Monthly Archives: June 2013

To Ponder

From Enrico Spolaore and Romain Wocziarg one may erroneously infer a major role for specific national institutions in Africa, even though, as shown by Michalopoulos and Papaioannou (2010), national institutions have little effect when looking at the economic performance of … Continue reading

Posted in Economic History, Growth Causes and Consequences | 2 Comments

James C. Bennett vs. Deirdre McCloskey

Bennett writes, Very briefly, and simplistically, the Industrial Revolution happened when it did because the English (and their available capital) were occupied gathering the plentiful low-hanging fruit available with pre-industrial (or what Mumford would call “eotechnic”) technology. Iain [Murray]’s ancestors … Continue reading

Posted in Economic History, Growth Causes and Consequences | 6 Comments

Andrew Biggs on Social Security

He writes, A Social Security reform that addressed the program’s structural and fiscal problems would begin by transforming today’s complex benefit formula into a two-part system consisting of a savings account and a flat universal benefit. Such a system could … Continue reading

Posted in government debt crisis, income distribution-wealth-poverty | 22 Comments

DSGE Models–Blogs vs. Academics

Tyler Cowen writes, The blogosphere is more likely to criticize DSGE models, whereas the profession is more likely to see such models of as providing discipline for any business cycle explanation, Keynesian included. …On all of these questions my views … Continue reading

Posted in Economic education and methods, PSST and Macro, Tyler Cowen is my Favorite Blogger | 1 Comment

Outlaw Private Short-term Debt?

That seems to be what John Cochrane is advocating. In the 19th century, private banks issued currency. A few crises later, we stopped that and gave the federal government a monopoly on currency issue. Now that short-term debt is our … Continue reading

Posted in Financial Crisis of 2008 | 4 Comments

Math Tests and Mortgage Default

The story is here and http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/?p=1771. The claim is that mortgage borrowers with poor math skills defaulted at a much higher rate than other mortgage borrowers. Levels of IQ and financial literacy showed no correlation with likelihood to default, but … Continue reading

Posted in Housing and housing finance, statistical methods | 2 Comments

Libertarians Cannot Win

So writes Henry Olsen. Post-Moderns like unions (50 percent favorable), Obamacare (only 16 percent think it will have mainly a bad effect), and the U.N. (60 percent favorable). They are much less likely than Libertarians to say government should be … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

Adding Knut Wicksell to the List of the Wrong

Tyler Cowen writes, I don’t think I ever wrote this view up, but I was of the same opinion nonetheless. He refers to a post by Paul Krugman arguing that the Fed’s purchases were not what was holding bond rates … Continue reading

Posted in PSST and Macro, Tyler Cowen is my Favorite Blogger | 1 Comment

The Non-Profit Sector

Dan Pallotta and Russ Roberts discuss it in a recent podcast. I have to admit that my views on Pallota have not changed. Nor have my views on non-profits vs. for-profits. Fabio Rojas had an argument in favor of non-profits.

Posted in Libertarian Thought | 1 Comment

Sad But True

Morris A. Davis writes, the costs and risks of homeownership are almost never discussed by public agencies and that the benefits of homeownership as widely articulated are either hard to measure or are quickly refutable. I conclude that U.S. housing … Continue reading

Posted in Housing and housing finance, links to my essays | 4 Comments