Archive for April, 2012

How Tom Sargent’s human capital got hit because of rational expectations revolution…

April 30, 2012

IMF’s online research bulletin has started a new feature – Conversations with Visiting Scholars.  It usually covers  literature survey on select topics.

The first such interview is with Tom Sargent, 2011 The Prize winner.

He points how the extended unemployment benefits is a trap and points how his human capital got hit:

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RBI’s Balance Sheet and Liquidity Management

April 30, 2012

This is the title of my new paper.

I am slowly trying to build on some foundation built while analysing RBI’s WSS (released here as Part -1 and Part -2).

This one looks at changes in RBI’s balance sheet over the years and links it to liquidity management of RBI. It is a complex process but have tried to simplify it as much as possible.

Comments/suggestion are welcome..

Remembering Milton Friedman on his 100th Birth anniversary

April 30, 2012

Milton Friedmanwas born on 31-Jul-2012. 2012 also happens to be the 50th anniversary of his famous publication – Capitalism and Freedom.

Allen Sanderson of U of Chicago remembers Friedman in this nice tribute (HT: Mankiw’s Blog).

Loved this quote from the note:

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand

🙂

How beer created Belgium…

April 30, 2012

Those who think the title is a joke, it isn’t.. it is serious stuff. Atleast that is what authors claim…

Koen Deconinck and Johan Swinnen write this paper showing how taxes on beer helped create the boundary between Belgium and Netherlands..

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Milton Friedman’s memo to Indian Government in 1955

April 27, 2012

Came across this historical gem.

Friedman wrote a memo to Indian govt. in 1955:

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How Balance sheets of ECB, Fed and BoE have changed during the crisis?

April 27, 2012

This is an amazing note from Jean Pisani-Ferry and Guntram Wolff  of Bruegel. All central bank guys should be attempting to write something like this.

The note centres around how ECB’s LTRO has impacted/not impacted the Eurozone. But in the process, they explain the balance sheets of the three major central banks to help understand the diffeernces. What is even better is they have explained each item on the assets side of the balance sheet of all these three CBs.

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Indian economic crisis in 2012 resembles the economic crisis in 1989

April 27, 2012

We often compare Indian economy today to that in 1991 and say we are in a crisis. Though we have grown since 1991 but the main imbalances then -fiscal deficit and current account deficit- have once again become the main concerns   today.

Yes, we have GDP growth rates and higher forex reserves now which provide some comfort. Though forex reserves which also aren’t as much when seen as % of monthly imports. The monthly import cover stands at about 8 months  (Forex Reserves/Avg. Monthly Imports = 294/38 = 8 months or so). Moreover, this has been declining as forex reserves are declining and imports rising..

Ok..now here is someone who has seen it all from close quarters in both 1989 and 2012- Rahul Khullar, commerce secretary. In this candid interview, he says times are quite similar to the one in 1989:

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Writing Central Bank and Monetary History

April 27, 2012

A nice speech from Øyvind Eithrheim of Norges Bank. The speech is based on a workshop to discuss the Norges Bank’s Bicentenary Project. NB has sponsored a grand  project to understand monetary history. The project is aimed at celebrating the 200 years of the founding of the bank to be completed in 2016.

He says there will be 3 volumes from this project each with different purpose:

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Greece central bank thinks it will make profits on its Govt. Bond portfolio..

April 26, 2012

I am not sure how to react to this.

Greece CB recently asked ECB for its opinion on some legal changes happening in GCB.

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The world our grandchildren will inherit…(and some bit on China’s institutions and growth)

April 26, 2012

A superb research note from Daron Acemoglu. Well it is amazing to see him churn one paper after the other.

He talks about ten trends which have happened in the last 100 years.

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What does earth say to Ben Bernanke?

April 25, 2012

Paul Krugman’s column differentiating between Prof Bernanke and Chairman Bernanke.

The Bernanke Conundrum — the divergence between what Professor Bernanke advocated and what Chairman Bernanke has actually done — can be reconciled in a few possible ways. Maybe Professor Bernanke was wrong, and there’s nothing more a policy maker in this situation can do. Maybe politics are the impediment, and Chairman Bernanke has been forced to hide his inner professor. Or maybe the onetime academic has been assimilated by the Fed Borg and turned into a conventional central banker. Whichever account you prefer, however, the fact is that the Fed isn’t doing the job many economists expected it to do, and a result is mass suffering for American workers.

A lot has been written over this. It is one of the favorite mon eco topic..

Just another way of putting your thoughts..

