National Convention, was misplaced. He was upset that the share of the American workforce with degrees is lower than that in other countries. He should read the work of Cambridge economist Chang Ha-Joon. Chang has noted that Switzerland—one of the richest countries in the world and the nation with the third-highest ratio of Nobel scientists per person—has a lower rate of college enrollment than every other rich nation, as well as other beacons of prosperity like Argentina, Lithuania, and Greece. In fact, once a country has crossed some very low threshold, there is no relationship between the number of graduates and national wealth. The explanation is simple: a typical college education does not linearly increase labor productivity.
sidebar  economist  clinton  GDP  education  university 
september 2012 by HispanicPundit
The euro crisis: Yes, there is austerity | The Economist
The spending cuts are there, in spades. Of course, the importance of spending cuts in episodes of austerity derives from the view that they are more likely to "stick" than tax rises, and that they are critical in generating "expansionary austerity". But this is no iron law of fiscal consolidation. Rather, as a recent IMF paper pointed out, it is due to the fact that central banks are more likely to accommodate spending cuts with aggressive easing than they are tax rises.
austerity  spending  cowen  europe  economist  sidebar 
may 2012 by HispanicPundit
Taxing the rich in America: The politics of plutocracy | The Economist
History shows that deficit reduction works best when most of the burden falls on spending cuts. That means that middle-class entitlements will have to be reduced, no matter what Mr Obama tells his supporters. But, just as in every other budget squeeze, a portion must come from higher taxes, no matter what the Republicans say.
sidebar  economist  campaign2012  taxes 
january 2012 by HispanicPundit
Economic geography: Moving toward stagnation | The Economist
While the marginal resident of Phoenix and San Jose is assumed to be indifferent between the two cities, however, there is still a real productivity gap. Housing costs across the Sunbelt have to be low to attract workers because wages are low, and wages are low because the productivity of the tradable sector in these cities is relatively low. That alone, however, shouldn't impact the country's ability to create jobs in the tradable sector. Productivity is lower in many Sunbelt cities, but so are wages.
sidebar  economist  yglesias  drum  manufacturing  fundamentals  states  standardofliving  jobs  wages  economic-stagnation 
december 2011 by HispanicPundit
Trade: Where can you sell your wares? | The Economist
In order to earn a higher wage than a worker in another country producing goods that trade at a more or less equal price, an employee must be more productive. The higher wage in the tradable sector will lead to a rising wage for workers in non-tradable sectors—that is, those producing non-transportable products like haircuts for local economies—as local firms must pay a competitive wage to attract employees. An overall higher level of income in an economy, in other words, is only possible thanks to higher productivity in the production of tradables.

The trouble, as Mr Luce rightly points out, is not necessarily that America is losing jobs in manufacturing. It's that it is failing to create jobs in the tradable sector. Almost all net new job creation in America over the past 20 years has occurred in non-tradables: things like health care, for instance, or education. This is potentially a very serious issue. If America isn't creating new jobs in the tradable sector, it is presumably bec
sidebar  labor  economy  jobs  economist  yglesias  drum  manufacturing  manu  middleclass  wages  free-trade 
december 2011 by HispanicPundit
A Gas Tax: Number vs. Words, ctd. | Politics | Economics | The American Scene
Now, to evaluate Avent’s argument that taxing fossil fuels is a good way to induce new technology, consider an analogy. Suppose that there is a chemotherapy drug that increases 5-year survival rate for a specialized type of cancer from 10% to 60%, but with horrible side-effects. Some scientists in a couple of university labs have had some promising results with basic compounds that might or might not ultimately be precursors to a new drug that could get better increases in survival rates, and without many of the awful side effects. If you believed that improving treatment for this disease should be a major public priority, would your preferred approach be to add a large tax to chemotherapy? This is, in effect, what Avent is proposing as way to encourage the development of alternative energy technologies. I’d fund NIH research into the new alternative drug.
