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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

Karthik Muralidharan, Abhijeet Singh, and Alejandro J. Ganimian: Disrupting Education? Experimental Evidence on Technology-Aided Instruction in India

Karthik Muralidharan

Last Friday, Karthik Muralidharan came to give a seminar at the University of Colorado Boulder on a very interesting experiment Karthik, Abhijeet Singh and Alejandro Ganimian had done in Delhi. Their paper "Disrupting Education? Experimental Evidence on Technology-Aided Instruction in India," has an appendix that surveys many experiments with using computers for education. In the talk, he summarized the message there as follows:Hardware by itself contributes very little to learning. The slogan "one laptop per child" is a slogan that may work well politically, but "one laptop per child" by itself

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John Locke: People Must Not Be Judges in Their Own Cases

A while back, one of my colleagues at the University of Michigan complained about not having much power. I countered that he had plenty of power: in particular, he had the power to mint A’s, a power that would be quite impressive to his students. What he was complaining about was a feature of any well-run society: he did not have the power to be judge in his own case. He did not have authority to grant himself a promotion, determine his own salary, or give himself a grant—power at least a part of himself sorely wanted. Instead he had the burdensome power and responsibility to be the judge in his students’ cases.  The principle that no one

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New National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster Put Together a Reading List for Military Affairs

Facing added scrutiny in the wake of his predecessor’s resignation, new National Security Council chief of staff H.R. McMaster will have to learn from Michael Flynn’s mistakes. Fortunately learning is one of his favorite hobbies.
In 2012, while commander of the US Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, McMaster did an interview with the management consulting firm McKinsey in which he talked about the evolution of the army, as well as “what competencies our leaders need and…how, where, and at what point in their careers we train and educate them.” One of those strategies, McMaster said, was “to cultivate within our leaders a desire for lifelong learning and to provide them with the tools necessary for informal self-study and collaborative study across their

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The Swiss National Bank May Need to Cut Its Target Rate Further Now That It Could Get In Trouble with the US If It Keeps Buying So Many Foreign Assets

The Swiss National Bank has been using two tools to keep the Swiss franc from rising more than they want: negative interest rates to discourage foreigners from purchasing Swiss assets and direct purchases of foreign assets by the Swiss National Bank itself. Within Switzerland, the purchase of foreign assets has been politically controversial because it exposes the Swiss National Bank to foreign exchange risk. (This controversy led to a referendum on whether the Swiss National Bank should be forced to hold more gold, that leaders of the Swiss National Bank went out on the hustings to defeat.) But negative interest rates are also quite

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Presidential Q&A: Is a Strong Dollar or a Weak Dollar Good for the Economy?

Link to Angelo Young’s February 14, 2017 Salon explainer "Should the U.S. dollar be weak or strong? President Trump allegedly wants to know." 

In his Salon article shown above, "Should the U.S. dollar be weak or strong? President Trump allegedly wants to know," Angelo Young reports: According to two anonymous White House insiders, Trump recently called National Security Adviser retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn at around 3 a.m. to ask whether a strong or weak dollar is good for the economy.Angelo invited me to answer the President’s question. Here is the answer I gave in full, an answer you can see reflected in several ways

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Economists Joan Costa-Font and Sarah Fleche Quantify What Sleep Deprivation Does to Productivity and Pay Using Babies’ Sleep Patterns as an Instrument

When Joan Costa-Font became a father, the health economist noticed a dramatic drop in his productivity. “And I am the man,” he said, acknowledging that the effect was clearly worse on his wife.
He and Sarah Flèche, a labor economist, decided to quantify the productivity drop. The novel way they chose to do it was to look at how children disrupt mothers’ sleep, and how that disruption in turn affects mothers’ labor force productivity, including hours worked and income earned.
As any parent who has experienced the debilitating effects of sleep frequently interrupted by children knows, the effect was huge.
“We find that improving the mother’s average nightly sleep duration by one hour increases employment by 4 percentage points, the number of hours worked by 7 percent, household income

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Jordan Andrew Kimball on Edward Lawrence Kimball

My brother Jordan Andrew Kimball is three years younger than I am. (My wife and I named our son Jordan after my brother.) Together with my sister Mary, Jordan and I made up the amiable middle trio of the seven children in my family growing up. Jordan appeared in this blog before in "Tyler Cowen on My Little Brother Jordan’s Wisdom." Below is Jordan’s tribute for my Dad, which completes the set of seven tributes that my siblings and I gave at the Memorial Service for my Dad on December 3, 2016. You can see my own tribute here tribute and in other posts those of my brothers Chris and Joseph and of my sisters Paula, Mary and Sarah. My Dad’s

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Eric Schwitzgebel: A Theory of Jerks

Picture the world through the eyes of the jerk. The line of people in the post office is a mass of unimportant fools; it’s a felt injustice that you must wait while they bumble with their requests. The flight attendant is not a potentially interesting person with her own cares and struggles but instead the most available face of a corporation that stupidly insists you shut your phone. Custodians and secretaries are lazy complainers who rightly get the scut work. The person who disagrees with you at the staff meeting is an idiot to be shot down. Entering a subway is an exercise in nudging past the dumb schmoes.We need a theory of jerks. We need such a theory because, first, it can help us achieve a calm, clinical understanding when confronting such a creature in the wild. Imagine the

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A Mathematician Has Created a Teaching Method That’s Proving There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Math Student

Math is a notoriously hard subject for many kids and adults. There is a gender gap, a race gap, and just generally bad performance in many countries.
John Mighton, a Canadian playwright, author, and math tutor who struggled with math himself, has designed a teaching program that has some of the worst-performing math students performing well and actually enjoying math. There’s mounting evidence that the method works for all kids of all abilities.
His program, JUMP (Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies) Math, is being used by 15,000 kids in eight US states (it is aligned with the Common Core), more than 150,000 in Canada, and about 12,000 in Spain. The US Department of Education found it promising enough to give a $2.75 million grant in 2012 to Tracy Solomon and Rosemary Tannock,

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How Strong is the Economics Guild?

I had two contrasting experiences this week. First, I had a student come to office hours saying it was hard to figure which of all the cacophony of economy ideas put forward in the news to take seriously. I pointed out that unlike climate science, where good journalists usually feel that for a quotation meant to be taken seriously (as plausibly true) they need to quote people who are PhD’s in appropriate disciplines and are also usually professors or government employees, they will quote as plausibly true the economic opinion of a much wider set of people, including at least business people and politicians in addition to PhD economists. The

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Mark Manson: Crowd-Sourced Wisdom on Marriage

Hey, guess what? I got married two weeks ago. And like most people, I asked some of the older and wiser folks around me for a couple quick words of advice from their own marriages to make sure my wife and I didn’t shit the (same) bed. I think most newlyweds do this, especially after a few cocktails from the open bar they just paid way too much money for.
But, of course, not being satisfied with just a few wise words, I had to take it a step further.
See, I have access to hundreds of thousands of smart, amazing people through my site. So why not consult them? Why not ask them for their best relationship/marriage advice? Why not synthesize all of their wisdom and experience into something straightforward and immediately applicable to any relationship, no matter who you are?
Why not

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Marriage 102

For Valentine’s Day, 2014, I wrote "Marriage 101." This is the sequel. In "Marriage 101" I recommended books by John Gottman and coauthors:John Gottman and his research team are famous for using observations in their "Love Lab" to predict long in advance which marriages are more likely to succeed and which are more likely to fail.Recently, I read another book by John Gottman and coauthors with an embarrassing pop-psychology title, but excellent content:Upon reading, I kicked myself for things I had been stupidly doing or not doing, even after almost a third of a century of marriage to my wife Gail. And for many of the insights, I had to

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John Locke: Law Is Only Legitimate When It Is Founded on the Law of Nature

Link to the video above on YouTube of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado singing about making the punishment fit the crimeIn section 12 of his 2d Treatise on Government: On Civil Government," John Locke makes two key points. The first is that a punishment should be just severe enough "as will suffice to make it an ill bargain to the offender, give him cause to repent, and terrify others from doing the like":By the same reason may a man in the state of nature punish the lesser breaches of that law. It will perhaps be demanded, with death? I answer, each transgression may be punished to that degree, and with so much severity, as will suffice to make it an ill bargain to the offender, give him cause to repent, and terrify others from doing the like.I wrote about how this principle of a punishment

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Heather Gerken on the Power of States in the Coming Conflict Between Blue States and Red National Government

Progressives have long been skeptical of federalism, with the role that “states’ rights” played in the resistance to the civil rights act and desegregation typically featuring prominently in their criticism. Its ugly history even led one 20th-century scholar to insist that “if one disapproves of racism, one should disapprove of federalism.” Even now, with every national institution in the hands of the GOP, progressives associate federalism with conservatism and shy away from invoking the language of federalism to change the policies they oppose.

This piece is part of The Big Idea, a section for outside contributors’ opinions about, and analysis of, the most important issues in politics, science, and culture.

That is a mistake.

