Yesterday, I gave a keynote talk at the tenth American Economic Association Conference on Teaching and Research in Economic Education (CTREE). I have been teaching economics for 53 years. I love teaching economics. I love researching economics. And I love doing policy in economics. So it was a pleasure to talk about teaching economics, and the questions from other economic teachers and researchers in the audience were really good. Here are the slides. I talked mainly about teaching introductory economics. My main message is that students and teachers have benefited greatly, and can benefit greatly, from the new technology–including Zoom– but that basic economic ideas still work just fine when applied to the recent pandemic around the world, especially if we learn how to use theRead More »
Articles by John Taylor
Yesterday, at the Hoover Economic Policy Working Group (EPWG), David Splinter of the Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation discussed a paper he wrote with Gerald Auten of the Office of Tax Analysis at the Department of Treasury. A video of Splinter’s presentation, including many questions and answers, is posted on the EPWG web page here along with the paper “Income Inequality in the United States: Using Tax Data to Measure Long-term Trends” My internet went down so the video is really nice to have. There are also links there to Splinter’s excellent web page.
The paper and presentation explore in fascinating detail various data sources that bear on the widely reported finding of Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez that the income distribution has widened. By adjusting for keyRead More »
In a new paper I examine the ways for the Fed to engage in a reentry to a rules-based monetary policy. For several years, starting around 2017, the Fed had begun to move to a rules-based monetary policy that had worked well in the US in the 1980s, 1990s, and in other years. Many papers were written at the Fed about the benefits, and the Fed began to report on rules-based policy in its Monetary Policy Report.
That move was interrupted in the first quarter of 2020 when COVID-19 hit. The Fed took a number of actions to deal with the effects and by most accounts these actions were special and were not consistent with rules-based policies. The Fed also stopped reporting on rules-based policy in its Monetary Policy Report.
Later in 2020 the Fed completed a review of its monetaryRead More »
This spring we will be offering an open online version of the Principles of Economics course. To get more information and sign up, go to https://www.edx.org/course/principles-of-economics. The course begins on Monday, March 29, 2021. It is self-paced so students can move ahead at the most appropriate pace. The video-lectures are based on my Stanford course. People who watch the video-lectures and take short quizzes can earn a Certificate. There is an on-line forum on which Yiming He and I will be commenting and answering questions.
This on-line course covers all of economics at a basic level. It stresses the key idea that economics is about making purposeful choice with limited resources and about people interacting with other people as they make these choices. Most of thoseRead More »
Today the Federal Open Market Committee described its upcoming plans for the federal funds rate through 2023. It is good, as I wrote last month on this blog that “Rules Are Back In The Fed’s Monetary Policy Report,” after a short absence, but it would more helpful if the Fed incorporated some of these rules or strategy ideas into its actual decisions.
Apparently this did not happen, as the chart below shows. The chart gives the FOMC’s projection of the federal funds rate and three different rules-based paths for the federal funds rate through 2023. This FOMC projection is the “value of the midpoint of the projected appropriate target range for the federal funds rate or the projected appropriate target level for the federal funds rate at the end of the specified calendar year,”Read More »
The Federal Reserve’s latest Monetary Policy Report just released on February 19, 2021 has a whole section on monetary policy rules. That policy rules are back in the Report is a very welcome development. It re-initiates a helpful reporting approach that began in the July 2017 Monetary Policy Report, as I discussed here, when Janet Yellen was Fed chair. The approach continued under Chair Jay Powell in 2018, 2019 and early 2020, but it was dropped in July of last year. The good news is that it is back.
Five rules are discussed in the February 2021 Monetary Policy Report, especially on pages 45 through 48. To quote the Report, these include “the well-known Taylor (1993) rule, the ‘balanced approach’ rule, the ‘adjusted Taylor (1993)’ rule, and the ‘first difference; rule. InRead More »
The new one-hour program “Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World,” is a must watch. Beautifully narrated by Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal, it tells the amazing life story of Thomas Sowell, born in 1930 in North Carolina, raised by a great aunt after both his parents died, moved to Harlem at 8 years old, joined the Marines, went to Harvard for college and Chicago for a Ph.D., taught at Cornell and UCLA, finally settled at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and in the process became “one of the greatest minds,” as Riley puts it, “of the past half century.”
Free to Choose Network just announced that they are releasing this fascinating documentary “for airing on public television stations across the country – and for streaming on Amazon Prime,Read More »
Exactly one year ago, on January 15-17, 2020, a special meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society was held at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. The Mont Pelerin Society was founded in 1947 for the “preservation and improvement of the free society,” and the 2020 meeting was the 40th anniversary of the meeting held at Stanford in 1980.
