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Scott Sumner: July 2014

An Author Archive by Month (15 entries)

Wolfers on the fiscal consensus

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
Justin Wolfers points to a survey showing overwhelming support for the notion of a positive fiscal multiplier in early 2009: The Initiative on Global Markets at the University of Chicago -- hardly a hotbed of liberal or Keynesian thought... MORE

"Helicopter drops" are a bad idea at any time

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
Market monetarists tend to prefer using monetary policy to stabilize the path of NGDP, not fiscal policy. We are skeptical of the efficacy of fiscal policy, and also view it as being inefficient. Now David Beckworth has suggested that a... MORE

I feel pain therefore I am (a utilitarian)

moral reasoning
Scott Sumner
Bryan Caplan asks me for a defense of utilitarianism, and specifically a reason for rejecting other strongly held moral intuitions. Like many poorly educated people, I know little about philosophy other than that Descartes said "I think therefore I am."... MORE

Keynesians often say that it's "obvious" that more government spending will boost GDP. I love this reply by Nick Rowe: The average reader of the New York Times probably thinks he knows about fiscal policy. "We know that Y=C+I+G+NX, so... MORE

Beyond left and right

Cross-country Comparisons
Scott Sumner
Is British public policy more left wing or right wing, compared to Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Denmark? The Heritage rankings suggest they are about the same, with Denmark coming in at number 10 in the world (at 76.1),... MORE

A few notes on utilitarianism

Income Distribution
Scott Sumner
As I expected, my post on utilitarianism generated a bit of controversy. In the comment section, konshtok wondered: what am I missing? from a utilitarian pov killing one person and using the organs to save the lives of others... MORE

The wisdom of Cass Sunstein

moral reasoning
Scott Sumner
I've never found critiques of utilitarianism to be persuasive. Here are a few I've run across: 1. The critic describes a horrible scenario, and then asks the reader to assume that it results in greater total utility. The scenario might... MORE

Economics is all about consumption

Wealth distribution
Scott Sumner
Or at least it should be. And it was when I studied economics in grad school. In recent posts I've complained that the Piketty debate has focused on the wrong variables, income and wealth. These variables do not measure what... MORE

AD: Eleven stages of enlightenment

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
Over at TheMoneyIllusion I've been having a discussion of aggregate demand. What does the term actually mean? In the comment section I see lots of average people giving common sense explanations, and also experts like Nick Rowe making high-level arguments.... MORE

Yes, I'm being sarcastic. I associate this view with American liberals. It often seems that when there is a problem such as the 2008 financial crisis, they immediately assume "the market" is to blame, and "more regulation" is the answer.... MORE

Philip Booth on Thomas Piketty

Wealth distribution
Scott Sumner
I recently did a post where I expressed skepticism about this claim by Thomas Piketty: In my view, there is absolutely no doubt that the increase of inequality in United States contributed to the nation's financial instability. The reason... MORE

There are two kinds of people . . .

Macroeconomics
Scott Sumner
Ideology is perhaps the most common way of dividing economists into groups. You have Allan Meltzer on the right, and Paul Krugman and Joe Stiglitz on the left. Today I'd like to argue that in one very important way it... MORE

Why no Kansas miracle?

Macroeconomics
Scott Sumner
The past two years Kansas reduced its state income tax rates. As a result, the top rate of income tax faced by Kansas residents (combined state and federal) rose from 41.45% in 2012 to 48.3% in 2013 and then fell... MORE

What about Asia?

Growth: Causal Factors
Scott Sumner
Thomas Piketty's book is focused on wealth inequality, but he offers opinions on a wide variety of topics. The vast majority of those opinions are left wing, and in my view most are wrong. Here's one example (p. 481): Modern... MORE

Mr. Krugman's peculiar post

Macroeconomics
Scott Sumner
Paul Krugman seems annoyed by the recent modest success of market monetarism, at least in terms of becoming part of the discussion. But the post contains only one tiny critique of our actual policies: I don't buy this on the... MORE

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