Archive for January, 2011

What explains the rise in commodity derivatives?

January 19, 2011

Parantap Basu and William Gavin write a paper on the topic.

The authors point to some startling facts on the rise of commodity derivatives:

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FOMC Jokes

January 19, 2011

WSJ Blog points to a number of jokes cracked by FOMC members in their 2005 meetings. The jokes were extracted from 2005 detailed transcripts, released with the customary five-year lag.

I found this one to be the best:

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Linking economic geography with education

January 18, 2011

A nice short note by Natalia Kolesnikova of St Louis Fed.

She begins with linking education to wages:

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Rules vs Discretion – a short historical perspective

January 18, 2011

John Taylor of Taylor Rule fame in this short speech (HT: his blog) shows how US policymaking has flip-flopped between rules and discretion over the years.  This in turn has effected the policy and economic outcomes.

It shifted to discretion based in 1960s leading to Great Inflation in 1970s, then in 1980s back to rules based and the stable years. Finally in 2000’s again shifted to discretion leading to prolonging the crisis.

In the end he asks, why this flip-flop? The answer could be dissatisfaction with existing economic outcomes. He is hopeful that this might lead to shift to more rules based policy now:

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National Food Security Bill – a critique from EAC

January 18, 2011

PM’s Economic Advisory Council was asked to review the proposed National Food Security Bill. Here is the Final Report and here are the Highlights of the report. It was released last week but I completed it only now.

NFSB has been proposed to address the huge health deficiency in the country.

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The ubiquitous crony capitalist

January 17, 2011

This is the title of my new op-ed in Mint. Comments/suggestions are welcome.

Addendum:

I discovered an interesting nudge on talking with an editor on the edit pages of Mint.  I asked him to add the standard line at the end of the column saying “The views are of the author and may not belong to the organisation he works in.”

He replied saying this is not needed. All the articles in op-ed  by default mean they belong to the person. Hence that line is redundant. He added there are two exceptions and for them the end-line is carried. First for civil service officers because of their special job status. Second for investment managers so that people do not take a position based on the articles.

It just struck me this is an interesting nudge. The default strategy is not to include this line at the end. So, if only someone says the views are of the organisation, then only it will be mentioned. All op-eds by default are just that individual’s views. By choosing this default strategy redundancy is avoided.

Many magazines and newspapers do carry this end-line. It will just be nice to follow the Mint default strategy.

Annual Status of Education Report 2010

January 17, 2011

Pratham, released the Status of Education Report 2010. Gulzar summarises the report picking key tables and graphs. The summary is:

It reported a substantial increase in school enrolment figures but no visible improvement in the quality of education.

Internship Programme of the Department of Economic Affairs for 2011-12

January 17, 2011

Some visitors asked me about this DEA internship program for 2011-12. DEA has just announced the program for 2011-12

Interested students can apply.

Addendum:

The stipend for the program caught my eye. It has been Rs 5,000 since the program launch in 2007. Shouldn’t the stipend be adjusted with inflation as well? After all inflation management is one of the key topics of DEA internship and stipend always interests the students.

So, if aligned with inflation (just an academic exercise) how much should the stipend be? I just did some calculations based on WPI and CPI inflation since Jan-2007.

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Europe crisis primer from Krugman

January 17, 2011

Though, this Europe crisis primer must  have been read by most. In case some have missed, please do. Not many can do a better job explaining economics in English as Paul Krugman does.

Gulzar summarises the primer. He also points to Angela Merkel’s continued Eurodenial.

Meanwhile Trichet in his latest interview says:

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Indian Economy – Fortnightly Update

January 14, 2011

Latest edition is here.

It covers IIP-Nov 10, WPI Inflation-Dec 10 and Exports/Imports – Nov-10.

Commets are always welcome.

A cute Keynesian Experiment

January 14, 2011

NPR Money points to this interesting experiment it has conducted which looks at Keynesian thinking (HT: WSJ Econ Blog).

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Interview of Ronald Coase

January 14, 2011

Ronald Coase turned 100 on 29 Dec 2010. On the same day,  Coase China Society was set up in China.

There is an interview ((HT: Tyler Cowen, who else) of the great econ celebrating both the events. I have only quickly glanced at the interview and at 100 he still is so sharp!

Transport Economics in Indian cities

January 14, 2011

B. Sudhakara Reddy and P. Balachandra of IGIDR have this superb paper on the topic.

They look at energy use in 23 top Indian cities using the transportation data. The compile a lot of data and have a number of indicators. It also explains the various transport methods people in these cities opt for.

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Bank-Based vs Market-based financial systems in the crisis

January 13, 2011

RBI Deputy Governor Shyamala Gopinath covers the topic in her speech.

In sum she says, despite financial systems becoming more market based in US, Banks played a central role. Before and During the crisis, it was how banks performed their role of liquidity providers that mattered.

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Why US Household Savings have increased?

January 13, 2011

Reuven Glick and Kevin J. Lansing of FRBSF write on the topic in this short note. They say savings rate has increased mainly because of decline in credit available to households. Pre-crisis, savings rate declined to 1% levels mainly because of easy credit conditions. And after the crisis, savings rate has risen to 6% as credit to HH has declined.

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Should we limit size of cities?

January 13, 2011

Economist is running a debate on this topic.

This house believes that restricting the growth of cities will improve quality of life.

Adam Roberts , South Asia chief of Economist is the  moderator. Chetan Vaidya, director of the National Institute of Urban Affairs in India, opposes the motion. Paul James, director of the Global Cities Institute at RMIT University in Australia supports the motion.

Roberts says cities have increased manifold and quality of life is suffering:

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Don’t believe every word of Nouriel Roubini…

January 12, 2011

Joe Keohane writes this article where he questions the wisdom of Dr. Doom and many other economic forecasters:

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Issing too turns Euro pessimistic

January 12, 2011

This is a big news. Otmar Issing the big Europhile has turned pessimistic over Euro/EMU prospects. And his reason is different:

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Do economists need a code of conduct?

January 12, 2011

I had posted about economists debating having a code of conduct at 2011 AEA meeting.

Economist brings up the debate and several economists write their views. Needless to say, views are mixed.

Balance Sheet Adjustment under Population Ageing

January 12, 2011

This is a very interesting and thoughtful speech from Kiyohiko Nishimura of Bank of Japan.

He links the demographics with the current crisis and Japan’s crisis in 1990s. Interestingly, both these crisis have happened at a time when demographics are worsening for  the economies.

For demographics, he uses a variable called Inverse Dependency Ratio (IDR). IDR indicates how many people of working age it takes to provide for one dependent person. He shows via various graphs how this IDR peaks for Japan just at the time of its crisis in 1990s. And same trend we  see for US, Spain and Greece as well.

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