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2 months

Tragedy of the Commons: 50 Years Later

Back in December 1968, an ecologist and microbiologist named Garrett Hardin published a short essay called "The Tragedy of the Commons" in Science (December 13, 1968, pp. 1243-1248).  The phrase "tragedy of the commons" passed into everyday use, and the article itself spawned a vast research literature. Fifty years later, what's it all about?

2 months

Is Carbon Capture and Storage on the Verge?

If carbon capture and storage was cheap and easy, it would be a technological fix for the issue of climate change. It's not that simple, of course. But along with a range of other technologies and policies, carbon capture and storage can be part of the answer. In the Global Status of CCS 2018, the Global CCS Institute provides an overview of this technology (download requires free registration). The tone of the report is boosterish and upbeat about the technology--but it's also full of facts and case studies and background about efforts currently underway.

2 months

US Income Inequality Through the Prism of Different Studies

Studies of income inequality use different measures of income, and unsurprisingly, reach some different results. Steven J. Rose lays out some differences in the major studies looking at changes in inequality of US income since 1979 in "How Different Studies Measure Income Inequality in the US," just by the Urban Institute (December 2018).

2 months

Economic Effects of Islam

Timur Kuran "critically evaluates the analytic literature concerned with causal connections between Islam and economic performance" in his essay "Islam and Economic Performance: Historical and Contemporary Links," published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Economic Literature (December 2018, 56:4, pp. 1292–1359). He is not interested in sweeping generalizations, but rather in discussing work published in the the last two decades in the professional economics literature. From the abstract:

2 months

The Diminution of Welfare as an Anti-Poverty Tool

"Welfare" was a common label for what used to be Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), which in the 1996 "welfare reform" legislation morphed into Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). A common concern at the time was that too many welfare recipients were capable of holding jobs--especially in the relatively healthy labor market of that time. Thus, the welfare reform legislation created a requirement that there was a time limit for  how long welfare could be received, and that recipients had to be looking for work or getting training. In addition, federal support for the TANF program was turned into a block grant that states had considerable discretion in how to spend, as long as the ultimate goal was helping needy families.

2 months

US Health and Healthcare Spending in the Last 25 Years: Gains and Costs

As an overall pattern over the decades, spending in the US health care has been rising, both on a per person basis and as a share of GDP, and a number of health outcomes have improved. Are the benefits worth the costs? 

2 months

Will the China Shock Operate in Reverse?

Everyone knows that China's economy has had explosive economic growth in recent decades, with tidal effects through the rest of the global economy. In fact, China's economy has come so far and so fast that some of the main shocks it has caused in recent decades may be about to move into reverse. At least, that is the provocative thesis of Charles Goodhart and Manoj Pradhan in "Demographics will reverse three multi-decade global trends," written as Bank of International Settlements Working Paper No 656 (August 2017). They write:

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