Thursday, February 09, 2012

Thursday Roundup (2/9/2012)

Seemed like there wasn't much going on in the econoblogosphere this week (I was traveling for most of it, for second-round job interviews). People spent a lot of time discussing Charles Murray's new book, which seems to me a bit like feeding the trolls. The new unemployment numbers came out, and there was some argument over what they mean, but not as much as one might expect. Anyway, here's the links you may have missed:

1. Tyler Cowen discusses the benefits of, and good news about, Latin American immigration to the U.S.

2. Nick Rowe wonders why we don't smooth our consumption of leisure. Interesting question.

3. John Taylor thinks that our economic recovery has been terrible, and continues to be terrible. He chalks this up to the failure of "Keynesian" policies. I think it would be interesting to see him argue with Tyler Cowen, who says that we are having a good, strong recovery, and that this is evidence of the failure of "Keynesian" macro.

4. Scott Sumner reminds us that the Macro Wars are a three-legged race between Keynesians, neoclassicals, and monetarists (instead of a two-sided battle as many seem to think).

5. Brad DeLong, using some simple math, explains his thinking about labor market hysteresis.

6. Rob Johnson of INET interviews Sylvia Nasar about the history of economic thought.


  1. Anonymous2:06 AM

    Well put wrt John Taylor & Tyler Cowen.

  2. Three legged race? What about MMT?

  3. Thanks Noah. I thought it was one of my better posts, even though I don't really answer the question I asked.

    There must be thousands of articles written on consumption-smoothing, but I don't recall reading any on leisure-non-smoothing, which seems just as important. Which is weird.

  4. Unless you are at the absolute subsistence level, you have choices about consumption.

    Do you similarly have choices about leisure? Standard leisure increments are highly regulated by societal norms.

    Does it even make sense to think of leisure as a consumption good?

    There's a theory that civilizations were able to form due to the existence of grandmothers. Field work became too difficult, but they could still watch the kids and the hearth (or something like that) which freed young mothers to perform more value added labor.

    I can tell you that as a retired couple, my wife and I contribute a lot to our extended family, and mostly in ways that are outside the realm of measurable economic factors. Frex: driving kids to dance class so mom can work her part-time 2nd job.

    Trying to relate everything back to marginal utility might not be the best way to look at the real world.


  5. On the smoothing of leisure, why do we not see more variation in the length of the working day and week? Why not more good "part-time" jobs that pay well? Where is the market?

  6. To Luke's point, you have to have a full time job to get benefits.

    Which induces employers to use a lot of part time labor.

    Which sort of puts leisure in a different light.