Economists Do It With Models

Warning: “graphic” content…

Bookmark and Share
Economics From Around The Web

Below you will find a feed of the economics-related web sites that I find particularly interesting, insightful, entertaining, etc. (In other words, you are getting pretty much an edited view of my Google Reader.) My purpose in doing this is to provide readers with a portal for a wider range of information than I can provide myself. I will add new sources here as I come across them, and feel free to email me with suggestions for sites that you think should be included. It’s not practical to have too many sites incorporated here, so I will keep a list below both of included sites and sites that are not included but worth checking out individually. (Some of these are sites that are great but are not updated frequently enough for them to make sense in the feed.)

I am still working on the formatting, so please bear with me. For now, the page displays the last 50 posts in round robin fashion from the following sites:

The following sites are not currently included in the feed below, but are interesting nonetheless:



[CaRP] php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known (0)

[CaRP] php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known (0)

[CaRP] XML error: EntityRef: expecting ‘;’ at line 29 – This appears to be an HTML webpage, not a feed.

[CaRP] php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known (0)

[CaRP] XML error: Mismatched tag at line 3 – This appears to be an HTML webpage, not a feed.
Marginal REVOLUTION
Marginal REVOLUTION
Small Steps Toward A Much Better World

There was no great submarine stagnation
by Tyler Cowen
30 Apr 2017 at 7:26pm

Recall the development of the Polaris nuclear-missile system in the late 1950s. The whole package?a nuclear submarine, a solid-fuel missile, an underwater launch system, a nuclear warhead and a guidance system?went from the drawing board to deployment in four years (and using slide rules). Today, according to the Defense Business Board, the average development timeline […]

The post There was no great submarine stagnation appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

xkcd.com
 xkcd.com: A webcomic of romance and math humor.

Barge
20 Jan 2017 at 5:00am

Greg Mankiw’s Blog
Random Observations for Students of Economics


How Best to Tax Business
by  noreply at blogger.com (Greg Mankiw)
22 Apr 2017 at 3:25pm
Click here to read my column in Sunday’s NY Times.

Freakonomics
The hidden side of everything

How to be More Productive
by Freakonomics
27 Apr 2017 at 10:01pm

Season 6, Episode 34 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner returns to his alma mater to ask his three favorite professors if colleges make people more productive and happier. Among the discoveries in this episode, here’s a big one: there’s a significant difference between being busy and being productive. To find out more, check out the […]

The post How to be More Productive appeared first on Freakonomics.

NYT
Economix
Explaining the Science of Everyday Life

Economix Meets the Gales of Change
by By The Editors
22 Apr 2014 at 11:00am
Economix is coming to an end, but it will be succeeded by The Upshot, a new politics, policy and economics site.

Indexed
PUBLISHED WEEKDAY MORNINGS as the COFFEE BREWS. FOR MORE randomness GO TO jessicahagy.info

Shake on it.
by Jessica Hagy
27 Apr 2017 at 7:10pm

Share and Enjoy:

The post Shake on it. appeared first on Indexed.

Nudge blog
Nudge blog
From Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness”

We?ve moved to www.nudges.org. Come with us.
by nudgeblog
27 Feb 2010 at 7:08pm
 Nudges.wordpress.com has been a great home for the Nudge blog over the past year and a half, but it’s time to move on. Where to? www.nudges.org. That’s right, we’re taking over our first home and revamping it for the future. We’ve added new social media capabilities that let you share our posts on facebook and […]

www.surveymonkey.com/r/CMYZQZV
 www.surveymonkey.com

Essay Writing Service, Argumentative Essay
20 Apr 2017 at 6:05pm
our essay writing team will work on it relent lessly to ensure that its quality

Dilbert Daily Strip

Comic for April 30, 2017
30 Apr 2017 at 11:59pm
Dilbert readers – Please visit Dilbert.com to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to Dilbert.com.

Environmental Economics
The Cromulent Economics Blog

EPA must be having computer problems–all of their climate change stuff has d…
by Tim Haab
29 Apr 2017 at 6:51pm

 Hmmmm…when I click on the EPA Climate Change page, I get this:

That’s peculiar.