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Economics Needs to Tackle All of the Big Questions in the Social Sciences

The Economist’s Free Exchange column on January 14, 2017, reporting on the American Social Science Association meetings that month argues "To be relevant, economists need to take politics into account." For example:Their theories had always shown that globalisation would produce losers as well as winners. But too many economists worried that emphasising these costs might undermine support for liberal policies. A “circle the wagons” approach to criticism of globalisation weakened the case for mitigating policies that might have protected it from a Trumpian backlash. Perhaps the greatest omissions were the questions not asked at all. Most

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Gwynn Guilford and Nikhil Sonnad: What Steve Bannon Wants

What does Donald Trump want for America? His supporters don’t know. His party doesn’t know. Even he doesn’t know.
If there is a political vision underlying Trumpism, however, the person to ask is not Trump. It’s his éminence grise, Stephen K. Bannon, the chief strategist of the Trump administration.
Bannon transcended his working-class Virginia roots with a stint in the Navy and a degree from Harvard Business School, followed by a career as a Goldman Sachs financier. He moved to Los Angeles to invest in media and entertainment for Goldman, before starting his own investment bank specializing in media. Through a combination of luck (a fallen-through deal left him with a stake in a hit show called Seinfeld) and a knack for voicing outrage, Bannon remade himself as a minor luminary

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The Volcker Shock

"October 6, 1979, was a chilly Saturday in Washington. The coming Monday was a government holiday, Columbus Day, and much of official Washington had scattered for the long weekend. Many of those who remained, along with the news media, were keeping an eye on Pope John Paul II, who was paying the first-ever papal visit to the White House to meet with President Carter; he would lead an open-air mass at the foot of the US Capitol the following day. With almost everyone’s attention elsewhere, it was a good day for a secret meeting at the Federal Reserve. …After a full day of discussion, the central bankers agreed on a plan. As Chairman Paul

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Jonathan Adler on Neil Gorsuch and Reconsidering the Degree of Judicial Deference to Government Agency Decisions

Is the doctrine of Chevron deference compatible with traditional notions of constitutional separation of powers? Legal academics (and at least one justice) have begun to raise questions about the propriety and desirability of the Chevron doctrine — the doctrine that provides that courts must defer to permissible agency interpretations of ambiguous statutory language. Yesterday, in a concurring opinion in Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch, the Honorable Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit joined those who think it is time to reconsider Chevron. His concurring opinion begins: There’s an elephant in the room with us today. We have studiously attempted to work our way around it and even left it unremarked. But the fact is Chevron and Brand X permit executive bureaucracies

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One for All: John Woodland “Jack” Welch on Edward Lawrence Kimball

Jack Welch was one of my Dad’s colleagues at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School. Jack combined his work as a law professor with very interesting apologetics of Mormonism’s historical claims–especially Mormonism’s claims about ancient history. Indeed, Jack Welch’s Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies brought about one of the most notable …

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Next Generation Monetary Policy

Link to Wikipedia article on Star Trek: The Next Generation

Monetary policy is far inside the production possibility frontier. We can do better. That is what I want to convince you of with this paper.The worst danger we face in monetary policy during the next five years is complacency. I worry that central banks are patting themselves on the back because the world is finally crawling out of its business cycle hole. It is right to be grateful that things were not even worse in the aftermath of the Financial Crisis of 2008. But dangers abound, including (a) the likelihood that lesson that higher capital requirements are

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Jonathan Chait on Andrew Jackson as a Proto-Donald-Trump

This is an era of rapid social change, and also of historical ferment, when Americans are rethinking not only who we are, but who we were. The post-Charleston backlash against Confederate imagery is one manifestation of this. Another concurrent one is a struggle over the historic role of Andrew Jackson. Earlier this year, feminist activists started a movement to replace the seventh president on the $20 bill with a woman. The long lead time required for the Treasury to alter paper currency has saved Jackson’s status for the time being, but a historical reconsideration is well under way. Jackson presents a more distant symbol than the Confederate flag and — except for Native Americans, whose ancestors he slaughtered — a less visceral one. Yet the fight over Jackson

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Building Up With Grace

High rises don’t have to be soulless. In "Density is Destiny" I wrote about the importance of density for economic growth. The way to have density and still have space for people in their homes is to build up. I also tried my hand in "Density is Destiny" at sketching a possible design for pleasant high-rises that I think can ultimately be built at non-luxury prices. Anna Baddeley’s article linked above talks about some innovative architectural designs for high rises that I suspect might be at the higher end, but might become more affordable with technological progress. Urban density contributes to creativity and therefore to economic

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Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Alan Altshuler and Edward Glaeser on Infrastructure Spending

No matter how big the issue — national security, health care, gun rights — it’s been nearly impossible for Washington lawmakers to find common ground given the deep rancor and partisan division among them. But fixing the nation’s aging, crumbling infrastructure seems that rare area where everyone from the conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce to progressive Democrats see the need for action.
The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the nation’s highways and bridges face an $808.2 billion backlog of investment spending, including $479.1 billion in critically needed repairs. More than two-thirds of the nation’s roads and nearly 143,000 bridges are classified in “dire need” of repair or upgrades.
The election of Donald Trump, a career real estate developer, could finally

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John Locke: Theft as the Little Murder

In section 11 of his 2d Treatise on Government: On Civil Government," John Locke sets down a very different moral basis and very different location of the right of enforcement for civil as opposed to criminal law:From these two distinct rights, the one of punishing the crime for restraint, and preventing the like offence, which right of punishing is in every body; the other of taking reparation, which belongs only to the injured party, comes it to pass that the magistrate, who by being magistrate hath the common right of punishing put into his hands, can often, where the public good demands not the execution of the law, remit the punishment

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Stephen Roe—How to Beat Decision Fatigue: The Ultimate Guide

This is a guest post by Stephen Roe. Stephen no longer falls asleep on the couch, but he still loves helping analytical people reach personal goals. Take the next step with his free Beating Decision Fatigue Checklist, which includes three bonus strategies not found in this post.You’re frustrated.Your most difficult tasks never get done.No matter how hard you work, they linger on your to-do list, suffocating you with guilt and stress.It isn’t fair. You work as hard as (or harder than) everyone else.You know what projects are most important.You scrutinize every minute.But when it comes time for a tough task, it’s a desperate struggle to get started—much less finish.And you wonder… is there something you’re missing?Some mistake that’s crippling your productivity?Well, yes. There is.It’s

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The Supply and Demand for Paper Currency When Interest Rates Are Negative

Note: The acronym "ROERC" is pronounced in the same way as Howard Roark’s last name. It stands for "Rate of Effective Return on/for/of Cash.

Why the Rate of Effective Return on Cash Curve Slopes DownRuchir Agarwal and I argue in our IMF working paper "Breaking Through the Zero Lower Bound" that when deep negative interest rates are needed for prompt macroeconomic stabilization, central banks should take paper currency off par. (On this point, also see "How and Why to Eliminate the Zero Lower Bound: A Reader’s Guide.") But what if a central bank is legally or politically unable—or unwilling—to take paper currency off par? In our

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The Lump-of-Labor Model

"In France, as in other parts of Western Europe, the reigning explanation for unemployment was what economists call the “lump of labor” theory. The theory holds that a society has only a fixed amount of work that needs to be done, and therefore the only way to reduce unemployment is to share the available work. This was reflected in Mitterrand’s initial program. The government lowered the retirement age to sixty to push older people out of the workforce; this was expected to create openings for youngsters, on the assumption that each employer needed only a certain amount of labor and would replace departing workers one for one. Workers who

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Genelle Pugmire: Edward L. Kimball is Gone, But His Legacy Lives on in Utah

He was not flamboyant, nor did he seek fanfare. Edward L. Kimball was better known as candid and kind.Edward Lawrence Kimball, according to his self-written obituary, is gone; having died Nov. 21, 2016.Born into the home of Spencer W. and Camilla Kimball, on Sept. 23, 1930, he later married Evelyn Bee Madsen (1929-2012) in 1954. They were the parents of seven children, 28 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Edward was exposed to the joy of learning, to being inquisitive, and was taught diplomacy at an early age.That diplomacy served him well throughout his life and particularly in his marriage. According to his children it seemingly saved an argument

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Paula Kimball Gardner, Mary Kimball Dollahite and Sarah Camilla Kimball Whisenant on Edward Lawrence Kimball

Edward Lawrence Kimball

My Dad died November 21, 2016. Below are the tributes my three sisters Paula, Mary and Sarah gave for my Dad at a Memorial Service on December 3. (Here are links to my own tribute and those of my brothers Chris and Joseph.)Paula:My father was the most kind and gentle man I know. He filled many roles during his life but most importantly he is my dad.I remember spending a day with him in his office at work. I remember meeting him at the bus stop as he came home from work. I remember helping him by turning the pages for the hundreds of law exams he read. He helped me make a wooden frame for a

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Abby Ohlheiser on the Peril and Potential of FamilyTreeNow

(Screenshot/Familytreenow.com) Early Tuesday morning, Anna Brittain got a text from her sister: Did she know about Familytreenow.com? The relatively unknown site, which presents itself as a free genealogy resource, seemed to know an awful lot about her. “The site listed my 3- and 5-year-olds as ‘possible associates,’ ” Brittain, a 30-year-old young-adult fiction writer in Birmingham, Ala., told The Washington Post on Tuesday. Her sister, a social worker who works at a child advocacy center, found the site while doing a regular Internet footprint checkup on herself. “Given the danger level of my sister’s occupation,” Brittain added, the depth of information available on the genealogy site “scared me to death.” There are many “people search” sites and data brokers out there, like Spokeo,

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Daron Acemoglu: America’s Institutions Weren’t Designed to Resist a Modern Strongman. That Leaves Civil Society.

