by Jerry O'Driscoll* For many years, pundits have been predicting the demise of cash for payments. Currency is bulky, dirty, subject to theft, etc. Making change at the point of payment is time consuming. The rise of e-commerce will surely bring about the demise of cash. Cash is passé. Nothing could be further from the … Continue reading The Truth about Cash
by Sandy Ikeda Jane Jacobs’ writings span several disciplines—including ethics and most especially economics—but she is best known for her contributions to and her critique of urban planning, design, and policy. Many of those whom she influenced in academia, policy, and activism took the occasion of her one-hundredth birthday in 2016 to celebrate those contributions … Continue reading COSMOS + TAXIS Issue on Jane Jacobs
by Mario Rizzo Periodically, people warn about the “crisis in economics.” I have heard about several of these over my professional career. Somehow the mainstream or orthodox economists never seem to notice these crises or take them seriously. They continue doing what they were doing. Today the crisis, if there is one, is due to … Continue reading A Crisis in Economics?
by Glen Whitman Last year in this space, I posted the Call for Abstracts for a forthcoming book called Economics of the Undead. That project is now coming to fruition! The book will officially be published tomorrow; here's the Amazon page, and here's the Barnes & Noble page. (The Kindle version should also become available … Continue reading Economics of the Undead: Zombies, Vampires, and the Dismal Science
by Edward Stringham As a professor, I am a fan of rigorous economic research, but I am also a fan of helping students learn about how important economics is in an engaging way. John Papola did an excellent job with the Keynes Versus Hayek music videos (especially the second one with yours truly), and over the past … Continue reading Economics Music Video Contest: Markets Promote Peace
by Mario Rizzo Readers of this blog may be interested in learning that the awaited-and-hoped-for new journal is actually coming soon. It is a welcome change from the usual in economics today. I hope that Austrians might consider submitting articles of high quality. The following is taken from the website of the Ronald Coase Institute. … Continue reading A New Journal from The Ronald Coase Institute
by Jerry O’Driscoll Earlier this year, we lost one of the greatest economists of this century, UCLAs Armen Alchian, who died at age 98. David Henderson wrote a wonderful appreciation of him for the Wall Street Journal. Alchian taught at UCLA from the early 1950s until his retirement in the 1990s. Few men have put … Continue reading Remembering Armen Alchian
By Mario Rizzo The Chicago-Booth IMG Forum asks their favorite economists two questions. Let us examine them. Question A: Raising the federal minimum wage to $9 per hour would make it noticeably harder for low-skilled workers to find employment. Why was the word “noticeably” added to the question rather than some specific quantitative amount? In … Continue reading Ignorant Survey from Chicago-Booth?
by Mario Rizzo The great economist James M. Buchanan died today at 93. I am still too stunned to write a proper appreciation of his tremendous contributions to economics and, indeed, to moral philosophy. Buchanan won the Nobel prize in Economics in 1986. But even this does not capture his greatness. There have been many Nobel … Continue reading James M. Buchanan: A Preliminary Appreciation
by Mario Rizzo I have very little to say directly about this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics. I do not know whether the seemingly-technical contributions of Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd S. Shapley rise to the level of a Nobel Prize. However, I am mindful that the Nobel Committee has to give the award every year. … Continue reading “ECONOMICS” NOBEL PRIZE – 2012 Edition
by Roger Koppl Ali Wyne of the big think blog “Power Games” recently posted an interesting set of comments on the theme “Empirics and Psychology: Eight of the World’s Top Young Economists Discuss Where Their Field Is Going.” George Mason’s own Peter Leeson was among the eight “top young economists” sharing their views. Over at … Continue reading Top Young Economists Consider Their Future
by Mario Rizzo This will not be a review of her scholarly contributions. I have already made some attempt at that in a post shortly after her richly-deserved Nobel prize in economics. And I also link an announcement of her death here. I met Professor Ostrom at a celebration of her work at GMU after she won the prize. … Continue reading Elinor Ostrom, RIP
