Archive for the ‘Blogs to Read’ Category

Recent history of finance policy committees in India and why most meet dead ends..

February 13, 2015

As I was reflecting on this post on regarding crony committeeism in Indian finance policy, came across this post by Ajay Shah.

It nicely lists the several policy committees in India from 1998 onwards. He says lot of these committees had interesting ideas to begin with but met dead ends later:

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How about having a necktie mommemorating end of Fed stimulus

January 9, 2015

Superb post and some innovation by asset management firm Van Eck:

Janet Yellen was off the Christmas list at Van Eck Global this year.

The asset manager Van Eck helped the Federal Reserve chairwoman to her caricature debut on the their central bank-themed holiday ties—riding a white dove, no less. This year, the $30 billion firm cast off in a rather more literal direction.

This year’s ties (and matching tote bags) show a boat called the “QE III” sailing into the sunset. The boat appears to be empty, though there are queasy waves ahead.

As we reported last year, Van Eck’s ties have earned somewhat of a cult following. Prior iterations have featured “Helicopter Ben Bernanke” and a “Super Mario” version ofMario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank. This one, of course, is referring to the end to the third round of the Fed’s stimulus measures, called quantitative easing. The massive bond buying program ended earlier this year.

Memorable holiday gifts are a way to get noticed in the financial world, and the Van Eck ties–va neckties, if you will–aren’t the only game in town. Among the competitors:Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett sends out a goofy picture with a box of chocolates from Berkshire-owned See’s Candies. And the effort that Kingsford Capital Management, a small Northern California-based hedge fund, puts into its oddball gifts earned it a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal in 2013.

Van Eck sends out thousands of its custom-made ties to its clients every holiday season. As always, the ties are made by Vineyard Vines, a preppy favorite in the Northeastern financial world.

Click on the post to see the previous design and the current one as well..

The rise and fall of debate in economics..

December 11, 2014

Food for thought post by Joe Francis, an Argentina economy specialist (a country whose economics must be keeping him both busy and amused).

He says how econs do not discuss any more:

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What is free banking all about?

December 3, 2014

There has been some hot and stirring debate on free banking in the blogosphere.

Ueasymoney blog sums up the debate and provides links on who said what on the topic. For those interested in history of money and banking, studying free banking is a must as this is how it all started. Adam Smith wrote on free banking in his wealth of nations tome. Also read this website where leading free bajmking scholars are writing some really fab and interesting stuff.

There are two schools of free banking — Currency school led by Hume and Banking school led by Smith:

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How a monster was born 100 years ago — Federal Reserve..

December 1, 2014

David Howden of Mises has this hard hitting post on Federal Reserve. Fed opened for business 100 years ago and Howden reflects on the history.

He says there are two schools on Fed- one that supports Fed and other against it (as always):

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25th anniversary of fall of Berlin Wall: How have countries that broke from USSR faring?

November 5, 2014

A superb post by Branko Milanovic, an inequality expert who worked at World Bank (his blog on inequality is really good and promising).

He looks at how these countries are faring and data shows nothing much has happened. The hyped convergence to west has been an illusion for most. Only in case of Poland has some kind of development and convergence happened:

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What has led to financialisation of developed economies?

October 13, 2014

Òscar Jordà, Alan Taylor and Moritz Schularick look at this question in this paper. They summarise the findings in voxeu.

Understanding the causes and consequences of the rise of finance is a first order concern for macroeconomists and policymakers. The increasing size and leverage of the financial sector has been interpreted as an indicator of excessive risk taking1and has been linked to the increase in income inequality in advanced economies,2 as well as to the growing political influence of the financial industry (Johnson and Kwak 2010). Yet surprisingly little is known about the driving forces behind these trends.

In our recent research we turn to economic history. We build on our earlier work that first demonstrated the dramatic growth of the balance sheets of financial intermediaries in the second half of the 20th century and how periods of rapid credit growth were often followed by systemic financial crises and severe recessions (Schularick and Taylor 2012, Jordà, Schularick, and Taylor 2013).

 

They say that main reason has been shift of bank credit towards mortgage lending or for home buying. Banks over the years have become like a housing fund:

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How New Zealand CPI index will include pets as an item from now on….

October 9, 2014

WSJ Blog has this interesting post on addtions and deletions in NZ CPI basket. I mean this is far more more interesting than the CPI inflation levels which are we so obsessed with.

So what are NZers consuming more/less?:

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How China’s central bank works?

September 26, 2014

WSJ Blog explains:

Unlike the U.S. Federal Reserve and other western central banks, the People’s Bank of China isn’t independent of the government. It reports to the State Council, the Chinese government’s top decision-making body and as a result, the PBOC has no real control over China’s monetary policy.

But on inflation front, China has had low inflation for a while. So even if the central bank is not so called independent,  it has managed to keep govt at bay:

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Is Economics a Science? Dogmatic Economics Vs. Reflective Economics..

September 25, 2014

Fixing the economists Blog has this interesting post on the topic.

This is one of the most important philosophical questions regarding economics- is it a science? Econs surely believe and have tried to model  their ideas as Science like with laws and theories etc. This is met with criticism as these laws are not universally applicable and are inconsistent.

But then what is science at the first place? There is huge disagreement on the same. The blog defines science and then sees whether economics fits as a science:

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What explains the wage premium in silicon valley?

August 8, 2014

Jonathan Rothwell of Brookings has a nice post on the topic.

