Friday , December 13 2019
Home / Tag Archives: Commentary

Tag Archives: Commentary

Childbirth and crime

Family formation and crime is the title  of  a very nice new paper by Maxim Massenkoff and Evan K. Rose. (HT Alex Tabarrok at Marginal  Revolution, which also has great commentary.)The graphs speak for themselves. Go to the paper to look at them all. A few select ones:Arrests fall by half, starting when mothers know they are pregnant:(The paper presents  more  accurate but less interpretable event study coefficients.  If you know what that means, go look at...

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Capital market freedom

I gave a presentation on "capital markets" at the Hoover Centennial series on Tuesday.  Caroline Hoxby gave a clear  presentation on human capital, and George Shultz told  some great  stories  from his time in government. Judging from the questions, Caroline was the star and  I put them to sleep. Finance always does that. The  video:Here is the text of my  presentationHoover  stands for freedom: ideas defining a free society is our motto.  And...

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Free market health care

and transparent pricing are  possible. Russ Roberts has a great econtalk podcast, interviewing  Keith Smith of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma Click on that link, roll over the areas of your body that hurt, and find out exactly how much it will cost to fix them.No insurance. Pay a preset transparent surprisingly low price. Get surgery. A great piece of news is that this is actually possible -- you won't go to jail (yet) for just running a hospital like any other...

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Climate clarity

The  carbon elephant in the room: (Data from EIA)In case "Asia and Oceania" vs. "North America" isn't clear  enough: Just why have China's carbon emissions risen  so much in the last decade?China  has been building  about one coal  fired  power  plant a week. China uses half again more energy than the US, to produce  $13.6 trillion vs. $20.5 trillion of GDP. That energy is strikingly weighted to coal (90 vs. 14  QBTU).Why does this fact...

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Economics and cognitive dissonance

What is the value of economics? "Have you economists ever proved anything that isn't obvious?" is a common complaint.Tyler Cowen has an insightful post on Marginal Revolution, that provides a lovely insight into the power of economic thinking.Often, multiple policy questions come down to a single issue. We may not know the answers to any of the questions, but we can at least say that the single issue drives the answer to all of them. So once you decide one issue goes one way, you can't...

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Who pays more taxes

A retired guy and a carpenter walk in to a bar, and they each order a beer. When they pay, the fashionable progressive economist asks them, "how much tax did you pay today on the money you got to buy that beer?" The carpenter answers, "Well, I just got my paycheck today. So, that's 30% federal income tax, 5% state income tax, 15% social security and other payroll taxes." The retiree says, "I took the money out of my bank account at the ATM on the way over. There isn't a tax on taking money...

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Bans on fracking and nuclear power

If you want evidence that climate policy has become unhinged from science and quantification, becoming more like a religious cult, look no further than the recent Democratic presidential candidates' proposals to ban fracking immediately and nuclear power soon.From Michael Cembalest at JP MorganI'm not a denier. Yes, carbon is a problem, warming is a problem, and a uniform carbon tax, vast expansion of nuclear energy, more renewables, lots of R&D on them, GMO foods, and geoenginnering are...

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More on low long-term interest rates

In an environment with stable inflation, the yield curve should typically be inverted.Long term investors care about money when they retire, not next month. Most investors are long-term.If inflation is steady, long-term bonds are a safer way to save money for the long run. If you roll over short-term bonds, then you do better when interest rates rise, and do worse when interest rates fall, adding risk to your eventual wealth. The long-term bond has more mark-to-market gains and losses, but...

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Intellectual property and the trade deficit

"The IP Commission estimates that between $200 billion and $500 billion a year of intellectual property is stolen from the U.S." I found this interesting tidbit in The Atlantic interview of Kevin Hassett, ex CEA chair. (HT Marginal Revolution)Well, suppose China were to pay up, and pay the $200 to $500 billion a year in royalty payments. Where would it get the money from? Hmm. It would have to sell us an additional $200 to $500 billion worth of exports, that's how.  The trade...

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Why stop at 100? The case for perpetuities

Issue 100-year Treasurys, advocates the Wall Street Journal.  It mentions a short note deep on the Treasury website thatTreasury’s Office of Debt Management is conducting broad outreach to refresh its understanding of market appetite for a potential Treasury ultra-long bond (50- or 100-year bonds). My 2 cents: Why stop at 100? Issue perpetuities! (I wrote a whole paper on this a while ago, if you want lots of detail and answers to practical...

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