Wednesday , October 28 2020
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The author John H. Cochrane
John H. Cochrane
In real life I'm a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. I was formerly a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. I'm also an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute. I'm not really grumpy by the way!

John Cochrane – Grumpy Economist

John Cochrane, Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford, is The Grumpy Economist. But he claims to not actually be grumpy. On this blog, he provides detailed commentary backed with data and exceptional reasoning on current economic news, finance and policy policy.

Challenges for central banks.

On October 20, I was graciously invited to give a talk at the  ECB Conference on Monetary Policy: bridging science and practice. I survey six challenges facing central banks: 1. Interest rates and inflation; 2. Policy reviews; 3. Financial reform post 2008 4. New challenges to finance post covid; 5. The many risks ahead; 6. Central banks and climate.  For the whole thing, go here for a pdf. (The conference website will have video soon.) Items 1-5 are mostly interesting for...

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Understanding the Left

This is an essay on politics. Some of my most valued readers have expressed they don't enjoy my posts on politics. Fair enough, I'll be back soon with commentary on monetary policy. See you later. This essay is part of a larger project from last fall, to understand what's going on with the Woke movement in the far left of American politics. This is an economic analysis -- I analyze behavior from incentives. I don't try to examine the content of ideology, but I watch its uses. I look for...

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The Philadelphia Statement

 While we're at it, The Philadelphia Statement is another effort to broadcast the value of free speech and open inquiry, with 15163 signatories so far.  A few choice quotes: Our liberty and our happiness depend upon the maintenance of a public culture in which freedom and civility coexist—where people can disagree robustly, even fiercely, yet treat each other as human beings—and, indeed, as fellow citizens—not mortal enemies. And not just as morally deplorable by virtue of...

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Open letter on campus culture

Adam Ellwanger, Professor of English at the University of Houston, has organized an important open letter on campus culture. It has hundreds of signatories. You can sign too if you wish.  Campuses have been drifting left for a long time. But, as the letter notes, there is a new qualitative difference, that the bureaucratic machinery now compounds what was just social and to some extent professional (don't hire conservatives) pressure among the faculty. ... campus...

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Nobel guess

Covid has really hurt the annual Nobel Prize gossip in economics circles. Here's my guess: Claudia Goldin and Tom Sowell. The last several decades have been amazingly productive in economics. There are dozens of economists who have made Nobel-worthy contributions, and the committee has a hard job sorting through just who should get it and when. Among these, who has superb, scholarly, innovative research, on issues that everyone cares about at the moment  (as well as on...

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Should Stanford cancel Stanford? Many questions.

Stanford just announced that it will change the name of (David Starr) Jordan Hall, and remove the statue of Louis Agassiz that adorns it. See the link if you do not know who these people are. The announcement brings to mind an obvious question: How long can Stanford remain Stanford? Read paragraphs 4 and 9 of Leland Stanford's inaugural address as governor of California. Trigger/trauma warning: I do not post them here, as Stanford's words would likely cause this blog to be...

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Video, talks, podcasts update

I have been remiss in posting links to videos, talks, and podcasts, for those of you who enjoy them.  Perhaps you have a long boring drive this weekend and NPR is driving you nuts. 1. An interview on MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) with my good friend Luigi Zingales from the University of Chicago Booth School, in the Capitalisn't series, following up on my review of Stephanie Kelton's book. Go to link for other formats or if embed code below doesn't work. Apple podcast....

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

Friday morning I had the pleasure of participating in a session at the OECD, as part of their program on Confronting Planetary Emergencies - Solving Human Problems. I had the tough job of following brilliant remarks by Acting CEA chair Tyler Goodspeed and Ken Rogoff, and discussing great questions all starting at 5 AM. FYI here is the text of my prepared remarks. My focus is how to rebuild the competence of our institutions, which failed dismally in this crisis. Covid and BeyondJohn...

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Contract enforcement with costly verification — Van Halen edition

From the Wall Street Journal Obituary A legacy of the band includes its contract riders—requests set as criteria for performance at a venue—particularly power and stage-construction requirements. Van Halen required a bowl of M&M’s to be placed in the band’s dressing room, with the brown candies removed—a test to make sure the contract was honored.Economists may not be rock stars, but some rock stars are economists!  RIP

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On Re-Education Programs

On Sept 22,  the White House put out an "Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping." Media coverage has been curiously spotty. Reading the primary source is revealing.  One expects an executive order to consist of  a short list of things that can and cannot be done, like a regulation. This one is an investigative report, with a philosophical preamble. What's in the program?Federal agencies are already implementing programs, on a wide scale. The order tells us...

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