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Economics

July 10, 2014

"How India’s Economic Rise Could Bolster America’s Economy"

Let's hope this comes to pass

But I'm skeptical.

July 09, 2014

"[Part of a] Review of Levitt and Dubner's 'Think like a Freak'"

The full review is gated, but John Lott has posted an excerpt on his blog. Includes this terrific line about the incorrect story that the price of a new car drops by many $thousands as soon as it is driven off the lot:

Typically, Levitt and Dubner fail to understand that when a problem arises in a market, it generally provides an incentive for those involved to remedy the problem.

"Problems with collective action"

Glenn Reynolds:

Government, we are sometimes told, is just another word for things we choose to do together.

Like a lot of things politicians say, this sounds good. And, also like a lot of things politicians say, it isn't the least bit true.

Many of the things government does, we don't choose. Many of the things we choose, government doesn't do. And whatever gets done, we're not the ones doing it. And those who are doing it often interpret their mandates selfishly.

Take, for example, the Veterans Administration. 

"Dear Feminists: In The Name Of Fighting Poverty, Can We Call A Truce About Marriage?"

Social scientists have known for a while now that poverty isn't just about money:

A shockingly high 94 percent of births to college-educated women today are in wedlock, but 57 percent of women with high-school degrees or less education are unmarried when they bear their first child. Sadly, marriage today is relegated largely to higher social classes, as documented in the recent book Marriage Markets, by June Carbone and Naomi Cahn. 

July 08, 2014

"Government Fixes Have Created Long-Term Instability"

Interesting how that happens.

We need a shift in thinking, argues the BIS. Pay less attention to the business cycle and more attention to what BIS economist Claudio Borio calls "the financial cycle." It typically lasts 15 to 20 years and may straddle several traditional business cycles. In its early years, the debt levels of households and businesses gradually increase. This strengthens economic growth, drives up asset prices - especially of real estate - and makes debtors feel richer. With credit plentiful, homes, stocks and businesses are worth more. This is the cycle's expansive phase. But "when financial booms turn to busts," the depressing phase has devastating consequences. Defaults multiply. Asset prices collapse. The fallout lingers.

July 07, 2014

A small feast

"Small" only in the sense of being relatively short. In "Deirdre McCloskey and Economists’ Ideas about Ideas" Don Boudreaux, Joel Mokyr, and John Dye discuss McCloskey's recent work. Of interest, I think, to anyone who is interested in economics, history, or public policy. 

"Crapitalism!”

Coinage by John Stossel. I like the term a lot. Spread the word.

Capitalism is great because it lets entrepreneurs raise money so they can scale up and get their products and services to more people. If there is free competition, innovators with the best ideas raise the most money, and the best and cheapest products spread far and wide.

But it’s crapitalism when politicians give your tax money and other special privileges to businesses that are “most deserving of help.” Often those businesses turn out to be run by politicians’ cronies.

July 06, 2014

"How in the world can the Los Angeles Clippers be worth $2 billion?"

Economist Lee Ohanian explains.

July 01, 2014

"Study: Right to Work States Booming, Forced Unionization States Busting"

"Right to Work states’ share of manufacturing grew from 36 percent to 52 percent between 2002 and 2012."

June 30, 2014

"Politics Pays"

Yet another brilliant and beautiful piece by Kevin D. Williamson. Three of my favorites (but read the whole thing):

Uber, AirBNB, et al. are very popular with consumers and producers alike. In fact, that is the reason that politicians and the entrenched economic interests in whose service they operate are dedicated to destroying them: Nobody would worry about Uber if so many consumers did not judge it preferable to traditional cartel-run taxi services. The very fact that Uber is in the judgment of many consumers a better product is what provides the motive for destroying it. That is economic, intellectual, and moral perversion, but that is how politics operates. Its mandate is to stand between consumers and producers until it gets its cut. . . . 

Our political bureaucracies are grasping and vicious, and some of the larger of them are dominated by people who are, if we’re being frank, not especially bright. No society can long thrive by making its creators and innovators subservient to its pimps and thieves. . . .

It is baffling that my progressive friends lament the influence of so-called big money on government while at the same time proposing to expand the very scope and scale of that government that makes influencing it such a good investment. Where government means constables, soldiers, judges, and precious little else, it is not much worth capturing. Where government means somebody whose permission must be sought before you can even begin to earn a living, when it determines the prices of products, the terms of competition, and the interest rates on your competitors’ financing, then it is worth capturing. 

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