HispanicPundit + timtaylor   105

CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: The Not-So-Triumphant Return of the Marshmallow Test
The short lesson here is not to freak out if your four-year-old gobbles some candy. The longer lesson is that level of mother's education is relevant to children's development, and that improving cognitive skills at younger ages can matter. Fpr some additional discussion of the results, see these short pieces in the Atlantic and the Guardian.
psychology  child  parenting  timTaylor 
june 2018 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Black/White Disparities: 50 Years After the Kerner Commission
Life expectancy is close to equal for whites and blacks. Infant mortality has dropped substantially for both blacks and whites in the last 50 years, but remains more than twice as high for blacks. Incarceration rates have more than doubled forth both whites and blacks, and the ratio of the black/white incarceration rate has risen from 5:1 to 6:1 in the last 50 years. 
Blacks  History  race  timTaylor 
february 2018 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: What Charter Schools Can Teach the Rest of K-12 Education
The study also drilled down to examine specific practices associated with no excuses. It found that a focus on discipline, uniforms, and student participation all predicted positive school impacts, with the important caveat that no excuses policies are often implemented together, so that it’s difficult to separate the correlations for individual characteristics.
charter  culture  timTaylor 
february 2018 by HispanicPundit
Could Driverless Trucks Create More Trucking Jobs?, David Henderson | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty
It's important to note, though, that even if there are fewer trucking jobs, there's an unlimited amount of work to be done. So if driverless trucks come along, I confidently predict that two years after the big shift, whenever that is, there will be more jobs (assuming no recession and assuming no big crackdown on immigration), not fewer.
Jobs  technology  timTaylor  Henderson 
february 2018 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Does Retirement Raise the Risk of Death?
"Social Security eligibility begins at age 62, and approximately one third of Americans immediately claim at that age. We examine whether age 62 is associated with a discontinuous change in aggregate mortality, a key measure of population health. Using mortality data that covers the entire U.S. population and includes exact dates of birth and death, we document a robust two percent increase in male mortality immediately after age 62. The change in female mortality is smaller and imprecisely estimated. Additional analysis suggests that the increase in male mortality is connected to retirement from the labor force and associated lifestyle changes."
retirement  mortalityrates  timTaylor 
january 2018 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Unions in Decline: Some International Comparisons
Across the OECD countries, about 17% of workers belong to a union. As the report notes: "Trade union density has been declining steadily in most OECD and accession countries over the last three decades (Figure 4.2). Only Iceland, Belgium, and Spain have experienced a (very) small increase in trade union density since 1985 ..." In each of the panels, the solid black line is the overall OECD average, for ease of comparison.
unions  world  graphs  oecd  timtaylor 
june 2017 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Facing the Costs of Paid Parental Leave
An AEI-Brookings Working Group on Paid Family Leave has been considering family leave policies during the last year or so, and some results of their deliberations appear in "Paid Family andMedical Leave: An Issue Whose Time Has Come" (May 2017). For the fortunate readers out there who don't concern themselves with the political leanings of DC think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute tends to leans right, while Brookings tends to lean left. Thus, the report is based on views of knowledgeable experts from a range of political perspectives.
maternity-leave  timtaylor 
june 2017 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: What is Killing US Coal?
Second, if environmental regulations are loosened for all types of energy production--that is, for natural gas as well as for coal--it's quite plausible that natural gas will continue to gain relative to coal.

So yes, environmental rules affected eastern coal production. But the big stories for the fall of coal are productivity growth among coal miners and the rise of natural gas. demand for eastern coal might well be larger today if instead of favoring aging coal-fired electrical power plants through grandfathering rules, those plants had been updated and replaced over the decades.