I’m looking forward to the updates.

 

NPR Blogs: Planet Money

High Unemployment, Low Interest Rates: Get Used To It
4 Jun 2010 at 3:38pm
By Jacob Goldstein Today’s monthly jobs report suggests two key pieces of the economic picture are likely to persist in the coming months: High unemployment and low interest rates. Hundreds of thousands of temporary workers hired to help conduct the census — which accounted for the overwhelming majority of jobs created in May — will once again find themselves out of work later this year. These weekly figures from the census department suggest the number of temporary workers employed by the census peaked the first week of May — during the same period that the labor department took its monthly jobs survey — and has already begun to decline. “I do think that we have peaked,” Census spokesman told The Hill this week. “I do not expect it to go back up.” In 2000, during the last census, the census department added 348,000 jobs in May, then cut 225,000 jobs in June. Meanwhile, state and local governments cut jobs in May. That is likely to continue, the WSJ says. And private-sector job growth was anemic in May — 41,000 jobs, down from more than 200,000 in April, and not enough to drive an economic recovery. (The number of jobs in manufacturing and temporary services increased, but the number of jobs in construction fell.) “Remember, it requires 150,000 to 200,000 jobs [per month] in order to reduce that unemployment rate,” Bill Gross, who manages the bond fund Pimco, told Bloomberg News. The unemployment rate fell from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent in May, but the decline was largely due to the fact that fewer people were looking for work. (The unemployment rate only includes those who are actively seeking employment.) Before the recession, the rate was less than 5 percent. High unemployment, in turn, means the Federal Reserve is likely to keep interest rates ultra-low. This is true for a few reasons. For one thing, when more people are out of work, consumers spend less money. That lowers the risk of inflation, which can be a byproduct of low rates. For another, low interest rates make it more appealing for businesses to borrow money to drive growth, which creates new jobs. At least in theory. “[W]e are now in the fourth quarter of economic expansion, with jobs once more being created rather than destroyed,” Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said yesterday. “Nonetheless, important concerns remain. One particularly difficult issue is the continued high rate of unemployment.”

Ecocomics
Where Graphic Art Meets Dismal Science

Does Anyone Still Subscribe to This?
by ShadowBanker
10 Jun 2013 at 3:40pm
Hi folks!  It’s been a while.  How are you all doing?

If there is any demand, I will continue to regularly update this blog.  Just let me know.

Also, what comics should I be reading?

The Becker-Posner Blog
Welcome to the new Becker-Posner Blog, maintained by the University of Chicago Law School.

Farewell
by Richard Posner
11 May 2014 at 4:48am

In memoriam: Gary S. Becker, 1930-2014.

The Becker-Posner blog is terminated.

Richard A. Posner

EconomistMom.com
…because I’m an economist and a mom–that’s why!

Back to Just (An) Economist Mom
by economistmom
10 Jan 2013 at 6:18pm
After 4 and 3/4 years and 932 posts (counting this one), I’m putting down my pen as “the EconomistMom” (capital-E, capital-M, smooshed together) and going back to being (more ordinarily) just (an) economist mom.  (I think in my older (i.e., younger) days I would have been anal about it and set a target of ending […]

Marginal REVOLUTION
Marginal REVOLUTION
Small Steps Toward A Much Better World

Advice vs. choice
by Tyler Cowen
30 Apr 2017 at 4:05pm

I do not consider this to be a confirmed result, still the basic mechanism is of interest, especially to analyses of complacency: Despite the near universality of the maxim that one should treat others as one ought to be treated, even well-intended advisers often advise others to act differently than they choose for themselves. We […]

The post Advice vs. choice appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

xkcd.com
 xkcd.com: A webcomic of romance and math humor.

Voice Commands
18 Jan 2017 at 5:00am

Greg Mankiw’s Blog
Random Observations for Students of Economics

How Not to Promote Education
by  noreply at blogger.com (Greg Mankiw)
14 Apr 2017 at 1:33pm
Today’s column by David Brooks is excellent.

