May 31, 2011
How Innocuous Is a Treasury Default?
Steven Englander, Global Head of G-10 FX strategy for Citi is not very sanguine about a Treasury default, especially as it pertains to foreign holders of Treasurys. From an email today (not online):
May 30, 2011
Unemployment and Output Gaps in a New Keynesian DSGE
The output gap is big and negative; the unemployment gap is big and positive. From "Unemployment in an Estimated New Keynesian Model" (ungated version), by Jordi Galí, Frank Smets, and Rafael Wouters:
May 27, 2011
Economic Underpinnings of "The House Republican Plan for America’s Job Creators"
Such as they are
In reading this short document (a word count was 2069, essentially a 8 page paper, shorter than the term papers I assign), I was pervaded by a sense of déjà vu. There are many interesting assertions (not a single footnote in the entire document). Rejoinders to some assertions are here. I’ll focus on some key guffaw-inducing assertions, relying largely upon previous Econbrowser posts.
May 26, 2011
Oil price manipulation
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Tuesday filed a civil enforcement action alleging that Nicholas Wildgoose and James Dyer, who worked as traders for Arcadia Petroleum Ltd. and its affiliates, profited by manipulating the price of oil and oil futures in early 2008. I was interested to take a look at the details of the CFTC allegations.
May 25, 2011
Forecasts: What and How Do Business Economists Think?
The WSJ and Philadelphia Fed surveys of economists were released last week. It’s of interest to consider what they imply for the macro outlook, and additionally, how they believe inflation will evolve as a function of other variables.
May 24, 2011
When the economy reaches stall speed
May 22, 2011
Measuring systemic financial risk
On a recent visit to UCSD, NYU Professor and Nobel Laureate Rob Engle called my attention to the NYU Stern Volatility Laboratory, a great resource that anyone can use to get some very interesting real-time analysis. Here I'd like to describe some of the features available for assessing the systemic risk posed by financial institutions.
May 19, 2011
Are We on the Brink of High Inflation?
Core CPI: Blips or Trends
Here's a plot of three measures of core m/m inflation. I don't see hyper (or even high ) inflation on the horizon, as some do  . Since one observation doesn't make a trend, for good measure I include also 3 month inflation.
May 18, 2011
U.S. Postal Service pension funding
The challenge of meeting pension payments is starting to put a huge burden on the San Diego and California budgets, leading many of us to regret that more voices weren't raised in objection at the time these commitments were quietly made years ago. For that reason, discussion this week of pensions for U.S. postal workers got my attention.
May 17, 2011
F for Fail
The Joint Economic Committee (JEC) Republican analysis of the impact of monetary policy on gasoline prices
I've been grading papers for the past half week, so when this popped into my mailbox yesterday morning, I was in a "grading" mood. And when I finished reading it, I determined I would give it an F. From "The Price of Oil and the Value of the Dollar: Declining Value of the U.S. Dollar Adds to the Price of Oil and Gasoline," Republican Staff Commentary (May 16, 2011):
May 15, 2011
Shale gas environmental concerns
Technological breakthroughs in methods for drilling for natural gas have opened up the possibility of vast new supplies. However, environmental concerns may turn out to be significant.
May 12, 2011
What Would Really Bring about a Dollar Dive?
One of the things about reading the op-eds and various articles in the blogosphere is the tendency to hype the possibility of the collapse in this, or the collapse in that. The most recent "bubble" in this type of writing involved hyper-inflation, commodities (silver, anyone?) and the dollar. Now I read things like QEIII would bring about a collapse in the dollar  (as if anybody really thought QEIII was politically likely, even if it were advisable on economic grounds); or easy monetary policy would be the culprit. Here's a choice quote from Jim Rogers:
May 11, 2011
Oil prices and trading mechanics
May 10, 2011
China's Currency and Trade Balance: Two Pictures
The US-China Strategic and Economic Dialog is underway.  The topics span many issues. One of the perennials is the yuan's real value and the Chinese trade balance. Here are two figures.
May 09, 2011
Learning about Long Term Unemployment (II)
Politics and Policy
Last Monday, I discussed some of the findings from the conference on causes and consequences of, and policy responses to, long term unemployment, which brought to UW Madison Prakash Loungani, an Advisor in IMF’s Research Department, Kenneth Scheve, Professor of Political Science at Yale, Phillip Swagel, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and a former Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Economic Policy, Rob Valletta, Research Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Kenneth Troske, Professor of Economics from the University of Kentucky. In today’s post, I will discuss the presentations and papers by Ken Scheve and Phillip Swagel and Ken Troske.
May 08, 2011
Lower oil prices
Like a roller coaster ride, 2011 saw oil prices climb gradually, only to fall dramatically this last week. Here I offer my thoughts on some of the key contributing factors.
May 05, 2011
Guest Contribution: The Taylor Rule and QE2
By David Papell
More on oil markets
May 04, 2011
Will high oil prices bring a new recession?
Ten of the 11 recessions in the United States since World War II have been preceded by an increase in oil prices. Does the recent surge in oil prices mean we should be looking for recession number 12?
May 01, 2011
Learning about Long Term Unemployment (I)
On Thursday, we brought together an impressive array of scholars to discuss the causes and consequences of, and policy responses to, long term unemployment, including Prakash Loungani, Advisor in the IMF's Research Department, Kenneth Scheve, Professor of Political Science at Yale, Phillip Swagel, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and a former Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Economic Policy, Rob Valletta, Research Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Dan Aaronson, Director of Microeconomic Research at the Chicago Fed, and Kenneth Troske, Professor of Economics from the University of Kentucky. And that was in addition to the researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (more on them below). For me, this was a tremendous learning experience. But like all good conferences, by the end I understood that I knew less than I thought I knew about long term unemployment. In today’s post, I will discuss the presentations and papers by Prakash Loungani and Rob Valletta; in the next post, I'll cover the findings of Ken Scheve and Phillip Swagel and Ken Troske.