Items of interest and curiousity, as detailed by an economics professor. Specializing in macroeconomic topics. Please note that the focus on The Wall Street Journal is because that is required reading for my classes.
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
I ran my old blog - called Interesting Links because that's what it started out as - out of my website. I have copied that entire site in its entirety below.
Articles marked with a are in PDF format, and require that the (free) Adobe Acrobat Reader software program be installed (once only) on your computer prior to downloading the article.
Manufacturing employment is down, but productivity and wages are up.
The currently typical blue-collar job has changed.
It is currently trendy to label free market reforms a failure, but the truth is that they are still being
followed and leading to good results (as predicted).
The Tunisian experience confirms Solow's prediction that controlling birth rates is an important factor in raising living standards.
Is famine caused by U.S. agricultural policies? Our government buys produce here (to keep prices high) and
then gives it away in poor countries (hurting their farmers). We compound this by teaching farmers in poor
countries better techniques, which increase their production and lower their income.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas publishes annual reports that focus on a single macroeconomic issue in
a style that is accessible for students. We looked at the 1997 report on changes in real prices in class.
The latest theory is that money is a memory of work you did in the past! Read this interview with Narayana Kocherlakota for details.
Does the money that circulates in a country have to be issued by its government?
Preventing 'clipping' (and seignorage) makes it more likely a money will be used.
Maybe tropical countries are generally poor because European colonists couldn't survive the climate, and thus didn't import their institutions.
Could restricting labor migration be beneficial?
The page I showed in class on February 10th about the methods the NBER uses to judge turning points can be found here. This can also be found at the page about business cycles on the main NBER site - the PDF file that you can download off that page is much more legible.
The unemployment rate is determined by surveying addresses not people.
The data used in the January 15th discussion of the Consumer Price Index can be found in many places, but I got this one specifically from a site at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
The data underlying the graphs presented in lecture is drawn from the Penn World Tables.
Blame Jeric Leavitt, but the other day he asked if there was a way to calculate logs by hand. You don't have to know this, but if you are curious, here is an answer.
I mentioned in class that it would be useful to have logarithmic graph paper but that it is difficult to find. This site has a freeware program that will print many different kinds of graph paper. To print logarithmic paper like you were shown in class, set the ordinate to "log 1 decade".
Charles Steindel discusses calculating chain-weighted indices and their pitfalls in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Current Issues in Economics and Finance publication.
This Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Economic Letter focuses on practical advice about how to use chain-weighted data.
A much more technical and detailed discussion of chain-weighting is given by Allan H. Young in this Survey of Current Business article.
Understanding how price indices work is required for all my macroeconomics students. Here is a discussion, example, and some practice problems.
The prisoner's dilemna is an allegory which has huge implications for how managers should think about business situations.
Did you know that The Wizard of Oz is an allegory about the gold standard and the free silver and populist movements of the late 19th century? John Topoleski, a former Ph.D. student of mine, put the Wizard of Oz as Monetary Allegory website together based primarily on the more serious academic work of Hugh Rockoff.
Clear thinking about our social security system is hard to come by. Here are some facts about our social security system for you to think about.
Do you think our social security system should be privatized? Have you thought about this aspect of social security privitization?
What is the difference between social security and a pension system?
Here is a synopsis of some of the most recent theories about privitizing social security.
Good macroeconomic thinking is helped by using general equilibrium modelling techniques. This can seem very intimidating, but it is just a structured way of using high school algebra.
Understanding stock and flow variables, and how to compare them is an essential - and rarely taught - skill for a business manager.