The former GOP presidential candidate is urging more support for economically stressed families, but his moderate proposal has won little support from Republicans or Democrats.
Your credit card debt shouldn’t cost you your home
Under California law, your home can be taken away because of unpaid credit card, medical or other consumer debt. A bill pending in the Legislature would change that.
Targeted intervention on COVID-19 must support businesses, workers
Co-authored with Emmanuel Saez, professor of economics Coronavirus threatens the world’s economic life, and current proposals from governments around the globe are failing to match the scale of the crisis. Today, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, [UK Chancellor of the Exchequer] announced £330 billion of loans and that some companies would not have to pay business … Continue reading »
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s tax hike idea is not about soaking the rich
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has kick-started a much-needed debate about taxes. But the debate, so far, has been misplaced. It’s obvious that the affluent — who’ve seen their earnings boom since 1980 while their taxes fell — can contribute more to the public coffers. And given the revenue needs of the country, it is necessary.
But that’s not the fundamental reason higher top marginal income tax rates are desirable. Their root justification is not about collecting revenue. It is about regulating inequality and the market economy. It is also about safeguarding democracy against oligarchy.
Assessing gender and racial disparities in economics
The gender disparity in the economics discipline is no secret. For UC Berkeley undergraduates, a glance around the classroom is enough evidence of an imbalance. As a part of the nationwide Undergraduate Women in Economics (UWE) Challenge, we attempted to quantify this apparent disparity. The data collection described below is a first step in this … Continue reading »
Milton Friedman is dead, and really misunderstood
Many of my colleagues are trying to find a silver lining in the outcome of the election, but for those of us concerned with energy and the environment I am afraid all we’re going find is a used Kentucky Fried Chicken napkin. There are two distinctly different, yet connected, things at immediate risk: policy and … Continue reading »
Overtime: Finally, a break for the middle class
The U.S. Department of Labor just proposed raising the overtime threshold – what you can be paid and still qualify to be paid “time-and-a-half” beyond 40 hours per week – from $23,600 a year to $50,400. This is a big deal. Some 5 million workers will get a raise (see video). Business lobbies are already hollering this … Continue reading »
Uri Regev: an unsung hero of resource economics
Uri Regev, a teacher and friend of mine, passed away on April 22 in Israel at the age of 80. Uri grew up in Kibbutz Yagur in Israel, studied economics at Hebrew University and came to Berkeley, where he got his Ph.D. in agricultural economics in 1968. He spent most of his career at Ben Gurion … Continue reading »
Were you paid by Monsanto?
Recently I was interviewed for an article published in California Magazine. It is a well-written article about the controversy surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs). I made my usual points: GMOs have actually done much good by reducing commodity prices, increasing yields, saving land and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving the health of farm workers. … Continue reading »
If no one can hear us …
I recently attended the annual research conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. For those who do not frequent academic conferences, this is a get-together of people like me and several of yr. obdt. bloggers, where we break up into “sessions” of about an hour and a half, in each of which three … Continue reading »
The Brazilian election and Central Bank independence
Brazilians will head to the polls on Oct. 5 to vote in a tight presidential race. President Dilma Rousseff’s leading challenger is Socialist Party candidate Marina Silva. A key component of Silva’s economic platform is her support for a more independent central bank. Central bank independence, long a topic of interest to economists, is now capturing wide … Continue reading »
Economics in the land of lakes, caves, and castles
Slovenia is a small Slavic nation in the middle of Europe, between Latin and Germanic countries (Italy and Austria), and is an embodiment of all three. It has been under Austrian rule for 1000 years, and was freed by Napoleon, who is considered a hero (they have a nice statue of him there). I went … Continue reading »
Macroeconomic stimulus for Ukraine
After years of mismanagement and looting, Ukraine faces a number of economic challenges. The situation is so critical that weak economic performance in the next few years could undermine the very independence of the country. Just yesterday, President Poroshenko signed a degree setting up the National Council for Reforms to design and coordinate reforms in … Continue reading »
Thoughts on Robert Skidelsky’s Rant Against the Current Economics Curriculum
Over at Equitable Growth: The extremely wise Robert Skidelsky has an excellent rant against Anglo-Saxon economics departments: Robert Skidesky: Knocking the scientific halo off mainstream economists’ teaching and research: “The growing discontent of economics students… …with the university curriculum…. Students at the University of Manchester advocated an approach ‘that begins with economic phenomena and then … Continue reading »
Financial networks and contagion
Financial Networks and Contagion,” a recent paper by Matthew Elliott, Benjamin Golub, and Matthew Jackson, uses network theory to study how financial interdependencies among governments, central banks, investment banks, and other institutions can lead to cascading defaults and failures. While the model is quite technical, the main theoretical findings are fairly intuitive. They define two key … Continue reading »
Addis, Lucy and food security
Last week I returned from my second trip to Africa in one month, this time to Ethiopia. I went there as an advisory board member of Food Secure, a large EU research consortium on food security. This was my first time in East Africa, Addis is about 3000 feet above sea level, which means you … Continue reading »
Denial as a way of life
As it turns out, many of the same people who deny that climate change is a problem also deny that government default would be a problem. No doubt there are several reasons: the fact that Barack Obama is on the opposite side of both issues; the general impermeability of ideologues to facts or expert opinion; a general … Continue reading »
Discussion of Robin Greenwood and David Scharfstein: The growth of modern finance
On Robin Greenwood and David Scharfstein: The Growth of Modern Finance: The financial sector does six things: Payments–so that your web of exchange can span the world, rather than just be limited to people you know well and can trust not to welsh on the deal Security–so that your command over economic resources can remain … Continue reading »
Loss of economic exceptionalism
One of the key dimensions of “American Exceptionalism” is the idea that America is the land of opportunity more than any other. We would like to believe that American children who are raised in the meanest conditions are likelier to move up in the world than are children elsewhere. Yet, as of today, the U.S. … Continue reading »
Fiscal policy issues in the United States
At the end of the 2008, the seriousness of the financial crisis and the resulting collapse in production and employment coupled with the Federal Reserve’s exhaustion of its traditional monetary policy-management took, the open-market operation, raised the possibility that the U.S. government should consider using activist expansionary fiscal policy as a stabilization-policy tool. Doubters offered … Continue reading »