In the second half of the 20th century, the main threat to democracy came from the men in uniform. Fledgling democracies such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Thailand, and Turkey were set back by dozens of military coups. For emerging democracies hoping to ward off such military interventions into domestic politics, Western European and American institutions, which vested all political authority in the hands of elected civilian governments, were offered as the model to follow. They were the best way to ensure that democracy, as Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan famously put it, became “the only game in town.”
Far from most thinkers’ minds was whether Western institutions might be inviting a different threat to democracy — personal rule, in which civilian state institutions such as the

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Border Adjustment vs. Dollar Depreciation

According to the recent reports, the Republicans in Congress want to cut the corporate tax rate to 20% and have it be "border adjustable, while soon-to-be President Donald Trump wants to cut the corporate tax rate to 15% and have the dollar depreciate. Let me leave aside the effects of cutting the corporate tax rate to focus on the effects of "border-adjustability" and dollar depreciation. First, border adjustability. In the eurozone, where there is a fixed exchange rate of 1 between the member countries, relying more

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Paul Piff and Angela Robinson: Feeling Richer Than Others Makes People Act Worse

For many, wealth may seem like an unmitigated good – the more of it you have, the better. After all, wealth brings all sorts of advantages, like improved health, greater freedom and control over your life, nicer things, respect from your friends and peers. Yet new research suggests that wealth may also come with certain costs, and impact our social interactions in ways that we overlook.

The empathy gap

Life for the poor can be challenging: fewer resources to meet basic needs, more instability in one’s home and work life, and more threatening living environments. For this reason, you might assume that people in the lower social classes would be more self-interested and less likely to consider the needs of others than wealthier individuals, who can afford to be nice.
But a growing body

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Paper Currency Deposit Fees as Unrealized Interest Equivalents

Note: for background to this post, see "How and Why to Eliminate the Zero Lower Bound: A Reader’s Guide."The Fed is allowed to charge fees for transactions at the cash window, but these fees must be reasonably closely related to actual expenses the Fed incurs. In negative interest periods, the Fed would incur an expense when banks with access to the Fed’s cash window withdraw paper currency and then redeposit it after an intervening period of negative interest rates for marginal reserves and negative interest rates for the Treasury bills the Fed holds in its portfolio.Negative interest rates simply mean that the lender pays the borrower

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Marvin Ammori and Bruce Upbin: Superfast Hyperloop Commuting Requires the Cooperation of Government

Imagine it’s noon and there’s a work emergency in the London office and you’re stuck in Manchester 260 miles away. It’s four-hour drive or a two-hour trip on National Rail. But that’s okay. You take out your mobile, order a self-driving vehicle to pick you up and take you to the Manchester Hyperloop portal. Thirty minutes later, you emerge from the London portal.
We’re a startup in Los Angeles commercializing the technology that can make that happen. Hyperloop is an all-electric, direct high-speed connection that shrinks the cost of time and distance. SpaceX founder Elon Musk floated the idea in 2013 to use linear electric motors to propel levitated vehicles at airplane speeds through near-vacuum tubes. Hamburg to Berlin in 19 minutes. Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 12 minutes. You can live in one

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Reparation and Deterrence

In section 10 of his 2d Treatise on Government: On Civil Government," John Locke distinguishes between deterrence and reparation: Besides the crime which consists in violating the law, and varying from the right rule of reason, whereby a man so far becomes degenerate, and declares himself to quit the principles of human nature, and to be a noxious creature, there is commonly injury done to some person or other, and some other man receives damage by his transgression; in which case he who hath received any damage, has, besides the right of punishment common to him with other men, a particular right to seek reparation from him that has done

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Stef Hoffer’s Amazing Video of China from the Sky

Drone video tour of China’s wonders.

Watch a breathtaking drone tour.

By Robby Berman

A brid’s eye view of an amazing placeStef Hoffer

Traveling videographer Stef Hoffer had been to China before, but when he returned for a three-month visit this year, he brought along his drone.* The video above is the spectacular result.

Overhead images like this could only be captured in China. The video traverses China’s incredibly diverse terrain, from the unearthly spires of Zhangjiajie prefecture to the dramatic windswept dunes near Dunhuang, from the knee-trembling span of

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Michael S. Barr and Joe Valenti: It Shouldn’t Be So Hard to Dump Your Bank

The scandal involving Wells Fargo opening more than 2 million unauthorized accounts has prompted obvious questions over whether other banks engaged in similar practices. It also has likely motivated some customers to want to dump their financial institution. This same impulse came up before during the financial crisis as Americans protested financial institutions they felt were not serving them well. After all, voting with your feet is an important part of holding banks accountable for misdeeds.Yet few Americans actually dump one bank in favor of another.Inertia and information overload explain part of customers’ hesitation to actually leave their bank for another. Just finding the right replacement account and doing the paperwork takes time. Ironically, technology

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Spencer Levan Kimball on How the Federal Government Can Support and Direct Rather than Undermine State Regulation

The Republicans have promised to repeal and replace Obamacare. I continue to think the proposal I made in "Evan Soltas on Medical Reform Federalism—in Canada" is a good way to go:Let’s abolish the tax exemption for employer-provided health insurance, with all of the money that would have been spent on this tax exemption going instead to block grants for each state to use for its own plan to provide universal access to medical care for its residents.On another set of policy issues that I discussed in "Against Anticompetitive Regulation," I am very concerned at the way state and local governments are harming economic growth by overregulating

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Stephen Cechetti and Kermit Schoenholtz–China’s Awkward Exchange Rate Regime: an Update

As 2016 draws to a close, it’s natural to look back over the year’s posts. With all the swirling concerns about China-U.S. relations—including the selection of the protectionist co-author of Death by China to head a new White House National Trade Council—we wondered whether our February doubts about China’s exchange rate regime remain intact.The answer is yes, but for reasons radically inconsistent with President-elect Trump’s promise to declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in office. Like any country with a fixed exchange rate, China’s central bank intervenes actively to maintain its (evolving) currency target. But, for the past two years, the People’s Bank has been intervening to prevent (or at least to slow), rather than promote, the depreciation of its currency versus

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A Beautiful Example of Evolution Right Before Our Eyes

Sometimes people claim that there is little evidence of evolution that we can actually see, or that the examples are of only trivial importance. I thought the article above on the research of Regina Baucom and coauthors was a wonderful example of evolution before our eyes. When Roundup (containing the active herbicide glyphosate) is used to kill the pretty weed morning glory, some morning glory plants have genes that help protect them and therefore survive better.But there is more. Morning glory plants have both male and female parts: pollen-producing anthers and the pollen-receiving stigma. Some of the Roundup-resistant morning glories

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Not Perfect: Spencer Levan Kimball on Spencer Woolley Kimball’s Transgression Against Freedom of Thought

"[As a Mormon missionary in 1937] One of the activities I mentioned in a letter to Kathryn was ‘library work,’ by which I meant ‘putting Books of Mormon in libraries and trying to remove anti-Mormon literature.’ It is apparent that I had not acquired from my early training the belief that the best test of truth is in the marketplace of ideas (an idea forcefully expressed in those terms by one of my later heroes, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and by John Stuart Mill before him). Indeed, my father had inadvertently given me a lesson in the contrary position that I would later reject. In Montreal we visited a branch library together. While I

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Niam Yaraghi and Shamika Ravi: The Current and Future State of the Sharing Economy | Brookings

Defining the sharing economy
Seventy-four years ago, Joseph Schumpeter predicted that competition from “the new commodity, the new technology, the new source of supply, the new type of organization” would be more relevant than perfect competition. He described this as competition which “strikes not at the margins of the profits and the outputs of the existing firms but at their foundations and their very lives.”[1] His prophecy has certainly come true. The sharing economy, generally defined as “the peer-to-peer-based activity of obtaining, giving, or sharing the access to goods and services, coordinated through community-based online services”[2] will soon be an inseparable part of our economy.
Many have suggested alternative names for this phenomenon, such as gig economy, platform

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David K. Evans and Anna Popova: Cash Transfers and Temptation Goods

Cash transfers have been demonstrated to improve education and health outcomes and alleviate poverty in various contexts. However, policy makers and others often express concern that poor households will use transfers to buy alcohol, tobacco, or other “temptation goods.” The income effect of transfers will increase expenditures if alcohol and tobacco are normal goods, but this may be offset by other effects, including the substitution effect and the effect of social messaging about the appropriate use of transfers. The net effect is ambiguous. This article reviews 19 studies with quantitative evidence on the impact of cash transfers on temptation good expenditure, as well as 11 studies that surveyed whether respondents reported they used transfers to purchase temptation goods. We conduct a

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Spencer Levan Kimball Fighting the TIAA/CREF Monopoly at the University of Chicago in 1980

