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Tag Archives: growth

Monopoly in history

Timothy Taylor, the Conversable Economist, tracks down the oft-told story of William Lee and his knitting machine....the 2019 World Development Report from the World Bank has a mention near the start of Chapter 1: "In 1589, Queen Elizabeth I of England was alarmed when clergyman William Lee applied for a royal patent for a knitting machine: `Consider thou what the invention would do to my poor subjects,' she pointed out. `It would assuredly bring them to ruin by depriving them of...

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Should we worry about temporarily raising government debt? – Blanchard’s AEA Address

This post not about the main part of this address, although as its my area and interesting I may write about it later. Instead I’m going to talk in a non-technical way about its premise, because that alone has implications that may be well known among economists but not elsewhere. The following is based on his presentation. Should governments worry about temporarily paying for things by borrowing? One standard answer is yes, because although nothing obliges government to pay off this extra...

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Growth and well-being: policy should not be based on GDP alone

Economists are often accused of focusing excessively on GDP, with the result that government policies make GDP a priority to the detriment of other contributors to well-being. This research proposes a broader summary statistic that incorporates consumption, leisure, mortality and inequality. While the new statistic is highly correlated with GDP per capita, cross-national deviations are often large: Western Europe looks considerably closer to the United States; emerging Asia has...

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Intellectual property and China

Let's transfer more technology to China, writes Scott Sumner, with approving comments from Don Boudreaux. They're exactly right, skewering one of the common backstop defenses of protectionists on both left and right.The question is whether China can buy US technology, or require technology transfer to Chinese partners as a condition of the US firm entering China. Scott and Don have sophisticated versions of my reaction: If Chinese access isn't worth it to you, don't do the deal.It stands to...

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Debt Oped

An oped on debt in the Washington Post. Growing debt and deficits are a danger. If interest rates rise, debt service will rise, and can provoke a crisis. Really the only solution is greater long-run economic growth and to reform -- reform, not "cut" -- entitlements. And the sooner the better, as the size and pain of the adjustment is much less if we do it now.This is written with Mike Boskin, John Cogan, George Shultz, and John Taylor. George Shultz was the inspiration, and wrote the first...

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Can Technology Hurt Productivity?

March 22, 2018 —  Declining growth rates in productivity and GDP have been observed in recent years.  A variety of explanations have been offered. The most prominent explanations involve technology.   On the one hand, Robert Gordon (2016) has argued persuasively that we should not expect Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and other technological innovations of recent years to have as big an economic payoff as electricity, the automobile, and other technological revolutions of...

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Truck automation

Two bits from Marginal Revolution on truck automation are so good they merit passing on here. Dan Hanson writes this amazing commentI wonder how many of the people making predictions about the future of truck drivers have ever ridden with one to see what they do?One of the big failings of high-level analyses of future trends is that in general they either ignore or seriously underestimate the complexity of the job at a detailed level. Lots of jobs look simple or rote from a think tank or...

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Boot Camp

Hoover has just announced the 2018 Summer Boot Camp August 19-25 2018The Hoover Institution’s Summer Policy Boot Camp (HISPBC) is an intensive, one week residential immersion program in the essentials of today’s national and international United States policy. The program is intended to instruct college students and recent graduates on the economic, political, and social aspects of United States public policy. The goal is to teach students how to think critically about public policy...

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Exceptionalism

Law and the Regulatory State is a little essay, my contribution to American Exceptionalism in a new Era, a volume of such essays by Hoover Fellows. It takes up where Rule of Law in the Regulatory State left off.A few snippets:To be a conservative—or, as in my case, an empirical, Pax-Americana, rule-of-law, constitutionalist, conservative libertarian—is pretty much by definition to believe that America is “exceptional”—and that it is perpetually in danger of losing that precious...

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The 3-2-1 on Economic Growth: Hope for 3, Plan for 2, Pray it isn’t 1

How fast will the US economy grow? When mainstream forecasters consult their crystal balls, they typically see real economic growth around 2 percent annually over the next decade. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and midpoint estimates of Federal Reserve officials and private forecasters cluster in that neighborhood. When President Trump looks in his glowing orb, he sees a happier answer: 3 percent. That percentage point difference is a big deal. Office of Management and Budget...

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