Economics Roundtable

May 2014 Payroll Employment

After 76 months, we finally got back to the prerecession level of payroll employment.

Click on the image to get a bigger version.


Jobs

The best summary of the state of our economy is the graph (below) of employment as a fraction of population for people over 16 years old. The decrease is large, but the most troubling feature of the graph is the flat trend .


Click on the image to get a bigger version.


Graph-of-the-Year Candidates

Donald Marron likes European interest rates. Click on the image to get a bigger version. Can you find three distinct subperiods?

Brad DeLong favors the U.S. gdp gap.


Remember M1?

Money Supply M1 growth is now over 20% per year over a 12 month lag. M1 growth has touched 20% before, but not with excess reserves of $1.6 trillion. Where is M1 headed?


Click on the chart for a larger version.


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September 26, 2016, 5:33 pm, 1678692

Desvousges, Mathews and Train (2015)[DMT] find that their contingent valuation method (CVM) survey does not pass the adding up test. In a previous post (Whitehead, Sept. 20,2016) I examined the data used by Desvousges, Mathews and Train (2015) and find that "it is ... not clear if[the data]passes ...


September 26, 2016, 5:03 pm, 1678664

This year’s presidential election features not only sharp disagreements over immigration, taxes and trade, but competing views of the U.S. economy.

Donald Trump has offered an unusually bleak picture of a nation slipping into nearly irreversible decline. Hillary Clinton has pointed to recent gains in the aftermath of the 2008 financial ...


September 26, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1678660

That is the title of the new NBER paper by Liran Einav, Amy Finkelstein, and Atul Gupta, here is the abstract:

We document four similarities between American human healthcare and American pet care: (i) rapid growth in spending as a share of GDP over the last two decades; ...


September 26, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1678659

Dana Carney one of the co-authors of the famous paper (462 citations) that led to the famous TED talk (36 million views) and innumerable articles in the popular press on “power poses” (e.g. 


September 26, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1678658
(Don Boudreaux)

The economic theory: the state intervenes in the economy ...


September 26, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1678657

An explosion shook Hungary’s capital, Budapest, on Saturday night, injuring two police officers on patrol. What initially looked like the outcome of a gas leak was apparently caused by a homemade shrapnel bomb, according to Hungarian police. A manhunt is underway and a reward ...


September 26, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1678656

The Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum, GTNF, meets in Brussels starting tomorrow. The conference is an annual industry summit which attracts cutting edge researchers, innovative health policy makers, and creative entrepreneurs. If the anti-tobacco lobby has its way, however, these participants would just stay home.

“We hope that your ...


September 26, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1678655

One has to be surprised at the economic illiteracy characterizing the current UK economic policy debate in the wake of the Brexit referendum. Despite the fact that sterling has depreciated by more than 10% since that referendum and that it now shows every sign of falling further, the economic policy ...


September 26, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1678654

The phrase “economic sustainability” is frequently used by farm subsidy advocates to justify wasteful expenditures on agricultural programs. However, in an agricultural context, the exact meaning of economic sustainability is often misunderstood. Unlike environmental and ecological notions of sustainability, economic sustainability conveys a specific and clear concept about the long ...


September 26, 2016, 3:33 pm, 1678650

|Peter Boettke|

Are are our moral intuitions always destined to be at odds with the moral demands of the "Great Society"?


September 26, 2016, 3:33 pm, 1678649


September 26, 2016, 3:33 pm, 1678648

The standard market-based solution to reducing unwanted behavior is to place a tax on the unwanted behavior, causing people to want to do the unwanted stuff less (that's the law of demand). Here's a good example:

Customers at most stores in Baltimore would have to pay 10 ...


September 26, 2016, 3:33 pm, 1678647
Harvard's Ken Rogoff appears to embrace a Keynesian demand side view arguing that China's economy is slowing and that this will drag down the growth of the rest of the world's economy. While he may be right in the short run, I disagree with his medium term view. ...