Karl Marx and Adam Smith Drop in on Occupy Wall Street..

April 25, 2012

Here is a superb post covering the event.

Last week Karl Marx and Adam Smith, two of the stars of the Pedro Reyes exhibition/video seriesBaby Marx, made an impromptu trip from the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis to Occupy Wall Street in New York’s Financial District. The artist had been tracking the protests and decided the puppets should check them out. Together with the director of photography Vicente Pousso and the Minneapolis-based puppeteers Janaki Ranpura (Smith) and Marc Berg (Marx), Reyes shot several new scenes. Among other activities, Marx interviewed OWS protesters, while Smith set up the first Occupy Wall Street bank.

Occupy Wall Street bank! :-)!

Reading a little of econ history so far, Smith is wrongly framed as free-market person. He was a philosopher interested in general human welfare. He most likely would have been highly disappointed with the banks and may be join the Occupy movement himself! As far as Marx is concerned, he might have been really happy to see all this happening..

The videos of the visit should be ready in the next few weeks. Check the pictures on the post meanwhile…

Influence of social stigma on a person’s self-confidence and development

April 25, 2012

Karla Hoff of World Bank writes this interesting column. The column is based on her work with Joe Stiglitz.

It  points how how gender, race, and caste ideologies crimp self-image management. To correct this, some affirmative action from government is needed:

For economists to ignore the factors that affect how we process information as part of the interpretation of economic change would be as wrong as to ignore the evolution of technology itself. Ideology shapes what we see and how well we perform. Ideology can give rise to “equilibrium fictions.” In our framework, changes in power, technology, and contacts with the outside world matter not just directly but because they can lead to changes in ideology. The results of India’s natural experiment with political affirmative action bear out this prediction.

She points how quota for women in village government improved families outlook towards girl child and erases the gender gap.

In 1993, India adopted gender quotas for village governments, with the quotas assigned to randomly selected villages. In villages with little or no experience of quotas, men evaluate the competence of female leaders compared to male leaders in a biased way, and a higher percentage of boys than girls are in school and are able to read and write. Yet exposure for almost ten years to local women leaders eliminates the bias in men’s perceptions and erases the gender gap in educational outcomes. All the evidence (Beaman et al. 2009, 2012) suggests that the material gains to girls and women as a result of the affirmative action policy are explained by changes in the way females are perceived by others and perceive themselves, rather than by any changes in opportunities.

A nice area to research…Mixes socio, eco, psychology etc..

Obama was never really expected to be like FDR, he was more going to be like Hoover…

April 25, 2012

A superb interview of Michael Lind. God knows how thebrowser.com can keep getting such interesting guys to talk.

This interview is on US history and has some amazing things to say. First something on US president Obama. Interestingly, we all expected him to be like FDR who will come out with another New Deal to revive the US econ. He says he was more like Hoover:

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From nuclear arms race to financial arms race..

April 25, 2012

Andrew Haldane of BoE once again making a riveting speech and once again on the financial sector.

First some insights from evolution of Elephant Seal:

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Interview of Nitish Kumar – Bihar game changer

April 24, 2012

A superb interview of Nitish Kumar. Many interesting things are covered like India’s federal structure, current strains between centre and state relations, China’s growth story, whether he would like to stay in China etc.

Sample this on China succeeding despite not really knowing English:

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IMF reversal on intervention in forex market – it seems fine now..

April 24, 2012

Another interesting twist from IMF econs. So far they strongly advised central banks to just look at inflation and interest rates. Now they seem to be ok with EME (emerging economies) central banks to also monitor exchange rate developments using exchange rate intervention as a tool:

EMEs are different from developed:

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Why NY needs to move beyond Wall Street?

April 24, 2012

A super column from super economist Ed Galesar. He says Finance-heavy New York must recapture its economic diversity.

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US vs Japan: What lessons can be learnt?

April 23, 2012

A nice speech by Masaki Shirakawa of BoJ.

Though it is again a comparison of Japan-90s vs US-now, it is a useful summary. He thinks as scale of bubble is lower in US, may be US will get out of the crisis faster..

Why Argentina keeps going downhill…

April 23, 2012

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson chip in to this evergreen topic in their latest post. In their style, they link it all to Argentina’s institutions.

As most of us know Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world in the beginning of the 20th century. Since then it has been one decline after the other. This leads to two qs?

  • How did Arg decline?
  • How did Arg rise to one of the richest econs in the first place?

A/R say Argentina’s political instis were extractive and had some bit of inclusive econ instis. The latter helped deliver growth for sometime but former took over soon:

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