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John H. Cochrane

John H. Cochrane

In real life I'm a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. I was formerly a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. I'm also an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute. I'm not really grumpy by the way!

Articles by John H. Cochrane

Challenges for central banks.

6 days ago

On October 20, I was graciously invited to give a talk at the  ECB Conference on Monetary Policy: bridging science and practice. I survey six challenges facing central banks: 1. Interest rates and inflation; 2. Policy reviews; 3. Financial reform post 2008 4. New challenges to finance post covid; 5. The many risks ahead; 6. Central …

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Understanding the Left

13 days ago

This is an essay on politics. Some of my most valued readers have expressed they don’t enjoy my posts on politics. Fair enough, I’ll be back soon with commentary on monetary policy. See you later. This essay is part of a larger project from last fall, to understand what’s going on with the Woke movement in …

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The Philadelphia Statement

13 days ago

 While we’re at it, The Philadelphia Statement is another effort to broadcast the value of free speech and open inquiry, with 15163 signatories so far.  A few choice quotes: Our liberty and our happiness depend upon the maintenance of a public culture in which freedom and civility coexist—where people can disagree robustly, even fiercely, yet treat …

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Open letter on campus culture

14 days ago

Adam Ellwanger, Professor of English at the University of Houston, has organized an important open letter on campus culture. It has hundreds of signatories. You can sign too if you wish.  Campuses have been drifting left for a long time. But, as the letter notes, there is a new qualitative difference, that the bureaucratic machinery now compounds …

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Nobel guess

15 days ago

Covid has really hurt the annual Nobel Prize gossip in economics circles. Here’s my guess: Claudia Goldin and Tom Sowell. The last several decades have been amazingly productive in economics. There are dozens of economists who have made Nobel-worthy contributions, and the committee has a hard job sorting through just who should get it and when. Among …

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Should Stanford cancel Stanford? Many questions.

16 days ago

Stanford just announced that it will change the name of (David Starr) Jordan Hall, and remove the statue of Louis Agassiz that adorns it. See the link if you do not know who these people are. The announcement brings to mind an obvious question: How long can Stanford remain Stanford? Read paragraphs 4 and 9 of Leland Stanford’s …

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Video, talks, podcasts update

17 days ago

I have been remiss in posting links to videos, talks, and podcasts, for those of you who enjoy them.  Perhaps you have a long boring drive this weekend and NPR is driving you nuts. 1. An interview on MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) with my good friend Luigi Zingales from the University of Chicago Booth School, in …

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OECD talk — rebuilding institutions in the wake of Covid-19

17 days ago

Friday morning I had the pleasure of participating in a session at the OECD, as part of their program on Confronting Planetary Emergencies – Solving Human Problems. I had the tough job of following brilliant remarks by Acting CEA chair Tyler Goodspeed and Ken Rogoff, and discussing great questions all starting at 5 AM. FYI here …

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Contract enforcement with costly verification — Van Halen edition

19 days ago

From the Wall Street Journal Obituary A legacy of the band includes its contract riders—requests set as criteria for performance at a venue—particularly power and stage-construction requirements. Van Halen required a bowl of M&M’s to be placed in the band’s dressing room, with the brown candies removed—a test to make sure the contract was honored.Economists may …

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On Re-Education Programs

20 days ago

On Sept 22,  the White House put out an “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.” Media coverage has been curiously spotty. Reading the primary source is revealing.  One expects an executive order to consist of  a short list of things that can and cannot be done, like a regulation. This one is an …

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Artistic representation of government waste

21 days ago

“…the man‐and‐horse statue outside the FTC, which signifies the government’s heroic battle to strangle trade. ” Link from Chris Edwards proposed museum of government failures. (The actual title, “Man controlling trade,” is almost as good in an unintentional, new-Deal sort of way, but I like Chris’ better. )I was chatting with Chris and nominated the California high …

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Beat Covid Without a Vaccine

24 days ago

Beat Covid Without a Vaccine, with “frequent rapid at-home testing” write Larry Kotlikoff and Michael Mina in the Oct 2 WSJ. I’ve made this point many times before, as have Larry, Michael, and many others (Paul Romer especially) but this one is well written and concise, and the issue is so important it bears a …

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Political diversity at the AEA

25 days ago

Mitchell Langbert, writing in Econ Journal Watch documents the ratio of Democrat/Republican Party affiliation and campaign contributions in the American Economic Association. Here is the bottom lineThe most interesting part of the paper that the AEA skews more and more Democrat as you look higher up the hierarchy to who has more influence in the organization. Members …

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Belgian Doctors’ open letter on covid-19

27 days ago

A correspondent sent me a link to the Belgian Doctors’ open letter on covid-19. I found it original, documented, and worth reading and thinking about. It is at least an important contribution to a debate — and one of its big points, we should be having a debate. Science is still quite uncertain about much …

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Fifty shades of QE. Research in the bubble.

