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Bradford DeLong

Bradford DeLong

J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

Articles by Bradford DeLong

The Pattern of Normal Politics, 1870-1914: An Outtake from “Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century, 1870-2016”

2 days ago

Left-wing avowedly socialist—parties in pre-World War I Europe wanted, for the present, only weak tea. The Socialist Party of Germany’s Erfurt and Gotha programs seek things like: universal male and female suffrage; the secret ballot, proportional representation and an end to gerrymandering; annual government budgets; elected local administrators and judges; the right to bear arms; free public schools and colleges; free legal assistance; abolition of the death penalty; free medical care including midwifery; public burial insurance; progressive income and property taxes; a progressive inheritance tax; a 36-hour minimum weekend; an occupational safety and health administration; equal status for domestic and agricultural workers; and a national takeover of unemployment and disability

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Brad DeLong: Worthy reads on equitable growth, March 28-April 4, 2020

2 days ago

Worthy reads from Equitable Growth:
The U.S. jobs market is going to get much worse. Read Kate Bahn and Carmen Sanchez-Cuming, “First jobs day report since the onset of the coronavirus recession exposes a U.S. Labor market in crisis,” in which they write: “The first Jobs Day report to capture … the coronavirus recession … after decades of rising economic inequality, the decline in the power of unions, and the erosion of the safety net, [means that] U.S. workers are going to be particularly unprepared for this sharp and sudden economic downturn … Today’s report contains labor market data collected during the week ending March 14, before any city or state had ordered the closure of nonessential businesses to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Yet, by the second

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Lecture: The Rise of Socialism, -350 to 1917

3 days ago

Let us talk about the rise of socialism, as background to the rise of really existing socialism—the system that lived behind what Winston Churchill called the Iron Curtain from 1917-1991, that shook the world, and that in the end turned out to be far, far, far from the brightest light on the tree of humanity’s good ideas.

Let us very briefly race through history—moral, intellectual, political, and social—from the year -350 to the year 1917, when Lenin and his Bolshevik Communist Party staged their coup in Russia.

There was a profound shift from the belief in “divine right” and “natural order” as the fundamental grounding for an unequal society to enlightenment values—that human institutions should be rationally designed on the basis of a rational understanding of human psychology in

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Coronavirus UPDATED…

5 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]—- —- ###### This File: ###### Edit This File #coronavius #highlighted #publichealth #2020-04-01

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Lecture Notes: The Development of Underdevelopment and W. Arthur Lewis

8 days ago

3086 words https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/lecture-inequality-text.pdf

The large populations and low levels of material wealth and agricultural productivity in China and India checked the growth of wages. Workers could be cheaply imported and employed at wages not that far above the physical subsistence level. Low wage costs meant that commodities produced in countries open to Asian immigration were relatively cheap. And competition from the Malaysian rubber plantations checked growth and even pushed down wages of the Brazilian rubber tappers as well. The late nineteenth century saw living standards and wage rates become and remain relatively low (although higher than in China and India) throughout the regions that were to come to be called the third world. And

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Cases and Deaths from Coronavirus Doubling Every Three Days Is Very Bad News Indeed

8 days ago

I confess I am positively unmanned by the every-three-days doubling of reported cases and deaths here in the United States. I had thought that we would see true cases doubling every seven days. And back when reported cases started doubling every three days, I was encouraged, because I thought it meant that we were catching up on testing, and so getting closer to detecting the bulk of the symptomatic cases.

But now it looks like that was wrong: reported cases were doubling every three days because true cases were doubling every three days—that is what deaths tell us was happening to true cases up until three weeks ago. The lack of case curve-bending makes me think that testing is not improving. It makes me think that reported cases are doubling every three days because true cases are

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Daily Notes: 2020-03-29

8 days ago

There were 2027 reported deaths in the U.S. from the novel coronavirus as of late on Mar 28—if our reporting systems have not yet broken down.

With a 1% death rate, and with 3 weeks between infection and death, that means that as of Mar 7 there were 202700 coronavirus cases in the United States.

