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Cardiff Garcia

Cardiff Garcia

Cardiff writes mostly about US macroeconomic issues, with daily excursions into other topics about which he claim no expertise. Before Alphaville, Cardiff spent a little more than two years as a reporter at Dow Jones Financial News covering investment banking, asset management, and private equity. Along the way he has written freelance pieces on a variety of other topics from behavioural psychology to Muay Thai, the latter also being a personal interest that involves frequently getting kicked in the shins (and torso, and head).

Articles by Cardiff Garcia

Podcast: Anne Case on mortality and morbidity in the 21st Century

4 days ago

[embedded content]Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.This week’s episode is a long, absorbing conversation with economist Anne Case, author of a blockbuster trilogy of papers on mortality and morbidity in the US. (The papers were co-authored by Angus Deaton, a previous Alphachat guest.)The first paper in the series was published in the summer of 2015, the second paper a few months after that, and the third paper was released just last month by Brookings.This research is best known for the startling discovery that middle-age mortality for American non-Hispanic whites had started climbing at the end of the 1990s after decades of progress, among other pessimistic trends. But the work goes much deeper than that, with Case and Deaton offering a tentative theory of “cumulative

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Trump to nominate pro-immigration free-trading globalist as CEA chair

18 days ago

Shot:America Needs more workers… With lackluster GDP growth threatening to become our new normal, allowing more immigrants to enter for the sake of employment is one of the few policies that might restore our old normal. If the U.S. doubled its total immigration and prioritized bringing in new workers, it could add more than half a percentage point a year to expected GDP growth.Chaser: Understanding the role of the United States in the global economyLiberalized trade — in broadly multilateral, regional, or bilateral agreements — is a key ingredient in the recipe for prosperity. … An absolute prerequisite for long-term economic growth is full participation in the global economy and trading system.Maybe one more shot, it’s Friday: Analysis of the economic effects of immigration reform … This

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Podcast: An all-media Alphachat episode

18 days ago

[embedded content]Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.Long form recommendations:Shannon — Lincoln and the Bardo, George Saunders essay in The GuardianCardiff — Filmstruck.com

Introducing Alphachat, the FT Alphaville podcast
Podcast bleg: Alphachat returns
Sal Arnuk on high frequency trading
Alphachat returns
Snap

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Snap AV: deflation to reflation to stability to…

22 days ago

Our running theory behind the ongoing reflationary trend has always been that it was less about hopes of a bigly stimulative fiscal agenda enacted by Donald Trump, and more about the reality that last year’s acute fears of a significant global slowdown proved unfounded.But a good narrative is seductive, and the election of Trump provided a neat one:The graphic comes via the latest quarterly economics update by the Credit Suisse economics team. A bit more of interest from the report:The recent focus on “reflation” is reminiscent of the mania surrounding “deflation” in early 2015 (Figure 1). And for all the thought about risks, and the market repricing that occurred at the time, we would observe that two years later the world is not in deflation, and everyone is now talking about

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Podcast: Robert Cialdini on how persuasion works in business and politics (transcript)

22 days ago

[embedded content]Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.Joining me this week was Robert Cialdini, a psychologist who pioneered the systematic study of persuasion with his book Influence, published in 1984. He has just published a sequel, Pre-Suasion.In our chat, we discuss the outburst of recent commentary on persuasion in a “post-fact” world, why our decisions don’t belong exclusively to us, how attention is best captured and kept, and the ethics of persuasion tactics. But perhaps the timeliest part of our conversation came at the end — the use of persuasion in politics, why incumbents have such a powerful advantage, and a look at the methods of persuasion deployed by Donald Trump and Barack Obama. (Cialdini was part of a team of behavioural scientists that advised

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Podcast: How economics has evolved since the crisis

March 17, 2017

[embedded content]Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.Noah Smith, an economist who writes at Bloomberg View and on his personal blog, makes his second appearance on Alphachat. Economics methodology is a frequent subject of Noah’s columns, and I was keen for a podcast segment appraising how economics has evolved since the crisis.Among the issues discussed:— How the study of inequality became prominent and more granular— Productivity-growth stagnation (supply-side stagnation)— Secular stagnation (demand-side stagnation)— GDP measurement— Resurgence, or at least re-acceptance, of Keynesian economics (specifically the use of fiscal policy as demand management to escape from a deep recession, plus IMF volte-face on austerity, etc)— Separability of supply and demand questioned,

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Donald Trump: Peronist? A chat with Sebastian Edwards on populist economics (transcript)