He puts up US map and looks at earnings of Software professionals across regions. He sees there is a wage premium in Silicon Valley compared to other places. Why this is so? It seems the region requires some typical software skills which lead to the premium:

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Road Safety – Choice Architecture in Sweden..

May 15, 2014

This blog had earlier pointed to this fascinating story on how Sweden managed to lower its road accidents and deaths.

Gulzar adds to the discussion from a behavioral perspective. He is mostly alert to the various nudges being implemented around the world:

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How Indo-Pak ended up hosting the 1987 World Cup Cricket?

April 30, 2014

As I write this post, there is a real proud feeling.

First, this is the 5000th post of Mostly Economics. This is a huge personal milestone as had no clue that would end up writing so much! Thanks to WordPress and the visitors who have encouraged  this blog all this while. Huge pat to the blog..

Second, there could be no better way to write this 5000th post than talk about this wonderful book – The Story of the Reliance Cup by Mr. NKP Salve. The blogger has always been a huge fan of cricket and would love to write and think more on the sport. The events of the last few years has led to huge discontentment with the state of affairs. The blogger never cared to figure the man reason behind NKP Salve tournament and this autobiography gives you great insights about many things. As the authorities keep piling shame on Indian cricket, perhaps they should read this book to understand the challenges faced by authorities then to bring this whole cricketmania to India. Given how things stand today, even the guys who brought this whole game to Indian shores would be reflecting on whether they did any wrong?

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Is Sweden headed the Japan way?

April 23, 2014

Things are getting more and more complex. Countries which had recovered post-crisis are slipping. Sweden is the latest entrant to the list. The last reading was at -0.6% fueling debates over deflation in Sweden.

  • Krugman always on red alert to these developments started the debate – one and two .
  • Lars Svensson, former Riksbank MPC member and deflation expert added fuel to the fire. He blames the Riksbank rightaway:

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Philosophy declining in universities but Philosophers top thinkers ranking…a paradox

April 10, 2014

Peter Singer Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University has this interesting article in Proj Synd.

He says that the intake in humanities has slipped sharply in recent years:

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Brief analysis of Indian macro-economic time series…

March 27, 2014

Isha Agarwal (no relation to ME blogger!) a graduate student at Cornell Univ has started this intersting blog and hope we get to read some more posts.

In one of the two posts written so far, the author explains the time-series analysis of Indian macro data.

Macro economic time series are known to display trend growth. For example, if we look at a country’s GDP, it rises over time, i.e. it has a trend growth which can be categorized as a long term feature of GDP, however, in the short term we observe that the GDP fluctuates around the deterministic trend. A substantial literature in macro economics deals with the properties of these business cycles and how the government can come up with policies to counter these business cycles – also know as counter cyclical policies. Whether or not such policies are effective in containing the business cycles is a bigger question and there are different schools of thought (Freshwater and saltwater) which feel differently about this issue.

There is a class of models known as RBC (Real Business Cycle) models which addresses questions such as: what causes business cycles, how persistent is the deviation of any time series from its steady state, what accounts for co-movement between various time series(such as consumption and income). RBC model conjectures that business cycle fluctuations are due to real factors (such as shock to technology) as opposed to monetary factors(such as change in money supply/monetary policy). The macro economic course taught in the spring semester at Cornell revolves around RBC theory which also happens to be my area of interest.

In the first lecture of this course I learnt how to extract the cyclical component from any given time series and some stylized facts about GDP, consumption-income ratios, investment-income ratios, their correlations and persistence. In this post I endeavor to conduct the same analysis for Indian data. I take data on GDP and its components from RBI’s website.The first step is to extract the business cycles from the series of GDP. I use annual data from 1950 to 2012 for this analysis.

Nice stuff. Read the post for details.

Though, the graphs could be better as one can hardly detect the difference between original and cyclically/trend adjusted time-series. And then the author could also explain how does one actually detrend all this. It does share a matlab code but a code is a code.

Overall an interesting effort and looking for more such posts..

ME eventually wants to get into posts like these as econ research via papers is getting boring.  Idea is to use simple econometrics (an oxymoron!) to convey basic ideas.  There is hardly any dedicated website to doing economic research and helping people do research using basic tools. Especially these time series analysis where we fail to look at basics and keep projecting left, right and centre..

But as ME is still not there yet, so will have to wait. ME hopes to get into this space quickly..Till then hope Isha helps us..

Why do people vote? Insights from a small experiment..

March 6, 2014

Well the biggest circus/tamasha (whatever you may call it) is about to begin. As ECI announced dates for Elections-2014, we are going to have loads of action for next two months..

Interestingly, just y’day there was this interesting post in voxeu on voting and psychology behind it. The authors conduct the experiment in just one region (Illinois) and one time (2010 Congressional election) so there are limitations:

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Is Prof. Krugman a French war general?

February 18, 2014

Another round of debate on relevance of macro modelling.

It starts with NoahSmith’s poston macro modelling.  Prof Krugman reponds in his usual style connecting French war generals with macro modelling:

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From James Bond’s licence to kill to central banker’s licence to lie

February 4, 2014

Anatole Kaletsky (chief economist of GaveKal Dragonomics) has this superb piece.

He says the central bankers have a licence to lie and they do the job really well.

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Wishing all a very happy new year and ME’s Annual report 2013

December 31, 2013

Wishing all the viewers a very happy new year. Hope 2014 is a great year for all of you.

Here is ME’s 2013 Annual Report (courtesy wordpress.com):

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