carbon-tax  manzi  sidebar  economist 
december 2011 by HispanicPundit
Inequalities: Paul Krugman gets distracted | The Economist
But Mr Brooks does not even suggest that the education gap explains this. He attributes "Blue Inequality" to changes in compensation norms and superstar effects. He even notes that the top 1% in the big cities wield "disproportionate political power", which is what really bothers Mr Krugman. Indeed, it bothers Mr Krugman so much he cannot be brought even to acknowledge the idea that the very real inequalities Mr Brooks enumerates between college grads and the rest are important at all, much less more important than the disproportionately rising fortunes of the top 1% or .1%. The only point Mr Krugman seems to want to make is that "income inequality in America really is about oligarchs versus everyone else."
inequality  poverty  mobility  brooks  krugman  wilkinson  economist  sidebar 
november 2011 by HispanicPundit
Energy: That's oil she wrote | The Economist
James Hamilton provides interesting, related thoughts on oil markets here. Let's boil this down to basics. Oil demand grew rapidly last decade, due to fast growth in emerging market economies. This growth was disrupted by the spike in prices in 2008 and the Great Recession; but for the resulting shortfall in demand growth, the global economy would have needed much more oil—more than could have been produced. One response to this line of thinking is to say, phew, the world economy dodged a bullet. Absent the growth slowdown prices might have soared to astronomical levels. Another response would be to point to Mr Hamilton's research and recent history and conclude that the weak growth which has prevented those astronomical prices is a direct result of the high cost of oil. That is, dear oil is presently a significant constraint on global growth.
oil  hamilton  economist  simon  sidebar 
september 2011 by HispanicPundit
Labour markets: Growth is Texas' secret | The Economist
A few people have pointed out that Texas turned in a relatively poor growth performance from 2009 to 2010. That's true, but it's mainly due to the fact that the state had less room to catch up to its trend. Texas was growing faster than the country as a whole prior to the recession, and output fell less during the recession. Since then growth has come back close to the pre-recession trend.
texas  economic-growth  economist  sidebar 
august 2011 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: 2010 Years of economic output and population in one chart
Over the last 2010 years, 55% of total economic output happened in the 20th century, and an additional 23% of the total in just the first 10 years of the 21st century.

About 28% of the total years of human life lived in the last 2010 years happened during the 20th century, and about 6% of total years of human life lived in the last 2010 years happened in the first 10 years of the 21st century.
economic-growth  lifeexpectancy  history  graphs  economist  timtaylor  sidebar 
july 2011 by HispanicPundit
Global trade: Identify the losers | The Economist
Debating the losers of manufacturing shifts, and having more jobs overseas than on American soil.
manufacturing  apple  globalization  debates  economist  sidebar 
july 2011 by HispanicPundit
Political economy: Is democracy an economic liability? | The Economist
Here's the deal. For all its competent stewardship, China's government runs a country where the average citizen is only about 15% as rich as the average American. And if we look at the world's richest large countries (say those with 10m people or more) in terms of per capita GDP, we see that the league tables are dominated by democracies. In order: America, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Taiwan, Britain, France, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Czech Republic. The first non-democratic large country to make the list? Saudi Arabia. And I don't think we need to chalk its wealth up to sound macroeconomic management.
capitalism  democracy  china  poverty  economist  sidebar 
july 2011 by HispanicPundit
A lost generation
Does this seem like a good use of human resources? And what this chart only begins to hint at is that these high rates have been sustained for a long period, and are unlikely to return to normal levels anytime soon. One in five young Europeans is out of a job and the story isn't much better in America. These are the world's two largest economies. The economic costs are staggering, and the potential political economy impact isn't very comforting either.
labor  graphs  europe  usa  financialcrisis  economist  sidebar 
july 2011 by HispanicPundit
Pigovian taxes: Jim Manzi makes the case for higher petrol taxes | The Economist
This is what I ultimately don't understand about Mr Manzi's argument. If demand for carbon or oil is relatively elastic, then a tax on carbon or oil is a great way to reduce dependence on carbon or oil. If demand for carbon or oil is relatively inelastic, then a tax on carbon or oil is a great way to generate revenue. After all, a tax on those negative externalities will reduce their output a little bit, and given the choice between reducing carbon a little bit and reducing income a little bit, wouldn't we prefer to reduce carbon? Even if you think humanity should do absolutely nothing to stop global warming or reduce oil dependency, governments will want to spend money to handle the inevitable costs of warming or oil-dependence, and it would be far better to fund that spending with as efficient a tax system as possible. And there's no question that a system more dependent on taxes on negative externalities is more efficient than one more dependent on taxes on income.
