“I Am Egyptian..”

I received the following email from Talaat Pasha, Ph.D., a fellow professor.  I think it rather concisely explains why the Egyptian people have arisen to change their government. Dear American fellow people,I am Egyptian. I have been ruled by the state of emergency for thirty (30)years, yes 30 years. 40% of my people live under … Continue reading “I Am Egyptian..”

Tax Cuts Do Not Increase Labor Supply

A central tenet of U.S. "conservative" and Republican economic policy since at least the election of Reagan in 1980 is that tax cuts cause people to work more and longer hours. This is part of the so-called "supply side economics".  The implication is that the longer hours and more labor supply will then raise the … Continue reading Tax Cuts Do Not Increase Labor Supply

Two Ways GDP Misleads

There are many flaws and ways in which GDP, Gross Domestic Product, can mislead us in estimating the size of an economy.  Michael Pettis of China Financial Markets uses China to illustrate how two factors can easily overstate a country's true GDP.  The first way is environmental degradation.  GDP doesn't count it, yet is definitely … Continue reading Two Ways GDP Misleads

Poor Bankers’ Feeling Hurt

Financial Times reports from Davos Switzerland: Stop bashing the bankers, Davos meeting told Governments around the world must stop banker-bashing and create the right environment for lenders to support economic growth, some of the world’s most powerful bankers will tell finance ministers on Saturday. Bankers say the meeting will be an effort to replicate internationally … Continue reading Poor Bankers’ Feeling Hurt

International Comparisons of Per Capita GDP

When we make comparisons between countries using per-capita GDP, we must always take a closer look.  The simple numbers don't say what you think.  For example, per capita GDP in France is only approximately 78-80% of per capita GDP in the U.S.  The temptation is to quickly assume that the U.S. is a more developed … Continue reading International Comparisons of Per Capita GDP

Income Inequality: Worse in US than Egypt/Tunisia

Washington's blog observes: Egyptian, Tunisian and Yemeni protesters all say that inequality is one of the main reasons they're protesting.However, the U.S. actually has much greater inequality than in any of those countries. Specifically, the "Gini Coefficient" - the figure economists use to measure inequality - is higher in the U.S. [Click for larger image] … Continue reading Income Inequality: Worse in US than Egypt/Tunisia

Demography and Revolutions

Continuing the discussion on Egypt, Tunisia, and the protests in North Africa/Middle East... One important characteristic of these nations is that they have very young populations. Young adults, those under say age 35, dominate the population, much the same way the Baby Boomers dominated the U.S. in the turbulent 1960's and 1970's.   Having a lot … Continue reading Demography and Revolutions

Tunisia, Egypt and “isms”

Note to regular readers: You may notice an increasing number of posts that deal with pure political economy or international issues.  In the past my posts have been dominated by macro-economic concerns and that's largely because my teaching schedule was heavily macro.  I'm teaching a new class this term that is essentially Political Economy 101, … Continue reading Tunisia, Egypt and “isms”

Patents Aren’t Signs of Economic Health

The President in the State of the Union speech pridefully observed that America issues more patents than any other country.  So what.  That's not a sign of economic vitality.  It's a sign of government giving privileged monopolies to some and allowing them to stop the march of learning, innovation, and research.  Matthew Yglesias understands.  John … Continue reading Patents Aren’t Signs of Economic Health