Freakonomics
The hidden side of everything

There?s A War On Sugar. Is It Justified?
by Stephen J. Dubner
27 Apr 2017 at 3:00am

Some people argue that sugar should be regulated, like alcohol and tobacco, on the grounds that it?s addictive and toxic. How much sense does that make? We hear from a regulatory advocate, an evidence-based skeptic, a former FDA commissioner ? and the organizers of Milktoberfest.

The post There’s A War On Sugar. Is It Justified? appeared first on Freakonomics.

NYT
Economix
Explaining the Science of Everyday Life

Mortgage Reform Is Worth the Small Extra Cost to Borrowers
by By Phillip Swagel
18 Apr 2014 at 11:00am
The higher cost for borrowers in a Senate bill reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac corresponds to the protection for taxpayers that was missing in the old system, writes an economist.

Indexed
PUBLISHED WEEKDAY MORNINGS as the COFFEE BREWS. FOR MORE randomness GO TO jessicahagy.info

The plaintiff then puked into a trash can, your honor.
by Jessica Hagy
26 Apr 2017 at 11:14pm

Share and Enjoy:

The post The plaintiff then puked into a trash can, your honor. appeared first on Indexed.

Nudge blog
Nudge blog
From Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness”

Auto-suggest suggests how far behavioral economics has come, and how far it s…
by nudgeblog
25 Feb 2010 at 2:30am
In terms of recognition and respect, behavioral economics has certainly come a long way in the last 25 years. But it is still a Hibernian outpost in the great Roman Economics empire. One of the newest metrics for evaluating its impact is the auto-suggest feature in many search engines that has become quite popular since […]

Dilbert Daily Strip

Comic for April 29, 2017
29 Apr 2017 at 11:59pm
Dilbert readers – Please visit Dilbert.com to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to Dilbert.com.

Environmental Economics
The Cromulent Economics Blog

Sponsor bias
by John Whitehead
27 Apr 2017 at 5:10pm

Alison McCook at Retraction Watch:

First, an occupational health journal appointed a new editor with industry ties without consulting the editorial board. Then, with no explanation, it withdrew a paper by the previous editor that was critical of corporate-sponsored research ? again, without consulting the editorial board.

At that point, they?d had enough.

Yesterday, the editorial board of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health sent a letter to the publisher, Taylor & Francis, expressing their ?grave concerns? over the future of the journal, and its recent actions.

As part of the letter ? signed by 30 past and present editorial members and the founding editor ? they write:

IJOEH has stood in a class by itself in publishing critical analyses and challenges of improper corporate influence on the standards of practice and scientific literature in our field.

Originally, we raised serious concern that the Editorial Board was never consulted or informed by T&F about the change of editors, replacing Dr. David Egilman with corporate consultant Dr. Andrew Maier.  We wrote to the publisher on February 11 requesting to know the process and justification for changing editors of a scientific journal without involving the Editorial Board.

As an illustration of their concerns, the board members note that Maier ? chair of the fellows program at Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA), which the letter-writers dub a ?corporate consulting firm? ? recommends a significantly higher safe limit for diacetyl, a flavoring chemical used in microwave popcorn, than did former editor Egilman.

This month, the journal withdrew a 2016 paper by Egilman, ?The production of corporate research to manufacture doubt about the health hazards of products: an overview of the Exponent Bakelite simulation study,? with a curt statement:

This content has been removed by the publishers.

The board members conclude their letter (which you can see here, with contact information redacted) with four demands …

It is difficult to fully trust research that has been conducted for a business firm, government agency, non-profit, or whatever, that has clear organizational goals that may deviate from discover of facts or the truth. Business firms that seek to maximize profits tend to sponsor research that leads to higher profits. Non-profit organizations and government agencies tend to sponsor research that expands and/or protects the organization/agency. The degree to which you can trust the research can only be judged on a case-by-case basis considering context, the degree to which the research seems biased towards the sponsor’s goals, etc. The problem is much worse when the researchers are not required to reveal their funding sources, but this problem seems to be going away as researchers are required to disclose funding and conflicts of interest. 

This journal sounds like it is going downhill.

