Saturday, September 4, 2004

Does industrial policy actually work?

The crux of the debate about the costs and benefits of economic globalization centers around how to interpret the East Asian miracle. To advocates of economic liberalization (Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Martin Wolf, Surjit Bhalla, Brink Lindsey), the success of the Pacific Rim is due to the focus on export promotion, and the 1997-99 crisis the fault of crony capitalism coming home to roost. To skeptics of economic liberalization (Dani Rodrik, Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Wade), the success of the Pacific Rim is due to the selective protectionism and smart industrial policies pursued by the relevant states, and the 1997-99 crisis the fault of financial liberalization coming home to roost.

With this set-up, Marcus Noland has an Institute for International Economics working paper on whether South Korea's industrial policy was actually "effective." Here's the abstract:

This paper attempts to determine whether conditions amenable to successful selective interventions to capture cross-industry externalities are likely to be fulfilled in practice. Three criteria are proposed for good candidates for industrial promotion: that they have strong interindustry links to the rest of the economy, that they lead the rest of the economy in a causal sense, and that they be characterized by a high share of industry-specific innovations in output growth. According to these criteria, likely candidates for successful intervention are identified in the Korean data. It is found that, with one exception, none of the sectors promoted by the heavy and chemical industry (HCI) policy fulfills all three criteria.

Before everyone jumps up and down, bear the paper's closing paragraph in mind:

The calculations made in this paper are admittedly quite crude, and they should not be considered a test of the theoretical arguments in favor of selective intervention. Indeed, even accepting the argument put forward in this paper, one could quarrel with the specific statistical results for the reasons cited above. But beyond these questions of econometric technique, it is certainly correct to argue that the level of industry aggregation (imposed by data availability constraints) is far too high and that both the underlying externalities and the forms of intervention may be far more subtle than the relations modeled in this exercise. Nonetheless, this approach may provide a useful starting point for identifying potential candidates for industrial promotion.

posted by Dan at 10:37 PM | Comments (18) | Trackbacks (0)

Friday, September 3, 2004

This should be interesting...

My APSA panel on blogs and politics is today. Andrew Sullivan, Wonkette, and Cass Sunstein on the same dias -- not to mention Henry Farrell and Laura McKenna from 11D -- and all I have to do is sit back and listen.

I'll post an "after-action report" once I've recovered from the numerous drinks that will undoubtedly be consumed after the panel.

BEFORE-DRINKS AFTER-ACTION UPDATE: Well, Andrew didn't show up, but by APSA standards the panel was a huge success -- I'd say 60-75 110 people were in attendance, and the panelists did an awesome job. Naturally, Ana Marie stole the show by comparing bloggers to AOL adult chat-rooms -- "bloggers are pleasuring themselves, and mostly staying at home." After that, none of us could say anything without thinking of the obvious double entendres.

For an mostly accurate accounting of the panel, check out Steve the Llama Butchers' liveblogging. My favorite bits:

Befitting the newfound prestige allotted to blogging, we are located on the back of the fifth floor of the Palmer House Hilton, right behind the catering kitchen but in front of the laundry. It's not that we're in an out of the way part of the hotel, but I'm pretty sure I just saw Harrison Ford go by being chased by Tommy Lee Jones, muttering something about a one-armed man killing his wife. Well now....

4:20 pm--"blogosphere" used at the 100th Meeting of the American Political Science Association.

Woodrow Wilson officiallly rolls over in his grave....

So there you have it: quite possibly the first panel at the 100 year history of the American Political Science Assoication to feature two University of Chicago professors, and the subject of S&M, naughty bits, and power indexes all were discussed.

See also Richard Skinner, Eszter Hargittai, Chris Lawrence, and Steve Clemons for their observations. I particularly liked Clemons characterization of Antoinette Pole and Laura McKenna as "clearly the Thelma & Louise of blogging research."

posted by Dan at 02:49 PM | Comments (26) | Trackbacks (2)

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Open Republican National Convention thread

For obvious reasons, I didn't see any of the Republican National Convention, and only heard random parts of Bush's speech.

With that awesome windup, feel free to comment on the convention and Bush's speech here.

Random question -- did the convention change or solidify anyone's voting preferences?

posted by Dan at 11:28 PM | Comments (122) | Trackbacks (1)

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

September's books of the month

Give the anti-globalization protestors their due. After the Battle in Seattle, most of the claims of most of the protestors were dismissed by the commetariat within the space of a single op-ed column. Five years later, they've managed to convince a fair fraction of the globe of the correctness ofd their ideas.

The result has been a raft of books devoted to debunking the myriad claims of the anti-globalization and alternative globalization crowds, some of which I've discussed here. However, September's international relations book of the month blows the other books in this category out of the water. Martin Wolf's Why Globalization Works is the best single book I've read to date that comprehensively addresses all of the claims and counter-claims with regard to economic globalization. It's the kind of book I wish I'd written. Go buy it. Now.

In light of recent events, today's general interest book is Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon. As one who's had to read a fair number of toddler books over the past years, I'll always have a soft spot for this one. Brown's The Runaway Bunny
is also good -- and Margaret Edson uses it to brilliant effect in the closing of Wit. And of course I love Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. However, Goodnight Moon will always be my favorite to read out loud -- the cadences are just lovely.

However, opinions vary on this. So readers are invited to submit their favorite children's book for the under-five set.

posted by Dan at 11:31 AM | Comments (56) | Trackbacks (1)

The blinkered economics of the Chicago City Council

Gary Washburn and H. Gregory Meyer report in today's Chicago Tribune that City Council opposition has succeeded in thwarting Wal-Mart's plans to open up a big box store in the South side of the city (for previous posts on this topic click here, here and here):

Wal-Mart will continue work--for now--on plans for a new store on Chicago's West Side but will not pursue a proposed outlet on the South Side in the wake of wrangling and delays, the company said Tuesday.

