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

Watch the Parking Meters

The big news on the blogosphere today concerns parking meters in Chicago. Matt Yglesias is thrilled. Kevin Drum less so. Drum writes A private company has agreed to give City Hall an upfront payment of almost $1.2 billion to run Chicago’s parking meter system for the next 75 years. 75 years seems a wee bit […]

synthetic bonds

By Robert Waldmann Felix Salmon explains how to make a synthetic bond. you buy a synthetic IBM five-year bond instead, taking advantage of the much more liquid CDS market. Essentially, you take the $100 million that you were going to spend on IBM bonds, and you put it into a special-purpose entity called, say, Fred. […]

What’Swap: Accounting for Financial Innovation

Robert Waldmann has become interested in Credit Default Swaps. I’m not just wondering whether they played a major role in destroying the world financial system or were just along for the housing bubble, MBS, CDO ride. I also wonder whether the acronym for the plural should be CDS or CDSs or even CDSes. I’m glad […]

The Relative Efficiency of Public and Private Health Care

Tilman Tacke and Robert Waldmann A health care system is efficient when an increase in spending results in significant improvements in the health of a population. We test the relative efficiency of public and private health care spending in reducing infant and child mortality using cross-national data for 163 countries. There are two remarkable findings: […]

Jonathan Zasloff is being very interesting over at the Reality Based Community.

Robert Waldmann I guess I should give permalinks although they are consecutive posts. In random order, he asks who should be on the energy team. I have already expressed my view on this issue. I think the Reality Based Community should be the energy team. He asks “Where is Joe Stiglitz ?” I add what […]

Kevin Drum asks the Romers some questions

Robert Waldmann Tries to answer. Drum summarizes better than Waldmann Last year Christina and David Romer wrote a paper that attempted to quantify the effect of tax changes on economic growth. I read it at the time and didn’t understand it. I read it again a few minutes ago and I still don’t understand it. […]

Citibank Like S&P assumed house prices can’t go down

Robert Waldmann reads Eric Dash and Julie Creswell who argue that Citibank took insane risks holding CDOs on its books, because of a failure of the fixed incomes risk management team, reckless ‘short termism’ and two amazing mistakes. The two alleged mistakes are that they trusted the ratings agencies and that they assumed that the […]

USA a Center Left Nation

Robert Waldmann Matthey Yglesias points to an old mediamatters.com report which attempts to demolish the center right nation claim. I think the report is a precious resource as it collects the relevant data. Previously I found myself wasting a lot of time searching pollingreport.com. I have some thoughts on the report after the jump. update: […]

Dynamically Inconsistent Preferences and Money Demand (repeat)

Emanuele Millemaci and Robert Waldmann This paper focuses on two main issues. First, we find that, on average, households’ discount rates decline. This implies dynamically inconsistent preferences. Second, we calculate an indicator of the degree of dynamic inconsistency that may help us to understand how households overcome their self-control problems. We use a micro data […]

Obama’s Cabinet

Robert Waldmann has some concern that, having been elected President of the USA with a brown skin and middle name Hussein, Barack Obama is looking for a real challenge. He is known to be much interested in “Team of Rivals” wants Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State and Joe Lieberman to impartially investigate whether […]