Economy / Finance

Wheres the best, deep health policy wonk blogging these days?

Apr 28 2:21pm The Incidental Economist
There’s not a lot of old-school health policy blogging going on these days. But there’s not none! Over lunch, I was asked where (other than TIE) I turn for the best and deepest health policy wonk blogging. The answer came to me immediately, but my questioner had never heard of the blog or individual I […]...
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Economy off to a slow start for 2017

Apr 28 12:39pm Econbrowser
The Bureau of Economic Analysis announced today that U.S. real GDP grew at a 0.7\% annual rate in the first quarter, weak even by the post-recession average annual growth rate of 2.1\% and far below the U.S. historical average of 3.1\%. Nonetheless, this is consistent with another pattern we’ve seen in the recent data– the […]...
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NAFTA and global value chains

Apr 28 12:00pm Brookings Topics - Labor Policy
Yesterday, after panicked calls from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, President Donald Trump backed away from his threat to issue an executive order withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement. “I was all set to terminate,” said Trump, “I looked forward to terminating. I was going to do…         ...
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Understanding trade relations in a value chain-linked world

Apr 28 12:00pm Brookings Topics - Labor Policy
Yesterday, after panicked calls from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, President Donald Trump backed away from his threat to issue an executive order withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement. “I was all set to terminate,” said Trump, “I looked forward to terminating. I was going to do…         ...
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Medical innovation and the labor market: the importance of reducing drug side effects

Apr 28 11:59am Microeconomic Insights
Pharmaceutical innovation can be enormously valuable, leading to the development of medical treatments that save lives and improve patient quality of life. However, new medications that are powerful and effective are often accompanied by painful and uncomfortable side effects. This article summarizes a recent paper, Why Medical Innovation is Valuable: Health, Human Capital, and the Labor Market . The author develops a dynamic framework to assess the value of pharmaceutical innovation. The framework incorporates patient incentives for long-run health along with their preferences for treatments with fewer side effects. A key finding is that evaluating effective medical treatments without considering their side effects can be misleading. The post Medical innovation and the labor market: the importance of reducing drug side effects appeared first on Microeconomic Insights.
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This Truth, Constantly Overlooked, Must Be Constantly Repeated

Apr 28 11:54am Cafe Hayek
TweetHere’s an open letter to a commenter at Arnold Kling’s excellent askblog: Mr. Rohan Verghese Mr. Verghese: Commenting on a post at Arnold Kling’s askblog, you write that “Trump’s great breakthrough has been to convince Conservatives that the costs of many of the policies held since the 1990s have been higher and sharper than they […] The post This Truth, Constantly Overlooked, Must Be Constantly Repeated appeared first on Cafe Hayek.
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Strategic Ambiguity

Apr 28 10:09am Cheap Talk
Yesterday just before the start of a seminar I went to the thermostat to try to warm up the room.  The speaker saw me fiddling with it and nodded with approval.  I said nothing, turned up the heat and returned to my seat. The thing is, she couldn’t see whether I was raising the temperature […]...
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U.S. Economy Expands At Slowest Pace In Three Years

Apr 28 8:52am Economy - Investor's Business Daily
The U.S. economy expanded at the slowest pace in three years as weak auto sales and lower home-heating bills dragged down consumer spending.
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AcademyHealth: Narrow networks can be a real problem for kids

Apr 28 8:32am The Incidental Economist
Narrow networks are a real concern in the ACA marketplaces, but much more for kids than many think. Go read why in my latest post over at the AcademyHealth blog! @aaronecarroll...
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Everyone seems to agree: Drug prices are too damn high.