NPR Blogs: Planet Money

Job Growth: A Big, Disappointing Number
4 Jun 2010 at 2:06pm
The U.S. economy added 431,000 new jobs in May, the federal government said this morning. Sounds promising. But dig a little deeper, and the number doesn’t look so nice. Almost all of those jobs — 411,000 of them — were temporary employees hired to work on the census. Those jobs typically last only for a few months. The private sector added only 41,000 jobs during the month. It’s much lower than what economists were expecting, and far fewer jobs than private employers added in April. It suggests the economic recovery is slowing. Private employers added more than 200,000 new jobs in April. And Economists were predicting that private employers would add more than 100,000 jobs in May. The economy has shed more than 7 million jobs since the end of 2007, though the number of jobs has increased since the start of 2010. May was probably the peak month for census hiring, Bloomberg News notes. And in the coming months, the census department will begin dismissing more employees than it hires. The unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent in May, down from 9.9 percent the month before, the government said this morning. But that number, like the jobs number, is somewhat misleading. The unemployment rate only considers people who are actively seeking work and can’t find it. In May, fewer unemployed people started looking for work again. That contributed to the decline in unemployment.

Ecocomics
Where Graphic Art Meets Dismal Science


Can Wolverine Build a School?
by ShadowBanker
17 Nov 2011 at 2:30pm
Wolverine #17 by Jason Aaron and Ron GarneyMarvel Comics, 2011
Where does Wolverine get his money from? If he has managed to save up enough to start a new school for mutants in Westchester, he must certainly have exercised several lifetimes of prudent money management. Here is what we had to say about this before:

Throughout his long, long life Wolverine has shown very little interest in matters of an economic nature. He’s spent most of his time living in cabins, hovels, and sleeping in the beds and houses of others. His worldly possessions seldom exceed the clothes on his back (usually a jumpsuit made of spandex or leather), a cache of cheap cigars, a motorcycle, and a six-pack of beer. This is the sum of the worldly possessions he has accrued in over 100 years of life. Granted, a large part of this life was spent being mind controlled and experimented on, but in the years since he’s escaped from Weapon X, Wolverine has made a series of life decisions which placed him in financial jeopardy.

We know Wolverine likes to live a life of modesty. Previously, I thought this was due to the fact that, despite living the equivalent of several lifetimes, he never took a job that was lucrative enough for him to splurge on things like mansions and jets.
Evidently, this is incorrect. Turns out that Wolverine has been slowly saving for years and has now accrued enough funds to open a school.
I haven’t the fainted idea of what it costs to open a school. I doubt that the Xavier Institute was a charter school or received any sort of public funding. In today’s Marvel Universe, mutants are still highly stigmatized so it is unlikely that Wolverine will be able to receive any sort of grant or government assistance, unless through nefarious means (snikt snikt). I do, however, know that it is extremely expensive, probably requiring initial funding of upwards of $500,000 to one million dollars. Westchester County, New York, also seems like it would be particularly costly.
Is it possible that Wolverine managed to save up this much money? Actually, it doesn’t seem that crazy. Let’s assume all assets that he had saved up prior to his kidnapping by the Weapon X program had been wiped (it is unlikely that the sinister Canadian organization let him keep his money). Then, once Logan escapes the program (well after World War II), he had to start with nothing.
He then met Charlies Xavier and joined up with the X-Men in the 1970s. I think it’s safe to assume that he started his savings at this point. Assuming that he had been paid a salary for his service (something of which I am not sure, though I imagine he needed some form of income to, you know, eat) and that he served continuously through the present (a stretch, but it would be difficult to account for all the gaps in his time with the X-Men), it is certainly feasible that Wolverine had saved the amount required to at the very least put forth the initial funds. He had been actively working for four decades (longer if you count the time between Weapon X and the X-Men, where he was employed with Department K and probably earned some sweet government pay) and his expenses were minimal (for a while, he took up free residence at the X-Mansion and, as mentioned above, spends very little on material things).
Therefore, it would appear as though Wolverine’s modest lifestyle is evidence of prudence and thrift, rather than of having little assets.
Hell, Logan might even be part of the 1%.

