My podcast with Darren Lipomi

He is a well-known chemist (and more) at UC San Diego. We started with classic Star Trek and then moved into textiles, chemistry, music vs. sound, nanobots against Covid, how to interview, traveling during a pandemic, art collecting and voodoo flags, the importance of materials science, and much more.  Mostly he interviewed me, though it […]

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MIT graduate micro exam, 1961

From the archives of Irwin Collier (I won’t do any extra indentation): Economics Candidates: Answer any FOUR questions (thirty minutes each). S.I.M. Candidates: Answer any TWO questions (thirty minutes each). Within the framework of static, partial-equilibrium theory, indicate under what circumstances advertising will reduce product prices in the long run, (a) if the advertiser is […]

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Edward Lazear has passed away

He was one of the true microeconomists, from Wikipedia: Edward Paul Lazear…an American economist, the Morris Arnold and Nona Jean Cox Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the Davies Family Professor of Economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Lazear served as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors from 2006 […]

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Why is bitcoin at $18,000?

We can all admit now that it isn’t a bubble, right?  Of course you still might think the current price is too high, as returns are a (near) random walk. This WSJ article ably surveys the current landscape.  I put the least stock on “inflation hedge” arguments, and the most on ordinary factors such as […]

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The pandemic is indeed a big deal

In our estimation, and with standard preference parameters, the value of the ability to end the pandemic is worth 5-15% of total wealth. This value rises substantially when there is uncertainty about the frequency and duration of pandemics. Agents place almost as much value on the ability to resolve the uncertainty as they do on […]

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Externalities and Covid

I am getting a little ornery with all of the people citing Covid externalities, and then not going a step deeper.  To be clear, I agree we should subsidize preventive measures (most of all vaccines and testing, but more too), and close down high-risk indoor gatherings in many locales.  No more Democratic Party fundraisers in […]

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Vaccination economic resumption sentences to ponder

If you think of state governments as basically being as permissive as possible consistent with not overwhelming their hospital systems then even vaccinating 20% of the population has a huge economic impact as long as it’s targeted in a halfway plausible way. That is from Matt Yglesias.  I would stress also the bad news that […]

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Is the Great Stagnation over?

– A working mRNA vaccine (first ever in humans!), – Apple M1 chip, – SpaceX rocket launch, – GPT-3, – Tons of cool companies IPO’ing and tons more getting started, – V-shaped recovery – Electric cars – Crypto going mainstream That is from a tweet by Nabeel S.Qureshi.  One could add warp speed, affordable solar […]

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