Apr 28 7:15am The Incidental Economist
So begins a post from Rachel Sachs, Darius Lakdawalla, and me at the Health Affairs Blog on the complicated interplay between value-based pricing and Medicaid’s best-price rule. What is the best-price rule? Does it really impede the adoption of value-based pricing? If so, what can be done about it? To keep federal spending in check, […]...
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DSGE Models in the Conduct of Policy: Use as intended

Apr 27 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models are in wide use yet have come under sharp criticism, given their complex nature and the assumptions they rely on. However, many central banks use them in policy analysis. Is this a misguided use of economists’ and policy makers’ time? This eBook reviews the use of DSGE models in policy institutions, the lessons learned, and the desirable ways forward.
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Global value chains and the increasingly global nature of inflation

Apr 27 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
In the past two decades, international trade has been transformed by the rise of global value chains. This column suggests that the rise of global value chains can help resolve the puzzle of the increasingly global nature of domestic inflation. Their expansion has greatly increased international competition for both intermediate and final goods and services, meaning price pressures arising from economic slack in one country become more relevant for others. This may be changing the trade-offs central banks face when managing domestic inflation.
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New eBook: DSGE Models in the Conduct of Policy: Use as intended.

Apr 27 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
Are Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) models worthwhile? Some economists suggest not, due to their complex nature and disputable assumptions.  This column introduces a new eBook which provides an all-round evaluation of DSGE models, widely used by many central banks, by looking at their current and historical uses as well as their future position in economics.
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On the heterogeneous impact of free trade agreements

Apr 27 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
There is a large empirical literature examining the effects of free trade agreements. However, most studies to date have focused on a common average effect across all agreements or have assumed that the effects are common across similar types of agreements. This column examines heterogeneity in the effects of free trade agreements. Along with across-agreement heterogeneity, substantial within-agreement heterogeneity is observed. The effects of a specific agreement can be starkly different for two trading partners.
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Forecasters Again Overestimate Benchmark Bond Yields

Apr 27 7:34pm Credit Trends from Moody's Analytics
The realization of a modest long-term outlook for profits growth may require the continuation of comparatively low long-term Treasury yields.
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Economic Roundup: ECB Cautiously Optimistic, While BoJ Is Too Optimistic

Apr 27 5:34pm Credit Trends from Moody's Analytics
The turn in inflation has a better chance of sticking in the euro zone than in Japan.
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Monthly GDP Estimates and a Nowcast

Apr 27 5:20pm Econbrowser
Not spectacular. Figure 1: GDP in billions Ch.2009$ SAAR, from BEA (3rd release) (blue bars), from Atlanta Fed GDPNow (4/27) (dark bold blue line), Macroeconomic Advisers (4/27) (red line), and e-forecasting (4/25) (green line), all on log scale. Atlanta Fed level calculated applying q/q SAAR growth rate to 2016Q4 level. Source: BEA 2016Q4 3rd release, […]...
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Do sweatshops lift workers out of poverty? This experiment might surprise you.

Apr 27 12:44pm Chris Blattman
Expecting to prove the experts right, we went to Ethiopia and — working with the Innovations for Poverty Action and the Ethiopian Development Research Institute — performed the first randomized trial of industrial employment on workers. Little did we anticipate … Continue reading → The post Do sweatshops lift workers out of poverty? This experiment might surprise you. appeared first on Chris Blattman.
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The market in Initial Coin Offerings risks becoming a bubble

Apr 27 10:46am Economics
WOULD you care to invest in Gnosis, a prediction market where users can bet on outcomes of events such as elections? Or in ZrCoin, a project to produce zirconium dioxide, used to make heat-resistant alloys? How about an “immersive reality experience” called “Back to Earth”?These are just three of a new wave of what are called Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Nearly $250m has already been invested in such offerings, of which $107m alone has flowed in this year, according to Smith+Crown, a research firm. But it was in April that ICOs, or “token sales”, as insiders prefer to call them, really took off. On April 24th Gnosis collected more than $12m in under 15 minutes, valuing the project, in theory, at nearly $300m.ICO “coins” are essentially digital coupons, tokens issued on an indelible distributed ledger, or blockchain, of the kind that underpins bitcoin, a crypto-currency. That means they can easily be traded, although unlike shares they do not confer ownership rights. Instead, they often serve as the currency for the project they finance: to pay users for a correct prediction, as does Gnosis; or for the content users contribute. Investors hope that...Continue reading...
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Taxing

