Saturday, November 12, 2011

Are private forecasts useful?

Tyler Cowen thinks about the industry for forecasts. He makes me wonder how much private work he's done, as I think he seems to really miss the point of private economic modeling.

I must say--remember that a firm will often purchase a number of difference forecasts, which will disagree, as well as produce their own forecasts. Does one expect a firm to "believe" all of these forecasts? I don't think so. Would a firm cherry-pick one forecast that they choose to believe? Then, why purchase the others?

No, I think forecasts are more used to consider a range of possibilities. None is particularly more believable  necessarily, but having a variety of forecasts gives us a starting point in talking about what may happen in the future and assumptions we may consider using.

Particularly in the light of the recent recession, there is a lot of distrust in models anyways, even if they're considered necessary.

In that vein, Free Exchange tells me about a new NBER paper actually taking a stab at the financial aspect of macroeconomic modeling.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Congratulations to the recent Nobel Prize winners in Economics! I know, it's not called that, but you know what I mean. There's a plethora of sources you can read to learn more about the winners.

Also, how about some other interesting articles? Monetary views, shale, the Great Depression, currency wars, and China/India/Brazilian growth. I don't really agree with that last one at all, but it's an interesting topic.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

A couple of my favorite videos to commemorate the day.

The Muppets

Robin Williams

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bachmann and the global economy, Zimbabwe constitutions, Google's money, and currency standards

Wait... what? Who is this Michele Bachmann person and why don't she understand what 'global economy' means? Politicians confuse me sometimes.

I imagine (best as I can) that things are scary, right now, in a country that needs a new constitution. Zimbabwe has been through a lot, and it's hard to trust those who are making the new document... I doubt they have a significant number of constitutional scholars working on it. Is it a liberal American bias to demand experts be involved in decision making?

I imagine that, upon doing further research, Google discovered that you can't throw money at a problem to fix it. Also, they have less power than they think they do (I'm looking at you, Google China).

While a monetary basket might be a better standard than the dollar, any attempt to make such a basket would be highly political rather than economic in nature. Countries will likely continue making their own decisions in determining currency standards rather than deferring their sovereignty. Though, I suppose, the international lending agencies could make it a requirement of aid.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Google, unemployment, sports, and loans

More data on Google! This from the World Bank.

Here's a chart showing the duration of unemployment, for the unemployed.

Some Houston sports hotshots (not those) talk about how their sports businesses are going.

Angry Bear has an interesting graph of the number of loans given by banks. I'd like to see the graph go back a few (maybe seven) more years.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cell phones, optimism, health care systems, and latin america

SCSU also talks about the cell phone industry. Phone-carrier exclusive contracts are frustrating! I wonder when we'll move on from that.

Professor Emerson at Oregon State tells us that we have reason to be optimistic about the economy. I wonder what he thinks about the relationship to inflation.

The WSJ Numbers Guy tells us about the problems of ranking health care systems in different countries. I don't think geography should come into the mix, personally.

The IMF examines why latin america did better during this crisis than during past crises and also other emerging markets. I read a similar observation about Chile, before.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Health care, unemployment, and gifts

Small businesses pay more than large firms for the same health care policies. A quarter of the uninsured are employees in firms smaller than 25 workers.

More, rising unemployment means less health care coverage.

The Game Theorist tells us that gift giving is a bad idea. I'm not sure he's taken all of the externalities into account, though.

Krugman tells us that the health care bill will lean liberal because the facts do. I didn't know facts played such a large part of politics.