oil  fundamentals  europe  carbon-tax  manzi  economist  sidebar 
may 2011 by HispanicPundit
Public-sector pay: Too modest or too much? | The Economist
None of this is to say that that's not in fact "the way it should be". If we are to trust the Economic Policy Institute, a union-funded think tank overseen by big-labour bigwigs, Ohio public-sector workers earn less than allegedly comparable private-sector workers. Surely it's true that government lawyers make less than their private-sector peers. But I suspect that a good deal of EPI's "controlling for education level" conclusion involves a boatload of masters degrees in education, and I'm sceptical that the "market value" of a masters in education approaches what teachers with MAs are paid. Furthermore, I suspect the value of high job security, early retirement and low income volatility ought not to be underestimated, but are by studies like EPI's.
epi  walker  unions  wages  economist  sidebar 
may 2011 by HispanicPundit
In defence of Europe's defence | The Economist
To say that Europe is "free riding on the US" implies that Europe is getting something. Yet those who make these kinds of claims never explain just what it is they think Europe gets out of America's colossal levels of military spending. Most Western Europeans don't see themselves as deriving any great benefit from America's disproportionate defence outlays; it is not clear how Europe's security would be harmed if America did cut its defence budget. And it is not clear how European security would be enhanced if Europe dramatically increased its defence spending. Now that China is ramping up its defence spending, American officials say they are troubled because Beijing does not explain what threats it seeks to counter. Anyone who wants Europe to increase its defence spending ought to do the same.
europe  usa  military  spending  economist  sidebar 
may 2011 by HispanicPundit
European employment: Saws to ploughshares | The Economist
ACROSS the European Union, countries are finding it difficult to provide jobs for their citizens. Youth unemployment is a particular concern. But even for those lucky enough to be in work, the pattern of employment varies widely across the continent. Using data from Eurostat, the official EU statistics body, our interactive chart, below, breaks down the employment make-up of each of the 27 EU member states, along with Norway.
labor  europe  graphs  economist  sidebar 
may 2011 by HispanicPundit
Income inequality: Rich and poor, growing apart | The Economist
American society is more unequal than those in most other OECD countries, and growth in inequality there has been relatively large. But with very few exceptions, the rich have done better over the past 30 years, even in highly egalitarian places like Scandinavia.

This suggests that while national factors can influence the degree of inequality growth and can mitigate (or not) the negative impacts of that growth, there seem to be broader, global forces pushing inequality up across countries.
inequality  world  maps  graphs  europe  usa  economist  oecd  sidebar 
may 2011 by HispanicPundit
Fixing entitlements: The cash solution | The Economist
I think the left would be, rightly, confident that genuine privatised cash would not be attractive to most seniors, but that's not a good reason not to offer them this choice. A better reason to think twice about offering it is that the government can't credibly promise to respect it. America is not very good at letting people die on the cheap. Neither is it currently prepared to allow emergency rooms to turn away uninsured patients. The cash and casts plan is a good one right up to the point at which society is unable to tolerate preventable deaths on the sidewalk outside of the hospital for those who took it.
medicare  reform  yglesias  cowen  economist  sidebar 
april 2011 by HispanicPundit
America's budget: The CBO scores Paul Ryan | The Economist
The larger picture, however, is quite clear. The federal government's health care bill would become much more predictable and manageable under Mr Ryan’s budget. For individuals and states, the opposite would be true.
PaulRyan  CBO  economist  sidebar 
april 2011 by HispanicPundit
Education: Diminishing returns to school | The Economist
But I've been persuaded by Tyler Cowen's "Great Stagnation" argument that a big new investment in education, or a big improvement in education policy, is unlikely to have a correspondingly large impact on growth, for the simple reason that most of the low-hanging educational fruit has already been picked. Yes, earlier initiatives in America's history were refreshingly progressive, timely, and economically beneficial. At the same time, education used to be a lot easier. It's much simpler to teach the median kid to read, write, and do algebra than it is to teach the median kid graduate engineering. And it's much easier to teach the median kid to read, write, and do algebra than it is to teach the underperforming student from a household in the lowest income decile the same thing.