Coal  TrumpCampaign  timtaylor  natural-gas 
june 2017 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Characteristics of US Minimum Wage Workers
On the characteristics of those who make up the minimum wage: 2.7% of the population, mostly young, and mostly in restaurant/service industry (where tips are also part of the picture).
minimum-wage  timtaylor 
april 2017 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: International Corporate Tax Rates: Some Comparisons
Here's a graph showing top corporate tax rates across countries, with the light green dot showing the top rate in 2003 and the darker green dot showing the top rate in 2012. The US corporate tax rate is at the top of the list, and it's clear that many other countries have cut their corporate tax rates substantially since the early 2000s.
corporate  timtaylor 
march 2017 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Some Economics of Parental Leave
"In a nutshell, there is little compelling evidence that extended parental leave rights have an overall positive effect on female outcomes. The policies with the strongest evidence for reducing gender disparities seem to be early childhood spending (in both cross-country and microdata) and in-work benefits (in the microdata). A potential common theme here is that making it easier to be a working mother may matter more than the length of leave or the payments."
labor  regulations  maternity-leave  timtaylor 
march 2017 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Border Adjustments, Tariffs, VAT, and the Corporate Income Tax
To understand how the "border adjustment" comes into play, consider the situation across US states when different states have different sales tax levels: say state A has a sales tax of 5% and state B has no sales tax. If a firm based in state B makes a sale in state A, state A will charge sales tax on the product "imported" across the state border. But if a firm from state A sells in state B, then no sales tax is charged on the product "exported" to the other state. Similarly, imagine two countries with different rates of value-added tax. When imported goods arrive across international borders into a country with a value-added tax, they need to pay a border adjustment. The purpose is not to put imports at a disadvantage, but only to avoid giving imports a special advantage of being able to avoid the value-added tax.
VAT  tariff  TrumpCampaign  timtaylor 
february 2017 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: The Differences Between Selective and Nonselective in Higher Education
Thus, the more selective institutions spend more per student, but also have higher value-added per student. If you take the gains per student and divide by the cost per student, you have a  measure of productivity. Hoxby does the calculation, and finds these patterns: Productivity is lower for low-selectivity schools, which mean that although students at these schools have much less spent on their higher education, they have even-lower value-added from that education (that is, even lower wage gains after taking their test scores into account). However, productivity is basically flat for schools ranging from moderately selective to highly selective. In other words, as schools become more selective they spend more on students but also have greater value-added for students (again, after adjusting for the test scores of those students), and these two factors tend to balance out so that productivity of a moderately selective school is pretty much the same as at a highly selective school.
university  costs  Hoxby  timtaylor 
january 2017 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: The Plague of Long-Term Unemployment in Europe
But in at least two ways, Europe's problem is worse than this figure suggests. One is that the averages don't take into account the stress in countries with higher-than-average unemployment: for example, unemployment in France in September 2016 was 10.2%; in Italy, 11.7%; in Spain, 19.3%; and in Greece, 23.2%.
labor  unemployment  europe  graphs  timtaylor 
december 2016 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Early Childhood Education: Promises and Practicalities
The practical difficulty is that extrapolating these kinds of small-scale pilot program with a few dozen students up to to a city-wide programs, much less up to statewide or national programs, is an enormous leap, and the results have not always been encouraging. For example, I wrote a few years back that "Head Start is Failing Its Test" (January 29, 2013). Starting in 2002, a nationally representative sample of 5,000 students was randomly assigned to Head Start, or not. The study found that academic effects of being assigned had faded out by third grade, and there were also no meaningful effects in "cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices."
preschool  headstart  timtaylor 
november 2016 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Is the Mediterranean the New Rio Grande?
Hanson and McIntosh argue that the differences in birthrates and economic prospects, along with existing historical and political ties, point toward the possibility of an ongoing and very large surge in migration from the Middle East and Africa to Europe in the decades ahead. Indeed, my guess is that their estimates could turn out to understate the pressures for migration to Europe. Access to information about how and when to migrate, and the ability to send money to others back in the source country, have dramatically increased. And while population growth rates have slowed in much of the world, the exceptions are mostly in Africa and the Middle East.
