May 15 10:21am The Incidental Economist
In our Hamilton Project paper, Nicholas Bagley, Amitabh Chandra, and I explain why a health insurance market in which plans compete on cost effectiveness won’t work. (Click through, download the PDF, and read Box 2 on page 9, titled “Why Health Plans Cannot Differentiate on Coverage.”) The recent NBER paper by Mark Shepard makes the […]...
May 15 10:11am The Incidental Economist
Via blog post, David Anderson drew my attention to a Health Affairs post by Billy Wynne, the Managing Partner of TRP Health Policy, in which Mr. Wynne wrote, “[C]ommercial rates are hiked, often stratospherically, to compensate for typically insufficient Medicaid reimbursement.” Normally, I’d have to remind the world that many recent studies find no evidence for […]...
May 15 10:01am Economy
After slipping in April, homebuilder sentiment rose 2 points in May to the second-highest level since the recession.
May 15 9:19am Economy
If Trump's policies don't succeed "the backlash could be significant," the Starwood Capital Group founder tells CNBC.
May 15 8:49am Economy
Manufacturing in New York state shrank for the first time in seven months in May, as new orders fell and shipments grew more slowly.
May 15 8:39am Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog
This post lists the 20 publicly traded companies with the largest market capitalization as of today. Since my February 2016 list of the 20 most valuable stocks many of the market caps have increased significantly. Company Country Market Capitalization 1 Apple USA $825 billion 2 Alphabet (GOOGL) USA $652 billion 3 Microsoft USA $525 billion […]...
May 15 5:30am On the Economy blog
While the surge of Chinese imports from 2000-2007 led to some job losses in manufacturing, it led to a similar number of job gains in other sectors.
May 14 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
In the aftermath of the Global Crisis, sovereign yield differentials have increasingly widened among European developed countries. Financial markets seem to discriminate among peripheral economies requiring a higher risk premium than is justified by fiscal factors only. This column discusses the causes of this phenomenon. In peripheral countries, it is not due simply to the lack of fiscal discipline, but to a combination of both internal and external imbalances.
May 14 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
Selective schooling (or ‘tracking’) seeks to improve efficiency in education by tailoring curricula to students’ needs, but opponents argue that it can lead to segregation and lifelong disadvantages. This column draws on evidence from Germany to argue for the importance of flexibilities in any new system of selective education, as with the UK’s proposed reintroduction of grammar schools. Substantial disadvantages in terms of teaching curriculum and peer exposure do not need to have long-term consequences, as long as the education system allows revising initial choices at later stages.
May 14 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
Some firms pay well while others don’t; and some are highly productive while many aren’t. This column presents new firm-level data on the increasing dispersion of wages and productivity in both the manufacturing and services sectors in 16 OECD countries. Wage inequalities are growing between firms, even those operating in the same sector – and they are linked to growing differences between high and low productivity firms. Both globalisation and technological progress (notably information and communications technologies) influence these outcomes – as do policies and institutions such as minimum wages, employment protection legislation, unions, and processes of wage-setting.
May 14 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
Large numbers of traders share their thoughts about the euro-dollar exchange rate on Twitter. By identifying and classifying opinionated tweets, and constructing a daily measure of sentiment, this column shows that a trading strategy that takes long or short positions based on the forecasts of high-follower accounts provides a Sharpe ratio significantly above that of the carry trade. The methodology could easily be applied to other currencies or portfolios of currencies, as well as other financial markets such as the stock market.
May 14 7:35pm Econbrowser
That’s the title of an upcoming conference organized by Global Research Unit at Department of Economics and Finance, City University of Hong Kong, Bank for International Settlements, Asian Office, Centre for Economic Policy Research, and Journal of International Money and Finance, May 18-19 at City University Hong Kong. The conference program is here, official conference […]...
May 13 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
While the impact that modern technological change has on the skill premium has been well explained, there has been no study on the evolution of the skill premium over the very long run. This column reveals that the skill premium in Western Europe declined between 1300 and 1600, and converged to a low and stable level afterwards. Growth and technological change, while stimulating economic development and the transition from a pre-modern era to modern era, reduced the wage inequality between different working groups.
May 13 2:20pm Chris Blattman
Noah Smith has a fantastic essay on the problem with economics papers. Some excerpts: …in practice, I think what often happens in econ is more like the following: 1. Some papers make structural models, observe that these models can fit … Continue reading → The post The conformity of economics papers? appeared first on Chris Blattman.
