Thursday, December 31, 2015

The demand for economists is surging

Source.  Click on graphic to enlarge.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Humor at the ASSA

I will miss the ASSA meetings this year. But I want to give a shout out to the AEA Humor Session. It will be on Monday January 4, 2016, from 8 to 9:30 pm in room "Imperial A" of the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco. The humor session is one of the only parts of the American Economic Association annual meeting that is free and open to the public!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Trump's Tax Plan

Pigou Club News

Back in September I wrote a column about the effort in Washington state to enact a carbon tax.  Interested readers can learn how things are going there by reading this post by my friend Yoram Bauman.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The High Cost of Higher Ed

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

Friday, December 18, 2015

Elmendorf Unleashed

Brookings has released twelve short videos of Doug Elmendorf, former CBO director and incoming Kennedy School dean, answering key questions about economic policy.

Job Losses and the Minimum Wage

David Neumark has a nice piece in the Wall Street Journal about the minimum wage.

Friday, December 11, 2015

"the Saudi Arabia of maple syrup"

A former student sends along this amusing story about Quebec's cartelization of the maple syrup market.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Jeb's Tax Plan

Friday, December 04, 2015

Understanding Trump

This passage from Ross Douthat caught my eye:
Writing for Slate last week, Jamelle Bouie argued that Trumpism, however ideologically inchoate, manifests at least seven of the hallmarks of fascism identified by the Italian polymath Umberto Eco. They include: a cult of action, a celebration of aggressive masculinity, an intolerance of criticism, a fear of difference and outsiders, a pitch to the frustrations of the lower middle class, an intense nationalism and resentment at national humiliation, and a “popular elitism” that promises every citizen that they’re part of “the best people of the world.” Does this sound like Trump? Well, yes, it rather does.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Sad News from Harvard Square

Yenching Shutters Doors After 40 Years.

I have been a patron of this restaurant since I arrived in Cambridge as a student in 1980 and, over the years. have taken hundreds of students here for lunch.  For me, this is the end of an era.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Grad School Recommendations

Here is a guest post from NYU economist David Backus.

I should probably get over this, but I just went through something like the following twenty times:  
* Click on link in email.
* If you failed to log out the previous time, you need to close your browser and start again.
* Login.
* Set new pw:  type old pw, new pw twice.
* Check to agree to terms and conditions.
* Enter contact information, including email address which, of course, they know, because they sent you an email.
* Complete drop-down menu of questions.
* Upload letter.
* Enter name and date — which, of course, they know.
* Submit.  
* Are you sure?  
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to write letters for my students.  But is this the best we can do?  
As faculty, we’re not often asked about the software system used by our admissions offices, they’re imposed on us by our staff.  But David Romer has a great idea for fighting back.  His letters include the following:   
I have a firm policy of never providing numerical ratings or filling in boxes on letters of recommendation for graduate study.  When possible, I simply leave the boxes blank. If on-line forms do not allow questions to be skipped, I check “Not Applicable” (or equivalent, such as “Insufficient Information to Judge”) in all cases.  If I am forced to provide ratings, I provide the highest possible one in all cases.  These are blanket policies; thus my answers provide no information about the candidate.  
Why don’t we all do the same?  It won’t change anything, but we’ll have a little fun as we click through the radio buttons.