immigration  Mexico  muslims  Europe  timtaylor 
november 2016 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Tax Code Carrots and Sticks for Health Insurance: An Update
Also the biggest additional cost of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is not the Premium Tax Credit, but rather is the expansion of Medicaid coverage to more people, which CBO estimates raised the costs of Medicaid by $64 billion in 2016. Overall, the CBO reported that for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010: "In 2016, those provisions are estimated to reduce the number of uninsured people by 22 million and to result in a net cost to the federal government of $110 billion." As I noted in that earlier post: "If the fundamental goal of the act was to spend an extra $110 billion and subsidize insurance for 22 million more Americans, the law could have been a lot simpler and less invasive."
obamacare  timtaylor 
october 2016 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Snapshots of Global Poverty and Inequality
There are basically two ways that broad swaths of a population can be lifted out of poverty: broad economic growth and redistribution. It's worth remembering that the overwhelming majority of poverty reduction is due to economic growth--especially in China and India, but in other low-income countries around the world as well. About half of the world's poor live in countries of sub-Saharan Africa, while the nations of South Asia have another third of the world's poor, and not coincidentally, those are countries that have not experienced sustained economic growth.
AbsolutePoverty  graphs  inequality  world  timtaylor 
october 2016 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: All You Need to Know about Disability Insurance
Some of this difference seems to reflect not differences in the characteristics of those receiving disability, but rather differences in the process for granting disability benefits across state. As one example from the overview paper by Pomeroy and Jim McCrery, some of the Administrative Law Judges who hear appeals about whether someone should receive DI are very likely to grant those appeals, while others are not: "There also appears to be considerable (albeit shrinking) decisional inconsistency among judges. In 2010, for example, one ALJ in Texas approved only 9 percent of applications for benefits while another in Tennessee approved 99 percent ..."
disability  timtaylor 
september 2016 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Roxanne Gay on Safe Spaces and Trigger Warnings
I like the definitiveness of Gay's statements that students will be challenged but won't be tormented, and the emphasis that a good class is built on trust.
Academia  SafeSpace  timtaylor 
september 2016 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Inequalities of Crime Victimization and Criminal Justice
It remains true that one of the common penalties for being poor in the United States is that you are more likely to live in a neighborhood with a much higher crime rate. But as overall rates of crime have fallen, the inequality of greater vulnerability to crime has diminished.
crime  compton  timtaylor 
august 2016 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Public Pensions on Shaky Ground
Notice that when the stock market peaked right around 2000, there was a golden moment when public pension funds were fully funded. But rather than build on that moment, by assuring that the funds would remain fully funded into the future, a number of state and local governments saw this as a chance to promise higher pension benefits and to make lower contributions to pension funds. Apparently these actions were acceptable both to elected officials and to the leadership of public employee unions. And now here we are.
Pensions  unions  timtaylor 
august 2016 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Homelessness in America: A Slow Decline
The gradual decline in homelessness is to me a bit of unexpected good news. If you had asked me for a prediction of how homelessness would change during the Great Recession and its aftermath, with high rates of long-run unemployment and turmoil in many housing markets, I would have predicted a rising level.
homeless  timtaylor 
december 2015 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: The Economics of Media Bias
Research on media bias and its political effects is certainly not settled, but for what it's worth, I'd sum up the existing evidence in this way. There's lots of political bias in the media, mainly because media outlets are trying to attract customers with similar bias. But in the world of the Internet, at least, people of all beliefs do surf readily between news websites with different kind of bias. The growth of television to some extent displaced the role of newspapers and lowered the extent of voting. For the future, a central question is whether a population that gets its news from a mixture of websites and social media becomes better-informed or more willing to vote, or whether it becomes a population that instead becomes expert at selfiesm, cat videos, World of Goo, Candy Crush, Angry Birds, and the celebrity-du-jour.
media  bias  timtaylor 
april 2015 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: GDP and Social Welfare in the Long Run
Here, let's do a quick review of the evidence on long-term correlations between economic growth and other measures of well-being, and then return to a discussion of correlation and causation between these factors.
GDP  economic-growth  standardofliving  timtaylor 
april 2015 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: A Global Health Care Spending Slowdown: Temporary or Permanent?
