Friday, December 1, 2006
Macroeconomics 101 in two paragraphs
Not really -- but this Brad DeLong essay contains two paragraphs that do an excellent job of explaining the complex interplay between what John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman believed:
From one perspective, Friedman was the star pupil of, successor to, and completer of Keynes’s work. Keynes, in his General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, set out the framework that nearly all macroeconomists use today. That framework is based on spending and demand, the determinants of the components of spending, the liquidity-preference theory of short-run interest rates, and the requirement that government make strategic but powerful interventions in the economy to keep it on an even keel and avoid extremes of depression and manic excess. As Friedman said, “We are all Keynesians now.”Hat tip: Greg Mankiw.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Who's getting their Malthus on?
In the New York Times yesterday, Thomas F. Homer-Dixon got his Malthus on:
Mr. [Paul] Ehrlich and his colleagues may have the last (grim) laugh. The debate about limits to growth is coming back with a vengeance. The world’s supply of cheap energy is tightening, and humankind’s enormous output of greenhouse gases is disrupting the earth’s climate. Together, these two constraints could eventually hobble global economic growth and cap the size of the global economy.Homer-Dixon has carved out an impressive career detailing the ways in which resource scarcity and ecological catastrophe will spell doom for the global political economy (Robert D. Kaplan's "The Coming Anarchy" was in many ways a popularization of Homer-Dixon's early work). However, methinks that he's only focusing on one side of the energy question -- the rising cost of supply provision. This is certainly an issue, but it doesn't address a compensating phenomenon -- that the energy-to-GDP ratio is rising even faster.
The McKinsey Global Institute just released an interesting paper that takes a look at this very issue. From the executive summary:
To date, the global debate about energy has focused too narrowly on curbing demand. We argue that, rather than seeking to reduce end-user demand, and thereby the choice, comfort, convenience, and economic welfare desired by consumers, the best way to meet the challenge of growing global energy demand is to focus on energy productivity—how to use energy more productively—which reconciles both demand abatement and energy-efficiency.I'm concerned about energy scarcity, but I'm not getting my Mathus on by any stretch of the imagination.
Korean pessimism about the Doha round
But not the Doha round I'm usually talking about. David Pinto explains
UPDATE: While I'm in a linking mood, here's a link that contributes to blog studies.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Message of Dr. Daniel Drezner to the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Got your letter today, thanks. It's much more coherent than that letter you sent about six months ago. I like that you stress the commonalities between what Americans and Iranians want. The repeated references to the notion that, "We are all inclined towards the good, and towards extending a helping hand to one another, particularly to those in need" -- very Carter-esque of you.
You sum up as follows:
It is possible to govern based on an approach that is distinctly different from one of coercion, force and injustice.It's good you got that out in the open.
Here are some of my anxieties and concerns -- which I'm willing to bet many Americans share:
1) You say in your letter that, "Hundreds of thousands of my Iranian compatriots are living amongst you in friendship and peace, and are contributing positively to your society." Do you remember why so many Iranians live in the United States? Do you believe that these Iranians could live peacefully under your regime in Iran?You probably notice a theme to these questions -- in all of your letters and interactions with Americans, you seem almost as obsessed with the United States as Lars von Trier. You have not, however, done anything to assuage the fears of Americans and others about the intentions and capabilities of your country. Why are you so mute about your own nation?
Write back as soon as you can!!
"You have a good voice for media-whoring"
Well, I'm paraphrasing:
Drezner's iron laws of high school reunions
Your humble blogger attended his twentieth -- yes, I said twentieth -- high school reunion over the Thanksgiving break. Using some of the fancy-pants Ph.D.-level training I've picked up since my high school days, here are some tips for future reunion attendees that might be helpful:
1) Physically and emotionally, the men will have changed much more than the women. This is mostly physiology -- boys mature later, and are the ones who go bald. Plus, if they're very, very lucky, the men will also meet someone who can dress them better than when they were in high school.As a public servive, readers are hereby requested to suggest their own covering laws.
UPDATE: James Joyner weighs in: "Women, much more than men, still define themselves by who they were in high school. Possible exceptions include men who were star athletes or otherwise peaked as teenagers."
Hmmm... I wonder if this applies to math team captains.....
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Democratic activists in the United States achieved some success in Google-bombing Republican candidates during the 2006 midterms. Now, Passport's Mike Boyer reports that Bahraini cyberactivists are exploiting Google tools for their legislative elections:
In the run-up to the country's parliamentary elections this Saturday, cyber-activists in Bahrain are using Google Earth to highlight the excesses of the ruling al-Khalifa family. It's always surprised me that more authoritarian regimes do not block access to Google Earth. Bahrain has tried in the past, but its efforts to do so proved mostly futile. And since Google ratcheted up the resolution of its images of Bahrain, Google Earthing the royal family's private golf courses, estates, islands, yachts, and other luxuries has become a national pastime. Most Bahrainis have long known that these things existed, but they've been hidden behind walls and fences.
An all poli sci bloggingheads!!!
Two political scientists matching wits on bloggingheads.tv? How can you not check it out?
See Henry Farrell and I debate Iraq, U.S. trade policy, David Horowitz, and Jacob Hacker by clicking here.
UPDATE: We managed to keep Laura McKenna awake!! Woo-hoo!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Mickey Kaus' dream article
Ken Auletta's New Yorker story on CNN and Lou Dobbs has a Mickey Kaus two-fer -- potshots at CNN president Jonathan Klein and a discussion of how a hard line on illegal immigration has boosted Lou Dobb's ratings!!
Here are the parts of the article I enjoyed the most:
In many ways, Dobbs and Bill O’Reilly, of Fox News, who in 2003 wrote a book entitled “Who’s Looking Out for You?,” are kindred spirits. Dobbs, who lives on a three-hundred-acre farm in a prosperous part of New Jersey, admires his own capacity for compassion and self-effacement....
Living and breeding in sin in Europe
The European Union just released 2004 data on ferility rates for the EU 25 countries. Here's the interesting chart:
As you can see, there appears to be a positive correlation between higher birth rates and the percentage of births outside of wedlock.
Is this driving the results? Not necessarily. In a 2004 Journal of Population Economics paper, Alicia Adsera provided another explanation for the variation in birth rates: the structure of labor markets:
During the last two decades fertility rates have decreased and have become positively correlated with female participation rates across OECD countries. I use a panel of 23 OECD nations to study how different labor market arrangements shaped these trends. High unemployment and unstable contracts, common in Southern Europe, depress fertility, particularly of younger women. To increase lifetime income though early skill-acquisition and minimize unemployment risk, young women postpone (or abandon) childbearing. Further, both a large share of public employment, by providing employment stability, and generous maternity benefits linked to previous employment, such as those in Scandinavia, boost fertility of the 25–29 and 30–34 year old women.To read a draft of the whole thing, click here.