Timothy Taylor Global Economy Expert

Timothy Taylor is an American economist. He is managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, a quarterly academic journal produced at Macalester College and published by the American Economic Association. Taylor received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Haverford College and a master's degree in economics from Stanford University. At Stanford, he was winner of the award for excellent teaching in a large class (more than 30 students) given by the Associated Students of Stanford University. At Minnesota, he was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Department of Economics and voted Teacher of the Year by the master's degree students at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Taylor has been a guest speaker for groups of teachers of high school economics, visiting diplomats from eastern Europe, talk-radio shows, and community groups. From 1989 to 1997, Professor Taylor wrote an economics opinion column for the San Jose Mercury-News. He has published multiple lectures on economics through The Teaching Company. With Rudolph Penner and Isabel Sawhill, he is co-author of Updating America's Social Contract (2000), whose first chapter provided an early radical centrist perspective, "An Agenda for the Radical Middle". Taylor is also the author of The Instant Economist: Everything You Need to Know About How the Economy Works, published by the Penguin Group in 2012. The fourth edition of Taylor's Principles of Economics textbook was published by Textbook Media in 2017.

 

The Return of the Patent Thicket

Back in the early 1970s, Xerox had figured out a strategy to block competitors in the photocopying business. It took out lots of patents, more than 1,000 of them, on every aspect of the photocopy machine. As old patents expired, new ones kicked in at a rate of several hundred new patents each year. Some of the patents were actually used by Xerox in producing the photocopy machine; some were not. There was no serious complaint about the validity of any individual patent. But taken as a whole, Xerox seemed to be using the patent system to lock up its monopoly position in perpetuity.  Under antitrust pressure from the Federal Trade Commission, Xerox in 1975 signed a consent decree which, along with a number of other steps, required  licensing its 1,700 photocopier patents to other firms. (Here's a later retrospective on the case, including some of the other issues, the 1975 FTC consent decree, and what happened with follow-up litigation.)

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Interview with Cass Sunstein: On Abrupt and Unpredictable Social Change

Consider some examples of social movements that led to rapid change: the French Revolution, Russian revolution/ collapse of Soviet Union, the Iranian revolution, the civil rights movements of the 1960s, the rise of environmentalist movement in the 1960s, Brexit, #MeToo, gay marriage, and others. Robert Wiblin and Keiran Harris at the "80,000 Hours" website have a podcast interview: "Prof. Cass Sunstein on how social change happens, and why it’s so often abrupt & unpredictable" (June 17, 2019). A transcript is also available. 

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Enhancing Federal Tax Collections by $100 Billion Annually

Maybe instead of arguing over whether or how much to raise tax rates on those with high incomes, we could start by making more of an effort to enforce the actual existing tax laws? Natasha Sarin and Lawrence H. Summers explore what's possible in  "Shrinking the Tax Gap: Approaches and Revenue Potential" (Tax Notes, November 18, 2019).

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China's Belt and Road Initiative: Could It All Come Crashing Down?

Brad Parks at the Center for Global Development managed to find a nice way of boiling down the ways that China's Belt and Road Initiative could possibly become a failure and a burden in a short thought experiment ("Chinese Leadership and the Future of BRI: What Key Decisions Lie Ahead?" July 24, 2019). Here's how he describes one possible future a decade from now (I added a couple of paragraph breaks):

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Can Job Training Work for Mature Adults?

Most workers learn additional skills throughout their work-life. In that sense, it's obvious that job training in some contexts works for adults. But for many of us, the additional learning happens in the context of remaining in the same job, or at least on the same broad career path. The harder question is whether it's possible to do the kind of job training with adults, perhaps adults who have just experienced a negative shock to their previous job, that jump-starts them on a career path. Paul Osterman offers a useful discussion of these issues in "Employment and training for mature adults: The current system and moving forward" (Brookings Institution Future of the Middle Class Initiative, November 2019). Here are a few themes from his report that stuck with me: 

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