As I've argued in the past (here and here), U.S. health care spending seemed to slow down in the mid-2000s, well before any cost-constraining measures of the 2010 legislation could take effect. In addition, the slowdown in health care costss has been international, which suggests that changes in U.S. law are not the driving factor. In the December 2014 issue of Finance & Development, Benedict Clements, Sanjeev Gupta, and Baoping Shang offer more explanation on the international dimensions of health care costs in high-income countries in their article, "Bill of Health."
healthcare  costs  obamacare  timtaylor 
december 2014 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: International Minimum Wage Comparisons
However, I will note for US readers that the international comparisons here can give aid and comfort to both sides of the minimum wage argument in this country. Those who would like the minimum wage raised higher can point to the fact that the U.S. level remains relatively low compared to other countries. Those who would prefer not to raise the minimum wage higher can take comfort in the fact that, even after the minimum wage increased signed into law by President Bush in May 2007 and then phased in through 2009, the U.S. minimum wage relative to average or median wages remains comparatively low.
minimum-wage  world  timtaylor 
august 2014 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Characteristics of U.S. Minimum Wage Workers
What's the breakdown of those being paid the minimum wage by age? In particular, how many are teenagers or in their early 20s? Of the 3.3 million minimum-wage workers in 2013, about one-quarter were between the ages of 16-19, another one-quarter were between the ages of 20-24, and half were over the age of 25. What's the breakdown of those being paid the minimum wage by full-time and part-time work status? Of the 3.3 million minimum-wage workers in 2013, 1.2 million were full-time, and 2.1 million were part-time--that is, roughly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers are part-time.
minimum-wage  timtaylor 
august 2014 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Cash for Clunkers: An Autopsy
So to sum up: The taxpayer-funded cash-for-clunkers program was not a cost-effective way of job creation or helping the environment. Indeed, the main benefits probably went to those who were already thinking about a new car and were in a financial position to proceed immediately with buying one. Not surprisingly, those who used the taxpayer-funded cash-for-clunkers vouchers were usually people with above average-incomes.
CashForClunkers  timtaylor 
november 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Save the Planet: Drive, Don't Walk
But with those reservations duly noted, by all means walk that mile for your own personal health, instead of driving. But be aware that if you are the sort of person who drives a car with high fuel efficiency and who eats a full range of supermarket and restaurant food, then a decision to walk when running your errands or visiting the neighborhood may be putting your personal health ahead of a cleaner environment.
environmentalism  globalwarming  timtaylor 
november 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: The Global Wealth Distribution
Total world wealth was about $241 trillion in 2013, with a little under one-third in North America, a little under one-third in Europe, and the rest spread around the rest of the world. Average wealth per adult for the world economy was $52,000, with North Americans averaging about six times that amount, while those in Africa and India averaged less than one-tenth of that amount.
timtaylor  europe  wealth  africa  usa  graphs  world 
october 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: The Poverty Rate: Income and Consumption Estimates
Thus, they write: "The results in this paper contradict the claim that poverty has shown little improvement over time and that antipoverty efforts have been ineffective. We show that moving from traditional income-based measures of poverty to a consumption-based measure, which is arguably superior on both theoretical and practical grounds—and, crucially, accounting for bias in the cost-of-living adjustment—leads to the conclusion that the poverty rate declined by 26.4 percentage points between 1960 and 2010, with 8.5 percentage points of that decline occurring since 1980."
timtaylor  poverty  sidebar  usa 
september 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: American Women and Marriage Rates: A Long-Term View
"The proportion of women married has declined among all racial/ ethnic groups since the 1950s. This decline has been most dramatic for Hispanic and Black women, who experienced 33% and 60% declines in the proportion of women married, respectively."
