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Miles Kimball

Miles Kimball

Miles Kimball is Professor of Economics and Survey Research at the University of Michigan. Politically, Miles is an independent who grew up in an apolitical family. He holds many strong opinions—open to revision in response to cogent arguments—that do not line up neatly with either the Republican or Democratic Party.

Articles by Miles Kimball

How Story Has Become Central to Advertising

2 days ago

They routinely ask some of life’s deepest questions: Who are you? What do you care about? What are your goals in life? What do you struggle with? What do you love and hate?
But these are not psychiatrists or spiritual advisers; they’re marketers probing consumers to figure out why we buy. Whether it’s sleek sports cars, laundry detergents, or cellphones, mapping the views and yearnings of potential buyers helps these specialists construct ad campaigns and brand identities. Though people say they buy for rational reasons like effectiveness or price, the truth is that they often make purchases for more complex reasons, so marketers dig deep with their pitches, targeting our values, fears, and aspirations. And these days the preferred delivery vehicle is often a story.
“It always starts

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Reza Moghadam Flags ‘Enabling Deep Negative Rates to Fight Recessions’ in the Financial Times

4 days ago

I announced Ruchir Agarwal’s and my new IMF Working Paper in “Ruchir Agarwal and Miles Kimball—Enabling Deep Negative Rates to Fight Recessions: A Guide.” We are both delighted to see Reza Moghadam flag it in a Financial Times op-ed: “The ECB must make negative interest rate policy effective.”Below, I quote the key passage from Reza’s op-ed, with my own section headings interspersed—headings that reflect what Ruchir and I call the various issues. After that, I repeat some Twitter exchanges I have had, prompted by Reza’s op-ed; these Twitter exchanges illustrate what Ruchir and I call “the political problem” and some of the ways Ruchir and

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Matt Clancy’s Beginner’s Guide to #EconTwitter

5 days ago

My #1 advice to new economists is to get on twitter and plug into the #EconTwitter community. This document is a guide on how to do that. It’s a bit geared towards academics, since that’s what I know best, but #EconTwitter is a lot more than academics and I’ve tried to write so it’s useful to people outside academia too.
What’s #EconTwitter? 
Literally? Twitter is a website that lets users broadcast 280 characters of text to other users. These are call tweets, and they can also include photos and stuff. You can “follow” other users so that you automatically see their tweets. #EconTwitter is a subnetwork of twitter users who tend to be economists (academic, professional, aspiring), who tweet about economics, and who follow each other. 
Metaphorically? Twitter is the hallway of a global

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Andreas Michalsen on Fasting

6 days ago

Andreas Michalsen has a new book: The Nature Cure: A Doctor’s Guide to the Science of Natural Medicine.

Link to the Amazon page for The Nature Cure

His August 1, 2019 Wall Street Journal op-ed “The Fasting Cure Is No Fad” is, I assume, a teaser for his book. And that teaser for his book is all about fasting.In addition to weight-loss, as a doctor, Andreas uses fasting to help his patients with “diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatism and bowel diseases, as well as

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John Locke: If Rebellion is a Sin, It is a Sin Committed Most Often by Those in Power

8 days ago

Who is the rebel? The Empire or the Rebellion? John Locke says it is the Empire. Image source.

In Sections 223-227 of Chapter XIX, “Of the Dissolution of Government” of his 2d Treatise on Government: Of Civil Government, John Locke is answering the objection that his doctrine “lays a ferment for frequent rebellion.” John Locke’s three answers are:People don’t need Lockean doctrine in order to rise up. They would rise up anyway if things are really bad. People don’t rise up over small things. Who is the real rebel? Those overthrowing tyrants, or those who rebel against natural law by becoming tyrants?On the 2d answer,

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Colleagues Remember James E. Gruber as a `Gentle, but Fierce’ Voice for People Silenced by Discrimination and Prejudice

8 days ago

Sociology Professor Emeritus James E. Gruber passed away June 26, but his influence on society from nearly 50 years of equity research and advocacy remains.
Locally, Gruber successfully advocated for paid parental leave on UM-Dearborn’s campus in the early 1990s. Statewide, he served as an expert court witness from local hearings all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court. Nationally, his research was cited in a 1993 case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, and he worked on court causes on the behalf of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Internationally, Gruber presented his sexual harassment work at a 2005 World Congress.
In a 2016 statement, Gruber — who retired that year — said he became a sociologist “in order to understand the root causes of social and economic

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Sara Roncero-Menendez: 15 Tech Execs’ Names You’re Mispronouncing

9 days ago

By Sara Roncero-Menendez2013-11-15 12:03:53 UTC

Innovators and businesspeople alike are sculpting the world in incredible ways, and as a result, they’ve become celebrities. Steve Jobs, Marissa Mayer, Jony Ive and many others have rocked the business and tech worlds with their ideas and designs.
Still, unlike the celebrities of Hollywood, the media doesn’t always report on these public figures. And since we don’t hear their names repeated over and over again, finding their correct pronunciations can become a difficult guessing game.

