Category: General Economics

The US Should Ban or Heavily Tax Weapons Designed for Mass Shootings

Boston University Working Paper Randall P. Ellis Boston University, Department of Economics August 22, 2016 Abstract This paper presents four arguments for why the US should ban or at least heavily tax the sale or transfer to civilians of weapons designed for mass shootings (WDMS), which would include most semi-automatic guns and weapons with large […]

Obama’s JAMA article is a must read for all professionals

There is a very important  article in this week’s JAMA – Internal Medicine, written by Barach Obama. It highlights the effects of the ACA/Obamacare.  It is free on-line. United States Health Care Reform: Progress to Date and Next Steps If you are short on time, then the following link to just the figures provides […]

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.   Effects of Brexit on the world economy and Iran. Tasnim News Agency Interview, Iran (translated into Persian), June 28, 2016. Farm Animal Ballot Initiative. posted on Youtube. By  Brittany Comak, BU School of […]

Hillary Clinton’s Memorial Day speech 2016 will be a classic.

My previous post was discouraging in that it was all about the techniques Donald Trump is using to build support. This one is much more upbeat. I had heard about but not actually watched or listened to Hillary Clinton’s Memorial day speech, which has been getting a lot of favorable reviews. I just finished listening […]

Sobering Scott Adams interview about Trump on Real Time

This email will interest people who are closely following the US presidential election. I invite you to watch the following four minute video on Trump and Hillary when you have time. It changed my thinking. On the Friday June 2  Real Time with Bill Mayer, Scott Adams (who is the genius creator of the Dilbert […]

Congratulations to BU’s Class of 2016 Economics graduates!

Please celebrate the students who earned 498 Boston University degrees in Economics at Commencement this May. This year the program mentions: 22 Ph.D. recipients 203 Master’s degree recipients (MA, MAPE, MAEP, MAGDE MA/MBA, BA/MA) 273 BA recipients (including BA/MA) This total of 498 degrees is up from 482  in 2015. These numbers undercount the total […]

Top 100 Economics Blogs of 2016

I just got an email from Prateek Agarwal <> He has compiled a list of the Top 100 Economics Blogs of 2016. I am of course not on it since I blog infrequently and do not archive (and make public) on my web site all of my blogs, but I thought I would share the […]

24 BU economics Ph.D.s accept jobs in academic, government and private sectors

Congratulations to the 24 current or recent Ph.D. students from BU Economics who have accepted jobs for this September. Recent placements from the department are linked here, as well as pasted below. This year candidates selected 14 academic jobs, five government or central bank jobs, and five private sector jobs for their initial placement. […]

What do BU undergraduates do when they graduate?

I am often asked by undergrads and MA students what BU students do when they graduate. For the first time that I know of, BU has published a relatively complete description and list of the places where they get jobs, or go to graduate school or  volunteer.  It is discussed in the new CAS Dean […]

Denmark’s Social Capitalism and Switzerland’s Federal Democracy

With Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both mentioning Democratic Socialism in Denmark, it is interesting to read about what it actually is. Here is one link with one persons discussion. Living with Denmark’s democratic socialism Denmark sounds pretty wonderful to me Switzerland I just returned from Switzerland which is not democratic socialism, […]

Tax to rise on the uninsured next year.

This is why enrollment in health insurance will continue to rise in the US from the ACA. For 2016: Max of  $695 or 2.5 percent of taxable income if uninsured. Full text is below. Health law fine for uninsured to rise Boston Globe Associated Press  October 19, 2015 WASHINGTON — The federal penalty for […]

BU ranked 41 overall, 24th in Economics, by US News and World Report

Since I have blogged about rankings in the past – here and here, I thought I would blog about BU’s latest rankings by US News and World Report and elsewhere. BU was ranked 41, up one position in the 2015 as top US Colleges and Universities. This ranking is across all fields, and is based […]

Congratulations to BU’s Class of 2015 Economics graduates!

Please celebrate the students who earned 482 Boston University degrees in Economics at Commencement over the weekend. This year the program contained: 22 Ph.D. recipients 155 Master’s degree recipients (MA, MAPE, MAEP, MAGDE MA/MBA, BA/MA) 305 BA recipients (including BA/MA) This represents a total of 482 degrees! Up from 463 in 2014. These numbers undercount […]

Ellis SAS tips for experienced SAS users

If you are a beginning SAS programmer, then the following may not be particularly helpful, but the books suggested in the middle may be. BU students can obtain a free license for SAS to install on their own computer if it is required for a course or research project. Both will require an email from […]

Ellis SAS tips for New SAS programmers

There is also a posting on Ellis SAS tips for Experienced SAS programmers It focuses on issues when using large datasets.   Randy’s SAS hints for New SAS programmers, updated Feb 21, 2015 ALWAYS begin and intermix your programs with internal documentation. (Note how I combined six forms of emphasis in ALWAYS: color, larger font, […]

Deflategate pressure drop is consistent with a ball air temperature of 72 degrees when tested initially.

Deflategate pressure drop is consistent with a ball air temperature of 72 degrees when tested initially. I revised my original Deflategate posting after learning that it is absolute air pressure not pressure above standard sea level pressure that follows the Ideal Gas Law.  I also allowed for stretching of the leather once the ball becomes […]

#6 Raise the minimum wage for jobs not offering health insurance

Time to change the policy discussion. Congress has been unwilling to raise the minimum wage despite strong public support for doing so. This blog suggests a concrete approach for getting even broader public support and potentially reducing the need for federal taxes. As of January 1, 2015 29 states and DC have minimum wages above […]

Useful Data Links to US Government data

Websites for Federal Administrative Data sets: US Administration for International Development: Foreign aid from the U.S: Data and Tools Department of Agriculture: Economic Research Services: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Data System Food and Nutrition Services: Commodity Supplemental Food Program Data Food Safety Inspection Services: Recalls and Quarterly Enforcement Reports Forest Inventory Data National Agricultural Statistics Service: Cropland Data Natural Resource Conservation Service: […]

Important Reposting on Placebo surgery from TIE

I am forwarding this excellent TIE post since every health researcher and indeed every consumer should realize how serious the lack of evidence is on many common surgical procedures. Here are some quotes organized in a succinct way. “2002… arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee … Those who had the actual procedures did no […]

BU well represented at ASSA meetings in 2015

As would be expected since the Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) meetings are in Boston this January, BU is well represented on the ASSA program. After searching and scanning through the program for current and former students and current faculty, I identified 81 BU affiliate names on the program, whether as authors, discussants or presiding. […]