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2 months

Time for a Return of Large Corporation Research Labs?

It often takes a number of intermediate steps to move from a scientific discovery to a consumer product. A few decades ago, many larger and even mid-sized corporations spent a lot of money on research and development laboratories, which focused on all of these steps. Some of these corporate laboratories like those at AT&T, Du Pont, IBM, and Xerox were nationally and globally famous. But the R&D ecosystem has shifted, and firms are now much more likely to rely on outside research done by universities or small start-up firms. These issues are discussed in "The changing structure of American innovation: Cautionary remarks for economic growth," by Ashish Arora, Sharon Belenzon,  Andrea Patacconi, and Jungkyu Suh, presented at conference on  "Innovation Policy and the Economy 2019," held on on on April 16, 2019, hosted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, and sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

2 months

Are Firms Doing a Lousy Job in How they Hire?

In a lot of economic models, firms decide to hire based on whether they need more workers to meet the demand for their products; in the lingo, labor is a "derived demand," derived from the desired level of output. Beyond that, economic models often don't pay much attention to the details of how hiring happens, assuming that profit-maximizing firms will figure out relatively cost-effective ways of gathering and keeping the skills and workers they need. But what if that hypothesis is wrong?

2 months

Debasing the Baseless - Modern Monetary Theory

·        Populist politicians are turning to Modern Monetary Theory  ·        Fiscal stimulus has not led to significant inflation during the last decade ·        MMT is too radical to be adopted in full but the allure of fiscal expansion is great ·        Asset markets will benefit over the medium-term

2 months

The High Costs of Renewable Portfolio Standards

A "renewable portfolio standard" is a rule that a certain percentage of electricity generation needs to come from renewable sources.  Such rule have been spreading in popularity. But Michael Greenstone and Ishan Nath argue in "Do Renewable Portfolio Standards Deliver?" that they are an overly costly way of reducing carbon emissions (Becker Friedman Institute, University of Chicago, April 21, 2019). As they explain in the Research Summary (a full working paper is also available at the link):

3 months

Single Payer Requires Many Choices

I sometimes hear "single payer" spoken as if it was a complete description of a plan for revising the US health care system. But "single payer" actually involves a lot of choices. The Congressional Budget Office walks through the options in their report "Key Design Components and Considerations for Establishing a Single-Payer Health Care System" (May 2019).

3 months

Globalization: More Than Before, But Less than You Think?

Globalization can be loosely defined as increases in the flow of goods, services, finance, people, and information across national boundaries. It has been generally on the rise in recent decades, although this trend experienced a substantial hiccup around the time of the Great Recession. Steven A. Altman, Pankaj Ghemawat, and Phillip Bastian have written "DHL Global Connectedness Index 2018: The State of Globalization in a Fragile World"(February 2019). Most of the report is country- and region-level descriptions of the level globalization.

3 months

The Squeezed Middle Class: An International View

Being "middle-class" is a perception that includes more than a certain range of numerical rankings in the distribution of income. For example, it includes a sense that one's job is reasonably stable heading into the future, a sense that income from the job is sufficient to purchase the goods and services associated with middle-class social status, and a sense that this status is likely to be passed on to one's children.