September 27, 2005
Oil shale retort
A number of observers have been pointing to oil shale as the solution to all our energy problems. If oil shale does turn out to be the resource of the future, then our problems are only beginning.
September 26, 2005
Introducing Menzie Chinn
Econbrowser is pleased to welcome guest blogger Menzie Chinn, who is Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
On the origin of American current account deficits
Here are some more thoughts on the debate over the source of the U.S. current account deficit and whether it matters.
September 25, 2005
Responding to supply shocks
It seems pretty clear to me that a monetary contraction isn't the appropriate policy response to a supply shock. Apparently there are those within the Federal Reserve who see things differently.
September 22, 2005
Economic effects of Rita
A lot of people are bracing for huge effects of the latest Gulf storm on energy markets. I see reasons for hoping things won't be that bad.
September 20, 2005
The space pioneers
You have to wonder about the timing, if nothing else. Last week, Cato Institute researchers warned of a looming budget disaster if strong measures such as cutting the budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in half were not taken. On Monday, NASA chief Michael Griffin unveiled a new $104 billion plan for sustained human exploration of the moon by 2018 as a preparatory step for getting people on Mars. Here's my suggestion for how to explore space without breaking the budget.
September 19, 2005
Consumer confidence plunges
Yet another key leading indicator turns gloomy. How much can the stock market and the Fed shrug off?
September 18, 2005
Pop quiz on the deficit
Here's a pop quiz for macroeconomic students from Economist's View on how to deal with the deficit.
September 17, 2005
Two more examples of why I think America's lawyers are out of control.
September 16, 2005
Who cares about core inflation?
This is another one of those months when you could report pretty much any number you like to summarize the current inflation rate, and, as William Polley noted, newspapers did. At times like these, the concept of "core inflation" can be very helpful.
September 14, 2005
Gasoline demand plummets
By Monday, oil and gasoline futures prices had given up all of the gain they'd experienced since Katrina. Today we learned that U.S. gasoline demand has plummeted. Both developments were pretty surprising, but are surely related.
September 13, 2005
Energy theory of value
Perhaps no statement by economists causes physical scientists more aggravation than the claim that the economic importance of energy can be measured by its dollar share in total GDP. Here I explore some of the arguments for both sides of that claim.
September 12, 2005
Hurricane? What hurricane?
Amazingly, gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange today ended back where they were before Hurricane Katrina struck with all its fury. Retail prices will likely follow that lead. But what about the Fed?
September 11, 2005
The question about refining
Has environmental regulation been responsible for leaving the U.S. with inadequate gasoline refining capacity? The story is not as simple as some have suggested.
September 10, 2005
It is my intention occasionally to offer thoughts about some of the propositions on which Californians will be asked to vote this November and provide a forum for discussion of the issues. Today I take up Proposition 77, the redistricting initiative.
September 09, 2005
Gasoline taxes revisited
Kudos to Bryan Caplan of Econlog, Victor of Dead Parrot Society, and the Governor of Georgia for proving wrong my conjecture that lowering gasoline taxes in the present environment would not result in cost savings for consumers.
September 07, 2005
On the nature of economic recessions
What exactly happens in an economic recession, and how much has Katrina increased the likelihood of one developing?
September 06, 2005
The calm after the storm
Time to assess the storm damage. From an economic point of view, it looks costly, but manageable.
September 05, 2005
New information on the Cambridge Energy analysis of world oil supplies
I earlier expressed concern (here and here) that insufficient details about the analysis of near-term oil supply prospects by Cambridge Energy Research Associates had been released to allow outside observers an opportunity to evaluate objectively the basis for their conclusions. The Oil Drum notes that these details are now available from CERA. My impression from examining these is that CERA has good reasons for expecting significant oil production increases over the near term.
September 04, 2005
Lockyer to the rescue
I'm starting to think that every day some politician is going to come up with a new idea for how to make the current gas situation worse. California's Attorney General provides today's illustration.
September 02, 2005
Katrina aftermath: good news with the bad
Some sanity was restored to gasoline markets today, in which patches of good news allowed a more level-headed assessment of the size of the logistical challenges ahead. Both hope and despair can be found on the human dimension of the problem as well.
September 01, 2005
Why lower taxes would bring no relief
Yesterday I applauded the Administration's actions with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and fuel standards as very sensible and appropriate responses to the current problems. No doubt there will be any of a number of other proposals to "do something" that would cause more harm than good. Cutting gasoline taxes definitely falls in that category.