In his time, my Uncle Spencer Levan Kimball was arguably the world’s leading expert on insurance law. After serving as Japanese interpreter in World War II and a Rhodes scholarship, he was a young Law School Dean at the University of Utah, an older Law School Dean at the University of Wisconsin (where my father was also on the faculty), and between those two deanships a professor at the University of Michigan Law school for a long time. He lead a revision of the insurance code for the state of Wisconsin and had a hand in a revision of the insurance code for the State of Utah. Spencer finished his academic career in Chicago, as Executive

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Top 150 Posts and All Columns on supplysideliberal.com, Ranked by Popularity, as of December, 2016

This post is intended to provide ready access to all of my most important posts. To begin with, I list all of my columns and the top 150 other posts from my blog’s beginning on May 28, 2012 through July 31, 2016, after which Google Analytics for Tumblr quit working. (The next ranking will use different tools.) You can see my explanation of the rankings and other thoughts at the bottom of this post.All Quartz Columns So Far, in Order of Popularity:There’s One Key Difference Between Kids Who Excel at Math and Those Who Don’tThe Coming Transformation of Education: Degrees Won’t Matter Anymore, Skills WillThe Hunger Games is Hardly Our Future:

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Kevin D. Williamson—Thomas Sowell: Peerless Nerd

Brill was used to seeing classified intelligence, but this day was special. The “agent” was one of the first Israeli spies to infiltrate Egypt successfully since the end of the Six-Day War a year earlier. He had photos that supposedly would help reveal Egyptian war plans, including possible preparations behind the ceasefire line.A small crowd surrounded the agent in the department’s main nerve center. Colonel Avraham Arnan, Brill’s direct superior, was focusing on one photograph. “What do you think it is?” he asked the group of analysts. “It looks like a military bridge.”It was. Egypt had moved the bridge to less than a mile from the Suez Canal, the strategic waterway that connected the world of commerce but separated Egypt from the territory it had lost to Israel during the Six-Day War.

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Maria Popova—A New Year’s Perspective: John Steinbeck on Good and Evil, the Necessary Contradictions of the Human Nature, and Our Grounds for Lucid Hope

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newsletter Brain Pickings has a free weekly interestingness digest. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign

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John Locke: The Right to Enforce the Law of Nature Does Not Depend on Any Social Contract

It is often said that democratic governments rule by the consent of the governed. But this is wrong in two ways. First, many individuals do not consent to what the government is doing. Secondly, when it comes to basic things such as punishing murderers, there is no need for consent on the part of the offender. On this second point, in section 9 of his 2d Treatise on Government: “On Civil Government,” John Locke writes:I doubt not but this will seem a very strange doctrine to some men: but before they condemn it, I desire them to resolve me, by what right any prince or state can put to death, or punish an alien, for any crime he commits in

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Abraham Riesman: Beware Star Wars’ Slippery Politics of Violence

Who wouldn’t shoot a Death Trooper?Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Midway through Rogue One, there’s a line that’s quite easy to miss, as it’s as bland a truism as one can imagine hearing in a gigantic franchise film. While discussing the threat posed by the recently assembled Death Star, Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma lays out the new status quo now that the Galactic Empire has a world-killing weapon: “It’s simple,” she says. “The Empire has the means of mass destruction; the Rebellion does not.”

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It is, indeed, quite simple. Mothma’s framework in that line is a pure expression of the easy-to-swallow politics

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Calculus is Hard. Women Are More Likely to Think That Means They’re Not Smart Enough for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Believing that you can make it is an important ingredient in success. For women, that confidence is harder to come by when they are pursuing science, technology, engineering or math. A study by the Mathematical Association of America found that of those in Calculus I who initially intended to go on in science, technology, engineering or math, … if we restrict our analysis to just those who are earning an A or B in the course …  18 percent of the women, but only 4 percent of the men, believed they did not understand calculus well enough to continue.I’ll bet the phenomenon of women who are objectively doing equally well as men having much

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Switching to Squarespace

Today I am switching supplysideliberal.com from Tumblr to Squarespace. The change should be mostly invisible to readers except for cosmetic differences. In particular, links to older posts should mostly still work. My main reasons for the shift are: Squarespace should work better on mobile devices.Squarespace seems a more solid company for the future than Tumblr.I will be able to get better analytics on Squarespace.Squarespace has better functionality.Moving to Squarespace will restore the ability of readers to post comments—a capability that was broken using Disqus with Tumblr about 8 months ago. Thanks to my daughter Diana for helping enormously with the migration.

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Vincent Del Giudice and Wei Lu: America’s Best and Brightest Are Headed to Boulder

This chart says it: the cities marked in red are the “metropolitan areas with the greatest loss of advanced-degree holders, white-collar jobs and earnings generated by employment in computer, engineering and science occupations” while the cities marked in blue are those with the greatest gain. The Boulder Colorado metropolitan area, where I live (see “Miles Moves to the University of Colorado Boulder”) is number one in brain-gain in this chart. Maybe you, too, should join this migration to the Boulder area 🙂

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Vincent Del Giudice and Wei Lu: America’s Best and Brightest Are Headed to Boulder

Link to Vincent Del Giudice and Wei Lu’s Bloomberg article “America’s Best and Brightest Are Headed to Boulder”This chart says it: the cities marked in red are the “metropolitan areas with the greatest loss of advanced-degree holders, white-collar jobs and earnings generated by employment in computer, engineering and science occupations” while the cities marked in blue are …

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Erin Lee Carr—My Dad, My Mentor: How Do You Say Goodbye to Your Father?

How do you say goodbye to your father? Erin Lee Carr, daughter of The New York Times’ David Carr, did it by focusing on the wisdom he left behind.I was in the passenger seat as my dad steered our family’s SUV in the direction of my first internship, at Fox Searchlight Pictures. He ignored the car wedging into our lane and turned my way. "Who’s your supervisor?" he asked. "Who’s head of the company? What films of theirs do you like?"Family Man David Carr, with Erin, center, and her twin, Meagan, when they were about four
I mumbled something about how I’d loved the acerbic side of Juno, which the studio had put out about a year earlier. My dad shook his head, lit a cigarette, and said, "No one is going to take you seriously if you don’t take the job seriously. Do your f–king homework."I

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Joseph Ellsworth Kimball on Edward Lawrence Kimball

Below is my brother, Joseph’s tribute to my Dad, who died November 21, 2016. (My own tribute to my Dad appeared November 27, 2016. My brother Chris’s tribute appeared December 11, 2016.) Joseph is a big contributor to this blog behind the scenes with his discerning eye for interesting articles to flag here. Here are Joseph’s words:My father grew up in a home that had a well used dictionary by the table, and continued that practice in his own home.  We used that dictionary often to look up definitions and pronunciations.  He used language in his professional life making lessons for law students and writing books about law.  He used language

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Joseph Ellsworth Kimball on Edward Lawrence Kimball

Bee Kimball, Joseph Kimball and Edward Kimball, in 1988Below is my brother, Joseph’s tribute to my Dad, who died November 21, 2016. (My own tribute to my Dad appeared November 27, 2016. My brother Chris’s tribute appeared December 11, 2016.) Joseph is a big contributor to this blog behind the scenes with his discerning eye for …

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Lauren Razavi: India Just Flew Past Us in the Race to E-Cash

Link to Lauren Razavi’s backchannel.com post “India Just Flew Past Us in the Race to E-Cash”. Hat tip to slashdot.com and Joseph KimballWhat India’s government did in demonetizing the 1000-rupee and 500-rupee notes was a mess. But it did have the helpful effect of spurring mobile payments, both by the current inconvenience for paper currency and, as …

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John Locke on Punishment

image sourceMost laws and rules are backed up by some form of punishment if not followed, even if the punishment is not fully regularized. When is punishment legitimate? And what kind of punishment is legitimate? John Locke gives an answer to that question in section 8 of his 2d Treatise on Government: “On Civil Government”:And …

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Reducing the Importance of Cash: Sweden and South Korea

Link to Bryan Harris and Kang Buseong’s ft.com article “South Korea to Kill the Coin in Path towards ‘Cashless Society’”Although deep negative interest rates are straightforward to handle even when a currency region uses paper currency intensively, the needed changes in paper currency policy are likely to be seen as less upsetting to people when …

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Christian Edward Kimball on Edward Lawrence Kimball

Thanks to Ralph Johnson for permission to use this picture here, which Ralph took in honor of Edward Lawrence Kimball. Picture copyright Ralph JohnsonBelow is my brother, Chris’s tribute to my Dad, who died November 21. (My own tribute to my Dad appeared two weeks ago. Chris has appeared several times before on this blog: …

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India’s Assault on Cash

Link to Amy Kazmin’s article “India’s cash chaos sparks growing backlash” on ft.com (the Financial Times website)Link to Wikipedia article “Indian 500 and 1000 rupee note demonetisation”Link to Raymond Zhong’s Wall Street Journal article “India’s Money Launderers Soil Modi’s ‘Spring Cleaning’ of Cash”India’s sudden declaration that its existing 500- and 1000-rupee notes were invalid and needed …

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On the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Link to James Freeman’s November 27, 2016 Wall Street Journal Article “Consumer Financial Protection Rewrite: The rogue bureau needs to be reined in if it can’t be killed.”Election results have created great uncertainty about the future of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Having paid close attention to relevant articles, I can say that the editorial …

