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Scott Sumner: February 2018

An Author Archive by Month (21 entries)

Don't give them anywhere to hide

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
Tyler Cowen has an interview with Robin Hanson, which is every bit as excellent as you'd expect. Here's a discussion of rationality: COWEN: For intelligent human beings, collectively, what would be the best way for us to improve rational thinking?... MORE

Answering the wrong question

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
A number of people have directed me to a recent paper that looked at the impact of QE on long-term bond yields. Previous research by Joe Gagnon, and others, suggests that QE reduced long-term interest rates. An excellent new paper... MORE

Americans are richer and happier* than Europeans

Cross-country Comparisons
Scott Sumner
The asterisk refers to my skepticism about happiness surveys. But other people cite and believe this data, so I'll play along and show the implications of the actual survey data. Megan McArdle has a very nice article discussing the Danish... MORE

Bad news from China

Politics and Economics
Scott Sumner
Of course this was not unexpected, but still quite disappointing: China's ruling Communist Party has proposed scrapping term limits for the country's president, the official news agency said Sunday, appearing to lay the groundwork for party leader Xi Jinping to... MORE

Don't use the Phillips Curve, destroy it

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
David Beckworth has an excellent post discussing the Fed's confused relationship with the Phillips Curve. Recall that the Fed has the Keynesian interpretation of the Phillips Curve---which basically says that rising inflation is caused by an overheating economy. Or more... MORE

The answer is clearly no, because they are not being asked to adopt 100% reserve banking. However there is an upcoming referendum for creating a system of 100% reserve backed demand deposits in Swiss banks. I read the literature in... MORE

You get what you pay for

Income Distribution
Scott Sumner
This tweet caught my attention: Jeff Bezos possesses $121.3 billion dollars. There are about 550,000 homeless people in America. If Jeff Bezos gave every homeless person in America $100,000, he would still have $66.3 Billion Dollars! Let that sink in...... MORE

Do deficits matter?

Fiscal Policy
Scott Sumner
I am seeing a disturbing rise in "free lunch" thinking. One place this increasingly shows up is in the case of "deficits". People seem to have trouble grasping that deficit spending implies future austerity. Let's start with an electric company.... MORE

There's no success like failure

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
I've worked in several different types of organizations, and I've observed a growing tendency for managers to look for measurable metrics to assess productivity. Fortunately, I've generally been in a position where I didn't have to spend a lot of... MORE

We dodged one bullet. The Trump administration's proposal for a dramatic increase in regulation of the energy industry, support by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, has been rejected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Now there is danger of another bad... MORE

Never reason from an interest rate spread

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
Here's the Financial Times: Analysts have struggled to explain why the yen is rising when the gap between US and Japanese interest rates is widening further, with the US Federal Reserve tightening policy while the BoJ is pinning 10-year bond... MORE

Please, don't experiment with monetary policy

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
I am seeing an increasing number of pundits calling for policymakers to experiment with the economy. The basic idea seems to be to have (demand-side) policy run hot; to see just how much growth potential is out there. This was... MORE

Why are non-whites so libertarian?

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Scott Sumner
I hope the title of this post got your attention. If not, I hope the content will make you rethink some assumptions. Let's start with immigration: Are whites or non-whites more supportive of freedom to migrate? I could not find... MORE

In order to do this post properly, I'd need a huge collection of every edition of various economics textbooks. Because I don't have that sort of collection, I'll rely on second hand sources and hope for the best. Please correct... MORE

Don't use monetary policy to boost wages

Labor Market
Scott Sumner
I recently received notification of a new Brookings conference on wages: On February 28, The Hamilton Project at Brookings will host a forum to explore the most effective policy options to revitalize wage growth, including: the potential for boosting wage... MORE

Early studies of the impact of second hand smoke often found a statistically significant impact on heart attack rates. Or perhaps I should say, "Early published studies"; I have no idea what early unpublished studies found. When faced with this... MORE

Charlie Brown and the GOP

Fiscal Policy
Scott Sumner
When growing up, I was frequently told that the GOP was the "small government" party. Back in the early 2000s, the GOP finally gained simultaneous hold of the Presidency, the House and the Senate, for the first time in my... MORE

Beckworth interviews Neel Kashkari

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
David Beckworth's excellent Mercatus podcast series has come out with an interview of Neel Kashkari, who is President of the Minneapolis Fed. (The same interview includes an extensive discussion with vice president Ron Feldman as well, something I'll cover in... MORE

The National Review on Immigration

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Scott Sumner
Dennis Prager of the National Review has a new piece entitled: Three Reasons the Left Wants Ever More Immigrants While the post is written as an explanation for why the left holds specific views on immigration, the post ends up... MORE

Monetary policy: The view from the markets

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
Here's Bloomberg: "We are in a pretty good place right now economically, but we've got a monetary policy that still seems like it is in the remnants of a Depression era,'' Jes Staley, the chief executive officer of Barclays Plc,... MORE

A few weeks back I did a couple posts (here and here) on Friedman's highly influential AEA Presidential address, which was delivered 50 years ago. Today, I'll make a few more observations. This is from the very first page: In... MORE

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