Category: General Economics

Read Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

I just finished reading the book Flash Boys by Michael Lewis (author of Moneyball and the Big Short). I highly recommend it to economists as a quick read (270 pages) in accessible prose. Or anyone. http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Boys-Wall-Street-Revolt/dp/0393244660/ Every economist should be aware of the grossly unfair trading practices that the SEC and NASDAQ have allowed to […]

Congratulations to BU’s Class of 2014 Economics graduates!

Please celebrate the 463 Boston University students who earned degrees in Economics at Commencement over the weekend. This year the program contained: 17 Ph.D. recipients 207 Master’s degree recipients (MA, MAPE, MAEP, MAGDE MA/MBA, BA/MA) 256 BA recipients (including BA/MA) This represents a total of 463 degrees! These numbers undercount the total for the year […]

Explaining these two graphs should merit a Nobel prize

Reposting from The Incidental Economist Blog What happened to US life expectancy? Posted: 07 Jan 2014 03:00 AM PST Here’s another chart from the JAMA study “The Anatomy of Health Care in the United States”: Why did the US fall behind the OECD median in the mid-1980s for men and the early 1990s for women? Note, […]

Latest REPEC rating has BU economics at #10!

I know rankings of departments are always imprecise, but I think  BU Economics should be proud that REPEC, (REsearch Papers in EConomics), which measures research output on 31 dimensions and takes an average, currently puts us at #10 in the US, just behind Yale, and ahead of Penn, Brown, Michigan and Northwestern. Keep up the […]

AHRF/ARF 2012-13 data is available free

AHRF=Area Health Resource File (Formerly ARF) 2012-2013 ARHF can now be downloaded at no cost. The 2012-2013 ARF data files and documentation can now be downloaded. Click the link below to learn how to download ARF documentation and data. http://arf.hrsa.gov/ “The Area Health Resources Files (AHRF)—a family of health data resource products—draw from an extensive […]

A Monkey’s Fight for Equal Pay

This 2:44 extract from a TED talk by Frans de Waal, a professor of primate behavior at Emory University shows beyond a doubt the role that fairness plays in our  society. It is both hilarious and incredibly insightful. http://www.upworthy.com/2-monkeys-were-paid-unequally-see-what-happens-next?g=5%3C  

Press Interviews and Quotes

Partly just to keep track of them for my BU annual report, This post links to my press interviews and quotes. “STUDY: Grad student loan debt on the rise” The Daily Free Press. Boston University March 26, 2014. “South Shore Hospital, Partners HealthCare defend merger plan” The Patriot Ledger. by Christian Schiavone.  1/17/2014 “The Healing Begins […]

Joe Stiglitz Essay on Martin Luther King and inequality

My colleague Michael Manove forwarded this article which is worth reading and pondering. It is available directly at the New York Times at the link below. Two pages. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/27/how-dr-king-shaped-my-work-in-economics/?_r=0 The Great Divide August 27, 2013, 8:58 pm 167 Comments How Dr. King Shaped My Work in Economics By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ “I had the good […]

Our Daily US Gun Killings

This repost is from the Daily Kos. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/04/01/1198534/-Another-day-in-the-Gun-Crazy-U-S-A While Sandy Hook murders and the Marathon Bombing get a lot national attention, it is the daily tragedy of gun shootings and killings that should be of greatest concern. The Daily Kos simply compiled lists of all of the daily reports of murders for a week ending […]

Useful reference for serious SAS programmers

I often do bootstrap and simulations in my research, and for some background research, I found the following excellent short article on how to use SAS to do efficient replications/bootstrapping/jackknifing. Paper 183-2007 Don’t Be Loopy: Re-Sampling and Simulation the SAS® Way David L. Cassell, Design Pathways, Corvallis, OR http://www2.sas.com/proceedings/forum2007/183-2007.pdf Here is an elegant example that […]

31 charts to destroy your faith in humanity

This humorous web site from the Washington Post’s WonkBlog is worth a look. It will only take a couple of minutes. 31 charts that are informative but illustrates how one can put a negative spin on anything. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/24/these-31-charts-will-destroy-your-faith-in-humanity/ Here is the original post that it is spoofing. http://www.businessinsider.com/charts-that-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity-2013-5

#5 “Let the Children and Grandchildren Pay?”

Time to Change the Tax Discussion #5 This is the  fifth and final posting in a five part series about taxes. Every time congress passes legislation to increase public spending, they should have to specify which taxes they favor increasing to balance the budget. If not, then congress should have to openly discuss why they […]

#4 State Tax Rates are Not Related to State Income or Growth

Time to Change the Tax Discussion #4 This is the fourth in a five part series about taxes. It has  become common in the media to argue that state income or sales taxes cannot be increased or it will dampen incentives and hurt the state or local economy. While this might be true at sufficiently […]

#3 Tax Bads (or at least don’t subsidize them!)

Time to Change the Tax Discussion #3 This is the third in a five part series about taxes. Introductory economics tells us that when the government taxes something, unless it is perfectly inelastically supplied or demanded, the tax will cause a distortion in a market and reduce the taxed activity. For most things (labor, profits, […]

Letter calls for gun injury research

Colleague Austin Frakt forwarded to me the link to an open letter to VP Joseph Biden and members of the Gun Violence Commission. http://crimelab.uchicago.edu/sites/crimelab.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/Biden%20Commission%20letter_20130110_final.pdf The letter is signed by over 100 well-known health professionals, policymakers and economists. The letter addresses the fact that both teh CDC and the NIH agencies are currently prohibited from funding […]

Commonwealth Fund Report on Health Care Cost Control

The Commonwealth Fund has just come out with a new report outlining a strategy for containing health care costs in the US. It seems rather optimistic to me. Here is the opening two paragraphs and link. Confronting Costs: Stabilizing U.S. Health Spending While Moving Toward a High Performance Health Care System, Authored by The Commonwealth […]

Be Ready for the Trillion Dollar Coin!

In case you have not been paying attention, there is growing sentiment in favor of the Platinum Coin Seigniorage (PCS) and the Trillion Dollar Coin. Here are two solid posts on it, one by economist Paul Krugman, the other by Philip Diehl, former director of the US mint . The crux of the issue is […]

1994 assault weapons ban may have saved 6000 lives per year

Although not a statistical statement, there is a noticeable association between when the 1994-2004 assault weapon ban was in place and the observed decline in gun-related deaths. That ban also contained other provisions that will have affected availability of guns. A decline of more than 6000 gun-related deaths per year appears to be  associated  with […]

Two Great Articles in the December JEL

Journal of Economic Literature, December 2012 Two great articles. Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market: Theory and Empirics Kevin Lang and Jee-Yeon K. Lehmann We review theories of race discrimination in the labor market. Taste-based models can generate wage and unemployment duration differentials when combined with either random or directed search even when strong prejudice […]

#2 Include Social Security and Medicare taxes when discussing tax burdens

Time to Change the Tax Discussion #2 This is the second in a five part series on Taxes. Far too much of the discussion of tax burdens has focused on the federal income tax rates while the federal payroll taxes – Social Security and the Medicare tax – get minor attention. This was epitomized by […]