Have no fear — here is a roundup of some of the most commonly mispronounced executives’ names, and how to say them correctly.
Image: Mario Tama/Getty Images

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Charles Marohn: Organic Markets for Residences and Businesses in the Traditional City

10 days ago

This is the sixth part of a multi-part series, My Journey from Free Market Ideologue to Strong Towns Advocate.There’s been a recurring strain of feedback to this series that is best represented by this comment on the last column:I’m still not seeing where the indictment of the free market is, or where more intervention by the government or more government spending is going to be the solution.It’s interesting to me because the idea of My Journey from Free Market Ideologue to Strong Towns Advocate has never been to describe an abandonment of market principles. This is not leading up to an embrace of government intervention or government spending as an antidote.To the contrary, I’m trying to explain how I woke up to realize that what I thought was a market-based set of

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Donald Trump May Finally Get People to Realize the Fed is Responsible for What Happens with the Business Cycle, Not the President or Congress

11 days ago

Donald Trump may finally get people to realize that the Fed is responsible for what happens with the business cycle, not the President or Congress. The President and Congress should be focused on long-run issues, while giving the Fed power for the SR.— Miles Kimball (@mileskimball) July 29, 2019
Throughout my career as a macroeconomics professor (now 32 years since my PhD), I have been dismayed by the lack of understanding that it is the Fed, not the President of the United States or Congress that should be blamed and praised for recessions and recoveries. Occasionally, the Fed doesn’t do its job well, and actions of the President of the United States and Congress can help, as when Barack Obama got through congress a stimulus bill during the Great Recession. And, of

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Maintaining Weight Loss

13 days ago

I write in “3 Achievable Resolutions for Weight Loss” and “4 Propositions on Weight Loss” on how to get started with losing weight. 3 Achievable Resolutions for Weight Loss:Go Off SugarChoose and Keep To an Eating Window Shorter than 16 Hours a Day—With Appropriate ExceptionsCome Up with an Inspirational and Informative Reading Program to Help with Weight Loss4 Propositions on Weight Loss:Eating nothing leads to weight loss.For healthy, nonpregnant, nonanorexic adults who find it relatively easy, fasting for up to 48 hours is not dangerous—as long as the dosage of any medication they are taking is adjusted for the fact that they are

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Nir Eyal Looks at the Quality of Research Claiming Tech Use Harms Kids

14 days ago

It feels impossible to tell if the technology our kids use should be celebrated or feared. A few years ago I wrote a book, Hooked, about how technology can be used to change our habits. I intended the book to teach startups how to build healthy habits, but now I’m not so sure. With headlines telling us technology is hijacking our brains, I started second guessing the impact of our devices, especially when it comes to our kids. How alarmed should we be? Is this a crisis or a fear frenzy? I wanted to understand what the studies really tell us about the effect personal technology is having on our children.One side clearly believes the kids are not okay. “It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades,” wrote Dr. Jean Twenge, a

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On the Effability of the Ineffable

15 days ago

Ineffable: Beyond expression; indescribable or unspeakable. There is a paradox in the use of the word “ineffable”: by saying that something cannot be described, the word “ineffable” often points to a common human experience—and thereby communicates. And this is not so different from ordinary words. Many ordinary words are only understandable because of the common human experience and common human nature that we share. (That is the theme of my Linguistics Master’s Thesis. See “Miles’s Linguistics Master’s Thesis: The Later Wittgenstein, Roman Jakobson and Charles Saunders Peirce.”) Similarly, things that are called “ineffable,” like the

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Brent Cebul: Supply-Side Liberalism: Fiscal Crisis, Post-Industrial Policy, and the Rise of the New Democrats

16 days ago

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Patrick Sisson: YIMBY in action: How Pro-Housing Policies Became a Political Rallying Cry

17 days ago

YIMBYism—Yes In My Backyard, an exhortation to build—began as a rejection of a rejection. But what started as refutal of Not in My Backyard sentiments has become an ideology in itself: a locally based, decentralized, pro-housing political movement.
Just a few years old, the YIMBY push to add more homes to cities comes at a time when slow development, the power of single-family homeowners, and the status quo of restrictions and regulations that has shaped housing policy are facing backlash in major American cities. As advocates and backers see it, it also may form the centerpiece of a progressive coalition that could have a large impact on an increasingly urbanizing country.
“This is one of the fastest-growing, organic, grassroots movements I’ve ever seen,” says Matthew Lewis, a

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Against the Gold Standard

18 days ago

On Twitter, for the most part, the only people who talk about the gold standard are those who are in favor of it. In addition to those who mention the gold standard explicitly, anyone who says that the free market should be setting the interest rate even in the short run, with no intervention of a central bank, have to be either talking about a commodity money system—I think. I think a commodity money system would be a huge mistake, but like the sound of “the free market setting rates.” So I would be very interested in hearing about any scheme to have the free market set interest rates even in the short run that did not involve a

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Ivan Werning’s Twitter Thread on the Phillips Curve Wars

19 days ago

Times change, and models have to be updated. Taylor Rule used to work great, but since the Great Recession, it’s required an update. What update does theory behind Phillips Curves need to be more complete, if it supposedly already includes by far the most important components..?

