Sunday, 30 September 2012

End September Links

Arguments for ending microfoundations - this post has lots of interesting links to possible future developments in macroeconomic theory
Come on Bernanke, fire up the helicopter engines 
Post growth politics - more on the Robert Gordon slow growth paper, Chris Dillow speculating on political impacts.
The gold standard and economic growth - James Hamilton replies to Tyler Cowan
Predistribution - good, bad & unoriginal - Chris Dillow has an excellent (whether original or not) critique of Ed Milliband's latest witterings
A good point and bad point from Sumner - I think this post deals very effectively with a lot of the criticisms other (good) economists have of Paul Krugman. Basically Krugman's right - you might not always like or exactly agree with the way he's expressing it - but get over it.
The regional escalator - there're not many good Scottish independence posts (pro or anti) that go into economics, but there's a whole economic model described in this one.
Why-I am a macroeconomist: increasing returns and unemployment - Martin Weitzman is my hero
Inflation expectations: a feature not a bug - Krugman sorts out some more terrible economics reporting!
Paul Krugman asks a question: On the "Austrian" hatred of fractional reserve banking, paper money, etc. Weblogging - Essay length rant from Brad DeLong
Covert virtue - the signal that doesn't bark? - This has made me change my mind!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Universally populist nonsense

Quick post on the nonsense that both the UK LibDems and Scottish Labour have come out with in the past few days: why assume revenues are fixed and therefore that benefits paid to wealthier sections of society are benefits that cannot be paid to lower income sections of society?

The tax and benefits system has to be looked at as a whole and therefore, of course universal benefits are affordable - just raise taxes. A 1% tax rise on Alan Sugar's income would not only pay for his bus pass but also for many many other poorer pensioners' bus passes.

Further, looking at the efficiency and political economy of universal vs means-tested benefits:
# universal benefits are cheaper to administer
# universal benefits are associated with the unifying externality that wealthier sections of society are more likely to 'buy-in' to the welfare state. If 'your' taxes are not just to be given away to 'other' people, then perhaps you become more predisposed to paying your taxes and recognising the benefits of aligning the organisation of public services with whole population benefits rather than treating them as consumer services that an individual purchases.

Some good relevant comment:
# Chris Dillow

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Never waste a crisis

With Arctic sea ice extent and volume reaching new lows (see here & here for volume, here for area & here for impact on British weather), it's surely a good time to publicise my latest working paper: A balance of questions: what can we ask of climate change economics.