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] 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

Does the President have authority to grant clemency for a state conviction?
by Tyler Cowen
23 Jul 2017 at 5:01pm

Here is the government’s own answer: No.  The President?s clemency power is conferred by Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution of the United States, which provides:  ?The President . . . shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.?  Thus, the […]

The post Does the President have authority to grant clemency for a state conviction? 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

CEA Chairs on Steel Tariffs
by  noreply at blogger.com (Greg Mankiw)
12 Jul 2017 at 12:57pm
Here is the letter and here is a story about it.

Freakonomics
The hidden side of everything

Are the Rich Really Less Generous Than the Poor?
by Freakonomics
20 Jul 2017 at 10:00pm

Season 6, Episode 46 This week on Freakonomics Radio: a series of academic studies suggest that the wealthy are, to put it bluntly, selfish jerks. It?s an easy narrative to swallow. But, Stephen J. Dubner asks, is it true? Plus: a lot of ideas about how to successfully raise money ? using good old-fashioned guilt, for instance. […]

The post Are the Rich Really Less Generous Than the Poor? 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

Don?t let them get in your head.
by Jessica Hagy
20 Jul 2017 at 11:32pm

Share and Enjoy:

The post Don’t let them get in your head. 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 July 23, 2017
23 Jul 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

“How does a Nobel-prize-winning economist become a victim of bog-standard sel…
by John Whitehead
20 Jul 2017 at 2:26pm

Andrew Gelman:

Again, I?m not saying that Heckman and his colleagues are doing this. I can only assume they?re reporting what, to them, are their best estimates. Unfortunately these methods are biased. But a lot of people with classical statistics and econometrics training don?t realize this: they thing regression coefficients are unbiased estimates, but nobody ever told them that the biases can be huge when there is selection for statistical significance.

And, remember, selection for statistical significance is not just about the ?file drawer? and it?s not just about ?p-hacking.? It?s about researcher degrees of freedom and forking paths that researchers themselves don?t always realize until they try to replicate their own studies. I don?t think Heckman and his colleagues have dozens of unpublished papers hiding in their file drawers, and I don?t think they?re running their data through dozens of specifications until they find statistical significance. So it?s not the file drawer and it?s not p-hacking as is often understood. But these researchers do have nearly unlimited degrees of freedom in their data coding and analysis, they do interpret ?non-significant? differences as null and ?significant? differences at face value, they have forking paths all over the place, and their estimates of magnitudes of effects are biased in the positive direction. It?s kinda funny but also kinda sad, that there?s so much concern for rigor in the design of these studies and in the statistical estimators used in the analysis, but lots of messiness in between, lots of motivation on the part of the researchers to find success after success after success, and lots of motivation for scholarly journals and the news media to publicize the results uncritically. These motivations are not universal?there?s clearly a role in the ecosystem for critics within academia, the news media, and in the policy community?but I think there are enough incentives for success within Heckman?s world to keep him and his colleagues from seeing what?s going wrong.

Again, it?s not easy?it took the field of social psychology about a decade to get a handle on the problem, and some are still struggling. So I?m not slamming Heckman and his colleagues. I think they can and will do better. It?s just interesting, when considering the mistakes that accomplished people make, to ask, How did this happen?

via andrewgelman.com

Thinking about this in my small world, searching for that one willingness to pay (WTP) estimate that delivers statistical significance that favors your hypothesis is the equivalent of p-hacking. The state-of-the-art, NOAA-Panel-endorsed referendum vote question can be quite sensitive to the nonparametric or parametric estimator chosen to summarize the votes into WTP. This is especially true when the data are “difficult” (Haab and McConnell). When a WTP estimate varies by factors of 3 or 4 depending on whether a nonparametric or parametric WTP estimate is employed then researchers should interpret significance tests conducted with these data very carefully (if not reject them outright). I’ve become very worried that there is “lots of motivation for scholarly journals … to publicize the results uncritically.” Researchers who have “difficult” CVM data need to present the full range of WTP estimates.  