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Vigilantes in the State of Nature

Link to the website for the “Vigilante Rick Grimes Deluxe” action figure pictured above, which has the following passage: …. as he discovers that there is more than just the undead to worry about,Rick makes the ultimate choice to do whatever it takes to keep his family and friends alive in this less than moral post-apocalyptic world.McFarlane …

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Harvard 35th Reunion Profile: Miles Kimball

Harvard’s Quincy HouseLink to Wikipedia article “Miles Kimball”It is hard to believe that this Spring it will be 35 years since I earned a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard. I did a profile for the 35th reunion report which you might find of some interest. (It had notes about my children Diana and Jordan at the top.) …

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My Dad

Edward Lawrence Kimball, September 23, 1930–November 21, 2016Link to Wikipedia article on “Edward L. Kimball”Link to the Deseret News article on Edward Lawrence Kimball’s death (source of the photo above)Other than the fictional Clark Kent, my Dad is the only person who has ever made me think spontaneously of the adjective “mild-mannered.” My Mother explained …

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The Religious Dimension of the Lockean Law of Nature

Link to biography.com biography of John LockeThe desire for equality has been used to justify quite heavy-handed action by states. But John Locke, in his  2d Treatise on Government: “On Civil Government” section 6, reasons from the equality of all to natural rights. To John Locke, equality means a starting place in which no one is under …

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Next Generation Monetary Policy: The VideoStarting at the 20:30…

Next Generation Monetary Policy: The VideoStarting at the 20:30 mark in this Mercatus Center video is my presentation “Next Generation Monetary Policy.” Here is a link to the Powerpoint file for the slides I used. This was at a September 7, 2016 Mercatus Center conference on “Monetary Rules in a Post-Crisis World.” You can see the other sessions …

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18 Misconceptions about Eliminating the Zero Lower Bound (or Any…

18 Misconceptions about Eliminating the Zero Lower Bound (or Any Lower Bound on Interest Rates): The VideoMy hosts at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok were good enough to videotape my talk there and post the video on YouTube, as I encouraged them to do. In addition to being the only complete video so far of the …

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Jon Birger: What 2 Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis

Jon Birger: What 2 Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis: This is a fascinating article about the interaction of demographics, including gender differentials in rates of leaving a religion, and customs about relative marriage ages, can create severe difficulties in finding a mate for those within a religion on one side of the …

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Election Day Special, 2016

On this US Election Day, 2016, I will be flying from Israel, where I gave two talks at the Bank of Israel, to Brussels, where I am a keynote speaker at the annual ECMI conference to be held at the National Bank of Belgium. But I voted by mail before I left on my Fall …

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How Negative Rates are Making the Swiss Want to Pay Their Taxes Earlier

Link to Ralph Atkins’s October 26, 2016 Financial Times article “Switzerland enjoys negative interest rates windfall: Taxpayers settle bills early and bond investors pay to lend money to government”In “Swiss Pioneers! The Swiss as the Vanguard for Negative Interest Rates” I wrote:there is no question that negative interest rates will require many detailed adjustments in how …

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John Locke on the Equality of Humans

image sourceimage sourceimage sourceThere are many dimensions of the principle of equality among humans. The most difficult is expressed by the  Biblical command “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus, 19:18; Matthew 22:39). The Martin Buber quotation above points to some of the bias toward self that would have to be overcome to actually obey this …

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Prominent Exoplanet Researcher Found Guilty of Sexual Harassment

Prominent Exoplanet Researcher Found Guilty of Sexual Harassment: Unacceptable behavior by Geoff Marcy. Being a good scientist doesn’t give anyone a pass to make other people’s lives miserable in this way. On sexual harassment in science, also see Hope Jahren’s New York Times article “She Wanted to Do Her Research. He Wanted to Talk ‘Feelings.’” And John …

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“In country music, the melody-and-lyrics method is still the standard method of writing songs….”

“In country music, the melody-and-lyrics method is still the standard method of writing songs. (Nashville is in some respects the Brill Building’s spiritual home.) But in mainstream pop and R&B songwriting, track-and-hook has taken over, for several reasons. For one thing, track-and-hook is more conducive to factory-style song production. Producers can create batches of tracks …

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Dan Benjamin, Ori Heffetz and Miles Kimball–Repairing Democracy: We Can’t All Get What We Want, But Can We Avoid Getting What Most of Us *Really* Don’t Want?

image from Wikimedia CommonsThe 2016 US presidential election is noteworthy for the low approval ratings of both major party candidates. For example, as of November 2, 2016, poll averages on RealClear Politics show 53.6% of respondents rating Hillary Clinton unfavorably, while only 43.9% of respondents rate her favorably; 58.9% of respondents rate Donald Trump unfavorably, …

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deejayforte: ↟ “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that…

deejayforte: ↟ “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.” — Carl Sagan; astrophysicist, awesomist.My favorite place in NYC is of course, The Rose Center for Earth and Space. In the center of this building is an object called the “Hayden Sphere” which serves as the museum’s …

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The Political Perils of Not Using Deep Negative Rates When Called For

Link to Jon Hilsenrath’s Wall Street Journal special report, updated August 26, 2016, “Years of Fed Missteps Fueled Disillusion With the Economy and Washington”How well has what you have been doing been working for you?People are quick to think that the political costs of deep negative rates to a central bank are substantial. But it …

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Dan Bobkoff and Akin Oyedele: Economists Never Imagined Negative Interest Rates Would Reach the Real World–Now They’re Rewriting Textbooks

Link to Dan Bobkoff’s and Akin Oyedele’s October 23, 2016 Business Insider article “Economists never imagined negative interest rates — now they’re rewriting textbooks”An October 23, 2016 Business Insider article emphasizes just how far negative interest rate policy has come in the last four years since I published “How Subordinating Paper Currency to Electronic Money Can …

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On Consent Beginning from a Free and Equal Condition

image sourceThe assertion in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” still sounds radical when applied to undocumented immigrants and members of small sexual minorities. To back up this assertion, it is hard to do better than John Locke in …

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Johannes Wieland’s Discussion of “Breaking Through the Zero Lower Bound” at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Implementation Conference, October 18, 2016 (pdf download)

Johannes Wieland’s Discussion of “Breaking Through the Zero Lower Bound” at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Implementation Conference, October 18, 2016 (pdf download): For me, the highlight of this conference at the Minneapolis Fed so far has been talking to Johannes Wieland and hearing his discussion of my paper with Ruchir Agarwal, “Breaking Through …

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“By the mid-2000s the track-and-hook approach to songwriting—in which a track maker/producer, who is…”

“By the mid-2000s the track-and-hook approach to songwriting—in which a track maker/producer, who is responsible for the beats, the chord progression, and the instrumentation, collaborates with a hook writer/topliner, who writes the melodies—had become the standard method by which popular songs are written. The method was invented by reggae producers in Jamaica, who made one …

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The Consequences of Overly Strong Incentives: Wells Fargo, Baseball Baptisms, and Academic Advancement

Link to Michael Quinn’s Sunstone article “I-Thou vs. I-It Conversions: The Mormon ‘Baseball Baptism’ Era.” This recent news about Wells Fargo (see for example Wells Fargo Warned Workers Against Sham Accounts, but ‘They Needed a Paycheck’) shows how overly strong incentives can cause people to cheat–especially if some of the higher-ups are OK with the cheating. Similar problems …

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Judy Shelton Off-the-Mark on Monetary Policy

Link to Judy Shelton’s October 11, 2016 Wall Street Journal editorial “A Trans-Atlantic Revolt Against Central BankersConservative leaders in the U.S. and Britain are standing up for those left behind by ultralow rates.”In an October 11, 2016 Wall Street Journal editorial, Judy Shelton manages to be wrong on many counts about monetary policy, but wrong …

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John Locke on Legitimate Political Power

image sourceJohn Locke, in the 2d and 3d paragraphs of the “Introduction” to his 2d Treatise on Government: “On Civil Government” makes the radical claim that political power is only justified when it is for the benefit of the governed. He begins by denying that traditional or military hierarchical superiority is a good model for political power, …

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Ana Swanson Interviews Ken Rogoff about “The Curse of Cash”

I highly recommend Ken Rogoff’s new book, The Curse of Cash. It has several chapters that touch on my proposal to engineer a nonzero rate of return on paper currency by taking paper currency off par. The other main part of the book is about the crime-control benefits of eliminating high-denomination bills–and perhaps having physically large, but …

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How the Original Sin of Borrowing in a Foreign Currency Can Reduce the Effectiveness of Monetary Policy for Both the Borrowing and Lending Country

image sourceLink to Wikipedia article for “Original sin (economics)”When a central bank cuts interest rates, each type of borrower-lender relationship generates more aggregate demand because (a) the shift in of the budget constraint of the lender is matched by an equal and opposite shift out in the budget constraints of the borrower, (b) borrowers generally …

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The Bank of Japan Renews Its Commitment to Do Whatever it Takes

Link to Wikipedia article on Haruhiko KurodaI am not impressed by a target of zero for 10-year Japanese government bonds as stimulative measure, when they have been trading at negative rates. Fortunately, I think this is simply a sign that the Bank of Japan is continuing to search for new tools. And, as you can …

