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Saturday April 14th 2012

‘Economics’ Archives

Give me $1 billion to cut the budget deficit

Give me $1 billion to cut the budget deficit

I have a plan to reduce the budget deficit.  The essence of the plan is the federal government writing me a check for $1 billion.  The plan will be financed by $3 billion of tax increases.  According to my back-of-the envelope calculations, giving me that $1 billion will reduce the budget deficit by $2 billion.Now, you may be [...]

The Half-Full Glass of Economic Mobility

The Half-Full Glass of Economic Mobility

When people look at data on economic mobility, they see different things.  For example, it is well known that if your father had high income, you are more likely to have high income than if you father had low income.  According to this study (which I found thanks to a pointer by Paul Krugman), the elasticity of son's income with [...]

On Violent Metaphors

On Violent Metaphors

Paul Krugman in today's NY Times:The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.And it’s the saturation of [...]

How much unemployment is structural?

How much unemployment is structural?

Raghu Rajan cites the work of Erik Hurst:As my colleague Erik Hurst and his co-authors have shown, states that had the largest rise in construction as a share of GDP in 2000-2006 tended to have had the greatest contraction in that industry in 2006-2009. These states also tended to have the largest rise in unemployment rates between 2006 [...]

Commanding Attention

Commanding Attention

One of the things I have learned over my career is that I am very bad at predicting how much attention something I write will get.Among my academic writings, my most cited paper is an article coauthored with David Romer and David Weil on the empirics of economic growth.  It has more than six times as many cites in google-scholar as [...]

The Charitable Deduction

The Charitable Deduction

Richard Thaler takes on the tax deduction for charitable giving.  He suggests that there is little reason for it and that a refundable tax credit would be more justified.I think there is a bit more logic to current policy than Thaler does.  Suppose you believe, as I do, that consumption is a better tax base than [...]

My Agnosticism about UI

My Agnosticism about UI

A few readers have asked me to opine on the current debate over the extension of unemployment insurance benefits.  I have avoided commenting on the topic because I am ambivalent on the issue, largely because I am agnostic about what economists know about optimal UI.  But perhaps it would be useful to explain my agnosticism.UI has pros [...]

Department of "Huh"? (Why Oh Why Can’t We Have a Better Blogosphere? Brad DeLong Edition)

Department of "Huh"? (Why Oh Why Can’t We Have a Better Blogosphere? Brad DeLong Edition)

Brad DeLong objects to my recent NY Times column by displaying some Tax Policy Center data that, he says, shows the Bowles-Simpson tax plan is hard on the poor and easy on the rich.  Progressives, he concludes, should oppose the plan.The problem, however, is the benchmark used in this particular table: current law as [...]

The Progressivity of Bowles-Simpson

The Progressivity of Bowles-Simpson

Howard Gleckman reports,The Tax Policy Center has taken a preliminary look at one version of the tax plan offered by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. And Paul Krugman & friends can rest easy. The Bowles-Simpson proposal is indeed an across-the-board tax increase-- and a fairly progressive one at that. In 2015, the lowest earners would [...]

QE2

QE2

Several people have asked my opinion of the Federal Reserve's new round of quantitative easing.  In particular, some have noted that I did not sign the open letter by conservative economists critical of recent Fed actions.My view is that QE2 is a modestly good idea.  I say it is a "good idea" because, like Ben Bernanke, I am [...]

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