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A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from the Past Week or so: July 12, 2018

Summary:
TOP MUST REMEMBER: Cory Doctorow: I Was Naive: "I've been thinking of all those 'progressive' Senators who said that... Jeff Sessions was a gentleman, honorable, decent—just someone whose ideas they disagreed with. They approved Sessions for AG on that basis, and he architected this kids-in-cages moment... Worthy Reads at Equitable Growth: Kate Bahn: Understanding the Importance of Monopsony Power in the U.S. Labor Market: "In a dynamic monopsony model, so-called search frictions—including imperfect information and other constraints to job mobility... would give employers more power to set wages below competitive levels, while still maintaining a sufficient supply of workers.... Doug Webber tests the hypothesis of widespread dynamic monopsony and whether search frictions

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stacks and stacks of books

TOP MUST REMEMBER: Cory Doctorow: I Was Naive: "I've been thinking of all those 'progressive' Senators who said that... Jeff Sessions was a gentleman, honorable, decent—just someone whose ideas they disagreed with. They approved Sessions for AG on that basis, and he architected this kids-in-cages moment...


Worthy Reads at Equitable Growth:

  1. Kate Bahn: Understanding the Importance of Monopsony Power in the U.S. Labor Market: "In a dynamic monopsony model, so-called search frictions—including imperfect information and other constraints to job mobility... would give employers more power to set wages below competitive levels, while still maintaining a sufficient supply of workers.... Doug Webber tests the hypothesis of widespread dynamic monopsony and whether search frictions appear to maintain low wages across the U.S. labor market in his 2015 paper, 'Firm market power and the earnings distribution'. Webber finds pervasive monopsony across the labor market, with the key finding that less monopsony power would lead to less income inequality..."

  2. Equitable Growth: Work and Family Researchers Network’s Latest Conference: "Boushey also participated in an “author-meets-readers” event for The Triple Bind of Single-Parent Families: Resources, Employment and Policies to Improve Well-Being, a collection edited by Rense Nieuwenhuis at the University of Stockholm and Laurie C. Maldonado at the Stone Center of Socio-Economic Inequality at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. The book, available through Open Access, deals with the challenges faced by single parents and their children—an interplay of inadequate resources, employment, and government policies—drawing from research across disciplines and countries..."

  3. Nick Bunker et al.: JOLTS Day Graphs: May 2018 Report Edition: "The Beveridge Curve, which estimates the unemployment rate for a given amount of job openings, has returned to its level during the expansion of the early 2000s..."

  4. Elizabeth Jacobs: California’s Paid Family Leave Policy Is Decreasing Nursing Home Use and Saving Medicaid Dollars: "Kanika Arora and... Douglas Wolf provide the first-ever empirical study assessing the impact of paid family and medical leave... utiliz[ing] longitudinal, state-level data to assess whether California’s state paid family and medical leave policy led to a decrease in nursing home utilization. California enacted a comprehensive paid leave policy in 2004, providing access to six weeks of leave for both new parents and family caregivers.... The estimated effect of paid family and medical leave on nursing home utilization in California is a decline of more than 11 percent in the share of the elderly residing in nursing homes..."

  5. Barbara Kiviat: The Art of Deciding with Data: Evidence From How Employers Translate Credit Reports into Hiring Decisions: "Half of US employers consider personal credit history when hiring.... Faced with the context-free numbers of a credit report, and without predictively valid credit scores to fall back on, hiring professionals struggle to make sense of financial data without knowing the details of job candidates’ lives. They therefore reach beyond credit reports, both by inferring events that led to delinquent debt and by testing to see if candidates can offer morally redeeming accounts. A process of moral storytelling re-inflates credit reports with social meaning and prevents people with bad credit from getting jobs..."


