Blog Profile / Marginal Revolution

Filed Under:Academics / Political Science
Posts on Regator:7827
Posts / Week:36.1
Archived Since:July 6, 2011

Blog Post Archive

Should China continue to peg the yuan?

One estimate is that China has been spending about $400 billion to prop up stock and currency prices, but with no success.  Might market-determined, flexible prices have some value today? Cheng-chung Lai and Joshua Jr-Shiang Gau reiterate a well-known point about the 1930s: It is often argued that the silver standard insulated the Chinese economy […]

The hierarchy of news sources according to pessimism and optimism

When things are good I look at The Washington Post and The New York Times first every morning.  All those reports and ideas!  And what if there is a new movie coming out, not to mention news of new road construction?  When things are less good I look at The Financial Times first every morning; […]

Not all Chinese ngdp is created equal

Economists are familiar with the use of monetary and fiscal policy to stimulate or restore nominal gdp, or other measures of aggregate demand if you prefer.  But China faces a bigger dilemma.  Part of its earlier pro-growth program overstimulated particular sectors of the economy, for instance construction and a variety of heavy duty state-owned enterprises.  […]

Is it time to regulate personal trainers?

Can you guess my answer to that question?  But it does seem to be coming: After decades of unregulated existence in all 50 states, the booming field of personal trainers is braced for a wave of scrutiny that is expected to transform the industry and could make or break some of the biggest fitness companies […]

Monetary policy words of wisdom

On the evidence of recent market developments, if tightening is a mistake, it’s a mistake the Fed already has made. That is from Binyamin Appelbaum.

Sunday assorted links

1. Claims about cars. 2. MIE: solid gold underwear for Chinese Valentine’s Day. 3. What will TV look like in five years’ time?  Or should that be “what the web will look like in five years’ time?” 4. Top ten conservative novels?  A strange list, even as such lists go.  And again an excessively English […]

The Maple Syrup Cartel

Quebec produces more than 70 percent of the world’s maple syrup and the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers is a cartel every bit as rapacious as OPEC or De Beers. The Federation is government backed and all producers must sell to them. From an excellent piece in the NYTimes: After the spring harvest, farmers from […]

Cryotherapy markets in everything

While Anastasia Garvey, an actress and model, doesn’t have office pressure, she says she is constantly on edge wondering if she’ll get a certain job. She has developed a regimen of ways to disconnect: meditation, acupuncture, cupping therapy, monthly trips to a reservation-only spa and most recently cryotherapy — as in spending some time being […]

Is food the new music? (sentences to ponder)

Food has replaced music at the heart of the cultural conversation for so many, and I wonder if it’s because food and dining still offer true scarcity whereas music is so freely available everywhere that it’s become a poor signaling mechanism for status and taste. If you’ve eaten at Noma, you’ve had an experience a […]

A too simple theory of China right now

Putting the immediate liquidity, debt, and asset price problems aside (ha), there is significant excess capacity on the real side of the economy.  It will be very hard to fix this problem without letting significant numbers of SOEs go under.  The central government fears the resulting unemployment, plus the SOEs are the Party’s power base.  […]

How would America evolve under open borders?

Nathan Smith has a very thoughtful speculative essay on that topic. Here is one interesting bit of many: I would tentatively envision the US experience under open borders as resembling the British and Roman cases, inasmuch as the protocols and ideals of the US polity, as well as its merely ethnic characteristics, would persist in […]

Saturday assorted links

1. How Ezra Klein reads on the internet.  This is probably good advice for many people, but it is too complicated for me to even read, much less follow.  Maybe with an app I could understand it, though I can’t understand most apps either. 2. Model this. 3. What would Michael Polanyi say? (bicycle video […]

From the comments — on suicide

Switzerland tolerates assisted suicide since 1942 and there are very interesting numbers. A) From 1995 to 2009, assisted suicide cases have grown but the total number of suicides keeps constant. B) Assisted suicide in 2009 accounted for approx 30% of all suicides. C) Women chose assisted suicide more than men, but men use firearms more […]

Friday assorted links

1. iTunes version of my podcast with Erik Torenberg (which many of you have liked, thank you).  With other podcasts too, including Ben Casnocha. 2. Dismaland markets in everything. 3. Troubling signs of minimum wage damage in Los Angeles. 4. The right to be forgotten the right to be forgotten.  Or did I get the […]

The growing importance of social skills in the labor market

That is a new NBER paper from David J. Deming: The slow growth of high-paying jobs in the U.S. since 2000 and rapid advances in computer technology have sparked fears that human labor will eventually be rendered obsolete. Yet while computers perform cognitive tasks of rapidly increasing complexity, simple human interaction has proven difficult to […]

The culture that is Dutch fact of the day

In 2013, euthanasia accounted for one of every 28 deaths in the Netherlands, three times the rate of 2002. In the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, one of every 22 deaths was due to euthanasia in 2013, a 142 percent increase since 2007. Belgium has legalized euthanasia for children under 12, though only for terminal physical illness; […]

The great biomedical stagnation?

Bowen and Casadevall have a new PNAS paper on this question: The general public funds the vast majority of biomedical research and is also the major intended beneficiary of biomedical breakthroughs. We show that increasing research investments, resulting in an increasing knowledge base, have not yielded comparative gains in certain health outcomes over the last […]

Russia fact of the day

In 1912 Russia had only 1.2 teachers per thousand people. That is from the new and interesting The End of Tsarist Russia: The March to World War I & Revolution, by Dominic Lieven.  I liked the first sentence of the book: As much as anything, World War I turned on the fate of Ukraine. That […]

Thursday assorted links

1. China markets in everything, gift edition. 2. “I do not normally buy foals, let alone embryos.” 3. The plurality of obesity epidemics. 4. Mexico hands out ten million flat screen TVs.  Finland will experiment with a guaranteed annual income. 5. Susan Woodward on Armen Alchian. 6. An actual “rock star” professor, or at least […]

Do fiscal transfers or markets contribute more to stabilization?

Martin Sandbu reports from the FT: IMF research shows there is indeed more risk-sharing in federal countries such as the US and Germany. Eighty per cent of local economic fluctuations are smoothed in those countries, against 40 per cent between eurozone countries. In other words local consumption suffers only 20 per cent of any hit […]

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