history  timtaylor  blacks  sidebar  marriage  hispanics 
august 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Mexico's Sluggish Economic Progress
The underlying story in Mexico seems to be that of an economy which has opened dramatically to international trade, but hasn't run into two problems. One is competition from China. The authors quote Gordon Hanson to the effect that Mexico has the misfortune of "producing what China produces and not what China buys." But China's competitive challenge to Mexico appears to be diminishing as wages in China increase dramatically.
timtaylor  Mexico  economic-growth  sidebar  china 
july 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Global Burden of Disease
Here's a figure showing the top 10 leading diseases and injuries on a global basis, shown with blue diamonds, and the top 10 risk factors for for deaths, shown with brown diamonds. The horizontal axis shows their cost in deaths in 2010. The vertical axis shows their cost in DALYs. Thus, "Low Back Pain" among the top 10 diseases and injuries based on DALYs, although it is not a direct cause of death. Lung cancer and diarrhea cause a similar number of deaths, but diarrhea is far worse in terms of DALYs. A few of the high risk-factors that jump out at me as being a little unexpected to find in the top 10 are "Diet low in fruit," "Household air pollution," and "High sodium."
timtaylor  sidebar  health  world  graphs 
june 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: 250,000 New Permanent Federal Employees?
Whenever I see these numbers, the sheer size of federal employment widens my eyes. About 144 million Americans are employed, and more than 1% of them work are civilian employees of the federal government. While unemployment rates have been wrenchingly high for the last five years, government employment has been growing. The number of non-seasonal permanent full-time federal employees rose by about 250,000 from 2006 to 2011--a rise of about 15%--before falling back slightly in 2012.
jobs  timtaylor  sidebar  government  wages 
june 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Why Does the U.S. Spend More on Health Care than Other Countries?
The U.S. spends vastly more on hospitalization and acute care, with a substantial share of that going to high-tech procedures like surgery and imaging. The U.S. does a poor job of managing chronic conditions, which then lead to episodes of costly hospitalization. The U.S. also seems to spend vastly more on administration and paperwork, with much of that related to credentialing, documenting, and billing--which is again a particular important issue in hospitals. Any honest effort to come to grips with high and rising U.S. health care costs will have to tackle these factors head-on.
timtaylor  sidebar  WHO  spending  healthcare 
june 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: A Legal Right to Paid Vacation?
Of course, more vacation time is not a free lunch. One reason why per capita GDP is lower in these other high income countries than in the United States is the average U.S. worker spends more hours on the job. There are political economy issues, too: it makes my economist's skin crawl to imagine Congress and a president happily handing out paid vacation days to all, with little concern for the tradeoffs. But on the other side, it's also true that many of the rules that govern employment, and vacation time, are based in tradition and an implicit agreement about what a "job" will mean, not the result of a free-form multidimensional negotiation between employers and potential employees. It can be quite difficult for an individual, especially one seeking a low-skilled job, to negotiate even for flexible hours, much less for paid vacation or company-paid health insurance.
labor  timtaylor  leisure  sidebar  wages 
june 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: What If You Aren't the Average College Student?
Finally, within schools there is a choice of field of study. Those who major in science, engineering, math, or business are likely to do much better than those who focus on arts or education.
university  jobs  timtaylor  sidebar  majors  engineering  wages 
may 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: U.S. Education Spending in International Context
You would expect countries with a higher per capita GDP to spend more on education, and they do. In fact, a graph that plots the relationship across countries between per capita GDP and per student spending on primary and secondary education almost traces out a straight line. But for spending per student on post-secondary education, the U.S. spends far more one would predict based on per capita GDP. Here's the graphs from The Condition of Education 2012, published by the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education, using OECD data.
university  timtaylor  sidebar  education  graphs  costs  spending 
may 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Does Banning Texts While Driving Work?