by Edward Peter Stringham* Many economists are criticized for being unable to communicate their ideas in am intelligible and non-boring way. How many people, for example, jump to listen about a debate about the Austrian theory of the business cycle? It turns out quite a lot. John Papola and Russ Roberts demonstrated to the world that … Continue reading Supply and Demand in Music
by Jerry O’Driscoll In the last two days, two prominent economists have asked me essentially the same question: what is the difference between Chicago and Austrian economics? It is interesting that both asked, particularly since one has a Ph.D from Chicago. The second economist asked me specifically if Armen Alchian wasn’t really an Austrian. I’ll respond … Continue reading Chicago and Vienna
by Andreas Hoffmann and Gunther Schnabl It came as a surprise to many: the Swiss National Bank announced an exchange rate target. Accordingly, the Swiss franc will be held above the level of 1.20 francs per euro. Switzerland gives up a part of its sovereignty, when the ECB makes bad press in buying trash-rated euro … Continue reading No Way to Escape for the Swiss National Bank
by Andreas Hoffmann This is good news for inflationists. I am shocked that Jürgen Stark quit his job at the European Central Bank. Usually it is a good thing when central bankers quit their job - or at least it does not make a difference. But Jürgen Stark is known as an inflation hawk. Jürgen Stark - … Continue reading Stark quits ECB
by Andreas Hoffmann The euro benefited Germany more than others in the zone. Germany exported and won, the others had to import German goods and lost (link). This seems to be a consensus in the world of politics. The second consensus is that a bail-out package for the euro problem children or even euro bonds … Continue reading Euro Benefited Germany More than Others in Zone
by Jerry O’Driscoll In the August 24th Wall Street Journal, Harvard Professor Robert Barro penned a hard-hitting op ed: “Keynesian Economics vs. Regular Economics.” He contrasts the lessons of standard economics with some of the unsubstantiated claims of Keynesian economics. He zeroes in on the idea that transfer payments provide economic stimulus. Transfer payments in … Continue reading “A Divine Miracle”
by Mario Rizzo I was recently at the Summer University in Aix-en-Provence. I heard more than once about the need to educate people in economics in order to get better public policy. My purpose in this post is not to go over the issue of the relative power of ideas about the “general welfare” as … Continue reading What is Economics Today?
by Mario Rizzo Many years ago, the distinguished economist, William H. Hutt, wrote a pamphlet called “Politically Impossible?” He argued that economists should not seek political relevance by proposing only those policies that they perceive as politically possible, practical or feasible. They should speak truth to power, so to say, and advocate those policies that … Continue reading Politically Feasible
by Mario Rizzo Edward Elgar has announced the publication of a two-volume collection of Austrian law and economics articles. The marks the first definitive collection of articles in this field. It is a book for your university or public library. Please recommend it! Edited by Mario J. Rizzo, Department of Economics, New York University, … Continue reading Austrian Law and Economics: The Definitive Collection
by Gene Callahan I was recently asked about a good textbook to use in teaching the history of economic thought. Well, last year I had used William Barber's book, and found it wholly adequate. But as I was teaching the course, I became somewhat uneasy about the textbook approach. I started to feel I was … Continue reading How to Teach the History of Economic Thought
by Mario Rizzo Recently, there has been a ruckus, as discussed in today's Wall Street Journal, over some grants to Florida State University from Charles and David Koch to support professorships in economics. The objections seem to be that the Koch money will be used to support right-wing ideologues who, presumably, will indoctrinate the students. Furthermore, … Continue reading In Defense of the Koch Brothers and Academic Freedom
by Mario Rizzo What is the economic justification for using tax money to subsidize the production of economic research? The standard answer is that academic economists produce a public good. In other words they produce knowledge for which they do not charge and for which it is not feasible to exclude non-payers. Let’s accept this … Continue reading Is Economics a Public Good? How Would We Know?
by Mario Rizzo Once upon a time, in a land far away from New York civilization, a famous economist told a good friend of mine that "we" need more scientists and fewer scholars in the economics profession. He was serious. This is the time of year that many Ph.D. dissertations are being defended in graduate departments of economcs. … Continue reading More Scholarship, Less “Science”