It is difficult to even think about all that has happened in the year since that meeting. The Coronavirus—not even mentioned at that meeting a year ago—has wreaked havoc around the world, and changed government policy in major ways. Nevertheless, the presentations at the meeting are still quite relevant, perhaps more relent than ever before, as a host of speakers presented new ideas and actions for a free society, looking at the past asRead More »
Last week at the American Economic Association meetings, held online, many papers focused on Covid-19. A good example was the session organized by Dominick Salvatore which included Jan Eberly, Raghu Rajan, Carmen Reinhart, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, and me. Most papers focused on the economic policy impact of the Coronavirus. I focused the “supply side” policies rather than on the “demand side” policies. Using a simple model, key facts naturally emerge if one simply divides retail sales into store-sales versus non-store-sales or electronic sales. To see this, take a look at these three figures.
The first figure shows that the onslaught of the pandemic in the second quarter of 2020 immediately caused a sharp decline in retail sales less non-store sales in the UnitedRead More »
Today I published an article in Project Syndicate called “The Stampede from Silicon Valley.” The fact-based message of the article is clear: Tax, regulatory, and other economic burdens that firms face in California are creating a stampede to other parts of the country—especially Texas. There are many examples–Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Oracle, Tesla, and even venture-capital firms like 8VC, who announced the exodus with an WSJ op-ed. State and local policymakers, who want to prevent an even larger outbound stampede, need get to work. There are some positive signs to build on, such as the California voters’ approval of Proposition 22, which frees up gig workers, and the voters’ rejection of Proposition 15, which would raise taxes on business. As one of the recent departures fromRead More »
As the Wall Street Journal reported and I tweeted yesterday, Senators Chuck Schumer and Patrick Toomey made important news when they agreed that with the new Coronavirus relief legislation, “the $429 billion would be revoked and the Fed wouldn’t be able to replicate identical emergency lending programs next year without congressional approval”
This is a welcome development because it is a start on the best monetary road back to a stronger economy. With the vaccines on the way and with markets functioning again, this is the time for the Fed to get back to a more rules-based monetary policy that it was moving toward before the pandemic struck.
This favorable development owes much to the outspoken insistence and careful reasoning of Senator Toomey. He argued that the Fed’s newRead More »
Today is George Shultz’s 100th birthday. There were so many wonderful celebrations and tributes, and many more to come. My family—Allyn, John, Jennifer, Josh, Olivia, Andrew, Jack, and I—walked over to his house and sang Happy Birthday as loud as we could. Many of the beautiful special tributes are summarized here https://www.hoover.org/george-p-shultz-100-celebration
At a Hoover Fellows Roundtable on economics and national security, I started by quoting something George Shultz said almost 50 years ago when he served as Secretary of the Treasury.
“Economists have a particular responsibility to relate policy decisions to the maintenance of freedom, so that when the combination of special interest groups, bureaucratic pressures, and congressional appetites, calls for stillRead More »
I gave the Peter G. Peterson Distinguished Lecture on “National Security and Fiscal Policy” at the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) in New York last week. Henry Fernandez gave a kind introduction and Tom Michaud moderated with great points. And thanks to FPA for the book edited by Michael Auslin and Noel Lateef, American in the World 2020.
Four years ago, Paul O’Neill gave the Inaugural Peter G. Peterson Lecture. Pete Peterson was in the audience. Paul and I served together in the George W. Bush Treasury, and we became good friends. Paul focused on the deficit in the 2016 lecture; he learned from Pete and I learned from both. Last year, another good friend, John Lipsky gave the Peter G. Peterson Lecture, and he wondered creatively how long the economic expansion would last. ItRead More »
The following article by John Cogan and me responds to commentary on our Wall Street Journal article and emphasizes the importance of economic policy.
The Importance of Economic Policy in the 2020 Election
John F. Cogan and John B. Taylor
October 11, 2020
We published an article in the Wall Street Journal last Wednesday entitled Trump’s “Economic Dream Come True.” It generated a huge amount of commentary, both via the Wall Street Journal’s on-line platform and on social media more generally, including many entries on Twitter.
Our main purpose in writing the article was to make the point that the strong and broad-based growth in the U.S. economy since early 2017 up to the onset of the Covid pandemic is a result of the sound economic policies of lower tax rates andRead More »
We just finished the second week of Economics 1, Stanford’s introductory economics course, and the namesake of this blog and my twitter account. So far it has been fun, and for the same reasons that I mentioned years ago when I started teaching the course: (1) “I love to teach.” (2) “I love to do economic research” and teaching is “a natural extension of research.” (3) “I love economic policy—the application of economics to government as well as to decision-making in business.” I hope learning economics is as much fun for the students.