Apr 27 7:26am Cafe Hayek
TweetIn recent days I have – likely like you have – heard and read several media reports on Trump’s tax plan (or what we know of it so far).  Nearly all of these reports are juvenile: changes in tax rates are evaluated by the media according to changes in the legal tax liabilities of various […] The post Taxing appeared first on Cafe Hayek.
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The markets are uninspired by the Trump tax plan

Apr 27 5:53am Economics
REMEMBER why the Trump bump began, all the way back in November? The rationale for the surge in stockmarkets was that the new administration would cut taxes and allow American growth to accelerate. And so we waited for the details. When they came yesterday, it was only a one-page set of bullet points, containing around 200 words. If, as one expert pointed out, it had really taken 100 experts to come up with the plan, they averaged two words each.The response from the markets was a yawn. Analysts at Clear Treasury said thatMuch of yesterday was a non-event, markets were waiting to hear what came of Trump’s tax plans but there was certainly an air of disappointment when finally released.The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average were slightly lower on the day, and the European markets have fallen today. Of course that could be related to the other story floating around yesterday—that America might withdraw from Nafta. With the country also reviving its trade complaints about Canadian lumber and imported steel, Citigroup has taken to issuing a US Protectionism Round-Up . But this is only a reminder that, in market terms, there has always been a Trump...Continue reading...
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Building the Foundations of Economic Literacy

Apr 27 5:30am On the Economy blog
Learning about economics and personal finance isn’t limited to formal schooling, as members of a St. Louis carpenters’ union can attest.
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Drivers of the post-crisis slump in the Eurozone and the US

Apr 26 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
The Global Crisis led to a sharp contraction and long-lasting slump in both Eurozone and US real activity, but the post-crisis adjustment in the Eurozone and the US shows striking differences. This column argues that financial shocks were key determinants of the 2008-09 Great Recession, for both the Eurozone and the US. The post-2009 slump in the Eurozone mainly reflects a combination of adverse aggregate demand and supply shocks, in particular lower productivity growth, and persistent adverse shocks to capital investment linked to the poor health of the Eurozone financial system. Mono-causal explanations of the persistent slump are thus insufficient. Adverse financial shocks were less persistent for the US.
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Exchange rate prediction redux

Apr 26 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
Previous assessments of nominal exchange rate determination have focused on a narrow set of models. Using data for six currencies, this column examines the performance of an expanded set of models at various forecast horizons. No model consistently outperforms a random walk benchmark, although the purchasing power parity model does fairly well. Overall, combinations of model, specification, and currency that work in one period will not necessarily work well in another.
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To accommodate or not: The Federal Reserves new normal

Apr 26 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
The Federal Reserve has raised rates twice since the 2016 US election and eyes are now on the future path of the Federal Funds rate, which depends crucially on the Fed’s view of the neutral rate of interest. This column argues that that current policy may be at or close to the natural rate, and that the forces that have led to the low rates are unlikely to be reversed in the immediate future. It also identifies measures that could eliminate secular stagnation via appropriate policy, should negative rates persist.
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Highest Ratio of Market Value of Common Stock to a Corporate Revenue Proxy since Q1-2000

Apr 26 6:34pm Credit Trends from Moody's Analytics
The 13.8\% 2017-to-date surge by the housing-sector share price index outran the accompanying 6.6\% climb by the market value of US common stock.
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I am the king of debt. I do love debt. I love debt.

Apr 26 6:16pm Econbrowser
That’s a quote from candidate Donald J. Trump in May 2016. And today, he re-affirmed his predelictions, in his tax “sketch”. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the ten year central projection is for a cost of $5.5 trillion, resulting a $6.2 trillion augmentation to the debt. Source: CRFB (April 26, 2017). […]...
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Economic Roundup: Let the Tax Negotiations Begin

Apr 26 5:34pm Credit Trends from Moody's Analytics
There is little chance the Trump administration's proposal will pass as is.
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Hutchins Roundup: Credit booms, community college students, and more

Apr 26 5:30pm Brookings Topics - U.S. Economic Performance
Studies in this week’s Hutchins Roundup find that credit growth just before a recession is a better predictor of the recession’s severity than the level of indebtedness, salary is not the most important determinant of college majors for community college students in California, and more. Want to receive the Hutchins Roundup as an email? Sign…        ...
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How Accurate are Projections of Energy Intensity?

