Sunday, December 21, 2014

Getting a Raise from Vladimir Putin

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Peltzman Effect

My friend Allen Sanderson points out these headlines in today's Wall Street Journal:

Safety Gear Helps Reduce U.S. Traffic Deaths

and

Cities Target Elevated Levels of Pedestrian Deaths

As Sam Peltzman pointed out years ago, when cars get safer, drivers are less careful, increasing externalities on pedestrians.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Affair

The best new TV show this year, at least among those I have seen, is Showtime's The Affair. It is a compellingly written and acted drama and crime story told, alternately, from two perspectives. If you want to check out the first episode, you can do so here. (One of the lead actors is Dominic West, who played McNulty in The Wire, another of the all-time great TV shows.)

From the Harvard Holiday/Skit Party

Saturday, December 13, 2014

After Obamacare

Republicans in Congress talk regularly about repealing the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.  They have not, however, said much about what they will replace it with. One possibility is the plan described here.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Who pays for government?

Source. Click on graphic to enlarge.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Trash Talking at the Harvard-Yale Game


Saturday, November 22, 2014

McCloskey on Piketty

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Elmendorf for CBO Director

Roll Call speculates about who the next director of the Congressional Budget Office might be. This is a key decision facing the newly elected GOP-controlled Congress. After giving a talk at CBO on Thursday and participating in its Academic Advisers Panel on Friday, I am reminded how impressive the CBO staff is and how important the institution is to the policy process. (FYI, my own affiliation with CBO dates back to the summer of 1978, when I was an intern there.)

So who should the next CBO director be? There are a lot of reputable economists on the Roll Call list. Many are friends of mine. All things considered, however, I believe there is a clear choice: Doug Elmendorf.

Someone recently said to me that the CBO director is not really a player in the political game. He is more like the referee. That analogy sheds light on why Doug is the right person for the job. What do you want in a good referee? Competence and impartiality. Doug has demonstrated both. He is a superb economist and, over the past six years as CBO director, has shown himself to be scrupulously non-partisan.

I understand that GOP leaders may be tempted to put their own stamp on the Congressional Budget Office. But sometimes the benefits of continuity transcend ideology and political affiliation. Ronald Reagan reappointed Paul Volcker, and Barack Obama reappointed Ben Bernanke, despite the fact that both Fed chairs were initially appointed by a president of the other party. In the same spirit, I would encourage the GOP congressional leaders to reappoint Doug Elmendorf as CBO director.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tax Fact of the Day

Source. Click on graphic to enlarge.

A Textbook Example of Arbitrage

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Coase Theorem in Action

Friday, October 31, 2014

Job vacancy rate is back to pre-crisis level

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Latest from Merle Hazard

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

National Economists Club

If you are in the DC area, you can hear me speak on November 13.  Click here for more information.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Profile of an Ec 10 Student

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Charles Murray on Ayn Rand

A great and balanced essay.  Thanks to Alex Tabarrok for the pointer.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Head Section Leader in Ec 10

Love teaching introductory economics?  Want to live in the Boston area?  Well, then, I have a job for you.

Mean Comments

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Inequality and Parenting

Click on graphic to enlarge. Source.