Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stress tests, immigration, trade balances, R&D

A basic explanation of the bank stress tests. Apparently, most of the banks are doing well.

Would legalizing immigrants improve the economy? I don't think this is a tough question for most economists, though they'd probably disagree on the degree to which it would help.

Some interest graphs on US trade. The trade balance is improving very quickly, helping the dollar, and lowering import prices. Menzie Chinn with a more advanced econometric analysis. I guess we'll see how this plays out in GDP forecasts.

On news of Obama announcing he wants to raise R&D spending, here's a graph showing R&D spending as a percentage of GDP, for the US and some other places. I'd be curious to see a longer term graph. It looks like the US spends very little on R&D, as a percentage of GDP, compared to other countries. I've seen research saying that government R&D isn't very effective, but if economic growth is tied to technological growth (which few economists diagree), then increasing R&D spending sounds like a good idea, in general.

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