Apr 26 5:17pm Stochastic Trend
A new short working paper about how accurate projections of future energy intensity are. It's an extension of comments I made at Energy Update 2016 here at the ANU.Energy intensity is one of the four factors in the Kaya Identity, which is often used to understand changes in greenhouse gas emissions. It is one of the two most important factors together with the rate of economic growth. The 2014 IPCC Assessment Report shows that less than 5\% of models included in the assessment project that energy intensity will decline slower than the historic rate under business as usual:*Is this likely? In the paper, I evaluate the past performance of the projections implied by the World Energy Outlook (WEO) published annually (except in 1997) by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The following graph shows the average annual difference between the projected and actual rate of change in energy intensity in subsequent years** for each WEO since 1994:Positive errors mean that energy intensity declined slower than projected in the following years while negative errors mean it declined faster. So, for example, the error of -0.4\% for 2000 means that over the years 2001-2015, on average energy intensity declined by 0.4\% a year faster than was projected in the 2000 WEO.It turns out that these errors are strongly negatively correlated (r = -0.8) with the error in projecting the rate of economic growth, which IEA outsources. Csereklyei et al. (2016), similarly, find that reductions in energy intensity tend to only occur in countries with growing economies. If we divide and multiply the growth rate of energy intensity g(E/Y) by the growth rate of GDP g(Y) we get the following identity:The first term on the right hand side can be seen as the elasticity of energy intensity with respect to GDP.*** The following graph plots the elasticity as projected and as subsequently realized for each WEO:The two seem to have tracked each other quite well. But there is a complication. The 1994 to 96 WEOs only projected future energy use up to 2010. 2010 is the only recent year when global energy intensity actually increased. This end point reduces (in absolute value) the actual elasticities for these three WEOs. From 1998 on, the difference between the projected and actual rate of change in energy intensity is calculated up to 2015. But through the 2011 WEO, 2010 is one of the years in the project...
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Tyranny of the Majority on Campus An Assault on Free Speech

Apr 26 5:16pm A Marketplace for Ideas
A dangerous and continuing assault on free speech is growing on our campuses and across our society.  It is a threatening wave of illiberalism. Tocqueville long ago warned that a tyranny of the majority was the principle danger inherent in any democracy.  Majority despotism could overwhelm public discourse, ultimately leading to the danger of a restructured … Continue reading Tyranny of the Majority on Campus – An Assault on Free Speech The post Tyranny of the Majority on Campus – An Assault on Free Speech appeared first on A Marketplace for Ideas.
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Patenting invention: Five clean energy innovation trends Congress should know about as it weighs Trumps skinny budget

Apr 26 10:44am Brookings Topics - U.S. Economic Performance
President Trump is right about one thing: Energy industries are important to “making America great again.”  Moreover, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are each on record with another appropriate point: Energy innovation matters hugely to America’s future. The reason: Energy innovation represents a gargantuan $1.4 trillion global business opportunity, with…        ...
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Reducing rates for pass-through businesses will be tough to justify

Apr 26 9:17am Economics
THERE are two main reasons for a country to paw around in its tax code: to create more economic growth, or to repair a structural deficit. Any politician who wishes to quietly give money to friends or kill a troublesome programme will supply one of them. He will either say “businesses need tax certainty to grow” (meaning: “certainty that they will like the tax code”), or “we don’t have the money”. So as the Trump administration releases its tax plan on April 26th, there are only two questions to ask: whether it will speed up America’s current economic recovery, and whether it will begin to fill in the country’s long-term deficits. If the early leaks from the White House are any guide, it will do neither. According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House wants to reduce the top tax rate on pass-through businesses to 15\%. “Pass through” means the business itself has no...Continue reading...
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Spend a dollar on drug treatment, and save more on crime reduction

Apr 26 7:00am The Incidental Economist
The following originally appeared on The Upshot (copyright 2017, The New York Times Company). It also appeared on page A15 of the April 25, 2017 print edition. The burden of substance abuse disorders can fall heavily on the families and friends of those who battle addictions. But society also pays a great deal through increased crime. Treatment […]...
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Podcast: How will France's election affect business?