Up through Mar 28 deaths have been doubling every three days, suggesting that before Mar 7 true cases were also doubling every three days:

If that that pace has continued since, by Mar 31 we will have had 8 further doublings: 52 million cases, 1/6 of the population.
If the curve bent to doubling every four days, by Mar 31 we will have had 6 further doublings: 13 million cases, 1/25 of the population, with an additional 30 million cases expected by April 7
If the curve bent to doubling every

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Daily Notes: 2020-03-28

9 days ago

Charles Pardee is supposed to have compared making monetary policy by the Federal Reserve Board by driving at high speed a car with its windshield painted black, peering into the rear view mirror for your only information about the road ahead. Because we have no testing, only deaths, that is our situation now. We know that three weeks ago the natural log of cases was increasing by two every week. And we hope that the curve has been powerfully bent since then…

NOTES: U.S. Coronavirus Deaths https://www.icloud.com/numbers/0PB6Y9KF-SIgrQpyCsmkjm_Ww:

BEND THE CURVE, PEOPLE!!!!
2227 deaths as of 2020-03-28
2.001 is the log growth factor over the past week
900,000 is what you get if you project that out over the next three weeks, to April 18:
The people who will die on or before Apr 18

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-29 02:02:47

9 days ago

Nick Rowe: Relative Supply Shocks, Unobtainium, Walras’ Law, and the Coronavirus https://worthwhile.typepad.com/worthwhile_canadian_initi/2020/03/relative-supply-shocks-unobtainium-walras-law-and-the-coronavirus.html: ‘A temporary 100% output cut in 50% of the sectors (what the Coronavirus does) is very different from a 50% output cut in 100% of the sectors (what our intuitions might expect from supply shocks in aggregate macro models)…. Here’s the intuition…. Unobtainium is a very desirable good…. Someone actually invents a way to produce unobtainium. They can’t produce it just yet, but everyone knows they will produce it, and sell it at an affordable price, a few months from now. What happens when they hear the news? Everybody… wants to save up to half their income, so they

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-28 14:00:55

9 days ago

Lizzie Burden: Trump’s Crusade to Reopen the Economy ‘May See Extra 5M Deaths’ and a Second Fiscal Bailout https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/03/28/trumps-crusade-reopen-economy-may-see-extra-5m-deaths-second/: ‘Economists know the shutdown can’t last forever. As Padhraic Garvey, head of research Americas at ING, said: “Individuals have been told to literally go home because there’s no work for them. They have families to support and at a certain point, the pendulum has to swing back to supporting them.” Nonetheless, there is consensus among economists that there is no trade-off between health and economics—yet. Jonathan Portes… “Immediately we… should be trying to control the health consequences as much as possible. After that, the aim is to make sure that fall in GDP

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Brad DeLong: Worthy reads on equitable growth, March 21-27, 2020

9 days ago

Worthy reads from Equitable Growth:
Check out Heather Boushey on Twitter, in which she writes: “In response to the #coronavirus crisis, the nationwide economic shutdown has put the economy “on ice” so that it can be ramped back up after the health crisis is addressed. Concerns about falling into a deep and protracted #coronavirus recession are exacerbated by historically high economic inequality, which makes the United States particularly vulnerable to economic shocks. Policymakers should keep income flowing by helping small businesses pay their bills, ensuring any corporate assistance helps workers, boosting unemployment insurance, and providing #paidleave. The United States is one of only three industrialized countries that does not ensure every worker has access

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Daily Notes: 2020-03-27

9 days ago

NOTES: U.S. Coronavirus Deaths https://www.icloud.com/numbers/0PB6Y9KF-SIgrQpyCsmkjm_Ww:

BEND THE CURVE, PEOPLE!!!!
1696 deaths as of 2020-03-27
1.895 is the log growth factor over the past week
500,000 is what you get if you project that out over the next three weeks, to April 17:
The people who will die on or before Apr 17 will have caught the coronavirus by… now. They are baked in the cake: Unless the curve has already bent, they are toast.

22,000,000 is what you get if you project that out over the next three weeks, to May 1:
The people who will die on or before May 1 will have caught the coronavirus by… Easter.
That number is too large: that tells us that the epidemic is running its course between now and Easter—unless the curve is bent, or has already been bent.
Our last

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-28 03:40:08

10 days ago

Comment of the Day: Joe Barsugli https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/03/dealing-with-coronavirus-the-hunker-down-and-the-jubilee.html?cid=6a00e551f0800388340240a4f57f77200d#comment-6a00e551f0800388340240a4f57f77200d: ‘I agree with Jubilee, but Hunker Down has some problems. While I agree with the broad outline, we simply don’t know how much hunkering down is needed to "reach a level that reduces the caseload to what the medical system can currently handle, but should not be pushed far beyond that point." I’m not sure you can fine-tune it. European experience seems to indicate that half-measures are much less than half-effective. Better to hit it hard with all you’ve got up front and hope you start to see results in 10-12 days. If the current measures prove adequate, then they have to