28 days ago

It always struck me that research inside the Fed seems to produce answers closer to the views of Fed officials than does research outside of the Fed. Perhaps my experience of reading a speech by Ben Bernanke one morning and attending a workshop by a Fed economist that found exactly his guess of the (implausibly …

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Growth and regulation

September 24, 2020

Is economic growth inexorably slowing down? Such is the depressing conclusion of Nick Bloom, Chad Jones, John Van Reenen, and Michael Webb, who showed in a very important paper that it is taking more and more effort to find new ideas. It is also the conclusion of Robert Gordon’s Rise and Fall of American Growth. They …

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Romer on testing

September 22, 2020

As part of an email conversation about testing, Paul Romer sent the following message. He so beautifully encapsulated the case for testing, I asked for permission to post his email. Here it is. Here is a short summary of the case for testing.1. A program of “test and isolate” will reduce the effective reproduction number, R.2. …

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Jacobin pandemic

September 22, 2020

Casey Mulligan tweeted an interesting report on the coronavirus from Jacobin online magazine as “makes the most sense.” Given that the Jacobins were “the most radical and ruthless of the political groups formed in the wake of the French Revolution, and in association with Robespierre they instituted the Terror of 1793–4.”(google dictionary) the link attracted my …

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Storm coming

September 19, 2020

I am very worried about how the next election will play out. I am more worried than most commenters, hence this post, because as an economist I predict people’s behavior by asking what is natural given their incentives and the rules of the game as they are. That thinking leads to a dark place.  Our …

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Muni haircuts

September 17, 2020

“Municipal bond investors have to share the burden in state bailouts” writes my colleague Josh Rauh, and he is exactly right.Background: State and local governments borrowed a lot of money and blew it. They borrowed further by not funding their pensions. Now covid comes along, people are fleeing cities, and they don’t have tax revenue …

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Altas agonistes

September 16, 2020

A group of Stanford faculty recently circulated, and then posted, an open letter objecting to my Hoover colleague Scott Atlas, who serves as a senior adviser to the Administration on health policy. Read the letter. Then come back for a little reading comprehension test.****Q1: What specific “falsehoods and misrepresentations” do they accuse Scott of making?Q2: Which …

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Debt podcast and reconciliation

September 15, 2020

 The Grumpy Economist podcast is back, with some thought on the debt issues from my last posts here and here.David Andofatto had some final thoughts at macro mania, with which I mostly agree. Yes a twitter/blog debate in macroeconomics produces agreement! Central points: 1) For these purposes a large sharp inflation and a default are not much …

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Fintech in chains

September 15, 2020

“Fintech can come out of the shadows” is the title that Wall Street Journal editors gave to  Brian Brooks and Charles Calomiris’ oped last week. I have not in a long time seen a title that more utterly contradicts the content of the essay.  For what they advocate is exactly the opposite: Fintech in chains, hemmed …

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Deflation

September 15, 2020

 For another purpose, I had reason to look up TIPS yields. The current Treasury Inflation-Protected Security (TIPS) yields are -1.27% (5 years) -0.98% (10 years) and, amazingly, -0.35% (30 years). You pay them 0.35% per year for a stable real value. I did not realize it was this low. The context. I serve on the advisory board …

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Latest Goodfellows

September 14, 2020

The latest Goodfellows discussion. Embedded, hopefully, here:  or direct link here. (Try that if the embed fails. Youtube has started censoring Hoover.) Podcast:

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Smoke and Nukes

September 9, 2020

 I was driving in Northern California on Labor Day, contemplating the 1-2 mile visibility in thick smoke through the Central Valley, and listening to NPR, when an enticing story came along. Amna Nawaz:For a closer look at what’s behind that heat wave and what’s fueling these fires, I’m joined by Leah Stokes, she’s a professor and …

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More on debt

September 7, 2020

Following my last post on debt I’ve thought a bit more, and received some very useful emails from colleagues. A central clarifying thought emerges. The main worry I have about US debt is the possibility of a debt crisis. I outlined that in my last post, and (thanks again to correspondents) I’ll try to draw out the scenario …

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SALT

September 6, 2020

Chris Pullman and Richard Reeves at Brookings write opposing a reinstatement of the deduction for state and local taxes on the federal income tax. Jonathan Parker, a great economics tweeter, tweets approvingly, I offer a little more guarded approval. Yes, it’s praiseworthy when any organization in our politicized times criticizes the favored narrative of the party …

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Debt Matters

September 4, 2020

Debt Matters(This is a draft of an oped. I got done and saw it’s 1500 words, so I’m posting it for your enjoyment rather than go through a painful 600 word diet. Diet later. Maybe. ) Last week, the U.S. passed a milestone — US federal debt in private hands exceeded 100% of GDP. But does …

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