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Ben Bernanke: Maybe the Fed Should Keep Its Balance Sheet Large

Ben Bernanke: Maybe the Fed Should Keep Its Balance Sheet Large: This is a good summary of some of the most important papers at Jackson Hole this year. The description at the top of Ben’s blog post is accurate: “Ben Bernanke sees merit in the case for keeping the Fed’s balance sheet large instead of …

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Negative Rates and the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level

image sourceI was very pleased to be invited to the Jackson Hole monetary policy conference this past August. One of the highlights of the conference was Chris Sims’s lunchtime talk on the first main day of the conference, “Fiscal Policy, Monetary Policy and Central Bank Independence.” The fiscal theory of the price level is something I have …

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Ben Bernanke: Negative Interest Rates are Better than a Higher Inflation Target

Link to “Modifying the Fed’s policy framework: Does a higher inflation target beat negative interest rates?” on Ben Bernanke’s blogIt is clear from Ben Bernanke’s September 13, 2016 blog post, that his answer to his title, “Does a higher inflation target beat negative interest rates?” is “No.” This is not a ringing endorsement of negative rates by Ben, but …

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David Beckworth–The Balance Sheet Recession That Never Happened: Australia

I am grateful for permission from David Beckworth to mirror his post as a guest post here. Here is what David wrote:*****************************************************************Probably the most common explanation for the Great Recession is the “balance-sheet” recession view. It says households took on took on too much debt during the boom years and were forced to deleverage once …

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John Stuart Mill’s Defense of Freedom

image sourceI have finished blogging my way through John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty. I circled around to blog my way through the “Introductory” chapter last:Chapter I: John Stuart Mill’s Introduction to a Defense of FreedomJohn Stuart Mill on the Historical Origins of LibertyDo Democratic Governments Express the Will of the People?Democratic InjusticeSocial LibertyJohn Stuart Mill on …

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How the Free Market Works Its Magic

Link to the Wikipedia article on “Harry Potter (character)”Some people misunderstand free market principles. The free market depends on the establishment of property rights. That is the free market, not a departure from it. In particular, the free market yields good results only because after the obvious ways of getting ahead–lying, stealing and threatening violence–are outlawed, …

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Narayana Kocherlakota: Want a Free Market? Abolish Cash

Link to Narayana Kocherlakota’s column “Want a Free Market? Abolish Cash” on Bloomberg ViewNarayana Kocherlakota has now joined me in advocating the complete elimination of the zero lower bound, and done it with a nice free-market argument. You can see the whole article at the link above. Let me quote my favorite passage and the …

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Deirdre McCloskey: What Kenneth Boulding Said Went Wrong with Economics, A Quarter Century On

Deirdre McCloskey: What Kenneth Boulding Said Went Wrong with Economics, A Quarter Century On: Excerpts from this essay: 1. It is appropriate to call economics since 1948 “Samuelsonian”2. Science is about Mow Much. Existence theorems and tests of statistical significance have no connection to actual findings about How Much in actual economies”3. There’s nothing, in short, unscientific about the …

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Tim Sablik: Subzero Interest

Link to the article on the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Econ Focus websiteTim Sablik interviewed me for a well-researched and well-written article “Subzero Interest” that he wrote for the Richmond Fed’s Econ Focus website. The entire article is a great piece for getting background on negative interest rates. As teasers, let me quote just …

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John Stuart Mill on the Need to Make the Argument for Freedom of Speech

Link to the Wikipedia article on “Freedom of thought”At the end of his “Introductory” chapter of On Liberty, in paragraph 16, John Stuart Mill writes: It will be convenient for the argument, if, instead of at once entering upon the general thesis, we confine ourselves in the first instance to a single branch of it, on which …

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Proxima Centauri b

Link to the New York Times article “One Star Over, a Planet That Might Be Another Earth”For any lover of science fiction, like me, it was a big day to have evidence of a planet circling Proxima Centauri announced on Wednesday–the closest known planet outside of our own solar system. (My son Jordan texted the news …

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In Proportion to Our Capacity

image sourceI am sympathetic to those who see someone who calls themself an “agnostic” as an atheist without the courage of their conviction. And I consider myself a nonsupernaturalist. But technically, there is decent measure of agnosticism we should each have about everything, not just about the existence of God, but also about almost everything else …

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Miles Moves to the University of Colorado Boulder

image sourceBeginning September 1, 2016, I will be a Professor of Economics at the University of Colorado Boulder. Eugene D. Eaton Jr. gave a large gift to the University of Colorado, of which a portion endows the Eugene D. Eaton Jr. Chair that I will hold. I very much enjoyed my 29 years at the University …

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John Stuart Mill on Running Other People’s Lives

`In the 14th paragraph of the “Introductory” chapter of On Liberty, John Stuart Mill has this to say about the temptation to run other people’s lives: Though this doctrine [of suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves] is anything but …

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Pro Gauti Eggertsson

image sourceBecause I do research in so many different areas, there is no way I can read all of the papers that I should. After posting “Gauti Eggertson and Miles Kimball: Quantitative Easing vs. Forward Guidance,” I read a selection of Gauti’s paper…

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Confessions of a Supply-Side Liberal in Thai

Link to supplysideliberalth.tumblr.comI am delighted that my former student Suparit Suwanik has volunteered to translate some key posts from supplysideliberal.com into Thai. Suparit holds a Masters of Applied Economics degree from the University of M…

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Democracy is Not Freedom

image sourceimage sourceOften, people talk as if democratic elections bestowed a beneficent, mystical moral glow on decisions. Such an illusion may be useful, since the acquiescence of those who are outvoted is much preferable to a civil war. But wha…

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Scott Sumner on Negative Interest Rate Policy

image sourceLink to Scott Sumner’s post “Miles Kimball on Negative Interest Rates” on his blog “The Money Illusion”I am grateful to Scott Sumner for permission to mirror his post “Miles Kimball on Negative Interest Rates” as a guest post here. This w…

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Us and Them

image sourceThis is my latest sermon, to be given today at the Community Unitarian Universalists in Brighton.  Here is the abstract:Abstract: Group identity is the source of many of the best and the worst things that people do. In the form of patriot…

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Selfishness and the Fall of Rome

Link to Adrian Goldsworthy’s How Rome Fell: The Death of a Superpowerpp. 418, 419: It is only human nature to lose sight of the wider issues and focus on immediate concerns and personal aims. In the Late Roman Empire this was so often all about perso…

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In Praise of the 9th Amendment

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”Link to the Wikipedia article on the 9th Amendment to the Constitution of the United StatesIt is not now, but the 9th …

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John Stuart Mill’s Roadmap for Freedom

image sourceThe entire argument of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty is summarized in the 12th paragraph of the “Introductory” chapter:But there is a sphere of action in which society, as distinguished from the individual, has, if any, only an indirect i…

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The Financial Times Endorses Negative Interest Rates

Link to “The wrong lesson to take from negative yields”The EndorsementOn June 10, 2016, just four days after a remarkable Brookings conference on negative interest rates, the Financial Times gave a ringing endorsement of a vigorous use of negative in…

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Poverty of the Heart

Link to Wikipedia article on the June 12, 2016 Orlando nightclub shootingAfter the Boston Marathon bombings, I posted this wish: May the best in the human spirit vanquish the worst in the human spirit.That wish needs to be renewed in the wake of the …

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John Stuart Mill on Sins of Omission

image sourceThe world is hurting. A big reason that the world is in as much trouble as it is this: how many people have done less than they should to make things better. We rightly honor those who have helped make the world a better place. It is also…

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On Gradualism in Negative Interest Rate Policy

                        Noah SmithNoah Smith does a service by reviewing the debate on negative interest rate policy in his Bloomberg View column “Maybe We Shouldn’t Be So Positive About Negative Rates.” Despite the title, which I suspect (based on m…

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Legitimate Power and Authority

image sourceIn Mormonism, four books are considered to be the “word of God”: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Collectively, these four books are called “the scriptures.” To me, in all of Mormon …

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John Stuart Mill on Benevolent Dictators

Link to Wikipedia article on Lee Kuan Yew, who was Prime Minister of Singapore for 30 yearsJohn Stuart Mill was more favorable to paternalism than many might think. (Since for his time, he was a Feminist, it might also be called maternalism.) As the …

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Why I Blog

image sourceToday marks four years since my first post, “What is a Supply-Side Liberal?” I have had a tradition of anniversary posts:A Year in the Life of a Supply-Side LiberalThree RevolutionsBeaconsThe past year has been an intensely busy year for …

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Against Anticompetitive Regulation

image sourceIf several businesses got together and agreed to raise their prices, that would be an antitrust violation. But when people with something to sell get together and run to the government and successfully ask for a regulation that will raise…

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Peter Conti-Brown on Walter Bagehot

Link to Wikipedia article on Walter BagehotHere is Peter Conti-Brown’s description of Walter Bagehot, from the Preface to his marvelous book The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve:Finally, a word about the book’s epigraphs, all taken from …

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On Making the Fed’s Governance Constitutional

In his book “The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve,” Peter Conti-Brown argues that Federal Reserve Bank Presidents are, in effect, important government officials, by virtue of voting on monetary policy, and so (a) should be chosen in a de…