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-28 03:38:04

10 days ago

Comment of the Day: Rad Geek https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/03/rad-geek-_the-infovores-dilemma_-in-circumstances-that-lead-to-a-high-risk-of-groupthink-and-overreach-its-a-r.html?cid=6a00e551f0800388340240a51a750f200b#comment-6a00e551f0800388340240a51a750f200b: ‘Rad Geek said in reply to Ebenezer Scrooge: "A really expert journo collects an awful lot of signal with very little added noise, even if the originals are mentally accessible and noise-free …. a general-purpose journo in a specialized beat is trouble, even if the journo is smart and fair. … A good lawyer or journo can manipulate symbolic knowledge far better than those who have the tacit knowledge…" I don’t think we disagree about the features that make a really expert journalist very valuable on a well-defined

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-28 03:36:30

10 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]**Comment of the Day**: _’Joe Barsugli _ : ‘At this point cases are not the best metric. Hospitalizations are goo now, until (and if) that system gets saturated. Then deaths… —- #commentoftheday #2020-03-27

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Yet Another Rant on Coronavirus & Trump

10 days ago

Could "reopening America for business" on Easter backfire? Oh, yes it could. Oh, it definitely could backfire: BIGTIME.

The experience so far is that, in a society not undertaking social distancing, coronavirus cases double in a little less than five days—grow 100-fold in a month. If, say, the virus has been largely suppressed and only 10000 in the U.S. have it Easter week, then after the u.S. is opened up 1 million will have it on May 15, and then 100 million on June 15, at which point the epidemic will have pretty much run its course. But from May 1 to June 15 hospitals will have been overwhelmed. The likely death rate will have been not 1% but 6%. 5 million additional Americans will have died.

In return we will have produced an extra $1 trillion of stuff.

That’s a tradeoff of

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-27 17:41:16

10 days ago

Someone who wishes me ill sends me this from Niall Ferguson, published on Mar 16. Two weeks from Mar 16 is Mar 30, three days from now. By then the U.S. is likely to have 180,000 reported cases and 3400 coronavirus deaths. I guess the big lesson is: mommas, don’t let your kids grow up ignorant of exponentials… Niall Ferguson (2020-03-16): Opinion: The First Coronavirus Error Was Complacency https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-first-coronavirus-error-was-complacency/: ‘In the panic of the pandemic, we are making a lot of category errors…. If the whole of U.S. goes the way of Italy then, adjusting for population, within two weeks there will 95,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 7,000 dead…

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-27 16:46:36

10 days ago

Neil Ferguson: UK Has Enough Intensive Care Units For Coronavirus, Expert Predicts https://www.newscientist.com/article/2238578-uk-has-enough-intensive-care-units-for-coronavirus-expert-predicts/: ‘[Neil Ferguson] said the UK should have the testing capacity “within a few weeks” to copy what South Korea has done and aggressively test and trace the general population. New data from the rest of Europe suggests that the outbreak is running faster than expected, said Ferguson. As a result, epidemiologists have revised their estimate of the reproduction number (R0) of the virus. This measure of how many other people a carrier usually infects is now believed to be just over three, he said, up from 2.5. “That adds more evidence to support the more intensive social distancing measures,” he

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Coronavirus Daily Read List

10 days ago

NEJM Group: Updates on the Covid-19 Pandemic http://m.n.nejm.org/nl/jsp/m.jsp?c=%40kxNtXckRDOq8oG0jJvAXsIzN4mPECIPhltxoTSdTU9k%3D&cid=DM89089_NEJM_COVID-19_Newsletter&bid=173498255: ‘From the New England Journal of Medicine, NEJM Journal Watch, NEJM Catalyst, and other trusted sources…

Worldometer: Coronavirus Update (Live) https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/…

Financial Times: Coronavirus Tracked https://www.ft.com/coronavirus-latest…

CDPH: nCoV2019 Updates https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx…

CDPH: News Releases 2020 https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPA/Pages/New-Release-2020.aspx…

Josh Marshall: Epidemic Science & Health Twitter List https://twitter.com/i/lists/1233998285779632128…

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-27 16:02:48

10 days ago

Heather Boushey: The Economist as Anesthetist: Putting the Economy Under and Bringing the Economy Back Up https://twitter.com/HBoushey/status/1242570985297117184: ‘In response to the #coronavirus crisis, the nationwide economic shutdown has put the economy “on ice” so that it can be ramped back up after the health crisis is addressed. Concerns about falling into a deep and protracted #coronavirus recession are exacerbated by historically high economic inequality, which makes the United States particularly vulnerable to economic shocks. Policymakers should keep income flowing by helping small businesses pay their bills, ensuring any corporate assistance helps workers, boosting unemployment insurance, and providing #paidleave. The U.S. is one of only three industrialized countries that