Abouk and Adams summarize their findings in this way: "Our evidence suggests fatal accidents are reduced by bans if they are enforced as a primary offense and cover all drivers. Alternatively, accidents less likely to be related to text messaging, particularly multiple vehicle or multiple occupant accidents, are not reduced significantly. The strong impact of texting bans on single-vehicle, single-occupant crashes is short-lived. While the effects are strong for the month immediately following ban imposition, accident levels appear to return toward normal levels in about three months. This suggests that a texting ban immediately saves lives, but the positive effect cannot be sustained.
timtaylor  regulations  states  sidebar  statistics 
april 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Head Start is Failing Its Test
But as the evidence has built up, Head Start is failing its test. The latest evidence appears in the "Third Grade Follow-up to the Head Start Impact Study: Final Report," which was released in December. The report was carried out by a company called Westat and published by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Basically, the report shows that Head Start provides short-term gains to preschool children, but those gains have faded to essentially nothing by third grade.
headstart  timtaylor  sidebar  preschool 
january 2013 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Shifts in Financing College Costs
How are the sources of this funding changing in the last few years? Here's a figure showing the sources of funding and how they have changed in the last five years: below the figure, I'll list three major changes as described in the the report. The short story is that parents are paying less and grants and scholarships are covering less, but student loans and work are on the rise.
sidebar  timtaylor  costs  university 
july 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: The Death Penalty and Deterrence: Why No Clear Answers?
...I struggle with a conundrum that was put to me many years ago. Take as a starting point that we aren't sure whether capital punishment deters or not, and we must make a choice whether to execute certain murderers or not. Then consider four possibilities: 1) we execute some murderers and it does deter others, so we save innocent lives; 2) we execute some murderers and it doesn't deter others; 3) we don't execute any murderers and it wouldn't have deterred anyone if we did; and 4) we don't execute any murderers but it would have deterred some future murderers if we had done so. Those who worry about executing those who don't really deserve such a grave punishment, or even who may be innocent, have a point. But if it's possible that capital punishment may deter, and we genuinely aren't sure, then we also need to take into account in our policy calculations the possibility that executing the most egregious murderers might save innocent lives.
death-penalty  timtaylor  sidebar 
june 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: McWages Around the World
In passing, it's interesting to note that McWage jobs pay so much more in western Europe than in the U.S., Canada and Japan. But let's pursue the highlighted theme: How can the same job with the same output and the same technology pay more in one country than in another? One part of the answer, of course, is that you can't hire someone in India or Sough Africa to make you a burger and fries for lunch. But at a deeper level, the higher McWages in high-income countries is not about the skill or human capital in those countries, but instead reflects that the entire economy is operating at a higher productivity level.
mcdonalds  sidebar  timtaylor  productivity  fundamentals  wages 
june 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Occupational Licensing and Low-Income Jobs
My own guess is that the politics of passing state-level occupational licensing laws is driven by three factors: 1) lobbying by those who already work in the occupation to limit competition; 2) passing laws in response to wildly unrepresentative anecdotes of terrible or dangerous service; and 3) the tendency when setting standards to feel like more is better. But in a U.S. economy which is hurting for job creation, especially jobs for low-income workers, states should be seriously rethinking many of their occupational licensing rules. Many would be better-replaced with lower standards, certification rather than licenses, or even no licenses at all.
licensing  timtaylor  sidebar 
may 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Is Policy Uncertainty Delaying the Recovery?
By the time one takes into account the problems of creating an index to measure policy uncertainty and the problems of blending policy uncertainty into a macroeconomic model, I wouldn't place much confidence in these exact numbers. But at a broader level, the calculations make a strong argument that the effects of policy uncertainty on output and employment have probably been a substantial contributor to the sluggishness of the U.S. economic recovery.
economy  psychology  economic-growth  timtaylor  sidebar  uncertainty 
may 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Net Immigration from Mexico Stops -- or Turns Negative?