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Reexamining Steve Gundry’s `The Plant Paradox’

20 days ago

Image source. Is Steven Gundry a quack? No. He has reasonable hypotheses, then exaggerates the degree of current support for those hypotheses. He cannot be fully trusted, but his ideas should not be dismissed without much better evidence than we have now.

My son Jordan challenged me to revisit my views on Steven Gundry’s book The Plant Paradox. In order to revisit those views, I googled around to find blog posts and articles online that were critical of Gundry and followed the links. I’ll insert images of these blog posts and articles where I discuss each. There are two parts to this reexamination of Steven Gundry’s

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Governments Long Established Should Not—and to a Good Approximation Will Not—Be Changed for Light and Transient Causes

22 days ago

A key passage of the Declaration of Independence is:Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.In this passage, those

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Twitter Thread on Economics Writing

24 days ago

When I coauthored a paper with Matthew Shapiro & @mileskimball in grad school I learned so MUCH on research writing. Matthew also explained my writing tics. iessential to know specifically what you do that doesn’t work well, then too many to count at work continued that with me

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Twitter Thread on Economics Writing

24 days ago

When I coauthored a paper with Matthew Shapiro & @mileskimball in grad school I learned so MUCH on research writing. Matthew also explained my writing tics. iessential to know specifically what you do that doesn’t work well, then too many to count at work continued that with me

Read More »

Confessions of a Supply-Side Liberal an Intelligent Economist Top 100 Economics Blog

25 days ago

Here is a quotation from Prateek Agarwal’s email to me about this honor:… your blog, Confessions of a Supply Side Liberal has been featured in the Top 100 Economics Blogs of 2019. Congratulations!One of the significant changes this year has been the removal of newspaper blogs such as Bloomberg View and Real Time Exchange to focus on more niche blogs. The lack of female economist (and bloggers) has been a common criticism of this list. I’ve made an effort to include more female bloggers,

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Matthew Yglesias: The Case for Fully Cleaning Up America’s Lead Problem

26 days ago

We’ve grown too daunted to solve America’s lead crisis because of the sheer amount of money necessary to clean it up. But the fact that it’s a really big problem — one that does inordinate harm to children, in particular — is exactly why it’s worth trying to solve.
As the 2020 Democratic presidential primary heats up, and candidates stake out their policy positions, every candidate should propose a solution. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, to his credit, is proposing a big, comprehensive plan to tackle lead. But the amount of money he’s proposing to dedicate to the problem, while large compared to today’s inadequate efforts, is still relatively modest compared to the scale of the problem.
We know lead is a dangerous neurotoxin. Regulators years ago forced

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Hints About What Can Be Done to Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

27 days ago

I have a simple rule of thumb: if we have known of a disease for a long time, but understand it even less well then we understand cancer, it is probably an autoimmune disease or the side effect of an immune system reaction to diet, infection, toxins or physical trauma. I am thinking in particular of two black beasts (bêtes noires) of old age: Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In both of these two cases, suspecting that they may be autoimmune diseases is well within the scope of the current scholarly debate (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s). And the immune system process of inflammation is seen as a risk factor for Alzheimers. (On

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Prospect Magazine: The World’s Top 50 Thinkers in 2019

28 days ago

HomeMagazineThe world’s top 50 thinkers 2019

Prospect salutes the scientists, philosophers and writers reshaping our times—and asks for your help choosing our 2019 winners

Prospect Team / July 16, 2019 /

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Welcome to Prospect’s 2019 Top Thinkers. Illustration: Michelle Thompson
Never doubt that thoughtful minds can change the world; they are the only things that ever do. Margaret Mead is thought to have said something like that, which chimes with Keynes, who wrote that the self-styled practical men running the world were unwittingly guided by forgotten academic scribblers. For Victor Hugo, meanwhile, the one

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Can Religion Reduce Suicide?

29 days ago

I was quite interested to read the scientific article “Association Between Religious Service Attendance and Lower Suicide Rates Among US Women,” by Tyler J. VanderWeele, Shanshan Li, Alexander C. Tsai and Ichiro Kawachi. I was wondering by what magic they were hoping to get the causal effect of religious attendance on suicide from the non-experimental data in the Nurse’s Health Study. (I wrote about dietary evidence in the Nurse’s Health Study and the statistical issues in interpreting

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