Apr 26 6:35am Economics
As the presidential race narrows to two strongly contrasting candidates, we explore what a victory for each would mean for businesses. The digital revolution is making measuring GDP a bit trickier. Also, how a website that crowdsources algorithms for quantitative finance could disrupt the industry...
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Fair Currency Pricing

Apr 25 10:27pm Cafe Hayek
TweetIn my latest column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review I use the mundane example of a school fair to clarify thinking about currency manipulation.  The school fair is a real one.  It’s the annual fair conducted by the Immaculate Conception School in Marrero, LA – a fair that I attended each school year as a student […] The post Fair Currency Pricing appeared first on Cafe Hayek.
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Econometrically Assessing the Presidents Tax Plan

Apr 25 9:06pm Econbrowser
Well, we don’t know for certain what he’s going to announce (and maybe even he doesn’t know what he will) — but according to Bloomberg… President Donald Trump plans to propose a 10 percent tax on more than $2.6 trillion in earnings that U.S. companies have stockpiled offshore, said a White House official familiar with […]...
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Not Much Inflation Found Outside the US Equity Market

Apr 25 8:34pm Credit Trends from Moody's Analytics
April 25’s close approximates the VIX index’s 10.8-point average of November 2006, or when the high-yield bond spread averaged 330 bp.
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Democracy and meritocracy

Apr 25 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
Ancient Athenians drew lots to determine who served in public office, but oligarchs at that time (and ever since) have argued that there is a trade-off between competence and fair representation. This column uses Swedish population data on cognitive and leadership ability to argue that democracy in Sweden has created government by competent people who are representative of all walks of life. Sweden’s inclusive meritocracy suggests that electoral democracy can help us avoid the tension between representation and competence.
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Theory and evidence for the last two decades of tariff reductions

Apr 25 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
Tariff barriers today are small on average, suggesting only limited welfare gains from their removal. This column argues, however, that the current generation of standard trade models have missed an important source of gains from trade by neglecting the more complex case of a world with production linkages and multiple sectors. Under monopolistic competition, the effects of firm entry may be so powerful, that optimal tariffs are not positive but negative. Even the removal of small positive tariffs could thus produce significant welfare gains.
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Economic Roundup: Dj Vu for U.S. and Canadian Lumber Dispute

Apr 25 5:34pm Credit Trends from Moody's Analytics
The new administration plans to impose a new tariff.
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Scarcityism Is a Tool of Cronyists

Apr 25 3:54pm Cafe Hayek
TweetHere’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal: Uncle Sam’s scheme to punitively tax Americans who buy low-priced lumber from Canada is yet another instance of what is commonly called “protectionism.”  The term, of course, refers to the protection from foreign competition that tariffs and other import restrictions bestow upon politically powerful domestic producers.  Yet […] The post Scarcityism Is a Tool of Cronyists appeared first on Cafe Hayek.
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Some Myths About Interest on Reserves

Apr 25 2:35pm The Everyday Economist
There are two myths that I see repeated about interest on reserves that I would like to address: 1. “Of course the banking system is holding more reserves. They have no choice. The quantity of reserves is set by the … Continue reading →...
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Inclusive growth requires maintenance of full employment

Apr 25 2:21pm Brookings Topics - U.S. Economic Performance
One reason for growing inequality is high rates of joblessness among those without much education. If you don’t have a job, your income plummets. And while unemployment insurance or other benefits can replace some of that income, it can’t fill all of the hole. So if we want more broadly shared prosperity, we need to…         ...
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Long Term Changes in Underlying Stock Market Valuation