September 26, 2016, 3:33 pm, 1678646

From S&P Dow Jones Indexes:

The index versus active debate has been a contentious subject for decades, and there are few strong believers on both sides, with the vast majority of market participants falling somewhere in between. Since its first publication 14 years ago, the SPIVA Scorecard has served as the ...


September 26, 2016, 3:03 pm, 1678628
From Tim Duy: December Looking Good. But ...

FOMC doves squeezed out another victory at last week’s meeting. But can they do it again in December?

As was widely expected, the Fed held rates steady at the September FOMC meeting. That said, the meeting was clearly divisive, ...


September 26, 2016, 2:05 pm, 1678623

One of the central tenets of progressivism has been that more democracy is the solution to “what is wrong with politics.” That is why progressives have aimed at circumventing limitations on popular opinion’s power over legislation and regulation, as if in ...


September 26, 2016, 2:05 pm, 1678622

Obama’s recent trip to Beijing revealed that China is ready to begin the operations of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)—another international financial institution in the dazzling panoply of development banks—as early as next year. The AIIB is supposed to finance infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region, in the ballpark ...


September 26, 2016, 2:05 pm, 1678624

Hundreds of great photos from our sold out Mises Circle event in Southern California can be found here, including photos of Ron Paul, David Gordon, Lew Rockwell, and Judge Andrew Napolitano. Over 300 attendees participated in our energetic discussion of Society Without the State. Be sure to make ...


September 26, 2016, 2:05 pm, 1678625

This episode features an abridged audio version of Jeff Deist’s talk from the Mises Circle event in Southern California on 8 November 2014. He argues that the state is losing its primary asset — namely, legitimacy in the eyes of those it would govern — due to its own huge ...


September 26, 2016, 2:05 pm, 1678619

Con Temporary Art Auction Record–Sheep line up to be fleeced

Inflation revealed its ugly head again in New York City–where the money is.

Christie’s set another record contemporary art auction record of $852.9 million exceeding both the high estimate for the auction and also the recent record it set in May ...


September 26, 2016, 2:05 pm, 1678621

President James Bullard dissects the nearly six years of Zero Interest Rate Policy and asks the question: does low inflation call for an earlier return to normal interest rate policy.

During his presentation, Bullard noted that the policy rate has remained near zero for almost ...


September 26, 2016, 2:05 pm, 1678618

Michael Pullaro over at Forbes.com warns that the Austrian measure of the money supply is exhibiting a deceleration in its growth rate indicating potential trouble ahead in bubble related economic activity.

Joseph Salerno on the True “Austrian” Money Supply

The U.S. money supply as represented by ...


September 26, 2016, 2:05 pm, 1678617

Jeff Thomas at the International Man has an interesting take on Murray Rothbard’s admiration for Lao-Tzu. The founder of Taoism had little good to say about the philosopher-bureaucrats of his time.

Those in power are meddlesome …

The greater the restrictions and ...


September 26, 2016, 2:05 pm, 1678620

A surprising range of news and opinion outlets have memorialized a string of anniversaries related to the Great War over the last few months: the assassination of the Archduke, the July Crisis, the start of the war, etc. Newspapers, magazines, the blog world, the top ten list sites, and Youtube ...


September 26, 2016, 2:05 pm, 1678616

In case you missed it, be sure and check out the October issue of The Free Market, now online at Mises.org.

October’s issue features a short adaptation of Jörg Guido Hülsmann’s important lecture on The Cultural Consequences of Fiat Money, in which Dr. ...


September 26, 2016, 1:33 pm, 1678613
On this day (Clinton vs. Trump debate) of likely partisan political bloviation, I am delighted to highlight a very nice editorial by Jason Furman, President Obama's CEA chair, on the effects of housing restrictions. A longer speech here. The editorial is in the San Francisco Chronicle, ...


