Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Is Progressive Idealism Self-Defeating?

Like many liberals, I am encouraged by the new energy of progressives and the growing political support for progressive causes.  But I also share the common worry that the idealism of progressives is in danger of becoming self-defeating (see, e.g., Judis and Edsall for two recent discussions).  That’s a problem, because the stakes are high […]

What Is Up With Empirical Economics?

Tyler Cowen today flags a paper by Currie, Kleven, and Zwiers on changing practices in economics, and highlights the following: Panel A illustrates a virtually linear rise in the fraction of papers, in both the NBER and top-five series, which make explicit reference to identification. This fraction has risen from around 4 percent to 50 […]

For MLK Day: Letter From a Birmingham Jail

There is no better way to honor Dr. King than to read his Letter From a Birmingham Jail.  It is full of moral insight, deeply moving, and an astonishing piece of political advocacy.  Here are the opening paragraphs: While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present […]

State Capacity and Liberalism

 State Capacity and Liberalism Tyler Cowen has a post up on State Capacity Libertarianism.  I’m not so interested in the “libertarian” part of his argument, which is mostly aimed at persuading libertarians to accept some role for government beyond enforcing contracts and protecting property rights.  But liberals (as in progressives) have good reason to think […]

The Art of Conservative Persuasion, Don Boudreaux Edition:

Being an economist can be frustrating.  Most people do not understand how markets work, and economists spend a good deal of time arguing against bad policy ideas that appeal to non-economists, and for good ideas that do not appeal to common-sense.  This can sometimes feel like pushing rocks uphill.  Plus it can lead people to […]

Fair and Balanced? Tyler Cowen on Wolff on Wealth Taxes.

Here is the abstract of a new paper by Edward Wolff: The paper analyzes the fiscal effects of a Swiss-type tax on household wealth, with a $120,000 exemption and marginal tax rates running from 0.05 to 0.3 percent on $2,400,000 or more of wealth. It also considers a wealth tax proposed by Senator Elizabeth Warren […]

Do we need a World War II style mobilization to decarbonize the United States Economy?

The American Prospect has a new issue out on climate change, and I highly recommend the article by Jeffrey Sachs. Sachs does an excellent job explaining why we do not need a World War II style mobilization to decarbonize the United States economy.  We can achieve a high level of decarbonization by 2050 at a […]