Monday, October 09, 2017

A Talk from the CEA Chair

Saturday, September 30, 2017

What I am reading

Two of my favorite young macroeconomists (and former students) have a new essay on Identification in Macroeconomics.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

More on the Economics of Healthcare

Back in July, I wrote a NY Times column about the economics of healthcare. Yesterday, my friend John Cochrane posted a lengthy response. I won't take the time to reply to all of John's points, but like everything John writes, his post is provocative and thoughtful. So I would encourage people to read it and decide for themselves.

John is certainly correct when he speculates about my motivation in writing the column:
It sounded like a good column idea, "I'll just run down the econ 101 list of potential problems with health care and insurance and do my job as an economic educator." 
I have always thought of my job as first and foremost being an economics educator, and my Times column is just one outlet.

I wrote this particular column around the same time I was writing about the economics of healthcare in a longer piece, which is designed to be an optional chapter for users of my favorite textbook. You can read the longer piece here

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Still #1

Friday, September 08, 2017

How to Get People to Get Along

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

Monday, September 04, 2017

A Reading List

Every few years, I teach (in addition to ec 10) a freshman seminar for about a dozen students. The seminar is essentially a book group for students who are taking introductory economics concurrently or who have advanced placement credit in economics.  Here is a list of this year's books:
  1. The Worldly Philosophers, by Robert Heilbroner 
  2. On Liberty, by John Stuart Mill
  3. Capitalism and Freedom, by Milton Friedman
  4. Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff, by Arthur Okun
  5. The Economics of Inequality, by Thomas Piketty
  6. Fair Play, by Steven Landsburg
  7. Finance and the Good Society, by Robert Shiller
  8. Scarcity, by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir
  9. The Moral Economy, by Samuel Bowles
  10. The Myth of the Rational Voter, by Bryan Caplan

Sunday, September 03, 2017

What I did last night

Lady Gaga performed at Fenway Park yesterday (and the day before). Apparently, she is the first woman ever to headline an event at Fenway. It was a great concert.

Good people watching before the concert started. Ran into a few former ec 10 students.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

News from Amazon

To users of my favorite textbooks: Thank you! 
Have a great semester.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

What Moderates Believe

I much appreciated today's column by David Brooks, though he seems to be describing center-right moderates more than center-left moderates (or is that my own bias showing up?).

David also taught me a new word: syncretistic.  It refers to combining different forms of belief.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Macro Musings

You can hear me interviewed by David Beckworth here.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Why Health Policy is Hard

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

Does this make my Hamilton tickets a deductible business expense?

Economic Lessons from the Musical Hamilton, by Matthew C. Rousu and Courtney A. Conrad, discusses how the great musical can be used to teach economic principles in the classroom.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

CEA Chairs on Steel Tariffs

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Report from the NFF

It is now that time of year when I am enjoying the Nantucket Film Festival. My wife and I today saw The Big Sick. Despite the not very enticing title, we loved it. The film is based on the real-life romance of the two screen writers, emphasizing the difficulty of bridging cross-cultural expectations. It is more heartfelt than a standard rom-com, more comedic than a drama, more earnest than standard Hollywood fare. Most definitely recommended, especially for a date night.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hamilton Tickets Redux

James Stewart takes a look at theater tickets on Broadway, a topic I discussed last year.  I love his ending:
Dynamic pricing and super-premium prices may be relatively new, but the scarcity of tickets for hit shows has a long tradition. Mr. Schumacher cited “My Fair Lady,” the “Hamilton” of the 1955-56 Broadway season. As Broadway lore has it, a man in the audience turned to his neighbor, an older woman, and asked why the fifth-row center seat next to her was empty. 
“My husband died,” she replied. 
“Didn’t anyone else want to come?” he asked. 
“No,” she answered. “They’re all at the funeral.”

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Advice for Young Economists

Monday, June 05, 2017

Economists for Hassett

Saturday, June 03, 2017

On Taxes and Deficits

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

A New Mankiw Publication

This one I am particularly proud of, though I cannot claim to fully understand it.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Why people prefer unequal societies

A friend points out that this paper is related to some themes I have written about.  The abstract (emphasis added):
There is immense concern about economic inequality, both among the scholarly community and in the general public, and many insist that equality is an important social goal. However, when people are asked about the ideal distribution of wealth in their country, they actually prefer unequal societies. We suggest that these two phenomena can be reconciled by noticing that, despite appearances to the contrary, there is no evidence that people are bothered by economic inequality itself. Rather, they are bothered by something that is often confounded with inequality: economic unfairness. Drawing upon laboratory studies, cross-cultural research, and experiments with babies and young children, we argue that humans naturally favour fair distributions, not equal ones, and that when fairness and equality clash, people prefer fair inequality over unfair equality. Both psychological research and decisions by policymakers would benefit from more clearly distinguishing inequality from unfairness.