Samir’s Selection 04/18/2013 (p.m.)
On the difficulties of using macroeconomic data for policy advice | Simon Taylor’s Blog
Are the Good Jobs Gone? – NYTimes.com
Among those paying serious attention to the economic dilemmas facing the United States and other advanced nations, uncertainty is the only constant…
Austerity after Reinhart and Rogoff – FT.com
“… we have shown that several critical findings advanced in this paper are wrong. So do we need to rethink austerity economics more broadly? …
We are not suggesting that governments should be free to borrow and spend profligately. But government deficit spending, pursued judiciously, remains the single most effective tool we have to fight against mass unemployment caused by severe recessions. Recent research by Prof Reinhart and Prof Rogoff, along with all related arguments by austerity proponents, does nothing to contradict this fundamental point.”
Is the evidence for austerity based on an Excel spreadsheet error?
A new critique (pdf) by Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash and Robert Pollin claims that this result may need revision. For one, the economists argue that Reinhart and Rogoff excluded three episodes of high-debt, high-growth nations — Canada, New Zealand, and Australia in the late 1940s. Second, they argue, Reinhart and Rogoff made some contestable assumptions about weighting different historical episodes.
Now, those are two methodological objections. But there’s also a third problem, as Mike Konczal details here. Reinhart and Rogoff appear to have made an error with one of their Excel spreadsheet formulas…
This is not the first critique of Reinhart-Rogoff. As Dylan Matthews explained here, other economists have argued that the initial paper got the causality backward. Countries have high debt-to-GDP ratios because they have slow growth, rather than the other way around. This is a far more substantive criticism than the debate over the precise numbers above.
A Giant Setback for Human Rights – NYTimes.com
Justice Breyer said suits under the law should be allowed when “the defendant’s conduct substantially and adversely affects an important American national interest, and that includes a distinct interest in preventing the United States from becoming a safe harbor (free of civil as well as criminal liability) for a torturer or other common enemy of mankind.
The conservative majority regrettably made it much more difficult to vindicate that interest.
Is Organic Better? Ask a Fruit Fly – NYTimes.com
The difference in outcomes among the flies fed different diets could be due to the effects of pesticide and fungicide residue from conventionally raised foods. Or it could be that the organic-fed flies thrived because of a higher level of nutrients in the organic produce. One intriguing idea raises the question of whether organically raised plants produce more natural compounds to ward off pests and fungi, and whether those compounds offer additional health benefits to flies, animals and humans who consume organic foods.
21st century manufacturing | The Enlightened Economist
“More and more information is getting packed into less matter. As a consequence, more of the work goes into manipulating information rather than matter. Jobs move from the shop floor to the design floor. A Boeing 747 or an iPhone are made mostly out of fairly common materials that are worth at most just a few dollars a pound. However, they both go for over $1,000 per pound. The bulk of the value is in the information content, not the raw materials.”
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.