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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:



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Marginal REVOLUTION
Marginal REVOLUTION
Small Steps Toward A Much Better World

*Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America*
by Tyler Cowen
27 Jun 2017 at 7:09am

That is a forthcoming volume edited by Cass Sunstein.  The contributors include Cass, myself, Timur Kuran, Duncan Watts, Martha Minow, Bruce Ackerman, Jack Goldsmith, Geoffrey Stone, and Noah Feldman, among others.  Self-recommending, if anything ever was… My essay, by the way, says no, it cannot happen here.  Counterintuitively, American government is too bureaucratized and too […]

The post *Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America* 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

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

Calling All Music-Industry Insiders and the Economists Who Love Them
by Stephen J. Dubner
26 Jun 2017 at 9:41pm

The Princeton economist Alan Krueger ? he led the Council of Economic Advisers under Obama, and his research has been featured several times on Freakonomics.com ? is among a group of scholars launching a new endeavor. It’s called the Music Industry Research Association, and they want you to come to their first conference, at UCLA, in August. […]

The post Calling All Music-Industry Insiders and the Economists Who Love Them 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

Selling souls to the highest bidders.
by Jessica Hagy
26 Jun 2017 at 11:05pm

Share and Enjoy:

The post Selling souls to the highest bidders. 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 June 27, 2017
27 Jun 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

A history of the Exxon funded CVM debate makes it to twitter … in case you …
by John Whitehead
26 Jun 2017 at 3:44pm

1/ Looooong tweetstorm on use of contingent valuation method in Exxon Valdez case & what it says on how economics science & expertise work pic.twitter.com ? Beatrice Cherrier (@Undercoverhist) June 25, 2017

These 48 tweets cover the article that Tim posted earlier and also this one by Spencer Banzhaf (who alerted us to the Maas and Svorcencik article): 

Banzhaf , H. Spencer, Constructing Markets: Environmental Economics and the Contingent Valuation Controversy (October 21, 2016). History of Political Economy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: Download Aere newsletter november 2016 finalmv revised -essay]

What have I missed on my reading list?

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

Shenyang notes
by Tyler Cowen
27 Jun 2017 at 4:32am

You don’t see many luxury goods shops, as the region has been deindustrializing since the 1990s.  There are modernist 1920s cement buildings scattered in some of the old central parts of the city, but nowhere is it attractive.  There is a nine-hour Chinese movie about the city falling on hard economic times, with its three […]

The post Shenyang notes 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

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

Family Matters: TMSIDK Episode 20
by Stephen J. Dubner
26 Jun 2017 at 12:00am

Amy Chua, Liza Donnelly and Gary Gulman are panelists. The “Tiger Mom,” the New Yorker cartoonist and the comedian join our dysfunctional family for this show on parenting, cousins, genealogy and medical divorce. AJ Jacobs is fact-checker.

The post Family Matters: TMSIDK Episode 20 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

Or your death will be a happy day.
by Jessica Hagy
22 Jun 2017 at 7:41pm

Share and Enjoy:

The post Or your death will be a happy day. 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 June 26, 2017
26 Jun 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

The new EPA
by Tim Haab
21 Jun 2017 at 5:00pm

More cuts er…non-renewals for the EPA Board of Scientific Counselors:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt continues to clean house at a key advisory committee, signaling plans to drop several dozen current members of the Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC), according to an email yesterday from a senior agency official.

All board members whose three-year appointments expire in August will not get renewals, Robert Kavlock, acting head of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, said in the email, which was obtained by E&E News.

Because of the need to reconstitute the board, EPA is also canceling all subcommittee meetings planned for late summer and fall, Kavlock said.

“We are hopeful that an updated BOSC Executive Committee and the five subcommittees can resume their work in 2018 and continue providing ORD with thoughtful recommendations and comments,” he wrote in urging departing members to reapply.

The board, whose members are chosen by Pruitt, advises EPA on technical and management issues related to its research programs. First-term board members typically receive a second three-year reappointment. Last month, however, Pruitt broke with that tradition in opting not to renew the appointments of nine BOSC members. The new round of non-renewals will bite much deeper, BOSC Executive Committee Chairwoman Deborah Swackhamer, a University of Minnesota science professor, indicated in an email today to E&E News.

Of 49 remaining subcommittee members, 38 will not be renewed at the end of August, leaving a total of 11, she said. None of the subcommittees will have a chair or vice chair, Swackhamer said, while the executive committee will have three members. While EPA is already seeking nominations to fill out the board, the deadline is the end of next week, she noted.

I don’t know the names of all of those cut, but I know of one colleague from my department who has been cut (and is less than pleased).  

When the first round of non-renewals became public last month, an EPA spokesman noted that reappointments were not guaranteed and that the agency wanted to ensure fair consideration of all nominees for advisory board posts.

In a statement today, spokeswoman Amy Graham said the agency is grateful for the service of BOSC members and is encouraging those with expiring terms to reapply.

“We are taking an inclusive approach to filling future BOSC appointments and welcome all applicants from all relevant scientific and technical fields,” Graham said.

