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Home / Tag Archives: Inequality

Tag Archives: Inequality

More inequality

Paul Graham adds interesting thoughts on inequality, looking at the Forbes 100. Maybe we don't have enough inequality, and maybe the rise in inequality (especially of wealth) since the 1970s represents too little inequality then, not too much now. Contra the usual in politics, a change is not always a problem, but sometimes for the better. How? Read on. Contra the mantra of inherited wealth, the super-rich in America today largely earned their way there from middle class, by starting new...

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Inequality mirage?

David Splinter and Gerald Auten gave last week's Hoover Economic Policy Working Group seminar, summarizing their past and some work in progress on the distribution of income.  Link in case the above embed does not work. A recent paper. Splinter's web page. Splinter and Auten are very even handed, just-the-facts, economists. I'll pass on their facts. Grumpy interpretations are my own. It is a fact generally accepted that income inequality has grown a lot recently, and this is a...

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Ip on Bidenomics

Greg Ip has a great column in the WSJ on Bidenomics.  It's not long, it's so well written that it's hard to condense the good parts, and you should really read it all. There is an intellectual framework to Bidenomics, and with that a scarily more durable move on economic policy. There used to be "certain rules about how the world worked: governments should avoid deficits, liberalize trade and trust in markets. Taxes and social programs shouldn’t discourage work."By...

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Defining inequality so it can’t be fixed

In one of their series of excellent WSJ essays, Phil Gramm and John Early notice that conventional income inequality numbers report the distribution of income before taxes and transfers. After taxes and transfers, income inequality is flat or decreasing, depending on your starting point. Source: Phil Gramm and John Early in the Wall Street JournalIf your game is to argue for more taxes and transfers to fix income inequality, that is a dandy subterfuge as no amount of taxing and...

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Techsodus/Techsit politics.

The tech industry is fed up and leaving San Francisco in particular, the valley and California in general. Covid, like a war, speeds things up. If you're a young economist you could do worse than study this latest chapter in the (likely) decline of great cities (SF, NY, LA? Chicago?) and the movement of people and industries to friendlier, safer, and more welcoming climates. If you're a young political economist, whether they bring with them the politics that destroyed the places they left...

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Walter Williams and Economics

 "For 40 years Walter was the heart and soul of George Mason’s unique Department of Economics. Our department unapologetically resists the trend of teaching economics as if it’s a guide for social engineers. This resistance reflects Walter’s commitment to liberal individualism and his belief that ordinary men and women deserve, as his friend Thomas Sowell puts it, “elbow room for themselves and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of their ‘betters.’" My emphasis on the two best...

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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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Inequality and competition in a digital economy: a case study

Pokémon Go is an economy in miniature. There is exchange: players trade Pokémons and swap gifts. There is scarcity: the balls required to catch Pokémons are scarce, as is Pokémon storage capacity and other items in the game. There is production: through various activities, such as walking a Pokémon egg, or leaving a Pokémon in a gym, players can produce new Pokémon, or earn tokens. There is status seeking and signaling: high rank players parade their skill by wearing special clothing, and...

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Social Policy, Now: Next steps for income support and income insurance in Canada

Three next steps for social policy involve: 1. Maximizing auto-enrollment and just-in-time program delivery; 2. Offering full income support with engagement; and 3. Offering broad income and earnings insurance with agency. In this post I introduce the detailed discussion of these proposals that you can also download. On March 24th, 2020 the Government of Canada Tabled Bill C-13, “An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19,” in the House of Commons, and the next day...

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