education  history  yglesias  economist  sidebar  economic-stagnation 
april 2011 by HispanicPundit
Obama's budget plan: Unseriously unfair | The Economist
Anyway, high-earners in America do pay higher rates. In 2008, the top 1% paid 38% of all federal income taxes, and the top 5% paid 58%. Indeed, America is the industrialised world's champion of income-tax progressivity! If any country's upper-crust pays its fair share, America's does.
taxes  progressive  usa  europe  wilkinson  economist  sidebar 
april 2011 by HispanicPundit
Education: Scholarships are an acceptable second-best solution | The Economist
Yesterday, I argued that providing players with an athletic scholarship was superior to just paying the athletes, not only because it made the league more interesting, but also because it's in the best interest of the players. Most players will not go pro and make millions of dollars. Many come to university with few other skills and would not typically go to college. I argued that a college education is more valuable than whatever they would have earned on a minor-league team. Normally, it would be better to just pay the players the monetary value of their scholarship (or whatever price the market clears at for their labour). If the NBA or NFL does not work out they can chose to consume education later with this money, if that is their preference. In principle this would be the superior market outcome. But this solution does not work because there are a few sources of market failure which beg some intervention.
sports  yglesias  economist  sidebar 
april 2011 by HispanicPundit
Workplace discrimination: Is Wal-Mart on the hook for America's sexism? | The Economist
It seems to me quite likely that millions of women have been discriminated against in terms of pay and promotion at Wal-Mart stores. But this is more likely to reflect pervasive cultural bias rather than anything specific to Wal-Mart's hiring and promotions policies, which seem completely standard. In a sexist culture, if managers are typical people and have any discretion at all, a pattern of discrimination will arise, even if managers sincerely attempt to exercise their discretion in strict compliance with their firm's state-mandated anti-discrimination policy. This would seem to be a straightforward implication of much of the literature on implicit bias.
wal-mart  genderissues  discrimination  SupremeCourt  economist  sidebar 
april 2011 by HispanicPundit
Technology and employment: Pity useless men | The Economist
So perhaps the story here is not that we've reached some point where technological improvement condemns a growing rank of workers to uselessness. Perhaps the story is that firms use recessions to realise productivity gains and get rid of surplus workers. And in recent recoveries, central banks have allowed growth to recover to trend, but have not permitted a strong period of catch-up growth of the sort that would facilitate re-employment of cast-aside workers. Instead, those workers linger on the fringe of the workforce until they become essentially unemployable.
BrentonWoods  labor  wages  economist  sidebar 
march 2011 by HispanicPundit
Culture: Is opera good for growth? | The Economist
As you can see, there's a tight relationship between school enrolment in 1900 and income a century later. Ed Glaeser wrote on this back in 2009:
education  history  glaeser  economic-growth  economist  sidebar 
march 2011 by HispanicPundit
Labour markets: The vanishing middle | The Economist
To the extent that one thinks a middle class is associated with middle-skill employment opportunities, this chart suggests that pressures on the middle class exist across the rich world and are likely to do technological change. In particular, Mr Autor has emphasised the difference between routine and non-routine tasks. Many middle-skill positions—like factor line worker or back office clerk—are of the routine sort that can easily be either offshored or replaced by robot or computer programme. At either end of the skill spectrum, however, are a range of non-routine tasks—like design (at the high-skill end) or janitorial (low-skill) work. Employment opportunities for these positions have risen.
middleclass  free-trade  manufacturing  economist  sidebar 
march 2011 by HispanicPundit
The national-greatness imperative: Why neocons think we need war | The Economist
Over at Cato Unbound (I used to be the editor), C. Bradley Thompson, a professor of political science at Clemson University and author of "Neoconservatism: An Obituary of an Idea", offers a fascinating critical summary of the content of neoconservatism as practical political creed, which is, more or less, Irving Kristol's operationalisation of Leo Strauss' political philosophy. The piece is too rich to fairly summarise, and I encourage you to read it all. For now I want to focus on the elements of neoconservatism that help explain the alarming truculence of its adherents.
