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3 months

Moral Licensing: When Doing Good Frees You to Do Bad

"Moral licensing" is a term from the behavioral psychology literature. Daniel Effron of the London Business School, who has done some of the research in this area, descrbes it this way: "[T]he ability to point to evidence of past virtue can ironically make people more willing to act less-than-virtuously." Or as the title of one article puts it "being good frees us to be bad."

3 months

Reskilling over a Lifetime

The usual pattern of spending on skill development during a lifetime of an American looks like this:

3 months

Economics of Climate Change: Three Recent Takes

Most economists took their last course in physical science many years ago, back in college days, and lack any particular in-depth knowledge of how to model weather or climate. But economists can contribute usefully to the climate change debate in other ways. At least some economists do have expertise in patterns of energy use, potential for substitution, and technology, and thus have something to say about likely future paths for the emissions of carbon (and other greenhouse gases), and what it might take to change these paths. And at least some economists have expertise in thinking about how changes to climate would affect economic and human outcomes, ranging from crop yields to human mortality. Here are a few recent examples.

3 months

Asset Prices and the Real Economy

Back in the late 1990s there was a mini-argument about whether something should be done about the run-up in the stock market. As a reminder, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at about 4,000 in spring 1995, but reached 11,700 by January 2000. On one side, there was an argument that financial regulators or the central bank should do something to slow down or limit the rise. On the other side, the standard argument at the time (with which I agreed) was that: 1) giving government the power to decide an "appropriate" level for the stock-market seemed unwise for several reasons; 2) acting to choke off the stock market raised a danger of creating a near-term recession; 3) even if/when the bubble burst, the effects of a stock market collapse on the real economy would be muted. Indeed, the 2001 recession was fairly shallow and only eight months long, and while unemployment continued to rise for a time after the recession had ended, the monthly rate peaked at 6.3%.

3 months

Should Professors Share Returns from Innovation with their Employers?

When a professor working at a university or college develops has an innovation that may lead to a new product or a new company, who should own the intellectual property? The professor? The university? Some mixture of the two? 

3 months

A Primer on the Jones Act and American Shipping

The Jones Act pops into public consciousness every few years, perhaps most recently in fall 2017 when President Trump suspended the law for 10 days to help hurricane assistance in Puerto Rico. Colin Grabow, Inu Manak, and Daniel Ikenson offer background on the law and make the case for its repeal in in "The Jones Act: A Burden America Can No Longer Bear" (Cato Institute Policy Analysis #845, June 28, 2018). They begin:

3 months

Turkey Could Create A Larger Crisis Than Greece

The collapse of the Turkish Lira should have surprised no one. Yet, in this bubble-justifying market, it did.

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