May 13 11:00am Cafe Hayek
TweetHere’s a letter to a now-former Cafe Hayek reader who is “sick and tired” of my “failure to support our President”: Mr. Dave Foote Mr. Foote: Thanks for your e-mail. Staunchly supporting Pres. Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” program, you “reject [my] contention that production’s only purpose is to satisfy consumers.” You believe that “production […] The post The Case for Protectionism Simply Cannot be Saved From Its Own Illogic appeared first on Cafe Hayek.
May 13 9:44am Greg Mankiw
This article about genetic testing presents a great example of adverse selection:Pat Reilly had good reason to worry about Alzheimer’s disease: Her mother had it, and she saw firsthand the havoc it could wreak on a family, much of it financial. So Ms. Reilly, 77, a retired social worker in Ann Arbor, Mich., applied for a long-term care insurance policy. Wary of enrolling people at risk for dementia, the insurance company tested her memory three times before issuing the policy. But Ms. Reilly knew something the insurer did not: She has inherited the ApoE4 gene, which increases the lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s. “I decided I’d best get long-term care insurance,” she said.
May 13 12:38am Barron's Economic Beat
Netted out, the negatives and positives of the president’s proposals don’t point to any acceleration in GDP expansion.
May 12 9:29pm Econbrowser
As noted in Wednesday’s post, FinCEN — the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network — was asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee about information regarding connections between Russia and Trump and his associates. News reports indicate that FinCEN will provide the requested information. From Reuters: A unit of the U.S. Treasury Department that fights money laundering […]...
May 12 8:35pm Credit Trends from Moody's Analytics
As was the case during 2013-2014’s taper tantrum, today’s economy appears to be incapable of shouldering a 10-year Treasury yield equal to or greater than 2.7\% for long.
May 12 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
Recoveries from recessions in the US used to involve rapid job generation, but job growth has failed to match GDP recovery after recent US recessions. This column examines the role of technology in this and asks whether jobless recoveries are a wider problem outside of the US. In the US, industries that are more prone to technological change experienced slower job growth during recent recoveries, but it appears unlikely that modern technologies are causing jobless recoveries outside of the US. This poses a puzzle as to the nature of recent jobless US recoveries. ...
May 12 4:34pm Credit Trends from Moody's Analytics
The U.S. central bank is still likely to raise rates in June, but policymakers will likely tone down their messaging.
May 12 12:08pm Macro and Other Market Musings
Some assorted musings:1. From this week's podcast with Ethan Ilzetzki comes this amazing figure. It shows that approximately 70\% of world GDP is tied to the dollar. The implication is staggering: the FOMC is setting monetary conditions for much of the world.Source2. Greg Ip argues our robot fears are misplaced. If anything, we do not have enough robots destroying jobs:From Silicon Valley to Davos, pundits have been warning that millions of individuals will be thrown out of work by the rapid advance of automation and artificial intelligence. As economic forecasts go, this idea of a robot apocalypse is certainly chilling. It’s also baffling and misguided. Baffling because it’s starkly at odds with the evidence, and misguided because it completely misses the problem: robots aren’t destroying enough jobs... This calls for a change in priorities. Instead of worrying about robots destroying jobs, business leaders need to figure out how to use them more, especially in low-productivity sectors.Okay, what industries fit this description? Greg mentions the usual suspects: education, healthcare, and leisure and hospitality. Here is another one: central banking. It has not changed much in many decades and probably has low productivity. So maybe the hidden message of Greg's article is we need to get robots running the Fed? My answer: sure, but only if they are targeting a NGDP futures market as proposed by Scott Sumner. This approach, after all, is fairly automatic by design and therefore conducive to our robot overlords taking over the Fed.3. The CBO estimates the full-employment level of aggregate demand. They unfortunately call it potential nominal GDP' which is horrific since the potential is truly infinite--think Zimbabwe's NGDP in 2008--so ignore the official name. The idea behind the measure is reasonable: what level of aggregate nominal spending is consistent with full employment. Here is the series lined up against actual aggregate demand as measured by NGDP. SourceThe figure indicates there was a sharp collapse in aggregate demand during the crisis and the full-employment level has only slowly converged to it. Therefore, there was both a sharp decline in aggregate demand (a cyclical shock) and a downward adjustment in the full-employment trend level of aggregate demand (a structural shock). This understanding is consistent with th...
May 12 11:45am Cafe Hayek
TweetHere’s a letter to the Washington Post: Defending the Trump administration’s scheme to punitively tax Americans who buy lumber from Canada, Jimmy Carter confirms that his grasp of economics is just as feeble as is Donald Trump’s (“Trump is right. Canada’s lumber trade practices are unfair.” May 10). First, Mr. Carter fails to understand that […] The post Carter As Clueless As Trump appeared first on Cafe Hayek.