Apr 25 11:10am Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog
I have written before about one of the most important changes I believe is needed in thinking about investing over the last few decades: Historical Stock Returns. My belief is that there has been a fundamental change in the valuation of stocks. Long term data contains a problem in that we have generally realized that […]...
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Why Trump's plan for corporate taxes is a 'magic unicorn'

Apr 25 10:46am Economy
A 15 percent corporate tax rate looks to be a non-starter on Capitol Hill.
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March new home sales beat expectations, rise to 8-month high

Apr 25 10:24am Economy
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected new home sales of 590,000 units in March, down 0.5 percent from last month's figure of 592,000.
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Consumer confidence dips in April, missing estimates

Apr 25 10:22am Economy
The index last climbed to 125.6 in March, according to monthly data from The Conference Board.
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Remembering My Father

Apr 25 10:07am Cafe Hayek
TweetToday is the eighth anniversary of my father’s death.  Each year on this date I link to this remembrance of my dad that I wrote soon after he died. As I’ve intellectually matured over the years to appreciate the genuine importance of ideas in shaping society – the importance not only (not even mainly) of […] The post Remembering My Father appeared first on Cafe Hayek.
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Converging possibilities: Oklahoma Citys innovation district

Apr 25 9:03am Brookings Topics - Economic Development
Cities rise above international competitors not just through their ability to innovate within single industries—say, auto, steel or energy—but also by identifying new points of convergence across them. Pittsburgh’s renewal, for example, has been spurred by its research in new technologies—robotics, artificial intelligence, big data analytics—that cut across multiple sectors and clusters ranging from transportation…        ...
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Moving on up! US home prices climb at fastest pace in nearly 3 years

Apr 25 9:01am Economy
The index, which measures all nine U.S. census divisions, found that nationwide home prices rose 5.8 percent year-over-year in February.
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What would a government shutdown mean for you?

Apr 25 9:01am Economy
Here's what services would continue if the government fails to pass a new spending bill by Friday, USA Today reports.
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Here's why Trump appears OK with a higher near-term deficit, according to Commerce's Wilbur Ross

Apr 25 8:45am Economy
It appears President Trump would be open to "a little higher near-term deficit out of which we can grow," the Commerce secretary says.
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The important things are more expensive than they were 10 years ago

Apr 25 8:45am Economy
Comparative prices have risen significantly in the past decade.
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Trump puts Canada on trade notice with a warning on dairy farming and a new tariff on lumber

Apr 25 8:12am Economy
The Lumber tariff shows how serious Trump is about enforcing trade rules, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tells CNBC.
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Reports of populism's death are premature

Apr 25 7:19am Economics
MONDAY was a day when, in the latest jargon, the markets went risk on . Equities rose, the spread between the yields of French and German bonds narrowed and the euro rebounded. The reason was the first round of the French presidential election. As the results emerged on Sunday night, it was clear that a)the nightmare of a second round between Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon had been avoided and b)Ms Le Pen's vote was no better than her poll rating, indicating there was no reservoir of shy, far-right voters. The centrist Emmanuel Marcon (pictured) topped the poll and is predicted to get more than 60\% of the vote in the second round, far outside the pollsters' margin of error.So France will not follow the US and Britain down the path that led to the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum. But it is way too early to say, as some do, that populism is in retreat. First, France has a much greater tradition of support for the far left...Continue reading...
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Why the partisan divide over the outlook for the economy worries Ben Bernanke

Apr 25 6:04am Economy
Republicans think the economy is surging. Democrats think a recession is imminent. When economics become politicized, it leads to bad policy.
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Why Are There So Many Bank Regulators?

Apr 25 5:30am On the Economy blog
Three federal agencies regulate banks for safety and soundness and adequate capital, and that doesn’t count consumer protection agencies and other functional regulators. ...
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Guest Contribution: How to Re-Negotiate NAFTA

Apr 25 12:33am Econbrowser
Today, we present a guest post written by Jeffrey Frankel, Harpel Professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and formerly a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. A shorter version appeared on April 22nd in Project Syndicate. The Trump Administration says it is sticking with its core campaign promise to renegotiate NAFTA, […]...
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