Worthy Reads Elsewhere:

  1. In my view, Kalmoe's harply distinguishing "ideology" from "partisanship" seems to me to be a potentially fatal flaw in what is otherwise an absolutely brilliant essay. We East African Plains Apes think in groups: we outsource a great deal of what we believe to others whom we trust. Thus "partisanship" and "ideology" reinforce each other massively. But that also means that when thought-leader elites change what the partisans with access to audiences say, people's "ideologies" will change as well—without them thinking about it much, if it all. At least, that is what I see as the potential hole in Kalmoe's argument: Nathan P. Kalmoe: Uses & Abuses of Ideology: "Ideology is a central construct in political psychology, and researchers claim large majorities of the public are ideological, but most fail to grapple with evidence of ideological innocence in most citizens...

  2. I get that the Trumpists are defined vis-a-vis other Americans by their fear and resentment of people of another race. But the question unaddressed in this—otherwise very good—paper is this: Did 'economic anxiety' tip us over into the current disastrous policy mess? I think the answer to that is surely "yes". Miller appears to think that the answer is "no", and I am not sure why: Steven V. Miller: Economic Anxiety or Racial Resentment? An Evaluation of Attitudes Toward Immigration in the U.S. From 1992 to 2016: "Does 'economic anxiety' explain attitudes toward immigration or can we better understood attitudes toward immigration as a function of ethnocentrism and racial resentment?...

  3. I am provoked by this framing that technology is becoming "harder" to develop: "Harder" in what sense? "Harder" in the sense of being "more complicated" or "more difficult relative to our (increasing) resources"? The benchmark of constant research productivity" defined as the same real dollar expenditure on research produces the same proportional increase in output? I have heard people say that the benchmark should be that the same share of national product spent on R&D should produce the same proportional increase in output. I have heard people say that the benchmark should be that the natural growth in the share of national product spent on R&D should be such as to produce the same proportional increase in output. I have never heard anybody say that the benchmark is that the same real dollar expenditure on research produces the same proportional increase in output: Nicholas Bloom, John Van Reenen, Charles I. Jones, and Michael Webb: Are Ideas Getting Harder to Find?: "One of the key drivers of economic growth during the last half century is Moore’s Law: the empirical regularity that the number of transistors packed onto an integrated circuit serving as the central processing unit for a computer doubles approximately every two years...

  4. No, the Trump administration is not very competent at achieving its stated goals. But that does not mean that the Trump administration is not doing enormous harm under the radar by simply being its chaos-monkey essence. The smart David Leonhardt tries to advise people how to deal with this: David Leonhardt: Trump Tries to Destroy the West: "[Trump's] behavior requires a response that’s as serious as the threat...

  5. Cory Doctorow: I Was Naive: "I've been thinking of all those 'progressive' Senators who said that... Jeff Sessions was a gentleman, honorable, decent—just someone whose ideas they disagreed with. They approved Sessions for AG on that basis, and he architected this kids-in-cages moment...

  6. Amitabh Chandra: "Judea Pearl's new book 'The Book of Why' is extraordinary... politely drives a bus through most social-science, public-health, health-policy research (aka, regressing outcomes on outcomes) and nuances what learning can really happen from machine-learning...

  7. It is necessary to remember, every day, what Dan Froomkin reminds us of: THIS IS NOT NORMAL. This was a private cabinet meeting. Yes, there are always lots of leaks and lots of complaisant reporters who work for sources generating a cloud of misinformation in an attempt to seek personal advantage in the court that is the White House. But "our principal is an idiot" is a message that people in the White House rarely wish to send. But that is, as Dan Froomkin points out here, the message that the Whire House insiders are saying: Dan Froomkin: THIS IS NOT NORMAL: "In private FEMA remarks, Trump’s focus strays from hurricanes...

  8. Also see Alan Taylor: Nick Bunker: Understanding the importance of the household credit in high-income economies: "Atif Mian... and Amir Sufi... pulling together the evidence for what they call the “credit-driven household demand channel”...

  9. Doug Rushkoff: Survival of the Richest: "The hedge funders asked me the best way to maintain authority over their security forces after 'the event'...

  10. Joseph Gagnon: QE Skeptics Overstate Their Case: "David Greenlaw, James Hamilton, Ethan Harris, and Kenneth West... argued that the consensus of previous studies overstates the effects of quantitative easing (QE) on long-term interest rates...


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Bradford DeLong
J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

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