Economy

How Supply and Demand Really Did Drive the Oil Boom
October 15, 2009

I've highlighted a couple recent papers investigating the causes of the commodity price boom, pre-crisis.

How the Recession is Boosting the Military
October 15, 2009

The Dept. of Defense is crowing about its recruiting success in fiscal year '09, and chalking it up -- at least in part -- to the weak economy. From the Washington Post: The Pentagon, which made the announcement Tuesday, said the economic downturn and rising joblessness, as well as bonuses and other factors, had led more qualified youths to enlist. The military has not seen such across-the-board successes since the all-volunteer force was established in 1973, after Congress ended the draft following the Vietnam War.

Inflation? Have You Seen All That Excess Capacity?
October 15, 2009

Matt Yglesias flagged a sober point (among many) in Martin Wolf's latest column:  Higher prices of gold reflect fear, not fact. This fear is not widely shared. The US government can borrow at 4.2 per cent over 30 years and 3.4 per cent over 10 years. During the crisis, the inflation expectations implied by the gap in yields between conventional and inflation-protected securities collapsed. These have since recovered – yet another sign of policy success. But they are still below where they were before the crisis.

Why You Should Care About Caijing
October 15, 2009

My introduction to the magazine Caijing came while I was researching this recent piece about our economic relationship with China. It's probably the most influential Chinese business magazine and has become a prominent sign of the regime's tolerance of criticism on the economic front. (See my piece for more on that if you're interested.) Anyway, it sounds like we may be at a bit of a crossroads in the life of the magazine--and also the broader policy of allowing this form of government scrutiny.

Did "Smart Guys" Destroy Wall Street?
October 14, 2009

I think Calvin Trillin--or at least his bar-room companion--is really on to something here: “The financial system nearly collapsed,” he said, “because smart guys had started working on Wall Street.” ... I reflected on my own college class, of roughly the same era. The top student had been appointed a federal appeals court judge — earning, by Wall Street standards, tip money. A lot of the people with similarly impressive academic records became professors.

Worth Reading
October 14, 2009

Fed minutes show FOMC considered increasing purchases of mortgage securities. Calvin Trillin on super smart Wall St. workers and their dim bosses. What Obama did in his first 12 days to earn a Nobel nomination. Older workers are more likely to declare bankruptcy. How naming your baby is like momentum trading. Correlation of the day: A person's income and believing U.S. healthcare is #1. And the Dow finally clears 10,000 again.

More on the Government Job Premium
October 14, 2009

On Monday, I asked what might explain the 20% difference in wages between government and private sector workers who hold similar jobs. Writing on Forbes.com, Joshua Zumbrun argues that I (and Nancy Folbre, who also defended government wages on Economix) fail to account for the job security involved in having a public sector job: It's just... obliviousness... not to recognize the value of having job security in this economy.

Worth Reading
October 13, 2009

Are economists upset that a political scientist won the Nobel? Bloomberg tries to build a case that inflation expectations are rising. People are still worried about interest rate spreads. A potential benefit of congestion pricing: healthier babies. WaPo on possible cuts to pensions after big losses at funds. How far should the dollar drop?

Should Obama Spend Less Time in New York?
October 13, 2009

I see the point the AP is trying to make here, and, if true, it's a legitimate point. But I'm not sure their analysis quite demonstrates what they suggest it does: An Associated Press review of administration travel records shows that three of every four official trips Obama and his key lieutenants made in his first seven months in office were to the 28 states Obama won.

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