But things are so much different now. A year ago, I gave lectures in a large lecture hall, Stanford’s Cemex Auditorium. It is all online now, and virtual and remote. Students Zoom in to the lectures and the smaller sections taught by aRead More »
In a new Policy Brief just released by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Jack Mallery and I show that In-person and online learning go together
Yes, America must prioritize in-person K-12 elementary and secondary schools as soon as it is safely possible. Quality in-person learning is essential.
But America must also increase on-line access whether or not in-person schools open now or later Data available since the start of the pandemic has revealed a big educational divide in on-line access. It is much less available for people who have low income.
Unfortunately, the in-person versus on-line issue has become polarized politically with the presidential campaigns and other campaigns staking out strong positions on one side or the other. But the choice should not
The importance of remittance flows to low and middle income countries is the subject of an important recent tweet from William Easterly @bill_easterly. His tweet includes this amazing chart:
What is most striking about the chart is the sharp increase in remittance flows around 2002 and 2003. But why? This was the time that there was a huge new emphasis on the potential importance of these flows. It was also a time when a special policy effort was made to keep the flow of remittances going and increase them with the new proposals and initiatives. Could there have been a connection? It is also important to remember that some efforts were made to counter pressures to combat the flows because of concerns about the funds going to terrorists.
I was Under Secretary of Treasury for
Yes. That’s the San Francisco Chronicle digital headline, and it’s true all over the United States of America, with some exceptions like Mount Rushmore last night and DC tonight. Back in 2010, I started writing on each July 4th about the the exploding fireworks and comparing them to the exploding long term projections of the federal debt by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The exploding debt charts looked so much like the exploding Fourth of July fireworks, as you can see blogs from year’s past 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
One can only hope that such writings and opeds and testimonies had some influence, and it is good that the budget situation improved compared to some of the earlier projections. But this year, not only are fireworks missing, so are
Thomas Sowell has a new book. It is terrific and timely. It is called Charter Schools and Their Enemies, officially published today, June 30, 2020, which happens to be his 90th birthday. Happy Birthday, Tom, and thank you writing such a beautiful book.
The book and his recent Wall Street Journal article “Charter Schools’ Enemies Block Black Success” about the book, focus on the enormous success of charter schools in delivering better education, especially to the predominantly black and Hispanic students in low income neighborhoods. One example, discussed especially in the Wall Street Journal article, is the Success Academy in New York City. The Success Academy started back in 2006, and it has grown from 1 to 47 schools. And it is a success. All involved—those with the idea, the
This summer we will again be offering Stanford’s Principles of Economics course online. The course is more important than ever.
We will offer a for-credit online Principles of Economics course for matriculated Stanford students, students from other colleges and universities, and high school students in Stanford’s Summer Session. To register for the course, go here. The course starts on Monday, June 22 with the first week’s video-lectures and other course content. This is the same as the on-campus course, Economics 1, which I give at Stanford during the academic year, and it fulfills all the same requirements. In addition to watching the video-lectures online, you get course credit by doing regular weekly graded homework, taking three tests online, and participating in a weekly
A pressing research issue with deep policy relevance concerns how econometric models should be adapted, changed, or modified in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. A new Webinar series–Macroeconomic Modelling and Pandemics–has been created to examine this issue, to exchange views among researchers, and to bring more attention to the policy questions.
Here is a list of topics in the series on the Hoover website, including previews of coming attractions with more to come. You are welcome to click on a topic, watch the video, or inquire about future events. Videos of presentations and question/answer sessions will be posted, as have been recent ones including by Harald Uhlig on “Macroeconomic Dynamics and Reallocation in an Epidemic,” Mathias Trabandt on “The Macroeconomics of Epidemics,”
Two months ago, on March 14, 2020, we cancelled our annual Hoover monetary policy conference at Stanford on “Central Bank Strategy Reviews and Their Global Impact” then scheduled for May 1, 2020. The reason was that Stanford declared that “university units should cancel or postpone events they are hosting that involve more than 50 participants.” We were all were disappointed, as the conference was to give a careful review of the monetary policy reviews of the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve, building on the experience of the May 2019 Hoover monetary conference.
But in the weeks since March 14, monetary policy has changed so dramatically that the issues are much bigger and more fundamental than a review of review would suggest. Effective March 16, 2020, the Federal Open
Deepak Lal, an outspoken champion of freedom and market‐oriented policies throughout the world, died yesterday in London. I heard the sad news from my friend Ed Feulner who called on the phone tonight, and I just read the beautiful tribute by Ian Vasquez Remembering Deepak Lal. Deepak was professor emeritus at UCLA and the University College London, and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He earlier worked at the Indian Foreign Service, advised the Indian Planning Commission, and wrote many good books.
