December 29, 2011
The Year in Review: Fantastical Pseudo Economics
Since the media are full of "year in review" pieces, I thought I’d make a contribution of my own. One of the best things about being a blogger is being able to comment quickly on the most outrageous, nonsensical assertions presented in the guise of analysis. Here are my "ten best" (actually -- most hilariously deluded) excursions into the fantasy world from my postings to Econbrowser. The inspirations range from Speaker Boehner's math to the Heritage Foundation's simulations (where have you gone, Bill Beach!)
December 28, 2011
Getting the U.S. economy growing
We can sit and wring our hands, or we can get to work.
December 25, 2011
U.S. net exports of petroleum products
One big story of 2011 was the United States switched from being a net importer to a net exporter of petroleum products. Here are the details behind that development.
December 22, 2011
Regulatory Uncertainty, Macro Policy Uncertainty, and Demand
With the Republicans in the House maximizing policy uncertainty, I think it useful to recount some of the recent research on how uncertainty is affecting output. In particular, I want to go beyond the talking point which asserts that regulatory uncertainty is depressing output (data free analysis here), given that we know empirical results asserting the level of regulation depresses output are not robust .
December 21, 2011
European financial tensions and the Fed
U.S. monetary policy has gone through three distinct phases since 2008. We may be about to begin the fourth.
December 19, 2011
Guest Contribution: US Federal Regulatory Budget and Macroeconomic Outcomes: What Do We Know?
By Tara M. Sinclair
Today, we’re fortunate to have Tara M. Sinclair, Associate Professor of Economics and International Affairs and a scholar at the GW Regulatory Studies Center at The George Washington University, as a Guest Contributor.
There has been a lot of debate lately about the costs of regulation for the US economy. In a Regulatory Policy Commentary posted on December 19th, Kathryn Vesey, a research associate at the GW Regulatory Studies Center, and I discuss our preliminary findings from a study of the macroeconomic impacts of changes in the “regulators’ budget,” i.e. the part of the US federal government budget allocated to developing and enforcing federal regulations.
December 18, 2011
Costs and benefits of the Keystone XL pipeline
December 16, 2011
Dispatches (XVII): "Things are continually and gradually moving in the right direction"
That's the concluding line from the release issued by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's Secretary Reginald Newson. The preceding sentence is "The job numbers are a lagging indicator for economic conditions, and we will continue to move forward." Here are two graphs, with updated DWD data incorporating revisions, and preliminary data for November, that place those comments in context.
December 14, 2011
"Are Chinese Trade Flows Different?"
The answer is no, and yes.
We find that Chinese trade flows respond to economic activity and relative prices -- as represented by a trade weighted exchange rate -- but the relationships are not always precisely or robustly estimated. Chinese exports are generally well-behaved, rising with foreign GDP and decreasing as the Chinese renminbi (RMB) appreciates....
The Federal Reserve still would like to do more, but not right now.
December 12, 2011
Dispatches (XVI): Measuring Progress in Wisconsin
Macroeconomic indicators turning downward.
There is a recurring commercial going out over Wisconsin airwaves arguing for progress , link to [video]. This impelled me to consult some metrics regarding progress in the state, following up on this post from a month ago.
December 11, 2011
More on those secret Federal Reserve loans to banks
The claim that the Federal Reserve extended trillions of dollars in secret loans to banks continues to be spread. Here at Econbrowser we will continue to try to correct some of the misunderstanding that is out there.
December 10, 2011
Advice for the academic job market
For new econ Ph.D.'s about to look for a job, the University of Wisconsin has provided a short video of what you might expect when you give your first talk presenting your research to the faculty.
December 08, 2011
Lost Decades, Illustrated
When I discuss Lost Decades I always stress the fact that the “s” denotes the plural. Figure 1 shows that a decade and a half in, the trajectory of output has been noticeably depressed since 2001Q1.
December 07, 2011
Supply Chains and the Future of Globalization in the Wake of the Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami
I was sitting in a briefing recently, where I heard how US GDP would be measurably affected by the floods in Thailand –- specifically through the shutdown of production of key auto parts.  That reminded me of the supply-chain-propagated impact of events nine months earlier, following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Here’s the trade-related part of the assessment from my colleague Isao Kamata’s article in the La Follette Policy Report, “The Great East Japan Earthquake: A View on Its Implication for Japan’s Economy”:
December 06, 2011
$7.77 trillion in secret Federal Reserve loans to banks?
I have been looking into the claim recently made by any number of internet sites (for example, here's one of the many hundreds, if you insist on a link) that the Federal Reserve made $7.77 trillion in secret loans to banks. The claim is outrageously inaccurate, as I explain below.
December 05, 2011
Consumption: Distinguishing between Keynesian and Permanent Income Motivations, and Deleveraging
One of the startling things about consumption behavior is that, despite the burst of spending surrounding the holiday season, per capita consumption in 2011Q3 has only re-attained the levels of 2008Q3. Various explanations have been forwarded, ranging from the failure of Keynesian economics , to the decline in income prospects or higher income uncertainty, or to the decline in observed net worth  (deleveraging, in certain interpretations).
December 04, 2011
Current economic conditions
The U.S. economy experienced disappointingly weak growth in the third quarter. Data coming in during the last week suggest that the fourth quarter is starting out a little better. But it doesn't look to me as much better as some accounts in the financial press might lead you to believe.
December 02, 2011
The November Employment Situation
Some good news, but it all has to be put in perspective. As Mark Thoma points out, 120,000 jobs is about what is needed to keep unemployment from rising. In addition, the drop in the unemployment rate was driven largely by the drop in the participation rate, not the rise in employed. That’s going to be greater relevance if the extension of unemployment benefits is further blocked (in other words, there are offsetting employment effects from UI, as discussed in this rejoinder to Mulligan). More discussion at Izzo/WSJ RTE. I’m going to focus on data from the establishment survey.
December 01, 2011
Thoughts on Europe, November 2010 and December 2011
Many countries with foreign debts in their own currency reduce their real debt burden by allowing their currency to drop in value, so that foreigners get repaid in less-valuable currency. But Greece and the other PIIGS cannot pursue this option on their own, for they share the euro with other countries, including some of the countries to which they owe money. Given this dynamic, investors and others worried that the European Central Bank would be forced to allow euro-zone inflation to rise -- and perhaps even to allow the euro to depreciate -- in order to alleviate some of the pain and suffering caused by its members’ debts.