In short, Mexico in the 1970s and 1980s was demographically top-heavy with teenagers and young adults from large families living in a country with a weak economy and limited prospects for education and health care, right next to a much richer country with a weakly enforced border. A flood of immigration followed. Now, Mexico is on average older, with smaller families, and the prospects for education, health, and finding economic opportunity in Mexico are notably better. Enforcement at the border and within the U.S. economy have ramped up considerably. In that situation, a large resurgence of immigration from Mexico seems unlikely.
mexico  immigration  timtaylor  sidebar 
april 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Health Care Costs are Eating Your Pay Raise
"To paint an accurate picture of how health care cost growth is affecting the finances of a typical American family, RAND Health researchers combined data from multiple sources to depict the effects of rising health care costs on a median income married couple with two children covered by employer-sponsored insurance. The analysis compared the family’s health care cost burden in 1999 with that incurred in 2009. The take-away message: Although family income grew throughout the decade, the financial benefits that the
family might have realized were largely consumed by health care cost growth, leaving them with only $95 more per month than in 1999. Had health care costs tracked the rise in the Consumer Price Index, rather than outpacing it, an average American family would have had an additional $450 per month—more than $5,000 per year—to spend on other priorities."
healthcare  wages  timtaylor  costs  sidebar 
march 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: U.S. Gasoline Prices and Consumption in International Context
The United States taxes gasoline at about 49 cents to the gallon, counting both federal taxes and the average of state taxes. By the time you get to the bottom of the list, you see that countries like the United Kingdom, Germany and Netherlands have gasoline taxes about eight times as high at roughly $4/gallon. Population densities and living patterns are different in the United States than  in these other countries, and I wouldn't advocate raising taxes to those levels.  On the other side, it's hard to believe that phasing in an increase in U.S. gasoline taxes to Canadian levels of 96 cents per gallon would be an unsustainable blow to the U.S. .economy, perhaps with a substantial of the money earmarked for offsetting income tax cuts and part earmarked for long-term deficit reduction. There are a variety of environmental and geopolitical reason why it might be reasonable policy for the U.S. to put some price disincentives in place for petroleum use.
sidebar  timtaylor  graphs  carbon-tax 
march 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: The Great Gatsby Curve
"Economic models have emphasized the importance of parental investment in children’s human capital as one of the key mechanisms behind the intergenerational transmission of labor market earnings. One such model developed by Solon points to at least two important factors that could cause intergenerational
mobility to change over time: changes in the labor market returns to education and changes in the public provision of human capital. In periods where the returns to schooling are rising, the payoff to a given level of parental investment in children’s human capital will be larger, causing differences between families to persist longer and leading to a decline in intergenerational mobility. In contrast, during periods where public access to schooling becomes more widely available, then one might expect the intergenerational association to decline and mobility to rise."
In short, when the returns to human capital are especially high, inequality will be higher. In this situation, those wi
sidebar  parenting  timtaylor  krueger  mobility  inequality 
february 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: For-Profit Higher Education
Along with the flexibility to expand enrollments, for-profit higher education has shown considerable flexibility in teaching groups not well-served by traditional higher education. "African Americans
account for 13 percent of all students in higher education, but they are 22 percent of those in the for-profit sector. Hispanics are 11.5 percent of all students but are 15 percent of those in the for-profit sector. Women are 65 percent of those in the for-profit sector. For-profit students are older: about 65 percent are 25 years and older, whereas just 31 percent of those at four-year public colleges are, and 40 percent of those at two-year colleges are." In addition, for-profits are typically non-selective institutions, requiring only a high school diploma or a GED certificate.
sidebar  timtaylor  poverty  blacks  minorities  profit  university 
february 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Labor's Declining Share of Total Income
What explains this change? Jacobson and Occhino list the possibilities: "Economists have identified three long-term factors that can explain why the wage-productivity gap has widened and the share of income accruing to labor has declined. The first is the decrease in the bargaining power of labor, due to changing labor market policies and a decline of the more unionized sectors. Another factor is increased globalization and trade openness, with the resulting migration of relatively more labor-intensive sectors from advanced economies to emerging economies. As a consequence, the sectors remaining in the advanced economies are relatively less labor-intensive, and the average share of labor income is lower. The third factor is technological change connected with improvements in information and communication technologies, which has raised the marginal productivity and return to capital relative to labor."