Wal-Mart foes said they will seek to block a zoning change that would allow the South Side store anyway, questioning the sincerity of a company that has been under a withering attack since announcing its intention to open stores in the city earlier this year.

Wal-Mart's plans in the city may be determined by what happens with two pending ordinances that would set minimum pay and benefit standards for employees of "big box" retailers, including Wal-Mart, said John Bisio, a company spokesman....

Delays related to opposition to Wal-Mart have pushed back plans for a South Side shopping complex at 83rd Street and Stewart Avenue that would have included a Wal-Mart. When the retailer sought to persuade the site's developer to extend a recent signing deadline in order "to see how those [big box] proposals played out," the request was turned down, Bisio said. That forced the company to cancel its plans on the South Side, he said.

What might those two proposed ordinances be? Glad you asked:

[North Side Alderman Joe] Moore is co-sponsor of a measure that would require big retailers to pay a minimum of $10-an-hour in wages and benefits to workers. Ald. Edward Burke (14th) has co-sponsored another proposal that would set a $12.43-an-hour minimum wage and require that 40 percent of all merchandise sold by the big retailers be manufactured in the United States.

Moore's ordinance would apply only to new big box stores; Burke's to new and existing stores.

While even free-market enthusiasts acknowledge that the effect of minimum wage laws is not cut and dried, I'm pretty sure even Alan Kruger would say that $12.43 would be a deleterious move. A $10 minimum wage with a grandfather clause would be equally bad. As for the content provision, well, that's just moronic.

As a south sider who would like to see more jobs and more commerce created in the neighborhood, I'd like to thank Alderman Joe Moore and Alderman Edward Burke for doing such bang-up jobs at public policy. If you'd like to thank them too, feel free to shoot an e-mail to Mr. Moore or an e-mail to Mr. Burke applauding them for their bold and imaginative contributions to urban planning and economic development!!

posted by Dan at 11:06 AM | Comments (23) | Trackbacks (1)

Monday, August 30, 2004

My excellent reason for reduced blogging

Much as I would like to blog about the Republican National Convention, I'm afraid will be pretty much silent for the next week. Part of this is due to the imminent arrival of 100th annual meeting of the American Political Science Association.

The more important reason is a personal one that I vaguely alluded to last week. There's a new addition to the family:

Lauren C. Drezner
seven lbs., zero oz.

With all due respect to Henry Farrell, this is undoubtedly my best co-authoured project for the last few years!!

posted by Dan at 04:36 PM | Comments (88) | Trackbacks (10)

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Open progressive conservative thread

Go read David Brooks' cover story for the New York Times Magazine on the future of both conservatism and the Republican Party (not necessarily the same thing).

Brooks opens with a point I've made in recent months:

There used to be a spirit of solidarity binding all the embattled members of the conservative movement. But with conservatism ascendant, that spirit has eroded. Should Bush lose, it will be like a pack of wolves that suddenly turns on itself. The civil war over the future of the party will be ruthless and bloody. The foreign-policy realists will battle the democracy-promoting Reaganites. The immigrant-bashing nativists will battle the free marketeers. The tax-cutting growth wing will battle the fiscally prudent deficit hawks. The social conservatives will war with the social moderates, the biotech skeptics with the biotech enthusiasts, the K Street corporatists with the tariff-loving populists, the civil libertarians with the security-minded Ashcroftians. In short, the Republican Party is unstable.

In sketching out the future governing philosophy of Republicans, however, Brooks offers some depressing words for libertarians:

If you want to put a death date on the tombstone of small-government Republicanism, it would be Nov. 14, 1995. That was the day the new G.O.P. majority shut down the government. Gingrich, Dick Armey and others came to power with a list of hundreds of government programs and agencies they wanted to eliminate, including the Departments of Commerce, Energy and Education. They led what Grover Norquist called the Leave Us Alone coalition, the alliance of all those different Americans who wanted government to get out of their lives. Gingrich vowed to show the world ''how to end programs, not just create them.'' Republicans welcomed a showdown over the size of government because they were convinced that the public would be on their side. Faxes came over the machines vowing, ''No Compromise.'' Senator Phil Gramm celebrated the shutdown. ''Have you really noticed a difference?'' he reportedly asked.

The public did notice, as it turned out, and they didn't like it. Within a few years the Republicans were backtracking so furiously they were proposing to spend more money on the Department of Education than the Clinton administration thought to ask for.

Read the rest of the piece to see the positive vision of government that Brooks offers, in the tradition of Hamilton, Lincoln, and TR. The essay probably offers the most articulate framework for understanding Bush's domestic policy agenda you'll see in the mainstream media. Then come back and post what you think.

[What do you think?--ed. I have a mixed reaction. The overarching philosophy of using government to expand individual choice is an undeniably appealing one. Policies like the earned income tax credit certainly fit into that category. However, I have caveats to Brooks' "progressive conservatism." While there's much discussion of what a conservative government can do, there's less about how it can do this. My inclination is to prefer that the government act more as paymaster than implementor, but I'm not sure Brooks would agree. The boundaries of the Brooksian state don't seem all that constrained. At the end, he argues that a good progressive conservative government could cut useless measures like corporate subsidies, farm subsidies, and needless tariffs. However, it's no coincidence that the intellectual godfather of modern-day protectionism is Alexander Hamilton. Finally, I just hate the phrase "progressive conservative." I understand what Brooks is going for, but it sounds like "pragmatic idealism" or "collective indivudualism."]

posted by Dan at 01:07 PM | Comments (75) | Trackbacks (2)