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

Sunday assorted links
by Tyler Cowen
23 Jul 2017 at 8:32am

1. A history of the federal government and cloud computing. 2. Non-transitive dice. 3. A new book, due out in August: iGen: Why Today?s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us.  By Jean M. Twenge. 4. It is remarkable […]

The post Sunday assorted links 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

Report from the NFF
by  noreply at blogger.com (Greg Mankiw)
22 Jun 2017 at 2:30am
It is now that time of year when I am enjoying the Nantucket Film Festival. My wife and I today saw The Big Sick. Despite the not very enticing title, we loved it. The film is based on the real-life romance of the two screen writers, emphasizing the difficulty of bridging cross-cultural expectations. It is more heartfelt than a standard rom-com, more comedic than a drama, more earnest than standard Hollywood fare. Most definitely recommended, especially for a date night.

Freakonomics
The hidden side of everything

These Shoes Are Killing Me!
by Stephen J. Dubner
20 Jul 2017 at 3:00am

The human foot is an evolutionary masterpiece, far more functional than we give it credit for. So why do we encase it in ?a coffin? (as one foot scholar calls it) that stymies so much of its ability ? and may create more problems than it solves?

The post These Shoes Are Killing Me! 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

Don?t make eye contact with the guy with the clipboard.
by Jessica Hagy
19 Jul 2017 at 9:52pm

Share and Enjoy:

The post Don’t make eye contact with the guy with the clipboard. 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 July 22, 2017
22 Jul 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

California might be a weird place, but at least they know how to do environme…
by Tim Haab
19 Jul 2017 at 12:20pm

From the LA Times, Democrats and Republicans can get along on climate change policy:

California lawmakers voted Monday evening to extend the state?s premiere program on climate change, a victory for Gov. Jerry Brown that included unprecedented Republican support for fighting global warming.

In a break with party leaders and activists in California and Washington, eight Republicans joined with Democrats to continue the cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The legislation would keep the 5-year-old program operating until 2030, providing a key tool for meeting the state?s ambitious goal for slashing emissions. Cap and trade also generates important revenue for building the bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, another priority for the governor.

California?s program is the only one of its kind in the U.S. and has been considered an international model for using financial pressure to prod industry to reduce emissions. Bipartisan support for the system comes as Republicans in Washington, including President Trump, have blocked, resisted or undermined national efforts to fight global warming.

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

How about an ?urban wealth fund??
by Tyler Cowen
23 Jul 2017 at 4:56am

I would like to see building deregulators pay more attention to this aspect of the problem: The next step would be transferring ownership of these assets to what Detter and Fölster call an ?urban wealth fund?. Ideally, all publicly owned assets in a given city would be placed in the fund, regardless of whether they […]

The post How about an “urban wealth fund”? 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

Hamilton Tickets Redux
by  noreply at blogger.com (Greg Mankiw)
12 Jun 2017 at 10:31am
James Stewart takes a look at theater tickets on Broadway, a topic I discussed last year.  I love his ending:Dynamic pricing and super-premium prices may be relatively new, but the scarcity of tickets for hit shows has a long tradition. Mr. Schumacher cited ?My Fair Lady,? the ?Hamilton? of the 1955-56 Broadway season. As Broadway lore has it, a man in the audience turned to his neighbor, an older woman, and asked why the fifth-row center seat next to her was empty. ?My husband died,? she replied. ?Didn?t anyone else want to come?? he asked. ?No,? she answered. ?They?re all at the funeral.?

Freakonomics
The hidden side of everything

Three Sheets to the Wind: TMSIDK Episode 23
by Stephen J. Dubner
17 Jul 2017 at 12:00am

John Moe (The Hilarious World of Depression) is our special guest co-host, with Maggie Ryan Sandford (science writer, researcher and producer) as our real-time fact-checker. TMSIDK is in Minneapolis for a show exploring the environment, morning drinking, skyways, hidden figures and more.