neocons  history  cato  wilkinson  economist  sidebar 
march 2011 by HispanicPundit
Labour markets: Where the jobs are | The Economist
As you can (hopefully) see, Texas leads the pack. About a fifth of all new jobs were created there last year. About half of net new jobs were produced by the top 6 states, and about 80% were produced in the top 15. New Jersey had the biggest job loss, followed by Nevada. New Jersey's job losses were almost entirely due to cuts in government employment.
jobs  states  Texas  economist  sidebar 
march 2011 by HispanicPundit
Trade: Putting the free in free trade | The Economist
I'd tell them that economies are based on the gains from voluntary, mutually-beneficial transactions, and the government should be very reluctant to prevent people from engaging in these transactions. No one wants to be told what or from which people they can buy. But what's price to one person is income to another. Sometimes people begin buying different things, for many different reasons—technological changes, policy changes, shifts in tastes, recessions—and that change in buying patterns will cost some people their income. Very often, these changes will strike the victim as unfair. But life, as parents have explained for millenia, is not fair. The proper response to this unfairness is not to try and undo it, to reject the choices of others engaging in voluntary transactions as illegitimate. The proper response is to work to build society's safety net so that those hit by life's inevitable unfairness aren't left destitute and hopeless because of it.
free-trade  wilkinson  economix  economist  sidebar 
february 2011 by HispanicPundit
Political economy: Government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich | The Economist
At left, we see that as people at the bottom of the income spectrum care more about an issue, the probability of action on that issue scarcely budges. At right we see that policy responds a little more to median preferences. But what's clear in both is that the rich are much more successful at getting their issues on the docket.
politics  corporate  polls  lobbying  economist  sidebar  inequality 
february 2011 by HispanicPundit
Growth: The great stagnation | The Economist
Second, improvements in rich world living standards may, for the moment at least, come from the capture of policy low-hanging fruit. In other words, the rich world should focus on getting rid of blatantly foolish and costly policies. Moving from taxes on goods, like income, to bads, like traffic congestion, would be a good start. Not spending so much on medical treatments with dubious benefits would be another possibility. Cutting out policy foolishness like agriculture subsidies and the mortgage-interest deduction would be another positive step. Amid rapid growth, really silly policy choices could be tolerated, since surpluses continued to rise. As growth rates slow, the failure to cut out bad policies will mean continued stagnation or declines in living standards for some.
economic-stagnation  economic-growth  immigration  education  economist  sidebar 
february 2011 by HispanicPundit
Urban economics: No dawn for Detroit | The Economist
What points should we take away from this performance? Well, it may or may not have been a good idea to step in and rescue the carmakers, but the critics who pointed out that it would not save Detroit were right. This should have been obvious at the time, given that it was widely agreed that putting carmakers on a firmer footing would involve drastic cuts to their labour forces and rationalisation of production facilities.
unions  manufacturing  economist  sidebar 
february 2011 by HispanicPundit
Income inequality: Some thoughtful criticisms and a response | The Economist
I argue in the book that with middle class incomes stagnant, pressure built on the politicians to do something. They responded with a raft of government initiatives to expand home ownership through the 1990s and early 2000s, including lower down payments for government loans and guarantees, and more mandates to Fannie and Freddie for affordable housing. Expanded credit, especially housing credit, helped maintain household consumption even though household incomes were not keeping pace, and was a contributory factor to the financial crisis.
inequality  FinancialCrisis  Rajan  economist  sidebar 
january 2011 by HispanicPundit
Entitlements: Cut benefits or raise taxes? | The Economist
How to save social security - raise taxes or cut benefits? The economist argues that cutting benefits is the way to go.
social-security  polls  economist  sidebar 
january 2011 by HispanicPundit
Regional business cycles: Texas and New York, different | The Economist
The chart above shows the change in state labour forces and state unemployment from the onset of recession until the most recent month for which data is available. And what we see is that New York's labour force hasn't growth very much over that period while Texas' has soared—by more than the growth in unemployment. This tells us that a large share of the rise in the unemployment rate in Texas is due to migration; Texas' economy has employed many newcomers, but not enough to prevent an increase in unemployment. This is a very different situation from New York.