May 12 11:22am Brookings Topics - Economic Development
Two interesting takes on inequality crossed my desk this week. One shows how foreign aid and fiscal federalism can complement each other in reducing inequality in Ethiopia. The other finds that inequality in distributing oil rents can cause the Dutch disease. Universal basic income continues to be discussed and debated. Australian economist Martin Ravallion claims… ...
May 12 10:30am Cafe Hayek
TweetRummaging through long-ago Cafe Hayek posts I came upon this one from December 18, 2005. In it I quote from an e-mail sent to me back then by the economist Jack Wenders. Here’s Jack, now unfortunately no longer with us, speaking to us from across the years about a topic – trade deficits – that […] The post Blast from the Past appeared first on Cafe Hayek.
May 12 9:16am Paul Krugman
Have we already become an authoritarian regime?...
May 12 9:03am Economy
Zillow looked at five metrics to determine which housing markets would serve first-time buyers best.
May 12 8:37am Economy - Investor's Business Daily
April retail sales rose 0.4\%, with March revised up to a slim gain. The data suggest that the economic slowdown in the first quarter was temporary.
May 12 8:33am Economy
Americans stepped up their spending at auto dealers, hardware stores and e-commerce outlets as retail sales rebounded from two sluggish months.
May 12 8:31am Economy
Consumer prices rebounded moderately in April as energy prices climbed back up after a sharp decline in March.
May 12 8:12am Economy
It would depend on China complying with U.S. standards, the Commerce secretary tells CNBC.
May 12 7:08am longandvariable
Martin Sandbu posed an interesting question in his Free Lunch column this week: What can a common treasury achieve that existing institutions and national authorities can not? The question was by way of warding off French President-elect Emmanuel Macron from demanding … Continue reading →...
May 12 7:02am Economy
Mnuchin emphasized the Trump administration's excitement after the U.S. and China announced a series of trade measures.
May 11 11:36pm Macro and Other Market Musings
Allan Meltzer passed away this week. He is probably best known for his multi-volume history of the Federal Reserve, the 'Meltzer Commission' that aimed to reform the IMF, and most recently his critique of Fed policy since the Great Recession. There was, however, much more to Allan Meltzer than just these developments.One of the most important contributions, in my view, was his work with Karl Brunner during the 'Monetarist Counterrevolution'. This counterrevolution took place in the 1960s and 1970s and pushed backed against the dominant view of the time that monetary policy did not matter. Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz spearheaded this movement, but it was Meltzer and Brunner who did the most to show why money mattered. They worked hard to show the mechanism through which monetary policy could actually affect the economy. This was no small feat since at the time many economists did not believe in monetary policy. Their insights now permeate modern macroeconomics.Sadly, however, I suspect many observers will only remember Allan for his critique of Fed policy since 2008. While I disagreed with him on this issue, he was so much more than that one issue. So I hope readers will look at his entire life's work when judging him.My appreciation for him grew over the past few years for several reasons. First, I got to the chance to interview him before a live audience for my podcast. It was a great interview. He was incredibly sharp, witty, and funny. I can only hope I am that lucid and spry when I hit my late 80s. Second, I came to appreciate his work with Karl Brunner on the monetary transmission mechanism as I was working a recent paper. As an example, below is an excerpt from a 1987 article. Read it and see if you can find any relevance for Fed's QE programs (my bold):The adjustment of reserve positions to transitory change by buying and selling Federal funds (or by borrowing or repaying loans at the central bank) has negligible effects on the interest rates and asset prices relevant for household and business decisions. A perceived permanent change in the monetary base initiates very different responses and has different costs. The banks' balance sheet adjustments involve all portfolio items. The responses by the banks change the money stock, affect interest rates on a variety of assets and the prices of real assets. T...
May 11 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
As the recovery in the Eurozone approaches its fifth year, this column presents the latest economic forecast from the European Commission, which projects a continuation of the recovery at a steady pace (1.7\% in 2017 and 1.8\% in 2018). Nevertheless, over the next two years, wage growth is expected to remain constrained, the investment gap is expected to persist, the current account surplus is forecast to remain high, and core inflation to stay subdued. This suggests that there is still scope for higher growth without triggering inflationary pressures, and the Spring forecast shows that maintaining the current supportive macroeconomic policy environment is the right approach, while implementing comprehensive and productivity-enhancing structural reforms. The main immediate priority should be cleaning up the banking sector.