The Becker-Posner Blog
Welcome to the new Becker-Posner Blog, maintained by the University of Chicago Law School.

Sabbatical Notice
by Richard Posner
15 Mar 2014 at 2:05am

Starting this weekend, we will be taking a one-month sabbatical from blogging. We will resume at the end of that period.

EconomistMom.com
…because I’m an economist and a mom–that’s why!

Over the Cliff and Yet Back in the Same Place
by economistmom
2 Jan 2013 at 5:37pm
It’s as if we’ve just survived a near-death experience.  (Image above from NPR.)  Like we followed the light and even saw the pearly gates and then miraculously were sucked back down into our bed overnight!  We technically “went over” the fiscal cliff at midnight yesterday, and yet here we are today celebrating more extended tax […]

Marginal REVOLUTION
Marginal REVOLUTION
Small Steps Toward A Much Better World

Sunday assorted links
by Tyler Cowen
30 Apr 2017 at 6:45am

1. Eitan Hersch on political hobbyism and its dangers (pdf). 2. What customers steal from Toronto restaurants. 3. Oxford University sorry for eye contact racism claim. 4. Do Tinder users have a higher tolerance for disgust? 5. 12-year-old girl banned from chess tournament for provocative dress. 6. The internet is encouraging massive bridal bouquets.

The post Sunday assorted links appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

xkcd.com
 xkcd.com: A webcomic of romance and math humor.

Trash
16 Jan 2017 at 5:00am

Greg Mankiw’s Blog
Random Observations for Students of Economics

A Proposed Regulation
by  noreply at blogger.com (Greg Mankiw)
11 Apr 2017 at 2:45pm
The story about United dragging a passenger off an overbooked plane highlights how crazy the current system is.  I would not go so far as to say that airlines should never overbook, but it seems that when they overbook, they should fully bear the consequences. They should be required to keep raising the offered compensation until they get volunteers to give up their seats. If $800 does not work, then try $1600 or $8000.  I am sure volunteers will appear as the price rises.

This alternative system would have three benefits:
Those who can delay their travel at least cost will be the first to give up their seats so the allocation of available seats will be efficient. Those who are delayed will be compensated so won’t feel harmed.The airlines will face better incentives when deciding how much to overbook. 

Freakonomics
The hidden side of everything

Music: TMSIDK Episode 16
by Stephen J. Dubner
24 Apr 2017 at 12:00am

Danny Goldberg, Faith Salie and David Hajdu are panelists. The record executive, the comedian/journalist and the music critic face the music, including industrial instruments, female composers and the all-important bridge. Our real-time fact-checker is Dan Zanes, accompanied by his live band.

The post Music: TMSIDK Episode 16 appeared first on Freakonomics.

NYT
Economix
Explaining the Science of Everyday Life

In Europe, Auto Sales Are Still Low, But They Are Rising
by By Floyd Norris
17 Apr 2014 at 11:19pm
New car sales are up by more than 10 percent in Ireland, Greece, Spain and Portugal, which signals stronger economic growth there, even if sales are still far below 2007 levels.

Indexed
PUBLISHED WEEKDAY MORNINGS as the COFFEE BREWS. FOR MORE randomness GO TO jessicahagy.info

Can we make the logo bigger and the idea smaller?
by Jessica Hagy
25 Apr 2017 at 9:55pm

Share and Enjoy:

The post Can we make the logo bigger and the idea smaller? appeared first on Indexed.

Nudge blog
Nudge blog
From Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness”

Millionaire athletes hate handing over $20 cash for being late
by nudgeblog
24 Feb 2010 at 2:39am
UCLA economist Matthew Kahn picks up on a neat little story about Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson’s use of psychology in his NBA locker rooms. Ever the behavioralist, Jackson fined his players tiny amounts – $10 and $20 – for being late to games by a few minutes. Jackson has found that players are […]

Dilbert Daily Strip

Comic for April 28, 2017
28 Apr 2017 at 11:59pm
Dilbert readers – Please visit Dilbert.com to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to Dilbert.com.

