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7 months

Lobbying vs. Campaign Spending

One of my pet peeves about arguments over the role of money in elections is that the discussion usually focuses so heavily on campaign contributions, while leaving out other intersections of money in politics--like the role of lobbying.

7 months

The Scandinavian Style of Capitalism

It is a truth universally acknowledged that arguing about the definitions of terms like "capitalism" and "socialism" is a waste of time. So rather than argue, I will simply assert that the world has many flavors of capitalism: among them, US/British, Japanese, Scandinavian/northern European, German, Spanish/French/Italian southern European, and doubtless others. Within the United States, one might further identify a spectrum of capitalist beliefs.

7 months

The Economics of Immigration

The Fall 2017 issue of the Cato Journal includes 11 accessible papers on "The Economics of Immigration." Here, I'll mention some insights that especially caught my eye from two of the papers.

8 months

Parsing Trump's Deregulation Plans

Many people have visceral but opposite reactions to the word "regulation." Some have an immediately positive reaction to almost any mention of regulation, in a belief that it is likely to be necessary corrective. Others have an immediately negative reaction, in the belief that it is likely to be a wasteful and perhaps even harmful overreaction. Me, I'm just a wishy-washy guy who thinks that some regulations can be useful, while others are misguided. On the off chance that there are a few more like me out there, how should we be reacting to the Trump administration's deregulation agenda?

8 months

The Next Financial Crisis

We have been reading numerous comments recently about a forthcoming recession and the next crisis, particularly on the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The question is not whether there will be a crisis, but when. In the past fifty years, we have seen more than eight global crises and many more local ones, so the likelihood of another one is quite high. Not just because of the years passed since the 2007 crisis, but because the factors that drive a global crisis are all lining up.

8 months

The Economics of Kinlessness

Kinlessness refers to a person without close living relatives. The idea of "close relatives" can be defined various ways: for example, as no living partner or children, or as no living partner, children, siblings, or parents. Ashton M. Verdery and Rachel Margolis present "Projections of white and black older adults without living kin in the United States, 2015 to 2060" (PNAS, October 17, 2017, 114: 42, 11109-11114). They write:

8 months

Analyzing Global and US Wealth

Wealth is not income. Income is the inflow measured over a period of time, like a pay period or a calendar year. Wealth is the accumulation of financial and real assets, minus debts. The total in retirement account and the equity in your house are wealth, but they are not income. The Credit Suisse Research Institute provides some perspectives in its recently published Global Wealth Report 2018,