But the first round sparked backlash from congressional Democrats and accusations that Pruitt is seeking to make room for industry representatives who will undercut the integrity of the board’s work.

“This says to me that they do not want objective science,” Peter Meyer, an economist who resigned in protest last month, said in an interview this morning.

The Washington Post version of the story has this little additional nugget:

This appears to be just the start of advisory committee changes at the EPA. The agency?s Science Advisory Board (SAB) and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) also likely will be changed in the future.

One senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing conversations, said that a segment of the Scientific Advisory Board rotates off each year and the agency will issue a Federal Register notice in the next couple of weeks that will invite applicants to replace those members whose terms are expiring.

?EPA is currently deliberating next steps for the SAB and CASAC,? said one senior agency official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no final decision has been made.

And yes, I know someone on an SAB subcommittee too. Actually I know a lot of people on SAB subcommittees, but I was referring to me.

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

Do plants minimize surprise?
by Tyler Cowen
26 Jun 2017 at 5:46pm

Calvo and Friston came up with this: In this article we account for the way plants respond to salient features of their environment under the free-energy principle for biological systems. Biological self-organization amounts to the minimization of surprise over time. We posit that any self-organizing system must embody a generative model whose predictions ensure that […]

The post Do plants minimize surprise? 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


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

Freakonomics
The hidden side of everything

Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 2)
by Stephen J. Dubner
23 Jun 2017 at 3:00am

Our latest Freakonomics Radio episode is called ?Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 2).? (You can find part 1 here, and subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.) Charles Koch, the mega-billionaire CEO of Koch Industries and half of the infamous political […]

The post Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 2) 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

Only one do you call back happily.
by Jessica Hagy
21 Jun 2017 at 5:20pm

Share and Enjoy:

The post Only one do you call back happily. 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 June 25, 2017
25 Jun 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

AERE sessions at the 2017 Southern Economic Association meetings
by John Whitehead
21 Jun 2017 at 1:35pm

From the inbox:

Greetings:

I am most happy to inform you that the following sessions have been accepted for presentation at the 87th annual conference of the Southern Economic Association®. 

Agriculture Air Pollution Climate Change I Climate Change II Coastal Management Energy Fisheries Forests and Wildlife Natural Disasters Panel: Tips for Students and Young Economists: Dissertations, Jobs, Publishing, and Success Political Economy Pollution Control Property Values Recreation Renewable Energy Stated Preferences I Stated Preferences II Student Session on Energy and Efficiency Student Session on Environmental Topics Student Session on Natural and Food Resources  Voluntary Mechanisms Water

The conference will be held November 17-19, 2017 at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina in Tampa, FL. This year, the Distinguished Guest Lecture will feature Janet Currie of Princeton University on Friday, November 17th, at 5:00 p.m. An opening reception and cash bar will follow. The conference will conclude on Sunday, November 19, 2017

One semi-interesting fact: The 2017 AERE/SEA meetings, with fewer overall sessions, has twice as many sessions devoted to stated preferences than the 2017 AERE Summer Meeting. 

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

Monday assorted links
by Tyler Cowen
26 Jun 2017 at 4:00pm

1. New Jersey considering a bill to have schools teach kids how to interact with the police. 2. Does risk-taking make people happier? 3. Uber-like hailable public toilet. 4. New paper on whether we are collecting the right health information. 5. Kangaroos vs. driverless cars.

The post Monday assorted links 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

Economists for Hassett
by  noreply at blogger.com (Greg Mankiw)
5 Jun 2017 at 1:37pm
An open letter supporting Kevin Hassett’s nomination as CEA chair.

Freakonomics
The hidden side of everything

How Big is My Penis? (And Other Things We Ask Google)
by Freakonomics
22 Jun 2017 at 10:00pm

Season 6, Episode 41 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner talks about what gossip is and isn’t; about the characteristics of the people who produce and consume gossip; and about the functions of gossip, good and bad. Plus: what do our online searches say about our true selves? In the real world, everybody lies. […]

The post How Big is My Penis? (And Other Things We Ask Google) 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

The water cycle unifies.
by Jessica Hagy
20 Jun 2017 at 6:07pm

Share and Enjoy:

The post The water cycle unifies. 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 June 24, 2017
24 Jun 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

Quote of the Day: At the risk of sounding like an environmental economist, I…
by Tim Haab
20 Jun 2017 at 3:08pm

What the hell does Jerry Hausman have against Sousa?

From The History of Political Economy article on Exxon’s approach to criticizing contingent valuation,, mentioned in this very blog (a Top 100 Economics Blog) yesterday:

“Some years after the [Cambridge symposium on Contingent Valuation], [Contingent Valuation critic and all around good guy*, Jerry Hausman] was profiled by Bloomberg as ?corporate America?s favorite economist? and quoted to consider environmental economists relative to the economics profession as no better than ‘military music compared to music.'”

*I don’t know know if he is a good guy or not.  It just sounded good.

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