Environmental Economics
The Cromulent Economics Blog

BP has funded a book critical of the contingent valuation method
by John Whitehead
25 Apr 2017 at 2:17pm

Exactly one week after the CVM article estimating BP damages appears in Science this book critical of the CVM is being published:

Contingent Valuation of Environmental Goods: A Comprehensive Critique

Edited by Daniel McFadden and Kenneth Train

Contingent valuation is a survey-based procedure that attempts to estimate how much households are willing to pay for specific programs that improve the environment or prevent environmental degradation. For decades, the method has been the center of debate regarding its reliability: does it really measure the value that people place on environmental changes? Bringing together leading voices in the field, this timely book tells a unified story about the interrelated features of contingent valuation and how those features affect its reliability. Through empirical analysis and review of past studies, the authors identify important deficiencies in the procedure, raising questions about the technique?s continued use.

Individual chapters investigate how respondents answer questions in contingent valuation surveys, with a particular focus on how the procedure?s estimates change based on the costs that the researcher specifies, the payment mechanism, and the scope of the environmental improvement. Other issues covered include whether the survey respondents make trade-offs between the program costs and benefits; and whether corrections can be applied to account for any misunderstanding of the questions by respondents and for the hypothetical nature of the survey.

This book will appeal to environmental economists and students in environmental and resource economics. Government staff at environmental agencies and survey researchers will benefit from the close analysis of previous applications.

The acknowledgement says:

The research presented in this book (with the exception of Chapter 6) was partially funded by BP Exploration & Production Inc. … The research conclusions and opinions contained in this volume are solely those of the authors.

The price is $155 but the book is currently open access. I’ve successfully downloaded all of the PDFs (and ordered the hardback)*. My book review is forthcoming in 2018**. 

*Discrete choice experiment folks … enjoy the ride because they’re going after you too (see chapters 1 and 9)!

**A commitment mechanism.

NPR Blogs: Planet Money

Mohamed El-Erian Explains ‘The New Normal’
3 Jun 2010 at 8:15pm
Everybody’s talking about the “new normal.” On the investing shows, this is shorthand for an era in which returns on stocks and bonds are lower than they’ve been in the past. But Mohamed El-Erian, the bond-fund CEO who coined the term, says it goes much deeper than that. Today on All Things Considered, El-Erian tells Planet Money’s Adam Davidson that the new normal includes changes to the fundamental structure of the global economy: The world of yesterday was a world of tidy categories. On the one hand you had industrial countries, advanced economies. On the other hand, emerging economies. The first were the core of the system they held the system together. The second, emerging economies, were at the periphery and tended to be crisis prone. The financial crisis changed that, as China — an emerging economy — served as a key stabilizing force in a global financial crisis that started in the U.S. The shift has continued this year, as industrialized countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal have found themselves in the kind of dicey debt situation traditionally associated with developing countries. In the new normal, El-Erian says, the traditional major players like the U.S. and Germany will have less influence. And the likes of India, China and Brazil will have more. The shift will be turbulent. But, El-Erian says, the end result will be a more stable global economy. “It is better to have many locomotives of growth in the world,” he says.

Ecocomics
Where Graphic Art Meets Dismal Science

Disproportionate Response Man
by ShadowBanker
20 Oct 2011 at 4:37pm
A great entry from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:

The Becker-Posner Blog
Welcome to the new Becker-Posner Blog, maintained by the University of Chicago Law School.

The Embargo of Cuba: Time to Go- Becker
by Gary Becker
4 Mar 2014 at 12:53am

The US embargo of Cuba began in 1960, a year after Fidel Castro turned this island toward communism. It was extended to food and medicines in 1962, the same year as the showdown with Russia over the installation of missiles there. The embargo has prevented American companies from doing business with Cuba, and discouraged tourism to Cuba. The American government also tried with quite limited success to prevent other countries from trading with Cuba.

In general economic embargoes are undesirable because they interfere with free trade among countries. Yet a case could be made for an embargo against Cuba. Castro not only allowed Russian missiles to be installed in Cuba, just 90 miles from Florida, but was also actively trying to interfere in other countries by sending troops and so-called advisers. The aim of the embargo was to impose economic hardship on Cuba that would force Castro to drop these international actions, and possibly even lead to the toppling of his government and the end of communism in Cuba. Castro did stop his international adventurism, but he and communism remained firmly entrenched for decades.

