Falling Wage Rates

by Jerry O’Driscoll   In today’s Wall Street Journal, there is an article titled “Returning Workers Face Steep Pay Cuts.”  The article cites research by Kenneth Couch of the University of Connecticut that returning workers are taking on average a 40% pay cut from their old jobs.  This is first and foremost a personal tragedy for … Continue reading Falling Wage Rates

Mises Featured in the Journal

by Jerry O’Driscoll   In today’s Wall Street Journal, hedge-fund founder Mark Spitznagel celebrates Ludwig von Mises as “The Man Who Predicted the Depression.”  Spitznagel opens by observing that “Ludwig von Mises was snubbed by economists world-wide as he warned of a credit crisis in the 1920s.  We ignore the great Austrian at our peril today.”   … Continue reading Mises Featured in the Journal

Understanding The “Sectoral Problem” In Business Cycles: A Note

by Mario Rizzo   There has been some important discussion emanating from Paul Krugman’s unoriginal question implicitly about the Austrian Business Cycle Theory (as well as other sectoral theories of employment shifts both during and outside of business cycles). (See Econbrowser, Marginal Revolution, Econlog, Angry Bear, for examples.)    His question, as Tyler Cowen states it: “…[W]hy, … Continue reading Understanding The “Sectoral Problem” In Business Cycles: A Note

The Great Moderation In Macroeconomics

by Mario Rizzo   I have now read both Paul Krugman’s New York Times essay on the state of macroeconomics and John Cochrane’s reply. They are each, in very different ways, quite disappointing. The level of argument is poor, the prejudices are simplistic, and the tones are annoying.   Beginning with tones: Krugman is too dismissive of … Continue reading The Great Moderation In Macroeconomics

Not Prediction But Explanation

by Mario Rizzo Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II asked why economists did not predict the current economic troubles. The British academic community (and some in the American) is using this opportunity to discuss views on the nature and limits of contemporary macroeconomics. This is very useful.   Peter Boettke over at The Austrian Economics summarizes and … Continue reading Not Prediction But Explanation

Lucas Defending Macroeconomics: Not Enough

by Mario Rizzo Reportedly, Queen Elisabeth asked why didn't any of the top-tier macroeconomists predict the financial meltdown and Great Recession. So now The Economist and other loyal subjects are trying to answer that question. The Chicago economist Robert Lucas, an American, has also added his opinion. It is deeply flawed but perhaps a comfort to the "Neoclassical … Continue reading Lucas Defending Macroeconomics: Not Enough

Bubble or Growth?

by Jerry O'Driscoll In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, German Chancellor Merkel called for an end to risky growth policies built on asset bubbles.  "In recent years we've had the Asian crisis, the new economy crisis, and now this great international financial and economic crisis -- we can't slide into a crisis every … Continue reading Bubble or Growth?

Recovery and the Irreversibility of Time

by Mario Rizzo   An increasing number of articles in the popular press are claiming that signs of economic recovery are becoming more numerous. That may be. However, I am not an economic prognosticator and so I don’t know what to make of that.   There is a more basic question. What do people mean by “recovery”? … Continue reading Recovery and the Irreversibility of Time

Is All Spending Created Equal?

by Mario Rizzo “And government spending is as good as anybody else’s.”  Brad DeLong seems to think so. But the idea is only plausible because it has been repeated many times and because it is a politically convenient “truth.” I think everyone would agree that we have a complex economy. There is a vast and intricate … Continue reading Is All Spending Created Equal?

Inappropriate Stimulation

   by Mario Rizzo   Paul Krugman continues to say on his blog that the fiscal stimulus was too small. After all, unemployment is rising quickly:   “[I]t’s rapidly becoming clear that yes, the plan was too small.”   Brad DeLong has also added his voice to the call for bigger stimulus, again largely because … Continue reading Inappropriate Stimulation

An ally on the left? And bleg results

by Sandy Ikeda This passage is from a piece in, of all places, Scientific American, from, of all people, Jeffrey Sachs: During the decade from 1995 to 2005, then-Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan over-reacted to several shocks to the economy. When financial turbulence hit in 1997 and 1998—the Asian crisis, the Russian ruble collapse and … Continue reading An ally on the left? And bleg results

Bleg: Which Austrians called the Panic of 2008?

by Sandy Ikeda A comment from Laeeth Isharc on an earlier post raises a fair but, at least for me, uncomfortable point: ...Austrians/Hayekians might perhaps be within a minority of economists able to foresee the disastrous consequences of the inevitable bust.... But I don't recall seeing a single piece by Austrian economists in the academic … Continue reading Bleg: Which Austrians called the Panic of 2008?

Taylor Rule and Fed Witches’ Brew

By Chidem Kurdas Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble—that’s an apt metaphor for the Federal Reserve policies meticulously dissected by Stanford professor John Taylor, in the Wall Street Journal and other places.  He shows that the Fed set the financial crisis in motion and then made it worse. Relative to the pattern that held since 1987 … Continue reading Taylor Rule and Fed Witches’ Brew

Orthogonal mindsets

by Sandy Ikeda At the Colloquium lunch on Monday, one of my esteemed colleagues wondered aloud whether Paul Krugman’s insistence that the humongous stimulus package needs to be much bigger wasn’t evidence of madness. Then, something came up during the actual colloquium – with Larry White, with whom we were discussing a chapter, dealing with … Continue reading Orthogonal mindsets

What’s It All About?

by Gene Callahan “History justifies whatever we want it to. It teaches absolutely nothing, for it contains everything and gives examples of everything.” —Paul Valéry, De l’historie, Regards sur le monde actuel My friend Larry White presented at the colloquium yesterday. He gave a nice presentation on the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, discussing … Continue reading What’s It All About?

Tyler Cowen is Right about Stimulus — Niggling or Not.

by Mario Rizzo From Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution: Note that under standard theory neither monetary nor fiscal policy will set right the basic problems from negative real shocks and indeed the U.S. economy is undergoing a series of massive sectoral shifts.  That includes a move out of construction, a move out of finance, a … Continue reading Tyler Cowen is Right about Stimulus — Niggling or Not.

Microfoundations are not a “Morality Tale”

by Mario Rizzo   In his column today in the Financial Times the often-excellent Martin Wolf drops the ball. He endorses the view which he associates with J.M. Keynes “that one should not treat the economy as a morality tale.”   The third and most important lesson is that one should not treat the economy as … Continue reading Microfoundations are not a “Morality Tale”