Archive for August 19th, 2019

Devotion and development: Religiosity, education, and economic progress in 19th-century France

August 19, 2019

The best economics books to take on Holiday: recommended by Daniel Hamermesh

August 19, 2019 has the recommendations:

1. Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese

This novel from a decade ago should be read by every American interested in immigration. While it deals with a lot of medical details, the essence of it is about urban life in developing countries and about the immigrant experience. It is both moving and thought-provoking.

2. In the Garden of the Beasts, by Erik Larson

At a time of increased danger of totalitarianism in the U.S., reading a history of an insider’s view of its growth in Germany in the 1930s gives a good perspective on our contemporary problems, as well as being fascinating history and biography in its own right.

3. Core Economics by the Core Economics team

You can’t take this book to the beach as a paperback, but you can download it. It represents a revolutionary approach to introductory economics that draws the reader into the subject. It is catching on widely and will affect economic thinking in the population as a whole for a long time.

4. The Worldly Philosophers, by Robert Heilbroner

The first edition of this book, which I read in high school (in 1960), got me to major in economics and devote my career to it. The book’s updated editions are just as good and give a good, not-popularized feel for what the major economic ideas are really about (and also a good feel for the people who created them).

5. Cribsheet, by Emily Oster

A bit of a cheat recommending this, since Emily’s parents, both economists, are old friends of mine. But the book is an easy-reading, but evidence-based guide for prospective and new parents.


What happened to Macrinomics in Argentina?

August 19, 2019

When Mauricio Macri was elected as President, lot was written on how Macrinomics will change the fate of Argentina.

However, nothing much could change. Argentina continues to be a royal mess. People have voted for return of left, leading to concerns for the investors.

What drives Trump to nominate Judy Shelton at Federal Reserve? Try push countries towards Fixed exchange rates?

August 19, 2019

All kinds of things happening.

Barry Eichengreen writes that Trump wishes to go back to the earlier days when exchange rates were fixed. Why? The idea is to compress US Trade deficit by raising tariffs. However,  other countries allow currencies to depreciate netting out the effects of tariff. This means countries should be pushed to fix their exchange rates which leads to nomination of Judy Shelton who is a major votary of gold standard:


Europe works best with the Russians out, the Germans down, and the Americans in: Does this apply today?

August 19, 2019

Europe works best, as the old quip has it, with the Russians out, the Germans down, and the Americans in. Today’s new European order has the Russians up, the Germans on the way down, the Americans potentially bowing out, Britons struggling toward Brexit – and France rising.

Lots of history in these two lines…

Does 2019 look lot like 1929?

August 19, 2019

Wharton dean Geoff Garrett in this piece fears 2019 looking lot like 1929:

In my darkest moments, I fear that 2019 is looking more like 1929. Ninety years ago, economic inequality was at an all-time high in America and Europe. The seeds of authoritarian nationalism were sprouting in Asia, Europe and Latin America. World War I had destabilized the old global order without creating a new one. Against this backdrop, the stock market crash of October 1929 then ignited the horrendous cascade of depression, fascism and World War II—arguably the worst 15 years in history.

The notion that we could even remotely be near such a global paroxysm may seem unthinkable today. But I bet that is how everybody living the life of The Great Gatsbyand Downton Abbey in the late 1920s felt, too.

The good news today is that while a market correction and a potential recession seem likely sometime, the chances of a crash on the scale of 1929 appear remote. This gives us some time—time to do all we can to reverse the big trends, time to make sure the 2020s are not a replay of the 1930s.

Part of what we must do no doubt requires demanding more of our political leaders—to be more open about the challenges we face and more creative about the potential solutions. But I implored our students to embrace the real difference they can make: that bottom-up actions by the many can change the world as much as, or more than, the actions of even the most effective leaders.

So, my suggestions for change are part policy wonkism, part personal wisdom. 


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