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

Bernanke (Mis)Explains the Effect of the Tech and Housing Bubbles

Discussing the failure of modern macro to incorporate the financial system into its models, Ben asks, why did the bursting of the housing bubble spank the economy so much harder than the dot bomb crash? He sez (courtesy Brad DeLong, emphasis mine): …the decline in wealth associated with the tech bubble bursting [in 2001] and […]

Full-Reserve Banking Goes Mainstream

Imagine that all bank deposits — the dollars in your checking account — were 100% backed, one-for-one, by your bank’s reserve holdings at the Fed (the modern, fiat-money-world equivalent of gold reserves). Runs on bank deposits would be impossible, because the outfit that issues reserves and currency can’t run out of reserves and currency — […]

Scott Sumner Does Not Understand that S ≠ I

Update April 4: Steve Waldman kindly links to this post, and I’m rather abashed that he does because it’s wrong as written. As pointed out by Ramanan. (Though the spirit is right.) I should have said: Private Domestic Nonfinancial (i.e. households and businesses, a.k.a. the “real” economy in which people produce, sell, and buy goods […]

Does Saving "Fund" Investment?

If Asymptosis has any tiny claim to any important influence, it might be that anonymous and magisterial commenter JKH used the comments section here to first bruit his insight (both tautological and profound) that S = I + (S – I). He revisited that construct and concept again recently, and I’ll leave it to you […]

Leading Economists Vote on Raising the Minimum Wage

I’m delighted to see the U Chicago IGM Forum ask a really useful, non-softball question. The panelists are evenly split on whether an increase to $9 would make it “noticeably harder for low-skilled workers to find employment.” A 4:1 majority thinks that weighing the costs and benefits, “this would be a desirable policy.” I note […]

Risk is Mispriced Because Money Managers Face no Risk

Here’s what risk looks like: Having to tell your six-year-old son that you don’t have a birthday present for him because you didn’t have any money left after buying food for the week. Telling your daughter she has to attend the semi-shitty local community college instead of the awesome out-of-state school where she was accepted […]

Reveal Your Preferences! Show Your Support for Accounting-Based Economic Modeling

If there’s one thing that distinguishes modeling by mainstream and neoclassical economists — and that is arguably their Achilles Heel — it’s their failure to come at the problem from a fundamental accounting, and monetary, standpoint. (That failure is understandable given the curricula in economics departments.) I know that many of my readers share with […]

Why do Republicans Hate Market-Incentive Based Solutions?

Contrary to what you might think, this new survey says that 69% of Republicans think that climate change is a “somewhat” or “very” serious threat. Table 3. Perception that climate change is a threat among Democrats (N=377), Republicans (N=306), Independents (N=389), and overall U.S. population (N=1089) in January 2013. Columns may not add to 100 […]