Deepak also served as President of the Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) from 2008-2010, and he and his wife Barbara attended the most recent meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society at the Hoover Institution at Stanford in January 15-17 of this year, where he gave the closing toast as shown
Seven years ago, I decided to create an on-line version of the on-campus Principles of Economics course—we call it Econ 1—that I had been giving for many years. I recall that we spent a lot of time and effort on this project back in 2013. Each day after giving a lecture to hundreds of students, I went to a recording studio and gave the same lecture, but divided it into shorter segments, designed for easier on-line viewing. We edited the videos, mixing in graphs, photos, quizzes and dynamic illustrations. We captioned and indexed the videos for easy searching. We put the videos on a fun and easy-to-use on-line platform. We added review and study material to the platform and set up small on-line discussion sections and chat rooms. We provided links to make a complete self-containedRead More »
Section 2201 of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act authorizes direct payments, “Recovery Rebates,” to individual households and families. The Section is called the “2020 Recovery Rebates for Individuals” and is estimated to total $300 billion–the sum of $1,200 to individuals ($2,400 for joint returns) plus $500 for each qualifying child. The amount is reduced for taxpayers earning over $75,000 annually (or $150,000 for joint returns) with no payments for individual taxpayers earning over $90,000. The useful Stimulus Check Calculator from Kiplinger’s gives more details.
While understandable on pure humanitarian grounds, these payments should be expedited it they are to benefit the economy as it is hit by negative shocks during the pandemic. It is good
Today I published a column in Project Syndicate on fiscal policy. I am positive about pro-growth effects of the tax reform in the 2017 tax act and of the greater use of cost-benefit analysis in the recent regulatory reform effort. And the recent trade deals—the USMCA and “phase one” with China—take away some threats of trade wars.
But there is still a fiscal policy problem due to the growing federal budget deficit and debt. Fortunately, this problem can be addressed in way that promotes economic growth. Showing how this can be done with structural budget reform is the purpose of the column.
One issue, however, is taking steam out of such a structural reform effort. It is a new focus on reform of the automatic stabilizer part of the budget. But these automatic stabilizers do not need
The Hoover Institution has initiated a fascinating Perspectives on Policy video series in which experienced experts give clear explanations of key policy issues assisted by the latest in animation technology. This is not the typical video of talking heads as you might expect. In this imaginative series tabletop cartoon figures join the experts, move around the screen, bend and twist to show emotions, and even wave at each other from time to time. Topics range from economics, including government entitlement reform and innovative market-based environmental policies, to politics, including health care and immigration.
This week Perspectives on Policy launched a whole new 5-minute video on monetary policy and the Federal Reserve.
I do most of the talking in this video, but I am joined
Yesterday I testified at the Committee on the Budget of the House of Representative. John Yarmuth chaired, and Steve Womack was the ranking member. The Committee titled the hearing “Reexamining the Economic Costs of Debt,” which was quite different from the title “Why Congress Must Balance the Budget” of a hearing of the same House Committee at which I testified only a few years ago in 2015.
At the earlier hearing I showed that basic economic theory grounded in real world data implies that high federal government debt has a cost: it reduces real GDP and real income per household compared to lower debt levels. At yesterday’s hearing I reported that a reexamination of the economic costs yields the same results. A fiscal consolidation plan which reduced debt to GDP would lead to an
Today we remember September 11, 2001 and all that has happened in the 18 years since then.
I was in a hotel room in Tokyo when the first plane hit the World Trade Center, recently sworn in as Under Secretary at Treasury. We immediately cancelled our meetings and by the next morning we were on a C-17 military jet Flying Back to Treasury on 9/11. When we got back, the city was on alert. DC was a logical place for another attack, and the secret service was particularly concerned about security around the White House. The United States then launched its first post-9/11 attack on terrorists from a very unusual Financial Front in the War on Terror. As President George W. Bush put it, “the first shot in the war was when we started cutting off their money, because an Al Qaeda organization
Two weeks from today, I start teaching Economics 1, Stanford’s introductory economics course, and the namesake of this blog and my twitter account. I am looking forward to it, and for the same three reasons that I gave years ago when I started teaching the course: (1) “I love to teach.” (2) “I love to do economic research” and teaching is “a natural extension of research.” (3) “I love economic policy—the application of economics to government as well as to decision-making in business.”
But things have changed dramatically since I started teaching this course decades ago. In many ways, it is like a whole new course. And that’s exciting for me and for students. Economics 1 is more important now than ever as the world becomes more computerized and quantified. The course now shows