TCF fellow Mark Thoma was interviewed by Ursula Moffitt at Inomics Blog discussing his lifelong love of math, the importance of economic history and why he’d like to have dinner with Milton Friedman, John Maynard Keynes and Adam Smith, among other topics.
When I was in high school, the inflation problems of the 1970s were beginning. I remember asking my parents what caused inflation, and their answer was that they didn’t know. The inflation problems, the gas lines at service stations, and so on heightened my interest in these issues, and probably helped to lead me into monetary economics, one of my specialties.
But there were other factors as well. When I took Economics 1, the instructor wrote on my final “you should major in economics” and that encouragement made a big difference. The course itself used a text called “The Economics of Social Issues” and I really liked the way economics gave us insight into those types of problems. I was good at math, so it seemed easy to me, and that helped too.
Read the interview here.
TCF fellow Andrew Fieldhouse reflects on how the U.S. labor market is doing exactly five years after the Great Recession ended.READ MORE
The last time the U.S. experienced economic calamity and slow-motion recovery — from 1929 into the 1930s — the policy responses it adopted were profoundly innovative yet quintessentially American. This was largely because the President who took office in 1933, Franklin Roosevelt, had led New York — the nation’s center of creative dynamism in business, the arts and governance alike.
New York City should take inspiration from FDR’s ingenuity today by employing a home-foreclosure prevention tool that he pioneered.
Among the most pressing emergencies Roosevelt faced upon taking office was a massive foreclosure crisis ravaging home-owning families. A Rube Goldberg system of private mortgage finance, complete with an early form of mortgage “securitization,” had helped fuel a real-estate bubble in parallel with the era’s notorious stock-market bubble. That bubble’s bursting left millions of Americans deep “underwater” — owing much more on their homes than their homes were now worth.
Read more here.
To make it easier for readers to wrestle with the myriad questions raised by Thomas Piketty's new tome, Capital in the 21st Century , we have created a repository of the most significant commentary on the Piketty thesis. We will continue to update this collection until the conversation is exhausted.READ MORE
How far is the economy from a full recovery? When should Federal Reserve policymakers, who are finishing their two-day meeting today, begin raising interest rates? Should the Fed speed the pace of its tapering of quantitative easing?
All of these questions depend critically on a piece of data economists call the output gap, the difference between actual output and the economy's potential, or the full employment level. Unfortunately, however, both of these quantities are difficult to measure, leaving policymakers at least partially in the dark as to the state of the economy.
Read the article here.
In recent decades, and especially since 2000, the richest Americans have enjoyed soaring income and wealth while the rest of the population's living standards have stagnated. The Century Foundation was one of the first institutions to raise serious concerns about these trends and propose ideas for improving economic conditions for all Americans- not just the fortunate few.
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