Economy

The Rest of the Story on Krugman and the Economy

Paul Krugman really doesn’t like the possibility that there is a structural shift in employment, because it weakens the argument for the massive Keynesian spending spree he’d like to see the government initiate.  To that end, he published this piece on his blog February 13th.  read more »

The Great Plains: An Old Frontier May Hold The Secret to Recovery

Could the next zone of opportunity exist in the middle of the country? Census unemployment figures seem to signify this notion, especially in the Great Plains.

State-wise, November 2010 unemployment rates were lowest in North Dakota at 3.6%; South Dakota at 4.6%; Nebraska at 4.9%; Kansas at 6.5%; and Iowa at 6.8%. Compare these numbers to the ever-growing Sunbelt states where unemployment is at its most dismal with Arizona at 9.6%, California at 12.4%, and Nevada at a depressing 14%.  read more »

Krugman's Muddled Argument Against Texas

Last week NYT columnist and economist Paul Krugman wrote a very popular column pointing to Texas' revenue shortfall and declaring it an example of the failure of conservative government.  I found the whole piece a muddled mess and dismissed it, but you can't believe the notes I've gotten from people requesting a response.  read more »

The Amazing Truth About PISA Scores: USA Beats Western Europe, Ties with Asia

Once we correct (even crudely) for demography in the 2009 PISA scores, (PISA is the Program for International Student Assessment) American students outperform Western Europe by significant margins and tie with Asian students. Jump to the graphs if you don't want to read my boring set-up and methodology.

The main theme in my blog is that we shouldn’t confuse policy with culture, and with demographic factors.
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Subjects:

State GDP Performance

Gross Domestic Product is the basic measure of economic output. The government released 2009 GDP data for US states recently, so it’s worth taking a look. Here’s a map of percent change in total real GDP from 2000 to 2009, with increases in blue, decreases in red:  read more »

Missing the Point on Jobs: The "More Transit - More Jobs" Report

The Transit Equity Network has just published a study called More Transit - More Jobs in which it suggests switching 50% of highway funding to transit in 20 metropolitan areas to create an additional 180,000 jobs over the next five years. Their basic thesis is that each kajillion in spending can produce more jobs in transit than in highways.  read more »

China: Two Modernizations (Decentralization and Living Away from the Job)

American and European planners have long sought to improve the "jobs-housing" balance, seeking to place residents and jobs within walking or cycling distance. Of course, planners don't place people anywhere. Not surprisingly, their efforts have largely failed, from the new towns of the London area, where people travel about as far to work as anywhere else, to fabled failures of Stockholm, where high rise housing close to suburban employment centers now houses migrants who tend to have far lower incomes than native Swedes.  read more »

Striking a Balance

As noted by Wendell Cox, commuting and congestion have a large economic cost. Time spent behind the wheel, slowed by traffic, is time that could otherwise be put to more productive economic pursuits. Commuting and congestion also have social costs. Every minute lost trapped in snarled traffic is time that might have been spent with family, friends, relaxing, or getting involved in community building activities.  read more »

2009: A Year of US Entrepreneurial Activity

The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity produced good news for the year 2009: Americans have created businesses at its fastest rate in 14 years. This past year, 558,000 businesses were created each month, marking a 4% increase from 2008. Though this comes in the midst of economic recession, president and CEO of the Kauffman foundation Carl Schramm seems to think the unsavory results of massive layoffs have fostered these higher rates of entrepreneurship, serving as “a motivational boost” for the newly unemployed to become their own boss.  read more »

Random Wall Street Walking

There was a popular book in 1973 – A Random Walk Down Wall Street. (by Burton Malkiel, now in its 9th edition, 2007) – that pooh-pooh’ed the idea that one investor’s stock picks could always be better than another investor’s stock picks.  read more »