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The Complexity of Liberty

image sourceHaving blogged through to the end of On Liberty, I know that what John Stuart Mill claims in the 9th paragraph of the “Introductory” to On Liberty is simple is anything but simple. He writes:The object of this Essay is to assert one very …

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The K-12 Roots of Moral Relativism

Link to the March 2, 2015 New York Times article “Why Our Children Don’t Think There are Moral Facts” by Justin P. McBrayerWhen I was in college, I had many discussions over breakfast, lunch and dinner in Quincy House about whether there was any such…

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Beyond Pro-Government and Anti-Government

image sourceIn countries that manage to escape worse problems (such as serious ethnic divisions) and even in many that do have worse problems, the main political parties are often arrayed on a spectrum from lower-tax, lower-spending, less government …

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Scott Adams on Donald Trump’s Powers of Persuasion

Scott Adams on Donald Trump’s Powers of Persuasion: Even those who hate what Donald Trump stands for–or doesn’t stand for–should study and understand his techniques. (Of course, any decision to actually use his techniques should be subjected to very …

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Andrew Cuatto: Deus Ex Helicopter–Not

Link to Andrew Cuatto’s Linked In homepageI am pleased to host another student guest post, this time by Andrew Cuatto. This is the 12th student guest post this semester. You can see all the student guest posts from my “Monetary and Financial Theory” …

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Jacob Barnard: The Great Inversion

Link to Jacob Barnard’s Linked In homepageI am pleased to host another student guest post, this time by Jacob Barnard. This is the 9th student guest post this semester. You can see all the student guest posts from my “Monetary and Financial Theory” c…

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John Stuart Mill on the Sources of Prejudice

image sourceMany of us have occasion to argue against particular types of prejudice. But John Stuart Mill unmasks all prejudices in the 6th paragraph of the “Introductory” to On Liberty:But though this proposition is not likely to be contested in gen…

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Chris Matthews on Negative Interest Rates

Link to the October 21, 2015  fortune.com article “Ben Bernanke sees the upside of negative rates.”I was pleased to see, belatedly, the fortune.com article “Ben Bernanke sees the upside of negative rates” by Chris Matthews. Chris quotes from and link…

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August Klatt: The Luck of the Draw

A college degree obtained during an expansion and a college degree obtained during a recession are two very different things.I am pleased to host another student guest post, this time by August. This is the 8th student guest post this semester. You c…

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William Wagner III: Scientific Cheating

Link to William Wagner III’s Linked In homepageI am pleased to host another student guest post, this time by William Wagner III. This is the 5th student guest post this semester. You can see all the student guest posts from my “Monetary and Financial…

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Social Liberty

image source; link to Wikipedia article on Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, who campaigned against social discrimination against Untouchables in IndiaLike B. R. Ambedkar, whose words you can see above, John Stuart Mill argued that protecting civil liberty is …

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Laura Tyson on the Investment Accelerator

Laura Tyson on the Investment Accelerator: Business investment depends on expected future demand and output growth, not on current returns or retained earnings. This “accelerator” theory of investment explains most – but not all – of the weakness of …

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Do Negative Interest Rates Lead To Too Much Debt?

One common objection to low interest rates–and even more to negative interest rates–is that it will lead to too much debt. It occurred to me that this is looking at things only from the standpoint of the borrower’s desires. But the amount of debt is …

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Democratic Injustice

A historical example of a political party openly advocating tyranny of the majority–and an example showing that the word “democratic” is such a positive word it is often avoided by those criticizing the Democratic Party We are at a moment when nation…

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The Storm and the Battle Ahead

Maynard Dixon’s “The Forgotten Man”Decades of stagnating wages didn’t help, and the swift cultural changes brought on by technical change and globalization have occasioned many tough adjustments, but the timing and intensity of the political storm we…

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Inequality Is About the Poor, Not About the Rich

What Do We Do About Inequality?As an initiative of the “Wicked Problems Collaborative,” Chris Oesterreich put together the work of contributors for What Do We Do About Inequality? The book is now out, and today, March 1, the Kindle version of the boo…

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The Equilibrium Paradox: Somebody Has to Do It

image sourceBefore Ken Rogoff and Larry Summers achieve their laudable goal of doing in the $100 bill, it is worth taking a moment to contemplate the $100 bill on the sidewalk that the proverbial economist doesn’t bother to pick up because if it were…

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Higher Inflation Is Not the Answer

image sourceBecause the Economist doesn’t appreciate the power of deep negative interest rates to revive an economy and return quickly to positive interest rates–in a way mild negative rates cannot guarantee–it has turned to many other questionable p…

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Helicopter Drops of Money Are Not the Answer

Links to “The World Economy: Out of ammo? Central bankers are running down their arsenal. But other options exist to stimulate the economy” and “Fighting the next recession: Unfamiliar ways forward–Policymakers in rich economies need to consider some…

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What Bond Risk Premia Mean for Monetary Policy

image sourceWithout a big staff to help me crunch numbers, in monetary policy recommendations, I have been trying to stick to easy judgments, like my recommendation that the ECB immediately cut its target rate to -2%, making the necessary adjustments…

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Crush Cuckoo CoCo Coddling

Link to “The Trouble With CoCos” on Bloomberg ViewLet me reprise part of what I wrote in the preface to “Cetier the First: Convertible Capital Hurdles” and augment it with the wise words of the Bloomberg View editorial board on the topic of debt that…

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Remittances in International Finance

Link to the Economist article “Like manna from heaven: How a torrent of money from workers abroad reshapes an economy”The recycling of currency to its home currency area is crucial to understanding international finance and trade balances. As I laid …

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Density is Destiny

image sourceEconomically, cities have a certain magic we don’t yet fully understand. In his Wall Street Journal piece Urban Planet: As World Crowds In, Cities Become Digital Laboratories, Robert Lee Hotz quotes some key urbanists thus: By studying do…

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Jesus’ Upside-Down Kingdom

The Upside-Down Kingdom by Donald B. KraybillAnother theme of Jesus’ teaching is the kingdom of God, or of heaven, a kingdom like no other where God is the ruler; here, the humble and meek are exalted and the mighty are brought down, and he who would…

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John Stuart Mill Applies the Principles of Liberty

Image source. Link to Wikipedia article on Voltairine de Cleyre Despite being written in 1869, the last chapter of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, titled “Chapter V: Applications,” speaks directly to many 21st century controversies. I learned a lot fr…

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Ed Glaeser Argues Against Raising the Minimum Wage

image sourceEd Glaeser may be the foremost urban economist in the world. Ed’s review in the Wall Street Journal of Robert Gordon’s book The Rise and Fall of American Growth is worth reading for many reasons. But I want to highlight what Ed says about…

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Brad DeLong on Managing China’s Peaceful Rise

image sourceIn his speech “The Grand Strategy of Rising Superpower Management” at the Munk School Trans-Pacific Partnership Conference Geopolitics Panel, Brad DeLong gives extremely important advice about managing China’s peaceful rise. In my own wri…

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“On Real and Fictional Economists” in Japanese: マイルズ・キンボール 「『リアルな世界の経済学者』と『フィクションの世界の経済学者』」(2014年10月22日)

“On Real and Fictional Economists” in Japanese: マイルズ・キンボール 「『リアルな世界の経済学者』と『フィクションの世界の経済学者』」(2014年10月22日): I am pleased that the Japanese language website “Economics 101″ has done a translation of my post…

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Miles Kimball – Google Scholar Citations

Miles Kimball – Google Scholar Citations: I recently realized the importance of Google Scholar for how my academic work is perceived. So I signed up. At the top you see the link to my Google Scholar page. It is interesting because it ranks my papers …

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Brio in Blog Posts

image sourceFirst WordsEven among blog posts expressing an intriguing, insightful idea, some are meandering messes, while others pack a powerful punch. What is the difference? The answer matters. I have the students in my “Monetary and Financial Theo…

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“QE May or May Not Work for Japan; Deep Negative Interest Rates Are the Surefire Way for Japan to Escape Secular Stagnation” in Japanese: QEは日本で効くかもしれないしそうではないかもしれない;大幅な負の利子率が日本が長期的停滞を抜け出す間違いのない方法

“QE May or May Not Work for Japan; Deep Negative Interest Rates Are the Surefire Way for Japan to Escape Secular Stagnation” in Japanese: QEは日本で効くかもしれないしそうではないかもしれない;大幅な負の利子率が日本が長期的停滞を抜け出す間違いのない方…

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“The Wall Street Journal Gets It Right on Negative Interest Rate Policy, Thanks to Tommy Stubbington” in Japanese: Tommy StubbingtonのおかげでWall Street Journalは負の利子率政策に関して正しく報じた

“The Wall Street Journal Gets It Right on Negative Interest Rate Policy, Thanks to Tommy Stubbington” in Japanese: Tommy StubbingtonのおかげでWall Street Journalは負の利子率政策に関して正しく報じた: The link above is to the post in Japanese, translat…

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Christianity as Atheism Toward All Gods But One

Link to Wikipedia’s article “Bonar’s Oak.” Above is a depiction of Boniface destroying Thor’s oak from The Little Lives of the Saints (1904), illustrated by Charles Robinson.I have read that officials in the Roman Empire often described Christianity …