September 26, 2016, 1:23 pm, 1678612


My latest Macro Musings podcast is with Morgan Ricks. Morgan is a law professor at Vanderbilt University where he specializes in financial regulation. Between 2009 and 2010, he was a senior policy adviser at the U.S. Treasury Department where he ...


September 26, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1678581

Today is September 26, the date of the first televised presidential debate, between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon in 1960. While most scholarship on the debate focuses on Nixon’s haggard appearance or Kennedy’s flouting of the rules (it was supposed to be on domestic policy, and Kennedy ...


September 26, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1678579

"An attempt to focus on the problems of the real America":

Progressive Family Values, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: Here’s what happens every election cycle: pundits demand that politicians offer the country new ideas. Then, if and when a candidate actually does propose innovative policies, the news media pays ...


September 26, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1678580

Tim Duy:

December Looking Good. But..., by Tim Duy: FOMC doves squeezed out another victory at last week’s meeting. But can they do it again in December?

As was widely expected, the Fed held rates steady at the September FOMC meeting. That said, the meeting was clearly divisive, with three ...


September 26, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1678578

Robin Bravender at Scientific American (originally at ClimateWire):

Trump Picks Top Climate Skeptic to Lead EPA Transition: Donald Trump has selected one of the best-known climate skeptics to lead his U.S. EPA transition team... Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise ...


September 26, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1678577
The new home sales report for August was strong at 609,000on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR) - the highest for the month of August since 2007 - and the second highest sales rate since January 2008 (only last month was higher). However combined salesfor May, June and July ...


September 26, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1678572

September 26, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1678571
(September 26, 2016 10:45 AM, by Scott Sumner) Here's Ben Bernanke on the recent moves by the Bank of Japan: The most surprising, and interesting, part of the announcement was the decision to target the ten-year JGB yield. As I noted in a previous piece on targeting longer-term... (2 COMMENTS)


September 26, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1678570
(Don Boudreaux)

A friendly and thoughtful reader, who doesn’t like my refusal to vote in political elections, e-mails to ...


September 26, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1678568

As noted here last Friday, several RAND Corporation health economists have offered very rough estimates of the coverage and cost effects of the hazy, lazy, or crazy (pick one, or all of the above) health policy proposals by the two major presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. ...


September 26, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1678569

In this article, the second and final in a series, Sita N. Slavov and Alan D. Viard discuss the policy issues regarding the choice of a fiscal system’s size and progressivity.

This article appeared in Tax Notes on 9/26/16. It will be published here on 10/24/16.


September 26, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1678567

Agricultural sustainability means very different things to different people. Used by an ecologist, it may be intended to convey one concept, by an environmentalist or organic foods advocate another, and it has a third or fourth interpretation when used by an economist. Often the phrase is intended to emphasize that ...


September 26, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1678565

Last week my colleague Kelsey Hamilton and I released a look at how much attention the public is paying to education this year. We used the monthly Gallup surveys and the (occasional) CBS News surveys for 2016. You can read the brief here, but I figured I’d give blog ...


September 26, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1678564

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, mused in public that the party might block Jeb Bush or John Kasich from running for the Republican presidential nomination again because they reneged on their pledge to back the nominee this year.

It’s natural for an RNC chief to want his ...


September 26, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1678566

High taxes on smoking promote illicit tobacco. Smuggling major brands from low tax areas, like South Carolina, to high tax areas, like New York, has taken place for years. But today new players, legally producing in places like Paraguay and Belarus, are smuggling their products, known as illicit whites, all ...


September 26, 2016, 11:03 am, 1678533
The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 609 thousand.

The previous three months were revised down by a total of 4 thousand (SAAR).

"Sales of new single-family houses in August 2016 were at a seasonally adjusted ...


September 26, 2016, 10:34 am, 1678532

With a bit of technical assistance, I was able to do a better job of quantifying the IMF’s recommended fiscal path for Japan.

The IMF wants a 50 to 100 basis point rise in Japan’s consumption tax every year for the foreseeable future, starting in 2017. ...


