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Josh Hendrickson: Everyday Economist

The Everyday Economist is a blog written by Josh Hendrickson, an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Mississippi. Josh’s flair for simple and readable writing on current economics issues makes this one of the best economics blogs for beginners.

In Memory of Bob Rossana

Robert “Bob” Rossana died back in February of this year. I was inadvertently left off of the university announcement email and did not hear about it until much later. Bob was my dissertation advisor. He meant a lot to me and so I want to share some thoughts. In graduate school, there were four macroeconomics courses. Two core classes and two field classes. Bob was instrumental in getting this four-course system started, as well as a “macro lunch,” in which any graduate student interested...

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Macroeconomic Policy and the Coronavirus

(The post is also going to be cross-posted at Lars Christensen’s Market Monetarist blog.) As the coronavirus spreads across the world, there is growing concern about the economic implications of the virus and what, if any, policy action is required of governments. Some have proposed traditional stimulus measures to counteract the virus while others have proposed more targeted measures. However, before one can offer policy solutions, one needs to diagnose the problem. In this post, I will...

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Some Links

A couple of links to things I have been working on… My paper entitled, “The Riksbank, Emergency Finance, Policy Experimentation, and Sweden’s Reversal of Fortune” is now forthcoming at the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. The paper includes a lot of background on Swedish governance and fiscal capacity, as well as information about the early Swedish monetary system and the Riksbank. I argue that the constraints on the Riksbank left Sweden unable to use its central bank in...

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On Maritime Policy

Some time ago, I was listening to NPR and the hosts were discussing the Jones Act. For those who are unaware, the Jones Act requires that any shipping done from one U.S. port to another U.S. port must be carried by a U.S.-flagged ship with a U.S. crew that was built in the U.S. The hosts claimed that they could not find an economist who could explain why this sort of law existed. The policy seemed like a run-of-the-mill protectionist giveaway. My reaction was much different. Here we have...

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On Drawing the Wrong Lessons from Theory: The Natural Rate of Unemployment

Economic theory is important. Theory provides discipline. Economists write down a set of assumptions and follow those assumptions to their logical conclusions. The validity of a particular theory is then tested against observed data. Modern economic theory is often mathematical, but theory comes in a variety of forms. Sometimes theory is used to develop and test specific empirical predictions. Other times, economic theory acts as a type of sophisticated thought experiment. These thought...

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On Exhaustible Resources, Part 2

Yesterday’s post on exhaustive resources has drawn a lot of ire from critics. Some have argued that I didn’t address the problem of economic growth. In short, the argument is that there are two sources of economic growth. The first is that increased efficiency of resources allows us to produce more stuff with the same amount of resources. The second is that because resources are more productive we tend to use more of them. Others have argued that algebra is irrelevant to the problem. I’d...

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On Exhaustible Resources

Yesterday, George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian that the survival of capitalism relies on persistent economic growth and persistent economic growth is impossible in the long-run because there are finite resources in the world. In response, I made the following popular, but sarcastic tweet. Economists: economic growth results from finding ways to produce the same amount of stuff with fewer resources. You, an intellectual: economic growth requires infinite resources....

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A Simple Lesson About Money and Models

Imagine you are in your high school algebra class and you are presented with the following two equations: Two linear equations with 2 unknowns. This is a simple problem to solve. Now suppose that your teacher gives you the following three equations: Note that this is still a simple problem to solve. The first two equations are identical to the previous example. You can use those first two equations to solve for x and y. Then, knowing x, you can solve for z. The central point is that...

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