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Expansionist India

I received a comment on my post “Will Narendra Modi’s Economic Reforms Put India on the Road to Being a Superpower?” that I thought was important enough that I should make it into a guest post. It had a lot of information that I had been unaware of. …

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From a Request for a Referee Report

I found this passage from an email asking me to referee a paper very perceptive. The editor wrote:From personal experience, there is a (growing?) tendency for referees to provide very long, detailed reports that sometimes read – with slight exaggerat…

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The Aluminum Rule

image sourceIn line with what many other religious traditions have preached as well, Jesus said: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This has been called the Golden Rule. Not everyone feels ready to follow the Golden Rule. So I would l…

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Siyuan Liu: Netflix’s Secret Weapon

Link to Siyuan Liu’s Linked-In profileI am pleased to host another student guest post, this time by Siyuan Liu. This is the 28th student guest post this semester. (The final exam is today, but there is at least one more to come.) You can see all the …

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Simple Obedience

Image source. Trivia fact: Henry B. Eyring is Miles’s Dad’s 1st cousin–which makes him, in the terminology I recommend in New Words for a New Year a “second uncle.” Henry B. Eyring is currently the “1st Counselor” to President Thomas S. Monson, effec…

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Mayumi Matsushita: Social Networks and Terrorism

Link to Mayumi Matsushita’s Linked In profileI am pleased to host another student guest post, this time by Mayumi Matsushita. This is the 24th student guest post this semester. You can see all the student guest posts from my “Monetary and Financial T…

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Anand Jetha: Cutting the Cable Is Not All That

image sourceI am pleased to host another student guest post, this time by Anand Jetha. This is the 22d student guest post this semester. You can see all the student guest posts from my “Monetary and Financial Theory” class at this link. This is Anand…

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Noah Smith: Sunni Islam is Failing

This is Noah’s 14th guest religion post on supplysideliberal.com. Don’t miss Noah’s other guest religion posts!God and SuperGodYou Are Already in the AfterlifeGo Ahead and Believe in GodMom in HellBuddha Was Wrong About DesireNoah Smith: Judaism Need…

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Minority Opinions

image sourceToday I am grateful to live in a country that is relatively tolerant of people being different and having different views. That is a good thing, because the idea that there is a majority on any substantial combination of views is probably…

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Toward Freedom in Argentina and the Rest of the World

Image via Genius annotation of “despotism” I very much share the sentiment behind the opening sentence to the Wall Street Journal’s op-ed “Reviving Argentina” about the electoral loss of the Peronism in Argentina, but the arithmetic doesn’t work. The…

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Cass Sunstein on the Rule of Law

image sourceIn the Obama administration, Cass Sunstein tried with mixed success to restrain the overgrowth of administrative law–an overgrowth that has long since seriously violated “rule of law” principles. In his Bloomberg View column “The Rule of …

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Patrick Goodney: Peak Car is Near, But Not Yet

Image source. Link to Wikipedia article “Autonomous Car.”Despite some contemporary discussion, the U.S. car industry hasn’t reached its peak yet, but it’s not too far out from doing so either.I am pleased to host another student guest post, this time…

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Anand Jetha: Diamonds are Not Your Best Friend

Link to Wikipedia article “Diamond”I am delighted to host another student guest post, this time by Anand Jetha. This is the 10th student guest post of this semester. You can see all the student guest posts from my “Monetary and Financial Theory” clas…

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Debating the Morality of Immigration Restrictions

Image from BGN News article “Syrian refugees of Turkey on long ‘walk of hope’ to Europe.”Olivia Goldhill had an interesting rundown of different philosophies on immigration in her Quartz article “Philosophers can’t agree on how much we should help re…

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John Stuart Mill: Certification, Not Licensing

Miles’s Certificate for the highest level of training for the Bowen Technique As I do, John Stuart Mill felt a close connection between education policy and certification and licensing policy. I am leery of the overgrowth of licensing requirements fo…

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Hannah Katz: The Pros and Cons of Tipping Culture

Link to Hannah Katz’s Linked In HomepageI am delighted to host another student guest post by Hannah Katz. This is the 7th student guest post of this semester. You can see all the student guest posts from my “Monetary and Financial Theory” class at th…

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A Core Mormon Doctrine in a Tweet

“Exaltation is our goal, discipleship is our journey”–not bad, when reinterpreted in a nonsupernatural way. I comment on a few other tweets from the Mormon Church’s official Twitter feed in this Storify story. 

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Cyrus Anderson: Hot Property in China

Link to Cyrus Anderson’s Google Sites HomepageI am delighted to host another student guest post by Cyrus Anderson. This is the 4th student guest post of this semester. You can see all the student guest posts from my “Monetary and Financial Theory” cl…

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Ben Bernanke on Trial

image sourcePreviewing his upcoming book The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath slated to come out the next day, Ben Bernanke discussed recent monetary policy history and general principles of monetary policy in the October 4, 201…

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Harris Schlesinger

Link to Harris Schlesinger’s University of Alabama homepageI am sad at the passing of Harris Schlesinger, a leading light in the economics of risk that I have done some work in. Here are passages from two emails I received about his life, work and un…

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Eric Schlosser on the Underground Economy

Eric Schlosser is most famous as the author of Fast Food Nation. I recently finished another of his books: Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market, which is about three sectors of the underground economy: drugs, undocu…

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The Aquatic, Groupish, Warlike Ape

Wikipedia article on Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of LifeDarwin’s Dangerous Idea has been one of the most influential books in my thinking and in my life. One of the most memorable examples in that book was Max Westenhoefer and…

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Noah Smith–The Fight of the Ages: Pain and Death

image sourceThis is Noah’s 13th guest religion post on supplysideliberal.com. Don’t miss Noah’s other guest religion posts!God and SuperGodYou Are Already in the AfterlifeGo Ahead and Believe in GodMom in HellBuddha Was Wrong About DesireNoah Smith: …

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The Negative Zones

The image above is from the Wikipedia article on time zonesI often have occasion to say that I have presented my proposal for eliminating the zero lower bound all around the world. I give the full list of where I have given talks on eliminating the z…

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John Stuart Mill on the Gravity of Divorce

image sourceOn thing I like in John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty is his consistent distinction between what deserves criticism from what deserves legal prohibition. Divorcing without sufficient cause someone who has been encouraged by fair promises to bu…

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Owen Nie: Maryland’s 1733 Monetary Helicopter Drop

Leonardo Da Vinci’s “aerial screw” helicopter is the only type of helicopter designed early enough to have delivered Maryland’s 1733 monetary injection.I am pleased to host another guest post by University of Michigan graduate student Owen Nie on mon…

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The Economist on the End of Cars as We Know Them

Google’s autonomous car. Image source.On August 1, 2015, the Economist’s “The World If” column was titled “If Autonomous Vehicles Rule the World: From Horseless to Driverless.” Because I have had at the back of my mind the intention of writing a colu…

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John Stuart Mill on Freedom of Contract

Amazon page for Rehabilitating LochnerAllowing freedom for an individual to do as she or he chooses within a certain sphere suggests also allowing freedom for groups of individuals to interact with one another as they all choose within a certain sphe…

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Rodney Stark’s Contrarian Assessment of the Crusades

link to Amazon pageI find Rodney Stark’s positive take on Christianity’s historical effects refreshing. (Type in “Rodney Stark” into the search box on my sidebar to see other posts inspired by Rodney Stark’s books.) This has extended to rebuttals of …

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Discounting Government Projects

Image source: February 4, 2014 speech on “The outlook for the New Zealand economy,” by Graeme Wheeler, Governor of the Reserve Bank of New ZealandDuring my three weeks in New Zealand as a Visiting Research Fellow of the New Zealand Treasury helping N…

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John Stuart Mill on the Regulation of Bars

image sourceJohn Stuart Mill’s discussion of the regulation of bars and the like in paragraph 10 of On Liberty “Chapter V: Applications” touches on many key issues that arise for contested laws:Something OK in itself may have a high transition probab…

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Owen Nie: Pre-Revolutionary Paper Money in Pennsylvania

Image from the Wikipedia article “Pennsylvania Pound”Following up on “Owen Nie: Playing Card Currency in French Canada,” Owen Nie offers here another guest post on monetary history. This one is drawn from Lester, Richard. “Currency Issues to Overcome…

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Stephen Strobbe’s 12 Life Lessons

Stephen StrobbeAt the University of Michigan we have a student-selected “Golden Apple” award for excellent teachers. The winners traditional give an “Ideal Last Lecture.” I liked the 12 life lessons Golden Apple Winner Stephen Strobbe gave. (You can …

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John Stuart Mill’s Laffer Curve

image sourceWhen Maryland tried to tax the Second Bank of the United States, Daniel Webster argued before the Supreme Court in McCulloch v. Maryland that “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy.” The Supreme Court echoed …

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Nigeria Struggling to Be Free

Image Source: June 12, 2015 BBC profile of NigeriaThe June 20th issue of the Economist had a special report on Nigeria. It is very illuminating. In particular, it illustrates what I meant in my July 3d Quartz column “An economist explains why the key…

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