September 26, 2016, 10:04 am, 1678530
(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a letter to the New York ...


September 26, 2016, 10:04 am, 1678528

Complaining about the weaknesses of European military forces has long been a favorite sport of American politicians, defense officials and pundits; this is one issue on which populists and the Establishment agree. Indeed, presidential candidate Donald Trump’s threats to withdraw from NATO unless European members pay up are really only ...


September 26, 2016, 10:04 am, 1678529

The following is an excerpt from a September 26, 2016, New York Times conversation between Arthur Brooks and columnist Gail Collins:

Arthur Brooks: A few scholars have looked at the subject of presidential debates, and I found the results kind of interesting.

Gail Collins: Always like to hear from the scholars.

Arthur: ...


September 26, 2016, 10:04 am, 1678527

This is an update to a September 23, 2016 post

The tax schedule for pass-through firms has been a major topic of discussion since Trump released the latest version of his tax plan on September 15.

In August, Trump suggested that the profits of pass-through firms would be taxed at a ...


September 26, 2016, 10:04 am, 1678526

In the post-war period, the United Kingdom has been no stranger to wrenching sterling crises. Indeed, it experienced such crises in 1967, 1976, and 1992. This makes it all the more difficult to understand the current complacency in UK academic and policymaking circles about the likely fallout from a “hard” ...


September 26, 2016, 10:04 am, 1678525

Monetary policies in Europe and Japan have produced trillions of dollars of bonds with negative nominal interest rates in the hope of stimulating economic growth. Indeed the Bank of Japan’s recent policy announcement doubles-down on this strategy by pledging to cap 10-year Japanese government bond yields at zero until the ...


September 26, 2016, 9:33 am, 1678520

This month, the Committee on Capital Market Regulation (CCMR) published a paper criticizing the procedures the Federal Reserve uses in conducting its stress tests. The claim is that, in its annual Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR), the Fed is violating the Administrative Procedures Act of ...


September 26, 2016, 9:03 am, 1678489

A new analysis estimates Hillary Clinton’s tax and spending proposals would have a relatively modest effect on the national debt, while Donald Trump’s fiscal plans would sharply boost deficits and the debt over the next decade.

The report from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan group ...


September 26, 2016, 9:03 am, 1678488
Note: I follow several house price indexes (Case-Shiller, CoreLogic, Black Knight, Zillow, FHFA, FNC and more). Note: Black Knight uses the current month closings only (not a three month average like Case-Shiller or a weighted average like CoreLogic), excludes short sales and REOs, and is not seasonally adjusted.

From ...


September 26, 2016, 8:04 am, 1678486
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 255 of Thomas Sowell’s 1995 book, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a ...


September 26, 2016, 7:33 am, 1678483

"A Sour Surprise for Public Pensions: Two Sets of Books" and "The pension gap:It was a deal that wasn’t supposed to cost taxpayers an extra dime. Now the state’s annual tab is in the billions, and the cost keeps climbing."

Note the sources: The New York Times and the ...


September 26, 2016, 7:33 am, 1678482

"Let’s Make a Bad Deal--Review of 'The Iran Wars,' by Jay Solomon".

Prediction: when the terrible results of this monumentally deceptive, mashugana policy arrive, the usual suspects will blame W. and/or Reagan.


September 26, 2016, 7:33 am, 1678481
Robert Rich, Joseph Tracy, and Ellen Fu



First of two posts Much has ...


September 26, 2016, 7:03 am, 1678455

The third full week of September 2016 saw the month's second Lévy flight event, which began in the aftermath of the Federal Reserve's FOMC meeting on Wednesday, 21 September 2016. We can see the result of that event, which coincides with investors appearing to ...


September 26, 2016, 6:44 am, 1678454

How are those in favor of bigger government and those who want smaller government like a couple stuck in a bad marriage? Economist John Cochrane of Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how to ...


