economic history

Gene Expression

Tag archives for economic history

The great productivity transient

This comment from Chris is interesting: I would speculate that the the massive productivity gains were due to a massive resorting of American society along cognitive lines; from 1940 to 1970 a large number of high ability people who were previously locked into agriculture and industry were able to sort themselves into more innovative positions.…

The business cycle, then and now

Two interesting graphs from Calculated Risk. The first shows that the changes in GDP seem during the last recessive are on a par with those of the early 1980s and before (though we don’t know if we’re in a U or V shaped recession yet, though the odds are probably more U than V right…

Jobless Turn to Family for Help, Often With Complications: More than half of the respondents to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll of 708 unemployed adults nationwide said they had borrowed money from friends or relatives. In most cases, their financial pictures were bleak. Nearly 80 percent of those who reported borrowing money said…

On economic growth projections

Alex Tabarrok has the back story on the infamous Paul Samuelson projections about Soviet growth. It gets interesting: Tarshis and Heilbroner were more liberal than Samuelson and McConnell but offered a more nuanced, descriptive and tentative account of the Soviet economy. Why? Levy and Peart argue that they were saved from error not by skepticism…

Inequality & institutions

Tom Rees, Income inequality drives church attendance: …we find that attendance rates are particularly high in countries with more socioeconomic inequalities and fewer social welfare expenditure. This effect equally applies to both poor and rich people, which is in line with the idea that because of economic mobility and the possibility of unemployment in the…

As I gave a nod to statistical tricks and subtle shell games very recently, the material I review subsequently should be viewed with skepticism and caution. A few days ago I also pointed to a paper which describes and models intergenerational transfers of wealth across various societies. In other words, what parents transmit to children.…

In the interminable debate on Wall Street compensation Ryan Avent makes an important point: Officials in Washington scrutinising the pay packages of TARP recipients are primarily focused on the incentive effects of those pay structures–whether financial pay packages are inducing financial employees to take excessive risks. But the bigger incentive problem may be–almost certainly is–the…

The efficient market vs. its enemies

I’m reading Justin Fox’s The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street, which is on many “To Read” lists because of its topical relevance. I think it is especially illuminating when examined in light of another work, Toward Rational Exuberance: The Evolution of the Modern Stock Market…

The modifier on innovation

Felix Salmon has been at the center of a discussion on the merits and value-add of financial innovation. He notes: Then there’s the more purely financial innovation. There are good things here too — fractional reserve banking, factoring, common-stock limited-liability companies, tradable fungible bonds, stock-market index funds, that sort of thing. But on this front…