March 13, 2017

Along with the late Rudi Dornbusch, the Chilean economist Sebastian Edwards produced seminal work on the economics of populism starting in the late 1980s and has continued to study the topic for decades.I cited the work of Edwards and Dornbusch in a recent FT column and then asked Edwards to join me for an episode of Alphachat.For those of you who don’t listen to podcasts, the full transcript is below, lightly edited for clarity and length. Or just click here to open a pdf version if you prefer that format. Enjoy the chat.Cardiff Garcia How did you first start becoming interested in the economics of populism?Sebastian Edwards Well, anyone that was born in Latin America and is interested in economics unavoidably ends up, sooner or later – sooner, in general – worrying about populism.The

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Podcast: Erica Grieder on the Texas model

March 10, 2017

[embedded content]Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.Our guest for this episode was Erica Grieder, a journalist and author of Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas.The state of Texas is often stereotyped and thus easily misunderstood. But its economic model — low taxes, light regulation, not much spending on public services — appears to have worked quite well for it. The model allows for meaningful exceptions such as an industrial policy that privileges the interests of businesses and entrepreneurs, and it includes a willingness to learn from earlier mistakes. One example was the implementation of tight restrictions on mortgage lending in response to an earlier lending bust, allowing Texas to escape some of the worst

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Podcast: An experiment in Kenya

March 3, 2017

[embedded content]Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.UBI in Kenya[00:47]Annie Lowrey discusses her recent piece in the New York Times Magazine, “The Future of Not Working”, about the implementation of a universal basic income in Kenyan villages. The pilot project is the work of GiveDirectly, a US-based nonprofit.An excerpt from her story:The nonprofit is in the process of registering roughly 40 more villages with a total of 6,000 adult residents, giving those people a guaranteed, 12-year-long, poverty-ending income. An additional 80 villages, with 11,500 residents all together, will receive a two-year basic income. With this initiative, GiveDirectly — with an office in New York and funded in no small part by Silicon Valley — is starting the world’s first true test of a

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Podcast: Newly conceivable ideas in economics

February 17, 2017

[embedded content]Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.Alphachat’s guest this week was Martin Sandbu, economics writer at the FT and author of the daily Free Lunch newsletter, which we highly recommend.Martin has written extensively about both the appeal of a Universal Basic Income and the ways in which economics should re-orient itself in the wake of the financial crises and deep recessions of the past decade. We asked Martin to join us for a chat about UBI and other ideas in economics that once would have been considered radical or excessive, but which now are the subject of serious debate. We focused especially on the potential for these ideas to directly alleviate problems in the labour market and regional inequalities.

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Snap AV: immigration and the US labour force

February 17, 2017

The net effect of immigration on the employment and wages of US-born workers is often the source of contentious debates.Less in dispute, which is unsurprising given that it’s a matter of simple arithmetic, is the effect of immigration on the growth of the US population and prime-age labour force. From a recent note by Goldman Sachs economists, emphasis ours:Immigration plays an important role in US population dynamics. Net immigration has contributed 0.3- 0.4pp to total annual US population growth over the last 25 years (Exhibit 1). As the rate of natural population increase—the birth rate minus the death rate—has declined from 0.9 percentage points (pp) in the early 1990s to about 0.4pp recently, the contribution from net immigration to total population growth has risen from 30% in the

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Podcast: The brief history of Airbnb, and what’s next

February 10, 2017

[embedded content]Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.Leigh Gallagher joins Shannon and me to discuss her new book, The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions . . . and Created Plenty of Controversy.Among the topics we covered:— The personalities of the three founders, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk— Airbnb’s controversies over safety, discrimination, and its battle with hotels— How Airbnb is run differently from its sharing-economy peer Uber— That Super Bowl commercial— How landlords and designers are adapting to Airbnb’s success— Its planned expansionAn excerpt from Leigh’s book can be found at Fortune.

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Podcast: Steven Johnson on how play shaped the modern world

February 3, 2017

[embedded content]Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.Our guest for the entire episode was Steven Johnson, author of the new book Wonderland: How Play Shaped the Modern World, a new history of how our amusements — the things we do and see for pleasure, wonder, enchantment — often have astonishing effects in the more serious realms of life much later on.An excerpt from the book’s introduction:The programmable pen of Jaquet-Droz’s writer — or Merlin’s dancer and her “irresistible eyes — would be as telling a clue about that future as anything happening in Parliament or on the battlefield, foreshadowing the rise of mechanized labor, the digital revolution, robotics, and artificial intelligence.This book is an extended argument for that kind of clue: a folly, dismissed by many