September 26, 2016, 6:34 am, 1678453

All the major asset classes posted gains last week, based on a set of ETF proxies. Thanks in part to another decision by the Federal Reserve to forgo an interest-rate hike, investor sentiment turned bullish, driving up prices for the five trading days through Friday, Sep. 23.


September 26, 2016, 5:33 am, 1678449

Headline last week in the Washington Post: "California governor backs rules on cow, landfill emissions".

And what, pray tell, does the delicate headline writer at the Post mean by "cow . . . emissions"?

Cow farts. The great state of California is now regulating cow farts.


September 26, 2016, 5:33 am, 1678448

Absolutely! This is an especially good point:

In the EU, responsibility for meeting stockpiling obligations was largely delegated to oil companies. There is no reason why the same approach could not be followed in the United States. Indeed, oil companies have every financial incentive to hold sufficient reserves ...


September 26, 2016, 5:33 am, 1678447

This is as complete a discussionas I've seen of the unanswered questions about Hillary's health.


September 26, 2016, 5:33 am, 1678445

"Murderous Chicago:The city that doesn't work."

What have 85 years of uninterrupted Democratic rule and unremitting progressive dogma gotten Chicago? Murderous gang wars with no armistice in sight.


September 26, 2016, 5:33 am, 1678446

I'd forgotten about Ms. Hillary's encounter with Bosnian sniper fire. There are just so many deliberate, outright lies to keep track of.

See also "Hillary Clinton, who tells dreadful lies".


September 26, 2016, 5:23 am, 1678444

Readers Question: why some countries are more successful in attracting Foreign Direct Investment than others?

Foreign direct investment (FDI) means companies purchase capital and invest in a foreign country. For example, if a US multinational, such as Nike built a factory for making trainers in Pakistan; this would count as ...


September 26, 2016, 5:03 am, 1678434

September 26, 2016, 2:04 am, 1678405

The Chinese government estimates females found 55 percent of new Internet companies and more than a quarter of all entrepreneurs are women. In the U.S., only 22 percent of startups have one or more women on their founding teams, according to research by Vivek Wadhwa and Farai Chideya for


September 26, 2016, 2:04 am, 1678406

You can argue it either way.  On one hand, the forward march of the UK economy, and the inability to develop a coherent negotiating position, militate in favor of a relatively quick and condition-less Brexit.  The European Union is not offering any very flexible intermediate deals, perhaps to punish ...


September 26, 2016, 12:04 am, 1678395
(September 26, 2016 12:09 AM, by Bryan Caplan) Contracts often require signatories to submit to binding arbitration. If a dispute arises, the parties don't go to court; they go to a private arbitrator. This arbitrator, in turn, makes a definitive ruling neither party can refuse. The whole point... (0 COMMENTS)


September 26, 2016, 12:04 am, 1678394
In this post, I was planning to look at how the percentage of a state’s population that is made up of immigrants affects job creation.  After all, we hear from some quarters that immigrants create jobs, and from others that immigrants take away jobs that would otherwise go to Americans.  ...


September 25, 2016, 9:33 pm, 1678390
The writers for the NY Times are a consistent bunch. In the Book Review section today, there is a short discussion by Kim Tingleyreviewing a new book called Eruption by Steve Olson. See if you can spot the "behavioral economics" mindset that we are fools who are ignorant ...


September 25, 2016, 9:03 pm, 1678379

The latest issue of The Cato Journal includes my article on The G20 and Global Governance, a critique of state-sponsored global governance scholarship.


September 25, 2016, 9:03 pm, 1678378
I mentioned this on twitter earlier today:

I spoke to a local infill spec builder yesterday who has been asking me for advice for several years (and happy with my advice!). The builder brought up the election ... The spec builder told me he was thinking of voting ...


September 25, 2016, 4:34 pm, 1678362

As a newspaperman, I’ve been writing about the global economy and its national components practically since I began. They’re familiar concepts. But where did such constructs come from? And what exactly do they mean? I was happy to have a couple of days to spend last week at a conference ...


