Category: General Economics

Our Daily US Gun Killings

This repost is from the Daily Kos. 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 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. Here is the original post that it is spoofing.

#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. 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 […]

All Taxes and Budgets Should be Expressed as Dollars per Person

Time to change the discussion #1 This is the first of five posts on my blog on how discussion of taxes and budgets in the US needs to change to improve decision-making. Recent political debate and the media throws around costs of millions, billions and trillions of dollars even though there is no easy way […]

BU ranked 17th in world, 7th in US by “Most employable students”

Graduates from Boston University were  ranked 17th most employable in the world and 7th most employable in the US by the 2012 Global Employability Survey, published by the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. It was discussed in BU Today on November 1, 2012. Here is the results in table form from the NY […]

What are current marginal income tax rates?

A great deal of political discussion has focused on what taxes the wealthy and poor  pay, and often the focus is ONLY on the Federal Income tax. It is important to recognize that that there are many other taxes, and none are as progressive as the Federal income tax, and hence fall on low to […]

What I Wish Obama Had Said

Alternative Debate Speech Text that President Obama Could Have Used at the First Presidential Debate on October 3, 2012[i] Randall P. Ellis Boston University, Department of Economics October 6, 2012 On Taxes We have heard a lot of talk from the Republicans about the importance of lowering taxes on people earning more than $250,000 which […]

Top 25 Economics Web sites

Top 25 Economics Web sites This list is interesting to browse, or to select a few to include on your own web site. Interesting that the BU Blog the Incidental Economist made it to #6. Here is the direct link. 6. The Incidental Economist is a blog focused on economics, U.S. health policy, politics, […]

Congrats to BU faculty on prominent role at ASSA 2013!

Congratulations! BU faculty, graduate students and alumni appear prominently in the program of the Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) meetings (aka the AEA meetings), scheduled to be held in San Diego January 4-6, 2013. Altogether their names appear as presenters, authors, chairs or discussants at least 73 times. Seventeen different economics faculty are listed as […]

Wolfram site for Mathematica calculations and data

This is from an 2010 BUHealth post, but I am reposting it now since the alpha site is still live and useful. I thank BU alum Veronica Vargas for sending me the following link to a Wolfram alpha web site. It can be a waste of time, but it also can provide scientific, numeric, and […]

Behavioral Economics: Toward a New Paradigm by Amitai Etzioni

I happened upon an interesting article in the American Behavioral Scientist which gave me new insights. I recommend it highly to you. Behavioral Economics: Toward a New Paradigm by Amitai Etzioni (George Washington University) American Behavioral Scientist 55(8) 1099–1119 Abstract This article discusses the challenges behavioral economics poses for neoclassical economics and the ways […]