Sunday , September 22 2019
Home / Tag Archives: Growth: Causal Factors

Tag Archives: Growth: Causal Factors

On Steve Davies’s new book

Steve Davies is perhaps the most knowledgeable person I know, almost infallible when quoting dates and events. His book on the “nature and origins” of the modern economy is an excellent one. Different than others (including Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois trilogy), Davies focuses more on presenting competing theses than on advancing a new, apparently original one. I found his book very valuable and reviewed it for our sister website, Law & Liberty. A key point of...

Read More »

The Fault Is Not in Our Stuff But in Ourselves

Bruce Sacerdote‘s NBER Working Paper, “Fifty Years of Growth in American Consumption, Income, and Wages” provides a nice update on the measurement of CPI Bias.  The punchline should be obvious, but it’s great to hear such an eminent economist say it: “Meaningful growth in consumption for below median income families has occurred even in a prolonged period of increasing income inequality, increasing consumption inequality and a decreasing share of national income...

Read More »

Regulation and/or Geopolitics

I sent the following letter on the Financial Times (which ran it last week): Sir – All that glitters is not gold. Ursula von der Leyen’s vision of EU as regulatory superpower (Brussels’ new-look team raises stakes with Trump, September 11) may look superficially attractive – but it does not necessarily swithtand a closer scrutiny. The rules of the game are not there to produce a certain foreign policy outcome: what they should do is allow for genuine competition...

Read More »

Can innovation be sped up?

One would think that there are public policies that would substantially accelerate the pace of innovation. I’m not so sure. I’ll address this issue in a roundabout fashion, starting with a discussion of innovation in some seemingly unrelated fields. In 1969, we had just landed on the moon, the Boeing 747 was carrying 400 passengers at 600 mph, and cars sped down expressways at 70 mph. President Nixon would soon launch the war on cancer. Given the incredible progress...

Read More »

What is the lesson from the East Asian miracle?

Tyler Cowen recently linked to an interesting essay by Byrne Hobart on East Asian development. Here’s the opening paragraph: I’ve always had highly libertarian instincts, for both pragmatic and ideological reasons. You say civilians should be able to own rocket launchers, I demand that these rocket launchers not face a sales tax. But for me and people like me, the East Asian economic miracle poses a serious challenge: the greatest anti-poverty program in history...

Read More »

Socialism Does Indeed Suck

Two free-market economists, Robert Lawson of Southern Methodist University and Benjamin Powell of Texas Tech University, have pulled off a marvelous stunt. Their just-published book, Socialism Sucks, is a humorous travelogue about their experiences in various socialist and allegedly socialist countries in the last few years. The book, subtitled “Two Economists Drink Their Way Through the Unfree World,” is the best in this genre since fellow drinker P.J. O’Rourke’s...

Read More »

Fernandez-Villaverde, Spain, and Gravity

In a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I asked Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde two follow-up questions. My first question: “Suppose Spain had been in South America.  Would the same policies still have worked nearly as well?” Jesus replied: “Yes if a free trade agreement with US and Canada had existed.” I then inquired: “So the gravity model just isn’t that important here?  Opening your economy when you’re surrounded by rich neighbors seems a lot more fruitful than opening...

Read More »

Why the focus on non-residential investment?

I often see pundits separate investment spending into residential and non-residential categories. But I’m not sure why they do this. What makes residential investment so special? At times there seems to be a sort of unspoken assumption that residential investment is akin to consumption, and that non-residential investment is more healthy, or virtuous, or growth-oriented. But why? In 1991, I bought a 50% share in a handsome old brick two-family house in a Boston...

Read More »

Fernandez-Villaverde on Spain’s Economic Success

Last week I asked: Why is Spain so much richer now than almost any country in Spanish America?  Before you answer with great confidence, ponder this: According to Angus Maddison’s data on per-capita GDP in 1950, Spain was poorer than Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, and roughly equal to Colombia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Panama.  This is 11 years after the end of the Spanish Civil War, and Spain of course stayed out of...

Read More »

Winship Psychoanalyzes Economic Pessimism

I’ve spent years telling Tyler Cowen that conventional price indices are upwardly biased, so his stagnationist views are wrong.  And he’s spent years replying that my views are sadly out-of-date.  In this piece, the highly up-to-date Scott Winship unequivocally reaffirms the classic view that indices are indeed upwardly biased.  Indeed, the old Boskin Report was probably too cautious: The chart shows that from 1969 to 2012, the PCE and my extended C-CPI-U series...

Read More »