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Tag Archives: Economics

What happened to the mandate, the third leg of the stool?

But Congress did ultimately chop off a leg when it repealed the mandate penalties in 2017 — and, despite these predictions, the Affordable Care Act still stands. New federal data and economic research show the law hasn’t collapsed or entered the “death spiral” that economists and health insurers projected. Many experts now view the individual mandate as a policy that did little to increase health coverage — but did a lot to invite political backlash and legal challenges. The newest...

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University of Pennsylvania update and correction

“The email sent by Penn SAS Deans last Tuesday needs to be interpreted with some care. In particular, notice the words “school-funded Ph.D. programs.” There is a lot of institutional background that is lost when the email is read from the outside, especially because the Economics Ph.D. program has its own funding structure that differs from other Ph.D. programs at Penn SAS. At this moment, the Department of Economics is working out the details of the next year incoming...

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Which economic methods are in practice statistically more honest than others?

…our results suggest that the [instrumental variables] and, to a lesser extent, [difference-in-difference] research bodies have substantially more p-hacking and/or selective publication than those based on [randomized controlled trials] and [regression-discontinuity]… (p.3) And: We find no evidence that: (1) Papers published in the ‘Top 5’ journals are different to others; (2) The journal ‘revise and resubmit’ process mitigates the problem; (3) Things are improving through time....

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Reconstructing microeconomics as a kind of anthropology

Here is the closing part of my introduction to what will be a forthcoming Taiwanese, classical Chinese character edition of my earlier book Discover Your Inner Economist: Finally, hidden in Discover Your Inner Economist is an implied revision of how economics should be done in the university. Most economic theory starts with the notion of market supply and demand, and then proceeds to analyze problems. In my vision, it is first more important to understand how people understand the incentives...

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How to make yourself happier during the pandemic

There is plenty of relevant psychological advice, here is some more narrowly economic advice from my latest Bloomberg column.  Start with this key point: …it is a common result in empirical economics that consumption habits are slow to adjust to changing circumstances, especially unprecedented circumstances. It is not enough for you to develop new spending habits — you should double down on them. And this: Savings have been so high in part because people are hoarding resources for an...

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Declining Business Dynamism…The Role of the Burden of Knowledge

There is a new and important and I believe largely true paper from Thomas Astebro, Serguey Braguinsky, and Yuheng Ding: We document that since 1997, the rate of startup formation has precipitously declined for firms operated by U.S. PhD recipients in science and engineering. These are supposedly the source of some of our best new technological and business opportunities. We link this to an increasing burden of knowledge by documenting a long-term earnings decline by founders, especially less...

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The Washington Consensus Works: Causal Effects of Reform, 1970-2015

Sustained economic reform significantly raises real GDP per capita over a 5- to 10-year horizon. Despite the unpopularity of the Washington Consensus, its policies reliably raise average incomes. Countries that had sustained reform were 16% richer 10 years later. As for the method: In this paper, we define generalized reform as a discrete, sustained jump in an index of economic freedom, whose components map well onto the points of the old consensus. We identify 49 cases of generalized...

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Evidence from 27 Thousand Economics Journal Articles on Africa

The first two decades of the 21st century have seen an increasing number of peer-reviewed journal articles on the 54 countries of Africa by both African and non-African economists. I document that the distribution of research across African countries is highly uneven: 45% of all economics journal articles and 65% of articles in the top five economics journals are about five countries accounting for just 16% of the continent’s population. I show that 91% of the variation in the number of...

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Those new service sector jobs, coffin whisperer edition

Also known as markets in everything: Bill Edgar has, in his own words, “no respect for the living”. Instead, his loyalty is to the newly departed clients who hire Mr Edgar — known as “the coffin confessor” — to carry out their wishes from beyond the grave. Mr Edgar runs a business in which, for $10,000, he is engaged by people “knocking on death’s door” to go to their funerals or gravesides and reveal the secrets they want their loved ones to know....

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My Conversation with Matt Yglesias

Substantive, interesting, and fun throughout, here is the audio, video, and transcript.  For more do buy Matt’s new book One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger.  Here is the CWT summary: They discussed why it’s easier to grow Tokyo than New York City, the governance issues of increasing urban populations, what Tyler got right about pro-immigration arguments, how to respond to declining fertility rates, why he’d be happy to see more people going to church (even though he’s...

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