Monday, September 21, 2020

Econofact Podcast

I was recently interviewed by Michael Klein for the Econofact podcast. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Call me 3380

Here is a website that uses some sort of computer algorithm to measure academic influence. Here is a ranking of most influential academics of all time. Aristotle, Darwin, Plato, Einstein, Marx, and Newton top the list. (I am number 3380.) Here is an article about recently influential economists.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Immunology, meet economics

Click here to read my column in this Sunday's New York Times.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Comparing Two Recessions: Update

 The number of permanent job losses is rising but still nowhere near the level in 2008-2009. (Click on graphic to enlarge.)



Sunday, August 30, 2020

An Excellent Idea

From Robert Litan: Once a Covid vaccine is approved, pay people to take it

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Teaching the Covid-19 Recession

This summer I have been working to prepare the manuscript for the 11th edition of my intermediate macroeconomics textbook, which will be available next year. Of course, the new edition will include a discussion of the current economic downturn and the policy response to it. 

To help those teaching undergraduate-level macroeconomics this year, I have posted a piece of the manuscript at this link. Feel free to distribute it to your students.

Monday, August 17, 2020

News from Amazon

Thank you all. Have a great semester!

Monday, August 10, 2020

A comparison I never expected

Thursday, August 06, 2020

The High Cost of PPP Jobs

Economists have begun to study the effects of the Paycheck Protection Program, on which Congress spent about half a trillion dollars. The results so far do not look good. Chetty et al. write:
We therefore conclude that the PPP had little material impact on employment at small businesses: we cannot rule out a small positive employment effect of the program (of e.g., 3-4 pp on employment rates), but it is clear that the program did not restore the vast majority of jobs that were lost following the COVID shock.
The study by Autor et al. has a more positive tone. But notice this sentence, deep in the bowels of the paper:
Our benchmark estimates imply that each job supported by the PPP cost between $162K and $381K through May 2020, with our preferred employment estimate implying a cost of $224K per job supported.
This estimate of cost per job suggests that the program was not a good use of public funds. I am not surprised. That is why, early on, I suggested that fiscal responses should focus on helping people rather than propping up businesses, as in this proposal of mine.

Friday, July 24, 2020

On Shareholders and Stakeholders

Click here to read my column in Sunday's New York Times.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Hard To Believe

No matter how bad President Trump gets, he can always get worse.

Ungated version of Post story.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

A Podcast Interview

You can hear a recent interview of me by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Modules for Introductory Econ

Here is some information for those teaching introductory economics using my favorite textbook.

I have written four modules, or mini-chapters, with optional material that instructors can include in their courses. For instructors using the digital version of the book, these modules can be added for free with a few mouse clicks. As of now, there are modules on the following topics:
  • The Economics of Healthcare
  • The European Union
  • The Keynesian Cross
  • How Economists Use Data
I expect to add more modules to the library available to instructors in the years to come.

To get a sense of what these are like, here is a link to an old version of the healthcare module.

For more information about these modules or the book more generally, contact your Cengage rep or John Carey.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Declining Role of the CEA

According to this article, Tomas Philipson, the acting chair of the Council of Economic Advisers who just resigned, has tested positive for Covid-19. What caught my eye in the article was this sentence:
A White House official told the Journal that Trump and Philipson spent little time together, though the two were seen standing close to each other on June 5 at an event in the Rose Garden.
When I was CEA chair, I was in the West Wing every day and would see the president two or three times a week, typically in the Oval Office or the Roosevelt Room (the conference room adjacent to the Oval). It is not a good sign if the CEA chair spends little time with the president, especially in light of the fact that the nation is now experiencing the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. (Philipson's specialty, by the way, is health economics, which might have been useful under current circumstances.)

Eater of Souls?

Source. Click on image to enlarge.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Rap for Econ 101

Some years ago, I plugged some rap songs designed to be used in classrooms for introductory economics. The creators alert me that these songs can now be found here. They also note that the songs on elasticity and regulation are their personal favorites.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Perhaps The Best Campaign Ad Ever

Monday, June 08, 2020

Maskin Lectures

My colleague Eric Maskin will be giving two lectures on voting theory on June 25.  Information here.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

What I've been watching

Over the past week, I have watched the six-part HBO miniseries The Plot Against America, which came out in March. It is based on the 2004 Philip Roth novel of the same title and tells an alternative history in which FDR is defeated in 1940 by the fascist-sympathizing Charles Lindbergh through the eyes of a Jewish family living in Newark, NJ. Compelling story, well acted. It is the best piece of television I have seen in years.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Larry Summers Interview