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

Random Notes toward Progress, Oil, and the post-WW II U.S. Economy

Posted for discussion. First, relating to the discussion in comments to rdan’s TBI post, Annual Change in U.S. output per hour: And, for future discussion, the Relationship between Oil Prices and the Consumer Price Index for the past sixty-plus years.

Inequality, Infant Mortality and Adam Smith

Robert Waldmann Tilman Tacke and I are quite cautious in this paper which does not support my pet theory described in this paper. The stylized fact (which has returned after a brief absence from the data) is that, given the income of poorer quintiles, where the rich are richer more babies die. My pet theory […]

Strange Data Point of the Day

Looking at Population Change data derived from version 6.2 of the Penn World Tables. It appears that the population of Kuwait declined by 55.46% in 1991, only to increase 48.64% in the following year. I’m inclined to think of this as measurement error, not a mass exodus following by a mass return after the invasion. […]

How to Manage Variable Costs, Arkansas-Style

Via the Chronicle of Higher Education (link may not be public): The Arkansas legislature is taking a different approach to reining in soaring tuition costs: Today it sent a bill to the governor’s desk that would cap the amount of money public colleges can spend on scholarships. Increases in scholarship aid lead to higher tuition […]

Welfare Reform not a Disaster, Interlude; or What Do We Mean When We Say Aid

Those of you who want to argue that something being “just symbolism” are invited to consider the fate of “Aid to Families with Dependent Children.” AFDC is clear and precise. It tells us that we are helping a specific set of people: Families with Dependent Children. Not just the father and the mother, but the […]

The Winners Compensate the Losers? Thoughts on Armistice Day + 90

Ken Houghton Not Veteran’s Day, which is a U.S. construction to make certain we don’t have to give another Federal holiday to Those Who Served. And arguably not Remembrance Day, the version here in Canada, since (as Rob[ert] Farley notes) there are “only” ten known survivors remaining of The War to End All Wars, which […]

In Which I Say Something Nice about Lawrence Summers

Ken Houghton Via Brad DeLong, we find Sheryl Sandberg trying to rehabilitate Lawrence Summers’s professional reputation with respect to women. She opens with: Larry has been a true advocate for women throughout his career. In 1992, as Chief Economist of the World Bank, Larry argued in front of the world’s Finance Ministers that the highest […]