The Cuban economy has done badly, and has fallen behind the economies of many comparable countries. For example, in 1959, Cuban per capita income was above that of Taiwan, another island close by a hostile super power. Cuba?s two main exports were sugar and tobacco, while Taiwan?s were sugar and rice. At that time, Taiwan began its transition toward a private market system and globally oriented economy, whereas Cuba abolished private property and the government took charge of the economy with central planning and central organization. Since then Cuba?s economy has fallen far behind Taiwan?s as Taiwan has taken advantage of world markets to grow at a remarkable rate while Cuba has chugged along with very slow growth. Cuba?s per capital income is a fifth or less of that of Taiwan. Sugar and tobacco remain important exports of Cuba, while Taiwan has shifted toward complex electronic and industrial goods. Fidel Castro was a charismatic leader who mesmerized audiences with his oratory, but he utterly failed to deliver the goods to the Cuban people.

 Cuba?s weak economic performance is in small part due to the embargo since the US would be a natural important trading partner for Cuba, as it is for other nearby Caribbean countries, and for Mexico and other Central American countries. Yet communism itself is the main cause of its poor economic performance. One can say this with complete confidence since communism has utterly failed as an economic system in every country where it has been tried.

One only need look at the difference between the economies of South and North Korea for a clear natural experiment on the disadvantages of an economic system with no private property and central direction of the economy. Prior to the Korean War, the backward part of the Korean economy was in the south and the advanced industrial part was in the north. The roles are now radically reversed since the South and its private enterprise system is far ahead economically (and in other dimensions as well) of the North.

In the last decade, with Fidel Castro ailing and his brother Raul taking over leadership, the Cuban government has begun to realize what the Cuban people long ago learned, that communism is responsible for the vast majority of its economic weakness. Despite the opposition of hardliners, Cuba is allowing very small-scale private firms in retailing and other sectors, and houses can be bought and sold to a limited extent. These are only baby steps away from communism, but they put Cuba on a slippery slope toward a more market-based economy that will be hard to reverse.

Free trade is a principle that the United States should follow except in extraordinary circumstances. Cuba under Fidel, especially in his early days, may have provided enough of these circumstances to justify the embargo. Since Cuba no longer provides any significant threat to American interests, there is no sense in continuing to punish the Cuban people with an embargo on trade, nor to provide excuses to its leaders for the poor performance of the Cuban economy.

It is time to end the embargo on the export and import of goods and services between the United States and Cuba The Cuban people will benefit almost immediately. This may just be the time when such a move puts added pressure on the Cuban government to end its failed experiment with communism.

 

 

EconomistMom.com
…because I’m an economist and a mom–that’s why!

Doomsday for the Cliff Deal
by economistmom
21 Dec 2012 at 1:22pm
All over an unwillingness to convince his colleagues to let tax rates come back up (as scheduled) on (even) the very richest, any “deal” between Boehner and Obama is off –at least until after Christmas: House Speaker John A. Boehner threw efforts to avoid the year-end ?fiscal cliff? into chaos late Thursday, as he abruptly […]

Marginal REVOLUTION
Marginal REVOLUTION
Small Steps Toward A Much Better World

Good endorsements for the forthcoming Peter Leeson book
by Tyler Cowen
30 Apr 2017 at 5:24am

I hope Peter remains my colleague for a long time to come: COMING FALL 2017 “This book has a surprise?not to mention a puckish joke?on every page. It’s strange, it’s fascinating, and it’s one of the most original books I’ve ever read.” ?Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist “The most interesting book I have […]

The post Good endorsements for the forthcoming Peter Leeson book appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

xkcd.com
 xkcd.com: A webcomic of romance and math humor.

Wifi
13 Jan 2017 at 5:00am

Greg Mankiw’s Blog
Random Observations for Students of Economics

Is something wrong with macro?
by  noreply at blogger.com (Greg Mankiw)
11 Apr 2017 at 9:30am
A thought-provoking essay by Ricardo Reis.

