What happened to the mandate, the third leg of the stool?

But Congress did ultimately chop off a leg when it repealed the mandate penalties in 2017 — and, despite these predictions, the Affordable Care Act still stands. New federal data and economic research show the law hasn’t collapsed or entered the “death spiral” that economists and health insurers projected. Many experts now view the individual mandate as […]

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University of Pennsylvania update and correction

“The email sent by Penn SAS Deans last Tuesday needs to be interpreted with some care. In particular, notice the words “school-funded Ph.D. programs.” There is a lot of institutional background that is lost when the email is read from the outside, especially because the Economics Ph.D. program has its own funding structure that differs […]

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The international game theory of vaccines

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt: Ideally, a government will wish to publicize the announcement of a vaccine while slow-walking the actual distribution. That way, if there is something wrong with the brew, it can stop distribution before too many of its citizens experience adverse side effects. In […]

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Which economic methods are in practice statistically more honest than others?

…our results suggest that the [instrumental variables] and, to a lesser extent, [difference-in-difference] research bodies have substantially more p-hacking and/or selective publication than those based on [randomized controlled trials] and [regression-discontinuity]… (p.3) And: We find no evidence that: (1) Papers published in the ‘Top 5’ journals are different to others; (2) The journal ‘revise and […]

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Reconstructing microeconomics as a kind of anthropology

Here is the closing part of my introduction to what will be a forthcoming Taiwanese, classical Chinese character edition of my earlier book Discover Your Inner Economist: Finally, hidden in Discover Your Inner Economist is an implied revision of how economics should be done in the university. Most economic theory starts with the notion of […]

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How to make yourself happier during the pandemic

There is plenty of relevant psychological advice, here is some more narrowly economic advice from my latest Bloomberg column.  Start with this key point: …it is a common result in empirical economics that consumption habits are slow to adjust to changing circumstances, especially unprecedented circumstances. It is not enough for you to develop new spending habits — […]

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Declining Business Dynamism…The Role of the Burden of Knowledge

There is a new and important and I believe largely true paper from Thomas Astebro, Serguey Braguinsky, and Yuheng Ding: We document that since 1997, the rate of startup formation has precipitously declined for firms operated by U.S. PhD recipients in science and engineering. These are supposedly the source of some of our best new […]

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The Washington Consensus Works: Causal Effects of Reform, 1970-2015

  Sustained economic reform significantly raises real GDP per capita over a 5- to 10-year horizon. Despite the unpopularity of the Washington Consensus, its policies reliably raise average incomes. Countries that had sustained reform were 16% richer 10 years later. As for the method: In this paper, we define generalized reform as a discrete, sustained […]

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Evidence from 27 Thousand Economics Journal Articles on Africa

The first two decades of the 21st century have seen an increasing number of peer-reviewed journal articles on the 54 countries of Africa by both African and non-African economists. I document that the distribution of research across African countries is highly uneven: 45% of all economics journal articles and 65% of articles in the top […]

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Those new service sector jobs, coffin whisperer edition

Also known as markets in everything: Bill Edgar has, in his own words, “no respect for the living”. Instead, his loyalty is to the newly departed clients who hire Mr Edgar — known as “the coffin confessor” — to carry out their wishes from beyond the grave. Mr Edgar runs a business in which, for […]

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