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-27 15:58:53

10 days ago

Claudia Sahm, Joel Slemrod, and Matthew Shapiro have the baton on the effects of direct payments to people in cushioning the fall in aggregate demand during a recession. There are good reasons to fear that this supply shock induced recession will be different. But at the moment it is the best we got: Claudia Sahm: ‘Research on payments to people in recessions… https://twitter.com/Claudia_Sahm/status/1243504127407243266 here are our past papers (with Joel Slemrod [and Matthew Shapiro]): 2008 payments: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~shapiro/papers/w15421.pdf. 2008 payments vs 2009-10 Making Work Pay tax credits: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~shapiro/papers/aejep2012.pdf. 2011-12 payroll tax cut: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~shapiro/papers/PayrollTaxes_SSS.pdf…

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-27 14:32:56

10 days ago

In a good world, Jim Stock would already be back in the Eisenhower old executive office building chairing the Council of Economic Advisors during this crisis. He is vastly more thoughtful, more confident, and more up to speed on the issues and the trade-offs that we face, economically, during this public health crisis. However, we are not in a good world. We are in a very bad one. Already, the United States his response to the coronavirus is the worst in the world. And it only looks as though the gap between us and other countries is going to grow over the next months: Jim Stock: Coronavirus: Data Gaps and the Policy Response https://www.jimstock.org/2020/03/coronavirus-data-gaps-and-policy.html: ‘Social distancing and business shutdowns… [affect] the case transmission rate β….

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-27 14:24:46

10 days ago

Let me endorse this as a thoughtful assessment of how important it is to keep the economy from sending anybody a "you are bankrupt: shut down" signal by the economy in this public health crisis. Instead, every business and every workers should be being sent a "you are, at most, on pause: be ready to resume" signal by the economy. How to make sure that signal is sent requires fiscal stimulus an order of magnitude greater than the $2.2 trillion currently in the headlines. For one thing, it requires tolerance of inflation, as prices of medical equipment and necessities rise and as social distancing temporarily reduces productivity elsewhere in the economy: Peter R. Orszag: Social Distancing Makes Sense Only With Huge Fiscal Stimulus

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-27 14:17:53

10 days ago

This is by a substantial margin the best thing I have seen on the coronavirus, and where we are with respect to it. My confidence that the Trump administration and the Republican senatorial majority are up to the task of organizing this is too low to measure: Richard Danzig and Marc Lipsitch: Prepare Now for the Long War Against Coronavirus https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-03-20/prepare-now-for-the-long-war-against-coronavirus: ‘It’s essential to clearly envision the problems we’ll face over the next 12 to 18 months and mobilize to respond right away. Here are five priority problems and the actions we should take now…. Minimizing errors and uncertainties about and maximizing confidence in our judgments about cure will soon become as important as present efforts at

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-27 14:10:42

10 days ago

What more can I say, other than that Jonathan Wagner is right?: Jonathan Wagner https://twitter.com/JonathanJWagner/status/1242451945115320321: ‘Donald Trump says: At 15 cases: "Within a couple of days, it’ll be close to zero". At 9,000 cases: "It’s a war. It’s a very tough situation". At 46,000 cases: We’re safe. Let’s reopen America. Are you ready to trust that kind of unstable judgment right now? I’m definitely not…

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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2020-03-27 14:08:08

10 days ago

As near as I can see, the Trump administration’s coronavirus strategy—if it can be said to have a strategy at all—is to dither, doing the very minimum that the public health experts drive it to do well hoping that coronavirus will, like the standard flu, meltaway as the northern hemisphere warms up in the spring. This is a very low odds existential Bette to be making. If anyone has any insight into why they are making it, I would appreciate being dropped a line. Here we have somebody who knows what he is talking about explaining why this is the most draw-to-an-inside-straightish draw to an inside straight: Marc Lipsitch: Seasonality of SARS-CoV-2: Will COVID-19 Go Away on Its Own in Warmer Weather? https://ccdd.hsph.harvard.edu/will-covid-19-go-away-on-its-own-in-warmer-weather/: ‘Even

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The Trump Administration’s Epic COVID-19 Failure: Project Syndicate

11 days ago

Project Syndicate: The Trump Administration’s Epic COVID-19 Failure https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trump-covid19-testing-failure-by-j-bradford-delong-2020-03: ‘Whereas many other countries afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic have pursued mass testing, quarantines, and other measures to reduce community transmission, the Trump administration has simply dithered. Although America could still shut down for a month to overcome the crisis, the sad truth is that it won’t. BERKELEY—Even to US President Donald Trump’s most ardent critics, his administration’s disastrous response to the COVID-19 pandemic has come as a surprise. Who would have guessed that Trump and his cronies would be so incompetent that merely testing for the disease would become a major bottleneck?

When

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