Texas  krugman  economist  sidebar 
january 2011 by HispanicPundit
Currencies: Why is the euro so expensive? | The Economist
Another explanation for the euro’s resilience is that investors hate the dollar at least as much, if not more. The deeper roots of the euro-zone’s sovereign-debt crisis lie with a competitiveness problem in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain—countries that account for around a third of euro area GDP. These countries need a weak currency. But so does America. Its current-account deficit widened in Q3; its GDP growth is still quite sluggish; and unemployment is still close to 10%. Plus America has fiscal issues of its own. Some FX strategists think the dollar can only rally once the need for quantitative easing (an increase in the supply of dollars, after all) disappears. So the euro/dollar exchange rate will be determined by whose woes look like lasting the longest. In that case, a big payrolls number tomorrow might push investors to think again. America’s problems might then seem rather more tractable than Europe’s.
euro  dollar  economist  sidebar 
january 2011 by HispanicPundit
Financial inequality: Are the rich making you poor? | The Economist
Mr Cowen lists another reason why finance sector pay comes at the expense of the poor, which is very worrying and problematic. It stems from the distortions that exist in the industry. Mr Cowen reckons that the large rewards and guarantees of government bail-outs provide too much upside with too little downside. This asymmetry encourages excessive risk taking where the rich get the all the upside (when their bets pay off) and the poor and middle class bear the downside by being more adversely effected by recessions (when the bets go badly).
inequality  finance  cowen  economist  sidebar 
january 2011 by HispanicPundit
Growth: Why is America so rich? | The Economist
Mr Smith also gets at something important in discussing immigration and talent. The economic geography of the world is lumpy, and talent likes to clump together into centres of innovation. Through fortune and foresight, America managed to develop world-leading centres of talent in places like Silicon Valley, Boston, and New York. Relatively open immigration rules and the promise of a safe harbour for war refugees, including persecuted Jews, helped build these knowledge centres. When one combines that innovative capacity with a system that makes it relatively easy to develop ideas and relatively lucrative to exploit them economically, the potential is there for rapid and sustained growth.
usa  history  economic-growth  immigration  jews  economist  sidebar 
december 2010 by HispanicPundit
Labour markets: Jobless benefits and the unemployment rate | The Economist
The effect of unemployment insurance on the unemployment rate and how Felix Salmon cant understand this simple point.
UI  labor  salmon  economist  sidebar 
december 2010 by HispanicPundit
Charlemagne: If only it were that easy | The Economist
"On numerous measures, Europe is more diverse than America. Per-capita wealth in Mississippi, the poorest state, is almost two thirds the national average. But the poorest EU member, Bulgaria, stands at 38% of the union average. Mississippi is also the most religious state: folks there are three times more likely to go to church weekly than in Vermont (the most secular state). Well, three quarters of Maltese and two thirds of Poles go to church once a week: just 3% of Danes do the same. Mississippians are less likely than Californians to think global warming is a “very serious” problem, by 56% to 73%. Try Estonia, where just 42% think climate change is “very serious”, compared to 84% of Greeks."
europe  immigration  diversity  usa  economist  sidebar 
december 2010 by HispanicPundit
Housing markets: What should be done with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? | The Economist
"So far, there is some (but not universal) agreement on principles but little consensus on strategy. Laurence Kotlikoff and Phillip Swagel each have plans to make Fannie and Freddie true private firms. Tom Gallagher suggests they should be returned to their pre-Johnson adminstration status, while Mark Thoma suggests that moral hazard could be reined in through new regulation and John Makin argues simply that they should go away."
fanniemae  economist  sidebar 
july 2010 by HispanicPundit
Economist Debates: Upcoming debates
"Governments around the world are desperate to jump-start economic growth. Having bailed out banks and carmakers, some want to go further and direct public money to other sectors and firms. In June, copying recent efforts from America, Britain, China, France and Korea to boost manufacturing, Japan launched a drive to channel funds to five sectors including cultural industries and infrastructure. Is this a doomed-to-fail resurgence of central planning? Are states ever able to predict the industries of the future? Is it always a mistake for governments to pick winners, or is it, as some people argue, naive to think that industries flourish without state aid in some more or less obvious form?"
heterdox  free-trade  debates  rodrik  economist  sidebar 
july 2010 by HispanicPundit
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