May 11 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
There has been growing recognition that emerging markets may benefit from more proactive management of capital flows, and thus avoid crises when the flows recede. But do they do this in practice? By analysing policy responses in a sample of emerging markets, this column argues that central banks respond to capital inflows through various tools. Ironically, the most commonly prescribed instrument for coping with capital inflows – tighter fiscal policy – is the least-used tool in practice.
May 11 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
In recent speeches, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and ECB President Mario Draghi have attributed the Fed’s and the ECB’s low interest rate environment to low equilibrium rates rather than to Fed or ECB policies. This column argues that estimates of these equilibrium rates are extremely uncertain and sensitive to technical assumptions, and thus should not be used as key determinants of the policy stance. But if used nevertheless, a consistent application together with associated output estimates call for a tightening of the policy stance. ...
May 11 7:35pm Credit Trends from Moody's Analytics
The VIX index’s latest moving yearlong average ... favors a 1.6\% midpoint for August 2017’s default rate ... less than the 3.3\% predicted by May-to-date’s high-yield expected default frequency (EDF) metric and Moody’s Credit Policy Group.
May 11 5:35pm Credit Trends from Moody's Analytics
The central bank is likely to be on hold for the remainder of this year.
May 11 3:01pm longandvariable
If the document being described as a leak of a draft of the Labour manifesto really is that, the section on fiscal policy, tweeted by Robert Peston, is interesting. It contains the encouraging suggestion that HMT rules would be suspended … Continue reading →...
May 11 12:47pm macroblog
The Federal Reserve Banks recently released results from the nationwide 2016 Small Business Survey, which asks firms with 500 or fewer employees about business and financing conditions. One key finding is just how small the financing needs of many businesses...
May 11 12:45pm Economy
Trump's "phenomenal" tax overhaul plan is falling short of expectations, Vanity Fair reports.
May 11 12:03pm Nathan's Economic Edge
To understand socialism, we must first understand a key fundamental and indisputable principal - that is that freedom and security are inextricably interconnected and cannot be separated.When one pursues security, they wind up with neither freedom nor security. But when one pursues freedom, security follows at very little cost.Socialism is the pursuit of security and the abandonment of freedom. When you pursue security you will wind up with neither security nor freedom!The notion of entitlement is bankrupt and will forever be so. This is because one person’s entitlement is always someone else’s burden – the sole exception is your right to exist, be blissful, and to attempt to influence the future.The burden of entitlement is why socialism, in any of its evil forms, has always eventually failed. It is against human nature and is an improper rule-of-law to take from those who are productive and then give it to those who are not. It destroys the incentive to produce, so that no one eventually does.This is not open to debate, the failure of socialism is well documented. I have witnessed it with my own eyes and have shared just one of my many experiences with you here - Adventure into the Soviet Union at the Height of the Cold War. That section begins about half way through the article, so please scroll down to it on that page.Like the road to hell, most socialists and social structures were founded on good intentions. But the result is evil and is responsible for destroying millions of lives, countless opportunities, and for slowing the progression of humanity.Socialism is also a hidden form of dictatorship or monarchy - they are all about power and control by an extremely narrow segment of the population. And isn't that exactly what is happening with the consolidation of wealth in the current system in the United States, in Europe, and wherever a central bank, IMF, or World Bank banker might be found? Yes, creeping socialism hidden under the Trojan Horse ideology of Globalism is nothing but a ruse to consolidate power by a few. Those few use our good intentions to manipulate us to support them, to even willingly surrender our freedom. We will make you secure, they say. Allow us to spy on the world. They slip their false narratives past us as if we we're already...
May 11 11:40am Econbrowser
That’s the title of my article at EconoFact today. The Issue: The Trump Administration has proposed a number of trade related measures purportedly on the basis of national security. The first involves invoking a seldom-used provision of the trade law to investigate whether imposing import restrictions for steel and aluminum is justified by national security […]...
May 11 11:29am Cafe Hayek
TweetRegular readers of this blog know that I believe claims of the meaningful existence of monopsony power in the market for low-skilled workers in America to be ludicrous on their face. These regular readers also know that even if such widespread monopsony power did exist, it is only a necessary and not a sufficient condition […] The post The Myth of Monopsony Power: Some Evidence appeared first on Cafe Hayek.
May 11 11:00am The Incidental Economist
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed the House in the face of opposition from physicians, hospitals, and insurers. But that opposition was muted and it failed to defeat the bill. This is mysterious because amid other provisions the bill cut more than $800 billion from Medicaid funding. That money would make a real difference […]...
