Archive for November, 2011

History of Commercial Bank Architecture Design

November 22, 2011

A superb post by NY Fed’s Liberty Blog. It points to this nice short history of commercial bank architecture design.

Most might ask why is this important? Well it is, because earlier banks were designed and constructed with a solid structure, tall walls etc to give people a feel that bank is secure:

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Some advice for Greg Mankiw to prevent future walkouts

November 22, 2011

One of the most interesting cases emerging from the crisis is the walkout of Harvard students from the world famous EC10 class.

Robin Wells some advice for Mankiw (and other economics instructors) to prevent future wealkouts from happening. As she has been an econ instructor as well she sympathises with Mankiw and says this essay is mainly to tell econ teachers to bring economic classes in touch with reality:

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Making economics a fun thing to learn

November 21, 2011

Making economics a fun thing to learn – is the objective of U of Texas Austin economist – Daniel Hamermesh.

Here is a superb interview where he also picks 5 books which could help learn economics along with some fun.

Here is an example of how one can learn about economics nearly everywhere:

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Economic modelling of counterfeiting currency

November 21, 2011

This short review from Ben Fung and Enchuan Shao on the topic is so exciting to read. Frankly, I was unaware of some real good research in this area.

Canada recently issued Polymer currency notes. They are  expected to be more secure, green (as in uses less carbon footprint) and last longer as well. BoC has been at work for a while to issue these polymer notes and the moment has come. More denomination notes to follow. There has been some useful research as well on the issue and this recent note is another fine example.

In this review, the authors explain how do economics really think about currency counterfeiting. There are two models- partial equilbrium and general equilibrium:

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Books on leadership

November 18, 2011

Brett Wigdortzis the founder and CEO of UK-based independent charity Teach First, which places graduates to teach in schools in challenging circumstances across England, to raise the attainment, access to opportunity and aspiration of its pupils.

He picks his five books on leadership in this nice interview:

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Is it Ben Bernanke’s finest or most challenging hour?

November 18, 2011

Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO in this piece says Bernanke has been the lone leader in troubled economic times. Unlike politicians and US congress which has piled on misery due to their infighting, Bernanke has taken some brave decisions to spur the economy despite all odds and criticism.

There is no FDR in US as of now:

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Challenges facing Caribbean economists

November 18, 2011

DeLisle Worrell, Governor of Central Bank of Barbados has been posing tough qs on economics and economists since the crisis (see  these superb speeches What’s wrong with economics? and What’s wrong with economics – Part II? ).

In a new speech at a seminar for Carribean economists he again picks on issues. He says we need both new concepts and research that is relevat for policymaking. Why new concepts?

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Making old art centres relevant for the cool young generation

November 18, 2011

A nice case study on Lincoln Centre at NY. This could be used as examples by other non-profit cultural centres as well after all the challenges remain the same for most in this digital and multiplex/mall era.

Lincoln Centre was popular amidst baby boomer generation but the boomers were now in mid-60s. The Centre needed to revamp itself  to suit to the younger American audience and the case study tells you how it was done. One man – Reynold Levy changed the game for the centre:

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EMU policymakers communication policy – hide the important and disclose the trivial

November 17, 2011

Recent statements from various EMU policymakers have been nothing short of theatric and chaotic.

They come out with some bailout plan and do not disclose important  details. Markets figure out themselves and realize it is all zombie and fudged and again it is back to same. This has been on since 2010 and nothing has changed.

So how does one react to this press release from European Council:

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The sad politicization of ECB

November 17, 2011

When I posted on  how Lorenzo Bini-Smaghi, ECB board member was being forced to quit from ECB, I was like ECB should not allow this to happen. But it has happened.

The  post said:

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Myth around Herbert Hoover and lessons for Obama

November 17, 2011

Though Lee Ohanian had written a paper saying Herbert Hoover caused the depression, the myth around Hoover continues.

Some say Great Depression happened as Hoover believed in free markets and hence chose to do nothing as recession struck. He believed markets would find its way  and end result was no intervention and recession becoming a depression.

Steven Horwitz of St. Lawrence University says nothing could be further from truth. Hoover was an interventionist and infact tried many policies to prevent recession. His policies turned the crisis into depression and not lack of it:

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What If Economists Ran Nations? (One can look at India for the answers…)

November 17, 2011

Mario Monti and Lucas Papademos have been rushed to manage Italy and Greece respectively in the ongoing crisis crisis. As both are famous economists turned technocrats this question is aptly asked by Matt Kahn – What If Economists Ran Nations?

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How Argentina is pressurising McDonalds to price its Burger lower

November 16, 2011

Argentina never refuses to surprise. Its policymakers  have been making all kinds of  attempts to report lower than actual inflation.

Cowen writes:

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How US Senators/Politicians engage in insider trading

November 16, 2011

Peter Schweizer a research fellow at the Hoover Institution has written a new book with a huge title called – “Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison”.

Marc Thiessen of The Washington Post gives a preview of what is to come:

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What if somethings we know about economic policy is wrong?

November 16, 2011

It is not nice to be reading and posting about such economics bashing papers so frequently. Here is another one by Dan Ciuriak and John M. Curtis.

They say all subjects including economics change with time:

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Did Napster lower the quality of music?

November 16, 2011

A superb research paper (longer NBER version here) by Joel Waldfogel of University of Minnesota. (I have started to call voxeu articles as papers and the NBER etc versions as longer editions. It is a departure from earlier practice of calling NBER versions as papers and voxeu as summaries. This adjustment done for lack of time to read longer versions).

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What they need to teach in a Harvard economics class?

November 16, 2011

 Another impact of the 2007 crisis.  It is a dream for most wannabe econs to be enrolled in one of the most hallowed economics department in the world Harvard economics department. The introductory class to economics is popularly called EC10 and is taken by Prof. Greg Mankiw.

Now even that is being criticised severely by its own students.  Harvard econ students conducted their own Occupy Wall Street moment when they walked out of Mankiw’s class (Mankiw blog covers the event).

EC 10 Students wrote an open letter to Mankiw expressing  discontent with the bias inherent in this introductory economics course. They say it is more Adam Smithian:

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Pursuing Financial Inclusion and Financial Stability together

November 15, 2011

A superb speech on the topic by RBI Deputy Governor – HR Khan.

He says both fin inclusion and stability are compulsions and no more choices or options one can choose. Given this the key question is:

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Probability of US recession is rising

November 15, 2011

Travis J. Berge, Early Elias, and Oscar Jorda of FRBSF in this short note say there is a significant possibility of recession in US in next 24 months. If recession is avoided in this period, things should ease 2013 onwards.  Moreover, the risks are from both sides – weakening US economy and weakening European economy leading to spillovers in US economy.

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What If Rest of World Had as Many Cars as U.S.?

November 14, 2011

It will be a disaster for sure.

WSJ Blog analyses the numbers and says there will be an additional 4.5 bn cars on the road if other countries follow the US path:

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