The post Three Sheets to the Wind: TMSIDK Episode 23 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

Have you heard about breast cancer? It?s a thing!
by Jessica Hagy
18 Jul 2017 at 7:53pm

Share and Enjoy:

The post Have you heard about breast cancer? It’s a thing! 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 July 21, 2017
21 Jul 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

Field research: Here I am doing what it takes* to effectively field a stated …
by John Whitehead
18 Jul 2017 at 1:50pm

*Doing what it takes: “Hiking” the 4.8 mile roundtrip Grandfather Trail (the last half mile featured thunder, lightning, pouring rain and some hail) at Grandfather Mountain State Park to better understand Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (I think that dead tree in the middle is a Hemlock). The last time I hiked this trail was 7 years ago (enough time to forget how difficult it is) and resulted in my rugged profile picture. Here is another picture from the hike (about 20 minutes before the storm began): 

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

NYC pet-sitting is now illegal
by Tyler Cowen
22 Jul 2017 at 5:20pm

Pet lovers are barking mad over a little-known city rule that makes dog-sitting illegal in New York. Health Department rules ban anyone from taking money to care for an animal outside a licensed kennel ? and the department has warned a popular pet-sitting app that its users are breaking the law. ?The laws are antiquated,? […]

The post NYC pet-sitting is now illegal 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


Advice for Young Economists
by  noreply at blogger.com (Greg Mankiw)
6 Jun 2017 at 6:08pm

Freakonomics
The hidden side of everything

Evolution, Accelerated
by Freakonomics
13 Jul 2017 at 10:00pm

Season 6, Episode 45 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner explores a breakthrough in genetic technology that has given humans more power than ever to change nature. So what happens next? Plus: some of the hoops we jump through to get ahead are poorly designed for girls and women. Behavioral economics could help change that. […]

The post Evolution, Accelerated 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

Cover up with an apron or a lawyer.
by Jessica Hagy
14 Jul 2017 at 5:30pm

Share and Enjoy:

The post Cover up with an apron or a lawyer. 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 July 20, 2017
20 Jul 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

“Pruitt blasts Europe, Merkel for ?hypocrisy? on climate” [part 4]
by John Whitehead
13 Jul 2017 at 3:36pm

Actually, the mainstream media seems to be covering the non-climate work that Pruitt is doing at the EPA fairly well (e.g., this, this and this):

Pruitt argued that the media’s focus on climate change has distracted from the work he is doing at the EPA on everything from air pollution to regulating dangerous chemicals.

“We?ve got a very positive environmental agenda. [There’s] work to be done, opportunity to achieve good outcomes, a plan to do that, and there?s not very much margin, if any at all, with groups that are liberal, conservative, the rest, at getting those things done,” he said.

via www.politico.com

From a FOX News interview transcript:

[CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR]: Let me ask you one — let me ask you one’s last question, and again I apologize, sir. Because it goes to the whole question of commitment to trying to improve the environment. Under the president’s new budget, the EPA is cut 31 percent, that is more than any other agency.

And I want to put up some of the cuts that are included in the president’s budget. Here are some of the 56 programs that would be scrapped: Great Lakes restoration, water runoff control for farmers, pesticide safety.

What does that say about the commitment of this administration and you to cleaning up the environment when you’re making a 31 percent cut in your agency and cutting things like that, water runoffs for farmers?

PRUITT: Well, part of — part of the issue, Chris, is that over the last several years, there has been a lack of commitment to state partnership. You know, we have state Departments of Environmental Quality across the country have the resources and the expertise to deal with clean water and clean air issues. And so, renewing that partnership —

In other words, Scott Pruitt’s definition of “very positive environmental agenda” is different than what many environmental economics would consider a positive environmental agenda (i.e., pursue environmental regulations when the benefits exceed the costs … this administration only considers the costs).

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