Paul Krugman: Living in the Trump Zone

"Don’t pretend that this is normal":
Living in the Trump Zone, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: Fans of old TV series may remember a classic “Twilight Zone” episode titled “It’s a Good Life.” It featured a small town terrorized by a 6-year-old who for some reason had monstrous superpowers, coupled with complete emotional immaturity. Everyone lived in constant fear, made worse by the need to pretend that everything was fine. After all, any hint of discontent could bring terrible retribution.
And now you know what it must be like working in the Trump administration. ...
What set me off on this chain of association? The answer may surprise you; it was the tax “plan” the administration released on Wednesday..., the single-page document ... bore no resemblance to what people normally mean when they talk about a tax plan. ...
So why would the White House release such an embarrassing document?
Continue reading "Paul Krugman: Living in the Trump Zone"

Is There a Case to be Made for Political Antitrust?

Asher Schechter at ProMarket:
Is There a Case to be Made for Political Antitrust?: After decades of approaching antitrust through purely economic analyses, are economists once again willing to take into account political considerations as well?Should political considerations play a role in antitrust? In the last four decades, the predominant approach was that antitrust enforcement should only be guided by economic considerations such as efficiency and consumer welfare. Now, if a panel at the recent Stigler Center conference on concentration in America is any indication, it seems that some economists are once again willing to take into account the political dimensions of antitrust.
 In 1979, former FTC chairman Robert Pitofsky published a seminal paper on what he termed the “political content” of antitrust. Contrary to the view that antitrust should be concerned exclusively with economic questions, Pitofsky argued that “political values” should be incorporated into the enforcement of
Continue reading "Is There a Case to be Made for Political Antitrust?"

Links for 04-28-17

Trade, Jobs, and Inequality (Video)

Participants: Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist, New York Times columnist, and distinguished professor at the Graduate Center. David Autor, leading labor economist; professor at MIT, where he directs the School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative; and editor in chief of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Brad DeLong, economics professor at U.C. Berkeley; weblogger for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth; and former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of the treasury, in the Clinton administration. Anne Harrison, professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; former director of development policy at the World Bank; and author of Globalization and Poverty.

Do Sweatshops Lift Workers Out of Poverty?

Christopher Blattman and Stefan Dercon:
Do Sweatshops Lift Workers Out of Poverty?: In the 1990s, Americans learned more about the appalling conditions at the factories where our sneakers and T-shirts were made, and opposition to sweatshops surged. But some economists pushed back. For them, the wages and conditions in sweatshops might be appalling, but they are an improvement on people’s less visible rural poverty.
As the economist Joan Robinson said, “The misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all.”
Textbook economics offers two reasons factory jobs can be “an escalator out of poverty.” ...
Expecting to prove the experts right, we went to Ethiopia and — working with the Innovations for Poverty Action and the Ethiopian Development Research Institute — performed the first randomized trial of industrial employment on workers. Little did we anticipate that everything we believed
Continue reading "Do Sweatshops Lift Workers Out of Poverty?"

Yes, the Stock and Bond Markets Can Both Be Right

Tim Duy:
Yes, the Stock and Bond Markets Can Both Be Right: Equities have renewed their rally -- and so have bonds, and that is creating much alarm among some investors. Whereas the former suggests the stage is set for solid growth, the latter and the accompanying narrowing of the yield curve raises red flags about the health of the economy. I am not sure there is much of a puzzle here. This dichotomy is fairly typical of a monetary tightening cycle and can exist for a long time. How long? Until the Federal Reserve finally snuffs out the expansion with excessively tight monetary policy ...Continued at Bloomberg View ...

Links for 04-27-17