May 11 10:53am Economics
“QUANT” hedge funds have long been seen as the nerdy vanguard of finance. Firms such as Renaissance Technologies, Two Sigma and Man AHL, each of which manages tens of billions of dollars, hire talented mathematicians and physicists to sit in their airy offices and develop trading algorithms. But what if such talent could be harnessed without the hassle of an expensive and time-consuming recruitment process? That is the proposition Quantopian, a hedge fund and online crowd-sourcing platform founded in 2011, is testing. Anyone can learn to build trading algorithms on its platform. The most successful are then picked to manage money. Last month the firm announced it had made its first allocations of funds to 15 algorithms it had selected.Quantopian would appear to have one striking advantage over its competitors: sheer weight of numbers. The difficulty of hiring and a desire for secrecy limit even big quant funds to a full-time research staff in the low hundreds (Man AHL, for instance, has 120). Quantopian boasts 120,000 members on its platform.These are amateurs, however, not full-time employees. John Fawcett, Quantopian’s CEO, says many sign up to...Continue reading...
May 11 10:50am Economy
Trump believes that the growth generated from reforms will help spur business out of its post-Great Recession funk.
May 11 9:23am The Incidental Economist
You probably know where to pump the cheapest gas and how to get price comparisons online in seconds for headphones and cars. But how would you find the best deal on an M.R.I. or a knee replacement? No idea, right? And if we could, it would be the magic fix for health care, right? Yeah… […]...
May 11 8:35am Economy
First-time claims for state unemployment benefits were expected to total 245,000 in the most recent week, up from the 238,000 claims reported for the week earlier.
May 11 8:30am Economy
Inflation at the wholesale level jumped in April by the largest amount in three months, fueled by rising prices of food and energy.
May 11 7:18am Economics
THERE is a familiar scene in westerns where the cavalry is riding through the mountain pass and the captain says I don't like it. It's quiet. Too quiet. Seconds later, a soldier gets an arrow in his chest and all hell breaks loose. Some people feel that about markets at the moment. Deutsche Bank reckons the S&P 500 has had 10 out of 11 days with a move of less than 0.2\%, the quietest period since 1927. The volatility index, or Vix, fell to a 23-year low after the French election result. This calmness is in striking contrast to the political turmoil that has followed the election of the Trump administration; the tensions over North Korea, the firing of the FBI director and the trade policies that have pushed Citibank to issue a regular US protectionism round-up . Is it all a sign of complacency?There certainly have been occasions in the...Continue reading...
May 11 7:01am Economy
New York Fed President William Dudley's remarks come at a time when open borders have come under increasing criticism.
May 11 6:48am Economy
Trump suggested he may release his tax returns on leaving the White House, according to an interview with The Economist.
May 11 6:04am Economy
The takeaway for the stock markets: don't bet on any quick legislation around trade, the budget, health care or infrastructure.
May 11 5:30am On the Economy blog
The more that countries trade with the U.S., the more likely that ideas spread around the world.
May 11 2:04am Economics
RARELY has a Chinese city boss had more fans than Li Dakang, the earnest, driven Communist Party chief of Jingzhou. “I want development, I want speed and I want GDP,” he recently intoned. “But I want it to be modern GDP, GDP that comes without pollution.” Over the past month tens of millions have tuned in to watch him strive to fulfil these promises. On their smartphones, they share images of the heavy-eyed man with an easy smile, quoting his words and cheering him on. His policies have even been immortalised in a musical tribute, “The GDP Song”.Li Dakang is not real, nor is Jingzhou. They exist only on “In the Name of the People”, a wildly popular 55-part television series about China’s battle against graft. Since its first broadcast in March, the show has attracted attention for its depiction of official corruption, unusual in the context of Chinese censorship. Less noted is the insight it has offered into a range of China’s economic problems—not just...Continue reading...
May 10 8:00pm Economy
McCain and Sasse said they would vote against President Donald Trump's nominee for U.S. trade representative, Robert Lighthizer.
May 10 8:00pm VoxEU.org: Recent Articles
New trade deals for the UK will be an important part of the Brexit negotiations, not only with the EU but also with the rest of the world. This column argues, however, that the UK has no trade-enhancing alternative to an agreement with the EU that essentially mimics its current situation as an EU member. A gravity model predicts that the negative impact of Brexit would be only marginally offset by a bilateral trade agreement with the US, and even in the case of trade agreements with all non-EU countries, the UK’s valued-added exports would still fall by more than 6\%. ...