Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Congratulations, Paul Krugman, and Thank You

If you've been paying any attention to the econoblogosphere, or to a number of other news sources, you've heard that Paul Krugman won the Nobel prize. I didn't feel inclined to go out of my way to help break the news on Monday, because it was really everywhere. Though many disagree with his politics--and, he's an easier target than most economists, due to his visibility--it's hard to argue that he's not deserving.

Congratulations, Paul. You've done great work, and you definitely deserve the prize.

A couple links to Marginal Revolution, who give an overview of the decision and work of Paul Krugman, and who explain so-called 'New Trade Theory,' for which Krugman apparently won his prize (though, Krugman has explained that the idea certainly isn't new, he just put it into a workable model--it's also worth noting that he doesn't agree with all of the implications of the model... but there are problems with every model).

Mark Thoma has spent some time showing off some of Paul Krugman's work, recently, including Krugman's defense of macroeconomics (a great read for an economist, I think), and a quote from The Accidental Theorist on how to think about economics (the relevant section is even available as part of the limited preview on Google Books, page 17 of the book, or so).

The Accidental Theorist is actually the first economics book I ever read, and probably contributed heavily to my decision to pursue economics as a profession. I apparently owe much to Paul Krugman. He has written that he never had truly great students like some other professors have had, but he has certainly had an impact on me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Academics on fixin' the crisis, prizes, realists/fundamentalists, and official statistics.

Academics actually get their voices heard in regards to rescue plans. It took them a while to realize that everyone thinks the focus should be on recapitalization.

Tim Hartford muses on Nobel prizes, and other prizes ('tis the season, after all).

Arnold Kling picks a nit about Paul Romer's piece on economic realists and fundamentalists. The Romer piece seems right on track in theory, but Kling disagrees that realists agree on the bailout plan.

I mentioned, before, the defense of BLS numbers--many people don't seem to believe them, apparently. Shadowstats responds.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Get an education.

Craig Newmark points me to Chris Blattman, who tells us how to get a PhD and save the world, and what kind of degree helps if you want to go into international development. They're old posts by Blattman, but still really useful.

Home ownership and the financial crisis

In the Wall Street Journal, an Australian says that not everyone should own a home, and explains the link between owning a home and the current financial crisis. She brings up a very valid point, and it's certainly worth a read. A lot of economists, in analyzing the financial crisis, having been showing rent-to-own ratios (or whatever term they happen to use) from the housing industry--this is very likely what's at the heart of those graphs. (h/t Mankiw)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Moving onwards.

I've created a page on my website that includes links to some of the best commentary about the financial crisis around. With so much opinions on the matter, it's difficult to keep up with it all, difficult to figure out what's useful, and it kind of crowds out other interesting pieces of information. I'll keep that page updated with information or links to information, and try to keep this blog for other stuff (though, chances are there will be interesting financial crisis news I'll want to mention on here as well).

Robert Waldmann, on the Angry Bear, refutes the claims of the previously mentioned physicist. While Waldmann brings up good points, I don't think he refutes all of the claims with satisfaction. In a similar vein, a University of Houston physicist writes "What Economists should learn from Econophysics."

Now for a few links from Dani Rodrik. He's a Harvard professor specializing in developmental issues. He points to a useful site for development data. But, he's sometimes silly, such as linking this economics rap (I'm kind of impressed). He also sometimes takes on fellow Harvard professor Greg Mankiw. He also has a number of posts pointing out that subsidies can lower prices, not raise them (depending on whether the country is a net importer or a net exporter). MyC4 looks like a Kiva-type site. That's good stuff. And, a ranking of econoblogs, updated with data from the past 90 days. The other common ranking I knew of is here.

Here is a video archive of London School of Economics lectures. Nice stuff. I'll eventually make a webpage with economics podcasts and videos.

Phil Izzo at the Wall Street Journal tells us that most lawmakers don't have economic educations. Well, I think we all knew that already, but it's particularly pertinent when they're trying to fix a financial crisis.

It's interesting to note the net present value of a JD. I wish I could also find the study that shows the incidence of JDs in various countries.

I Bits is an interesting blog, and Laura Holson tells us that wireless broadband boosts economies.

Lastly, a couple of Slate articles I meant to post on here a long time ago. A discussion about automobile subsidies, and a commentary on Obama's law exams he used to give.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Some recommended articles, not just about the financial crisis.

I'm not very familiar with Capital Chronicle, but they have an interesting article of some compiled for and against arguments of the original Paulson Plan. Though it failed, I think it's important to know why everyone wasn't gung ho about it.

While it didn't make huge news, the Fed pumped $630 billion dollars into the economy. Let's hope that has a positive effect and that it doesn't end up hurting the Fed.

A physicist makes the case for new models of economics, such as computer modeling as opposed to mathematical modeling.

You think you pay a lot in taxes? In the United States, taxes rates used to get above 90% for a pretty long time. Those weren't necessarily bad times, either.

Political Calculations points out that stocks are still doing okay--there hasn't been a collapse. We're not in panic mode, despite some pretty strong setbacks.

A look at price increases in New York City over the past 40 years. It seems quite interesting, at least. Prices for food went up less than I expected.

Professor Hal Varian makes the case that piracy doesn't kill an economy, it just requires different business models. Rather, he made the case four years ago but more people still need to know.

Dean Baker points out that the stock market is not the economy. A lot of people have been freaking out about stocks lately.

UPDATE: I have a bunch of these things, so there'll probably be more updates to this thread.

Steve Sailer tells why minority lending didn't contribute to this mess (I've heard people say such government regulations and pressure are the original source). He also provides some interesting background information.

And, another compilation of blurbs from pundits.

At Marginal Revolution, they have a lot of interesting commentary. These from Tyler Cowen: Best and Worse Case Scenarios, his summary on the crisis, he points out that the FDIC coming into the picture is a brilliant idea (one that should've been thought of earlier, maybe), and he's my original source of the minority lending issue. Oh, and he also points to a new blog by Chicago economist Casey Mulligan, with some interesting but wordy commentary. He could use some better formatting too.