Economics

Buffalo, You Are Not Alone

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It hurts. When a bigtime Harvard economist writes off your city as a loss, and says America should turn its back on you, it hurts. But Ed Glaeser’s dart tossing is but the smallest taste of what it’s like to live in place like Buffalo. To choose to live in the Rust Belt is to commit to enduring a continuous stream of bad press and mockery.

I write mostly about the Midwest, but whether we think Midwest or Rust Belt or something else altogether, the story is the same. From Detroit to Cleveland, Buffalo to Birmingham, there are cities across this country that are struggling for a host of historic and contemporary reasons. We’ve moved from the industrial to the global age, and many cities truly have lost their original economic raison d’etre.  read more »

What Apple’s Supply Chain Says About US Manufacturing and Middle-Skill Training

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In January, The New York Times released a front-page report on the iEconomy, Apple’s vast and rapidly growing empire built on the production of tech devices almost exclusively overseas. The fascinating story created a wave of attention when it was published, and it’s back in the news after NPR’s “This American Life” retracted its story about working conditions at Foxconn, one of Apple’s key suppliers of iPhones and iPads.  read more »

Inequality and Economic Growth

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There has been news and conversation about economic inequality and economic growth lately, mostly because the former is increasing steadily and the latter has been less than stellar.

Of course, there is always a tension between economic growth and equality.  Economic growth implies at least some inequality.  That’s because most people need incentives to create things people value.  They need a reward.  Creating perfect equality necessarily eliminates incentives.  read more »

Addressing Workforce Shortages in the Dakotas

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While not immune to the recession, the upper Great Plains is in a different economic situation from the rest of the nation. Growth coupled with low unemployment means more strain on the region’s workforce, making it tougher for employers to find the workers they need. It's not so much about jobs anymore, but about finding the right workers.  read more »

Data Spotlight: Ranking States by Their Dependence on Manufacturing

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A recent Brookings paper makes a clear case from the start: “Manufacturing matters to the United States …” Other economists and econ bloggers aren’t so sure.

What’s clear, however, is certain states (think Indiana, Wisconsin, and Arkansas) depend on manufacturing to fuel their economies more than others. One way to measure just how dependent states are on manufacturing – rather than simply looking at total jobs or exports – is by looking at a common concentration measure known as location quotient (LQ).  read more »

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The Expanding Wealth Of Washington

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Throughout the brutal and agonizingly long recession, only one large metropolitan area escaped largely unscathed: Washington, D.C. The city that wreaked economic disasters under two administration last year grew faster in population than any major region in the country, up a remarkable 2.7 percent. The continued steady growth of the Texas cities, which dominated the growth charts over the past decade, pales by comparison.  read more »

Rick Santorum’s Ugly Appeal to Rural Voters

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Not all of them are “clinging to guns and religion,” as Barack Obama famously said in 2008, but Rick Santorum has catapulted to the top of the Republican field by connecting with a bitter streak among rural voters. This is bad news for the Republican party and for rural America, which in fact has some pretty good reasons to be optimistic.  read more »

Measuring the Impact of Apple and the App Economy

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We all know about the explosion of Apple tech products, the ever-expanding number of mobile applications in the App Store — and the near $100 billion in cash that Apple is hoarding. Yet one question that has gone mostly unanswered is how many jobs Apple has generated (and supported) with its mind-boggling growth.  read more »

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Foreign Industrial Investment Is Reshaping America

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Declinism may be all the rage in intellectual salons from Beijing to Barcelona and Boston, but decisions being made in corporate boardrooms suggest that the United States is emerging the world’s biggest winner. Long the world leader as a destination for overseas investment, the U.S. is extending its lead as the favored land of overseas capital.  read more »

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Will Millennials Still be Liberal When They’re Old and Gray?

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The Millennial Generation (born 1982-2003) is the cohort most in favor of using the federal government to promote economic stability and equality since the GI Generation of the 1930s and 1940s. The attitudes of Millennials were heavily shaped by the protected and group-oriented way in which they were reared and their experience of feeling the full brunt of the Great Recession as they emerged into adulthood.    read more »