Tuesday , October 15 2019
Home / Tag Archives: Cross-country Comparisons (page 2)

Tag Archives: Cross-country Comparisons

Socialism vs. Capitalism: My Debate with John Marsh

Here’s the video for my Socialism vs. Capitalism debate with John Marsh.  (Not to be confused with my earlier debate on the same topic with Elizabeth Bruenig).  Marsh is an English professor at Penn State, but I’d say his knowledge of social science favorably compares to most tenured professors in the social sciences.  (And he’s fun to talk literature with as well!)  Here‘s an earlier exchange the two of us had on education and poverty. Overall, I...

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War for Poverty

When a country is mired in poverty, violent revolution is the most emotionally appealing remedy.  So cinematic.  Since the powers that be almost never agree, any call for violent revolution is, in practice, a call for civil war.  But how well does the “remedy” of civil war actually work?  So far, the very best treatment I’ve found is contained within Paul Collier’s The Bottom Billion: Civil war is development in reverse.  It damages both the country itself and its...

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Inflation is about monetary policy

I continue to see all sorts of non-monetary theories of inflation. For instance, “demographics” is often cited for the low inflation rate in Japan. There’s a much simpler explanation for inflation—monetary policy. The following graph shows the exchange rate for three European countries, Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden: During this period, the Danish krone (red line) was pegged to the euro.  This meant that the Danish central bank was not able to adopt an independent...

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“The” output gap doesn’t exist

Robin Brooks has a couple tweets that express frustration with IMF estimates of output gaps: Campaign against Nonsense Output Gaps (CANOO): since 2007, German real GDP is up 12%, Spain is up 1% and Italy is down 8%. Yet the latest numbers from the IMF, published today, say these countries have the same output gaps: Italy (-1.0%), Spain (+0.7%) and Germany (+0.8%). What?! In another tweet he illustrates his problem with IMF estimates in a graph: I am not a big fan of...

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China’s growth—what do we actually know?

Tyler Cowen recently linked to a study of China’s economic growth, which suggests that official figures (roughly 8%) overstate the real GDP growth rate by about 1.8%/year between 2010 and 2016: Using publicly available data, we provide revised estimates of local and national GDP by re-estimating output of industrial, construction, wholesale and retail firms using data on value-added taxes. We also use several local economic indicators that are less likely to be...

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Lucky to stabilize NGDP, not inflation

Australia has long been known as the “lucky country”, and hence many people attribute their current 28-year expansion to dumb luck—perhaps they benefited from trade with China. The NYT has a new piece that suggests the reason for Australia’s success goes well beyond just luck: But China’s gravitational pull can explain only so much. For one thing, other countries nearby have had recessions, some severe, in recent decades. And there are a long list of policy choices...

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A Short Hop from Bleeding Heart to Mailed Fist

When Hugo Chavez began ruling Venezuela, he sounded like a classic bleeding-heart – full of pity for the poor and downtrodden.  Plenty of people took him at his words – not just Venezuelans, but much of the international bleeding-heart community.  By the time Chavez died, however, many admirers were already having second thoughts about his dictatorial tendencies.  Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s handpicked successor, amply confirmed these fears.  Almost everyone now plainly...

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Why I’m Optimistic About Venezuela

If there were mass protests against the government of Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. decided to recognize the opposition as the legitimate government of Saudi, I would expect disaster.  Why?  Because… 1. Supporters of the Saudi monarchy remain powerful and confident enough to aggressively fight back, plunging the country into hellish civil war. 2. If the monarchy loses, its most likely replacement will be a revolutionary Islamist dictatorship. 3. Even if the new Saudi...

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Reflections from my Panama Cruise, II

[For Part I, click here.] Our ports were Falmouth (Jamaica), Cartagena (Colombia), Gatun Lake (Panama), Limón (Costa Rica), and Grand Cayman.  Reactions to each: 7. Falmouth had the most lavish port shopping area; I’d compare it to Reston, Virginia.  The area beyond, though thinly inhabited, was fairly poor, but with quite a few middle-class homes mixed in.  Our tour guide said that many Jamaicans spend years building their own homes so they can live rent-free (but...

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Another neoliberal miracle

Talk to almost any academic, and you’ll hear nothing but negative opinions about neoliberalism. Meanwhile, out in the real world this ideology continues to improve the lives of billions of people, at a faster rate than at any other time in human history. Do you recall how the Soviet Union used to continually suffer from poor harvests due to “bad weather?” During the 1970s, US farmers made lots of money exporting wheat to feed hungry Russians. Guess which country is...

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