September 25, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1678360

1. Doubts about the supposed Chinese skeletons found in Rome, 3-5th century A.D.  Still, China to Rome just isn’t that far, and it is naive to believe this kind of contact didn’t exist.  Study the history of the Polynesians.

2. The main influences on Sam Bowman.

3. ...


September 25, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1678359
(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a letter to a new correspondent:

Dr. Harlan Quarles:

Dr. Quarles:

You write that you find “hysterically laughable” all attempts by “free marketeering nut ...


September 25, 2016, 3:33 pm, 1678353
Ellen Barry has written an excellent piecethat would leave Marx and Engels scratching their heads. In Bangalore, India young rural women are moving to the big city to work in the factories. The article sketches a highly optimistic arc that these women enjoy great improvements in their quality of ...


September 25, 2016, 3:33 pm, 1678352
First, a disclaimer. I ride the Expo Line from Westwood to USC several days a week. This Line extension to the beach cost over 1.5 billion dollars. The new ridership numbers suggest that the monthly ridership has increased by 13,000 since the opening of the extension ...


September 25, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1678339
The automakers will report September vehicle sales on Monday, October 3rd.

Note: There were 25 selling days in September, the same as in September 2015.

From WardsAuto: Forecast: U.S. SAAR to Rebound in September

The forecast 17.6 million SAAR is greater than 16.9 million from prior-month ...


September 25, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1678334

The author is Ben H. Shepherd and the subtitle is The German Army in the Third Reich.  That may seem like a timeworn topic, but I found this book consistently fresh and interesting, also well-written, analytic throughout, one of the year’s best non-fiction studies.  Here is one ...


September 25, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1678333
(September 25, 2016 10:24 AM, by Scott Sumner) I recently listened to a podcast where David Beckworth interviewed Cardiff Garcia, of FT Alphaville. I agreed with most of the things Garcia had to say, including his observations on the recent growth slowdown. He discussed the way that top... (0 COMMENTS)


September 25, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1678332
(Don Boudreaux)

Bob Higgs gets to the heart of the benefits of trade.  A slice:

Yet producing and exporting goods is clearly always ...


September 25, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1678331
(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a wonderful, short video on trade featuring Tom Palmer.  (I believe that I failed to mention it here, ...


September 25, 2016, 10:04 am, 1678324
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 18 of Arnold Kling’s splendid new book (2016), Specialization and Trade: A Re-introduction to ...


September 25, 2016, 7:33 am, 1678312

How can the Cheshire Cat disappear, but its smile remain?

How can money disappear from a New Keynesian model, but the Central Bank still set a nominal rate of interest and create a recession by setting it too high?

Ignore what New Keynesians say about their own New Keynesian models ...


September 25, 2016, 7:33 am, 1678311

Belichick being smart again.

He reminds me of the line used about Bill Gates: "He has five brains and each one of them is smarter than yours."


September 25, 2016, 6:34 am, 1678310

Corbynistas have gotten into the habit of calling their opponents “Blairites”. In some cases, this is unwarranted not because it is a smear, but because it is an unjustified compliment.

I mean this is two different senses.

One concerns immigration. Chuka Umunna thinks the UK should ...


September 25, 2016, 6:04 am, 1678309
My regular column is available to subscribers on www.thesundaytimes.co.uk This is an excerpt. A few days ago it was announced that Minouche Shafik, who joined the Bank of England as one of its deputy governors two years ago, would...


September 25, 2016, 5:33 am, 1678307

Notre Dame declined to give their side, but if Weis's story of how they treated his son is correct, Notre Dame should be deeply ashamed.


September 25, 2016, 5:03 am, 1678295

September 25, 2016, 2:04 am, 1678270

When should you place a higher penalty on transparently false outright repeated lies, and when should you be more upset by hypocrisy, namely a mix of altruism and self-interest and greed and defensiveness, bundled with self-deception and pawned off to everyone including yourself as sheer goodness?  In recent times ...