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Podcast: Michael Mauboussin reflects on thirty years of markets, cognitive biases, luck vs skill, and more

January 27, 2017

[embedded content]Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.Michael Mauboussin, head of global financial strategies at Credit Suisse, joins us again to discuss his recent paper, Thirty years: The ten attributes of great investors. The paper is a reflection on much of what Michael has learned about investing throughout his career, and how the investment landscape has changed over time. Michael thinks deeply about epistemological issues and cognitive biases. One of his books, The Success Equation, is about the difficulty of untangling the roles of luck and skill in our lives.Here’s an excerpt from the opening to the paper:My first breakthrough occurred when a classmate in my training program handed me a copy of Creating Shareholder Value by Alfred Rappaport. Reading that book was

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Trump stays the populist course in first speech as President

January 20, 2017

The inaugural speech of US President Donald J Trump (yes, it feels as strange for us to write as for you to read) sounded much like the speeches of candidate Donald J Trump, with little detectable change in either substance or tone.He did leave out some of his more common, incendiary taglines and made no mention of actually policy ideas — nothing about Obamacare repeal or Muslim bans, and no attacks on the press — but what he left in would have been familiar to anyone paying attention these last couple of years.The speech started with a promise to “rebuild our country and restore its promise”. This was an unavoidably awkward phrasing given that Barack Obama watched just a few seats away. Trump then proceeded to lament the “mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities,

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What do Americans actually think about the issues that Trump is loudest about?

January 18, 2017

With all the usual caveats that attend such polls and surveys, let’s start with immigration.A Pew survey finds that American views of immigrants have improved throughout the Obama years, representing a complete reversal of what they were twenty years ago:Americans are also more likely than people from other countries to say that ethnic and racial diversity “makes their country a better place to live”. This includes almost half (about 47 per cent) of Americans who identify themselves as conservative:A poll taken last year by Gallup finds that slightly more than seven out of ten Americans believe that on the whole, immigration is a good thing. In the same poll, roughly six out of ten people would like immigration either to stay at its present level or to increase:The story becomes more

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Podcast: the social media we deserve

January 13, 2017

[embedded content]Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.Emily Parker on the social media we deserveEmily Parker, author of the book Now I Know Who My Comrades Are, joined us this week to discuss her latest article, Why we can’t fix Twitter. Here’s an excerpt:Imagine that a Silicon Valley start-up created an online discussion platform precisely to address this problem. There would be no trolls or shouting matches. Shrill sound bites would be replaced by measured conversations. Users would span the political spectrum, allowing for civil exchanges among people with different views.“Wow,” you’d probably say. “The world needs a platform like that, especially right now!” You’d sign up. Then, you’d go right back to Twitter.How do I know this? Because we created that alternative

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Podcast: Language, truth, and Trump

December 9, 2016

Our guest on this week’s show is Joe Weisenthal, executive editor of Bloomberg Markets and co-anchor of the TV show, What’d You Miss?. But before he got all Walter Cronkite, Joe was a blogger. And his bloggy sensibility still informs the way he writes and speaks about markets and the media.The topic of our chat was Joe’s excellent piece on how Donald Trump’s use of language — simple, visual, repetitive, bellicose — fits so well into a new “post-literate” age. Here’s an excerpt:In his most famous work, “Orality and Literacy,” Ong examined how the invention of reading and writing fundamentally changed human consciousness. He argued that the written word wasn’t just an extension of the spoken word, but something that opened up new ways of thinking — something that created a whole new

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Podcast: Language, literacy, truth and Trump

December 9, 2016

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Our guest on this week’s show is Joe Weisenthal, executive editor of Bloomberg Markets and co-anchor of the TV show, What’d You Miss?. But before he got all Walter Cronkite, Joe was a blogger. And his bloggy sensibility still informs the way he writes and speaks about markets and the media. The topic of our chat was Joe’s excellent piece on how Donald Trump’s use of language — simple, visual, repetitive, bellicose — fits so well into a new “post-literate” age. Here’s an excerpt:Continue reading: Podcast: Language, literacy, truth and Trump

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Podcast: Keynes vs Hayek — who’s winning now?