Freakonomics
The hidden side of everything

Why is Bad Environmentalism Such an Easy Sell?
by Freakonomics
20 Apr 2017 at 5:28pm

Season 6, Episode 33 We already know it’s not easy being green. But Stephen J. Dubner wants to know, “What about selling green?” It turns out that’s pretty easy. Plus: researchers are trying to figure out why we get bored and what it means for the economy. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was […]

The post Why is Bad Environmentalism Such an Easy Sell? appeared first on Freakonomics.

NYT
Economix
Explaining the Science of Everyday Life

The End of Our Financial Illusions
by By Simon Johnson
17 Apr 2014 at 4:01am
Much progress has been made on overseeing the largest banks, but a good deal more must be done to toughen standards and end government subsidies, an economist writes.

Indexed
PUBLISHED WEEKDAY MORNINGS as the COFFEE BREWS. FOR MORE randomness GO TO jessicahagy.info

And don?t you forget it.
by Jessica Hagy
25 Apr 2017 at 12:00am

Share and Enjoy:

The post And don’t you forget it. appeared first on Indexed.

Nudge blog
Nudge blog
From Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness”

Italian RECAP?
by nudgeblog
23 Feb 2010 at 3:13pm
Bank of Italy Governor Mario Draghi says “the variety of new (bank) fees makes it difficult for customers to compare the different offers.” He then seems to propose a RECAP-style system of simplification and disclosure. Within days we will submit to the Government a comprehensive regulatory proposal that can lead to clearly stated charges, so […]

Dilbert Daily Strip

Comic for April 27, 2017
27 Apr 2017 at 11:59pm
Dilbert readers – Please visit Dilbert.com to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to Dilbert.com.

Environmental Economics
The Cromulent Economics Blog

People are willing to pay a lot to prevent another BP-like oil spill
by Tim Haab
24 Apr 2017 at 7:31pm

In my best Thomas Dolby voice: SCIENCE!

…According to a paper published in the journal Science on Thursday, Americans are willing to pay $17.2 billion to prevent another BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Thanks to a team of scientists who conducted a six-year study into the effects of the 134-million-gallon spill, we now have a more accurate picture of the devastating consequences?and also how desperately we want to reduce our dependency.  

To relate the true damages of an oil spill of this magnitude, researchers set out to equate the damage in monetary terms, as so often we view natural resources as permanent and limitless. In order to arrive at the $17.2 billion figure, scientists surveyed households across the country to see how much they?d be willing to pay to avoid similar spills in the future. Along with asking participants these questions, the study authors included detailed accounts of the damage already done to beaches, animals, marine life, and marshland. As one of the paper?s authors, Kevin Boyle, explained to Virginia Tech News, ?This is proof that our natural resources have an immense monetary value to citizens of the United States who visit the Gulf and to those who simply care that this valuable resource is not damaged.?

Commissioned by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration one month after the 2010 spill, the long-awaited study can now give us some insight into the actual dollar value of devastating the environment. What they also found was an overwhelming public willingness to put hard-earned cash into prevention funds. According to the survey, the majority of households said they?d willingly pay $153 each for prevention measures. Adding up all the reported figures led researchers to the $17.2 billion total.

Here’s a link to the Science article.

NPR Blogs: Planet Money

Googlers And Planet Money Are Trying To Answer The Same Question
3 Jun 2010 at 4:41pm
By Jacob Goldstein Despite the fact that Haiti has largely fallen off the media radar screen, Google searchers are still trying to answer a basic question Planet Money’s been wrestling with: Why is Haiti so poor? As the screenshot above shows, the question isn’t quite as popular on Google as some random question about Facebook. And it lags behind classics about poop, writing desks and the sky. We can’t answer any of those. But we’ve been chipping away at the Haiti question. Here are some of our efforts so far: * Mangoes, Poverty And Plastic Crates * In Haiti, A Prime Minister’s Lament * Haiti’s High Hopes For Vegas * Starting From Scratch In Haiti Hat tip: Gawker