This list seems basically right to me, although my reading of the evidence is that t
sidebar  unions  timtaylor  brentonwoods  wages 
february 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: India's Economic Growth: Puzzles, Issues, Sustainability
It seems clear that the wave of deregulation in 1991--which allowed imports of high tech equipment, investment by foreign companies (like software companies), along with economic connections to other countries in telecommunications, banking, and finance-- was essential to the growth of India's services sector.
But India's surge of economic growth also came out of some other factors. The country had built up a reservoir of highly-skilled engineers back in the 1970s and 1980s, many of who had educational and commercial connections in high-income economies, and who were thus ready to take advantage of the economic openings when they occurred. A huge number of potential workers in India spoke English, and thus could provide various kinds of administrative support and staff "call centers."
sidebar  timtaylor  india 
january 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Lorenz curves and Gini coefficients: CBO #3.
So what happens to inequality when one profession becomes more respected?  It depends.  If people in the profession currently earn less than average, then giving them more respect increases inequality.  But if people in the profession currently earn more than average, then giving then more respect actually decreases inequality.

Now for the fun part.  Imagine people become more egalitarian, to the point where they heap scorn on the rich and successful.  What is the effect on inequality?  By the previous logic, the effect is directly counter-productive.  The more you scorn rich people, the more people you scare away from high-income professions.  The more you scare away, the lower their supply.  And the lower their supply, the higher their income!

Lesson: If you really want a materially more equal society, stop beating up on the 1%.  Do a complete 180.  Smile upon them.  Admire them.  Praise them.  Sing songs about how much good they do for the world.  The direct result will be to rais
inequality  gini  timtaylor  sidebar 
january 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Federal Redistribution is Dropping: CBO #2
So what happens to inequality when one profession becomes more respected?  It depends.  If people in the profession currently earn less than average, then giving them more respect increases inequality.  But if people in the profession currently earn more than average, then giving then more respect actually decreases inequality.

Now for the fun part.  Imagine people become more egalitarian, to the point where they heap scorn on the rich and successful.  What is the effect on inequality?  By the previous logic, the effect is directly counter-productive.  The more you scorn rich people, the more people you scare away from high-income professions.  The more you scare away, the lower their supply.  And the lower their supply, the higher their income!

Lesson: If you really want a materially more equal society, stop beating up on the 1%.  Do a complete 180.  Smile upon them.  Admire them.  Praise them.  Sing songs about how much good they do for the world.  The direct result will be to rais
taxes  social-security  medicare  progressive  redistribution  inequality  timtaylor  sidebar 
january 2012 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Can Auctioning the Spectrum Go Too Far?
They argue that auctions cannot work as a way of allocating unlicensed spectrum, because the future innovators who might experiment by using such spectrum (along with the consumers who would ultimately benefit from such experiments) can never be organized in advance in a way that would allow them to participate in such an auction. While Wi-Fi is to this point the most important innovation to make use of unlicensed spectrum, they point out that similar arguments apply to Bluetooth and other "wireless personal area networks," to WirelessHD and WiGig which can transfer large amount of data over a distance of a few meters with a line-of-sight connection, and radio-frequency identification tags, the small tag that are attached to products or embedded in cards for tracking purposes.
patents  timtaylor  sidebar 
december 2011 by HispanicPundit
CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Government Redistribution : International Comparisons
On the tax side, the U.S. tax code is already highly progressive compared with these other countries. The OECD published at 2008 report called "Growing Unequal: Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries, which states (pp. 104-106): "Taxation is most progressively distributed in the United States, probably reflecting the greater role played there by refundable tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. ... Based on the concentration coefficient of household taxes, the United States has the most progressive tax system and collects the largest share of taxes from the richest 10% of the population. However, the richest decile in the United States has one of the highest shares of market income of any OECD country.After standardising for this underlying inequality ... Australia and the United States collect the most tax from people in the top decile relative to the share of market income that they earn."

This finding is surprising to a lot of America
europe  taxes  graphs  inequality  redistribution  progressive  timtaylor  sidebar 
december 2011 by HispanicPundit
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