Led Zeppelin, high-waisted denim shorts, and kitchens accented with harvest gold and avocado green always came to mind when I imagined life in 1970’s America. However, this simplistic, superficial image didn’t appear to be quite congruent with the lived experience of US citizens in the seventies. Recently, when I expressed my fascination with seventies kitchen design to my father, he grimaced at me and sighed heavily. I figured he didn’t like green refrigerators, but what followed was a lecture explaining an ugly side to the seventies I hadn’t thought of before. Runaway inflation and crippling interest rates coupled with stagnating Continue reading Stagflation in the Late 1970’s
Economists employ several metrics to gain a sense of total macroeconomic performance. While there are dozens of measures that show various aspects of economic health, four will be mentioned. 1. The most valuable and informative indicator of a nation’s macroeconomic status is the gross domestic product (abbreviated as GDP). The GDP is defined as the current monetary value of all final goods and services produced in markets over a specific period of time, such as quarterly or annually. Therefore, the GDP can also be considered income for a nation, since economic output can be measured by how much we spend Continue reading Macroeconomic Indicators: Four Ways to Assess a Nation’s Economy
Modern Monetary Theory or MMT as it is also known, is a new branch of heterodox economics that is quickly gaining popularity among the political far-left in American politics. While the theory is quite confusing in its exact specifications and rules ( Economist Paul Krugman likened it to “Calvin ball”) the basic tenets are that the assumptions of “fiat currency” and “endogenous money” are the correct macroeconomic assumptions. While these are core elements for most MMT theorists, it is important to stress that like many heterodox economic theories and “Calvin ball,” the ‘rules’ often change depending on which promoter of the Continue reading Modern Monetary Theory: Let’s Play Some Calvin Ball
As technology has advanced, we have seen the effect it can have on labor demand, especially for lower-skilled workers. Erik Hurst, an economist at the University of Chicago, decided to look at how technological change influenced the other side of the market, or labor supply. Hurst, along with his co-authors Aguiar, Bils, and Charles released a working paper called .Leisure Luxuries and the Labor Supply of Young Men examining the impact of video games and other recreational computer activities on the willingness of young men to act as labor suppliers. A Theory of Individual Labor Supply One way which economists have looked at Continue reading Fall of Duty: Video Games vs. The Labor Market
This week, I wanted to examine data to see if there was a trend with average hours worked and employment, as well as unemployment. We would expect that as employment increases, so would hours worked. I took data from the OECD from the G7 members, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US. seven of the major advanced economies in the world, Here are the results. So far, France follows the trend we would expect; employment and hours worked are mostly parallel. Canada also mostly follows this, but we can see a slight trend where employment has been Continue reading Trends of Hours Worked and Employment of G7
On October 8th at 7pm, colleagues at Pacific Lutheran University will hold their latest installment of the Ruth Anderson Public Debate, where two teams (one expert and one student debater each) will engage in a debate on the subject of increasing the minimum wage in Tacoma to $15 an hour. Sound Economics will be there covering the debate live, and we encourage those economically-minded readers to attend if you can! If you cannot attend, follow the debate on Twitter; a small handful of questions for the debaters will be selected from Twitter submissions. In the weeks leading up to the debate, Continue reading Should Tacoma increase its minimum wage to $15/hour? A live debate!
Boomsday is a book authored by the famous satirist Christopher Buckley (most famous for ‘Thank you for Smoking) about a young blogger who gets fed up with the baby boomer generation’s excessive social security payments. In order to solve this mounting debt crisis, she proposes that the government provide incentives for people to ‘transition’ themselves when they reach the age of 70. This book was published only a few months before the beginning of the recession, and many people at the time were warily eyeing the exponentially increasing costs of social security as a problem down the road. While Social Continue reading The Anti-Boomsday
This past Friday, the BLS released its monthly jobs report: unemployment rate down to 5.5%, and 295K jobs added in the month of February. The details of the report are here. Policy makers look to the employment numbers to gain insight regarding economic trends: are more people seeking work? Are more businesses hiring? Tracking these trends can better inform economic policy making. However, in a recent WSJ Op-Ed, Daniel Quinn Mills, a professor of business administration at Harvard took issue with how the BLS data are reported. Employment data is often impacted by seasonally-recurring phenomena. For example, the 295K “jobs added” figure Continue reading Seasonal Incompetence Disorder