December 2, 2016

Keynesian economics becomes increasingly relevant during economic slumps, while Hayekian politics gains in relevance for economics during times of full employment. Given the supreme confidence of both men, I suspect that neither Keynes nor Hayek would be thrilled that this is the way things turned out.Keynes likely would not have thought his ideas less relevant when the economy is near full employment and inflation is picking up. Counter-cyclical demand management also meant knowing when to reign in spending. Governments should not continue their aggressive deficit-financing even into a boom, an especially acute risk when incumbent politicians are tempted to boost their electoral chances through popular spending programs. Keynes explicitly told Hayek that he would be happy to smack down

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Podcast: Miriam Leiva, Cuban dissident, on the death of Fidel Castro

December 1, 2016

About a year ago, we interviewed Miriam Leiva about the life of her late husband, Oscar Espinosa Chepe, a Cuban economist who was persecuted by Fidel Castro’s security services andMiriam is herself an independent journalist and dissident, and was among those who met with Barack Obama during his historic visit to Cuba earlier this year.Following the death of Fidel Castro last weekend, we called Miriam and spoke with her on the phone about her reaction, what it means to Cubans, and her hopes and fears about a Trump presidency.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don’t cut articles from FT.com and

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Podcast: the Trump economy

November 11, 2016

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This episode about Trump’s potential effects on financial markets and the economy was cohosted by my Alphaville colleagues Alex Scaggs and Matt Klein, and we were also joined for a segment by NYU finance professor Aswath Damodaran.
Continue reading: Podcast: the Trump economy

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Election AV: pot play

November 9, 2016

FT Alphaville will be blogging throughout election night, and you should also follow the FT’s real-time live blog.
On the ballot in five states is marijuana legalisation, with potential consequences not just for the continuation of the trend itself but also for how the market for pot will evolve.
States deciding on recreational marijuana on #ElectionNight:
-Arizona-California-Maine-Massachusetts-Nevadahttps://t.co/XH32tJvqnL pic.twitter.com/c03MBR24lC
— CNN (@CNN) November 8, 2016

Here’s a handy explanation from Ilya Somin of The Volokh Conspiracy:
Ignored in the tumult of the presidential race is the fact that the 2016 election may be a milestone in the struggle to end marijuana prohibition. Five states – Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada – all have marijuana

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Election AV: a simple guide to tonight’s polls

November 8, 2016

FT Alphaville will be blogging throughout election night, and you should also follow the FT’s real-time live blog.
An excellent graphic from the FT’s data team showing the times that polls close in swing states and, based on 2012 results, when we might expect the states to be called for the winner — click to embiggen:

And for more detail, try this post from Scott Clemons of Brown Brothers Harriman. (HT Robin Wigglesworth.)

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Election AV: the record-low favourability of both candidates

November 8, 2016

FT Alphaville will be blogging throughout election night, and you should also follow the FT’s real-time live blog.
Here’s a striking chart from BCA Research showing the net favourability ratings of presidential candidates going back to the 1950s. Regardless of who wins, the next president will have had the lowest such ratings of any winning candidate in more than a half-century. If Hillary Clinton wins, she will have the lowest net favourability ratings of any candidate other than the one who opposed her.

Also worth noting is that the job approval rating for President Obama, who campaigned actively for Clinton in the closing weeks, was a very high 56% heading into election day.
(Also, anyone else surprised at Nixon’s favourability ratings in each of his campaigns?)
UPDATE: And here are

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Further reading, epic special edition for US Election Day (and beyond)

November 8, 2016

The stench is pungent and the garments have been rended, the social fabric asunder torn, youthful innocence lacerated, palpitations shocked, the nerves frayed and the beards greyed, the lifespan shortened, populace fatigued, goodwill corroded, the mercy absent.
That might be a tad hyperbolic. And yet as interminable as it has felt, on Tuesday the US election will blessedly end after Americans cast their votes for the beleaguered lefty technocrat or the erratic bunk-vomiting tangerine.
But even once it is over, people will continue to wonder: What the flying wall clock is all this about? Discerning American voters and caring global citizens — yeah WHAT — have struggled to answer this question ever since this decomposing sewage pit of an election season started last year.
Plenty of gaps in

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Podcast: the economics of marriage and parenting

November 4, 2016

Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.
Aimee and I reunited with Alphachat cohost Shannon Bond, who is now on maternity leave, to discuss the economics of becoming a new parent. Then, Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell visits us in the studio to talk about her columns on shifting marriage trends and their potential societal and economic significance.
Research and other writing in this week’s episode
— U.S. Parents Are Sweating And Hustling To Pay For Child Care (NPR)
— Economic insecurity rises around childbirth, explained in four charts (Center for Equitable Growth)
— The dynamics of household economic circumstances around a birth (Alexandra Stanczyk)
— Parenthood and Productivity of Highly Skilled Labor: Evidence from the Groves of Academe (Matthias Krapf,

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