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J. Bradford DeLong
Berkeley, CA
J. Bradford DeLong is an economist teaching at the University of California at Berkeley.
Interests: history, economic history, information age, political economy, grand strategy, international relations, material culture., information technology, economics
Recent Activity
**Should-Read: Neil Cummins**: Lifespans of the European Elite, 800–1800: 115,650 European nobles from 800 to 1800... >...Longevity began increasing long before 1800 and the Industrial Revolution, with marked increases around 1400 and again around 1650. Declines in violent deaths from battle contributed to some of this increase, but the majority must reflect other changes in individual behavior. There are historic spatial contours to European elite mortality; Northwest Europe achieved greater adult lifespans than the rest of Europe even by 1000... Continue reading
**Must-Read: W.E.B. DuBois**: On Confederate Monuments: "In the South, particular, human ingenuity has been put to it to explain... >...on its war monuments the Confederacy. Of course, the plain truth of the matter would be an inscription something like this: >>Sacred to the memory of those who fought to Perpetuate Human Slavery... >But that reads with increasing difficulty as time goes on It does, however, seem to be overdoing the matter to read on a North Carolina Confederate monument: >>Died Fighting for Liberty! Continue reading
**Must-Read: W.E.B. DuBois**: On Robert E. Lee: "It is the punishment of the South that its Robert Lees and Jefferson Davises will always be tall, handsome and well-born... >...That their courage will be physical and not moral. That their leadership will be weak compliance with public opinion and never costly and unswerving revolt for justice and right. it is ridiculous to seek to excuse Robert Lee as the most formidable agency this nation ever raised to make 4 million human beings goods instead of men. Either he knew what slavery meant when he helped maim and murder thousands in its defense, or he did not. If he did not he was a fool. If he did, Robert Lee was a traitor and a rebel–not indeed to his country, but to humanity and humanity’s God... Continue reading
**Live from Basic Recipes: Cardigan Industries**: [How to Cook Soup](https://web.archive.org/web/20010501174516/http://www.cardigan.com/2001/01-10/): "First, you need some water. Fuse two hydrogen with one oxygen and repeat until you have enough... >...While the water is heating, raise some cattle. Pay a man with grim eyes to do the slaughtering, preferably while you are away. Roast the bones, then add to the water. Go away again. Come back once in awhile to skim. When the bones begin to float, lash together into booms and tow up the coast. Reduce. Keep reducing. When you think you have reduced enough, reduce some more. Raise some barley. When the broth coats the back of a spoon and light cannot escape it, you are nearly there. Pause to mop your brow as you harvest the barley. Search in vain for a cloud in the sky. Soak the barley overnight (you will need more water here), then add to the broth. When, out of the blue, you remember the first person you truly loved, the soup is ready. Serve. Continue reading
**Should-Read: Neel Kashkari**: Fed official: Businesses should raise wages before complaining of worker shortage: "Common refrain... we have jobs available, but simply can’t find qualified workers to fill them... >... Economists, including top Federal Reserve officials, lend credibility to this dubious claim by arguing there is a "skills gap" among US workers that is preventing firms from finding employees with the right backgrounds. However, ample research and basic common sense suggests that wage stagnation... is a symptom of an anemic labor market, not a fully recovered one. Credit to Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari for pointing that out during a speech to business leaders on Monday. "If you're not raising wages, then it just sounds like whining," he told a group of business people at a Rotary Club meeting in Sioux Falls, S.D... Continue reading
**Should-Read**: "Enhancing" or "replacing"? Machines enhancing human brain power has been a thing ever since the first human notched a stick every time there was a new moon. If "AI" is to have a meaning, it will need a less all-inclusive definition... **Jacques Bughin and Eric Hazan**: The new spring of artificial intelligence: "The Industrial Revolution was about machines enhancing human muscle power. The AI revolution is about machines enhancing human brain power... >Computer vision, natural language processing, virtual assistants, smart robotics, and autonomous vehicles [are] all... underpinned by a new generation of machine-learning algorithms.... There are three reasons why AI is experiencing a new spring and will not go way: >* First, more and more of clever investors, from venture capital and private equity, have tripled their AI investments over the past three years are now investing billions in AI. And even if this is small option bets–about 3% of total venture capital funding today–it is growing very quickly, even faster than biotech. >* Second, while private equity and venture capital firms can still be wrong, of course, we found that corporate investment in AI is already three times the amount of private equity and venture capital firms. Among... Continue reading
**Live from the EJMR Cesspool: No, George Borjas, I Do Not Find Your Views on EJMR "Refreshing"**: If I read you correctly, your view of the misogyny of EJMR last year was that it was: >refreshing... throwing off of the shackles of political correctness... [to discuss] mundane concerns... prestige, sex, money, landing a job, sex, professional misconduct, gossip, sex... This year your view is it is: >[You] say 'hmm, what an interesting experiment' even though deep down inside you would know that it’s absolutely ridiculous and it’s downright pathetic.... EJMR... is indeed a refreshing difference from the self-censorship that we all use in public to discuss the thousands of 'Blah blah blah: Evidence from Blah blah blah' papers... Retconning much, George? Let me say what I think: I think you would be in a better position if you had either (a) agreed with Janet Currie that EJMR was a cesspool in 2016—and then gone on to say that it was a sometimes-useful cesspool—or (b) if you were to state now that you have rethought the issues, and that your views have changed. Pick one. Or the other. Please. See? I can say what I think. And I don't have to... Continue reading
**Should-Read: Maurice Obstfeld, Jonathan D. Ostry, and Mahvash S. Qureshi**: Trilemma redux: Evidence from emerging market economies: "The synchronous rise and fall of cross-border capital flows, domestic credit, and asset prices... >...across countries has raised questions about the relevance of the exchange rate regime in a world of high capital mobility. This column presents evidence from emerging market economies, which shows that exchange rate regimes do matter. The transmission of global financial shocks to domestic financial and macro-economic conditions, as well as to capital flows, is magnified under fixed exchange rate regimes relative to more flexible regimes... Continue reading
**Should-Read: Matthew Yglesias**: Steve Bannon’s “economic nationalism” is total nonsense: "'Economic nationalism' has grave flaws as an ideology beyond Trump’s racism, lack of policy knowledge, and personal indiscipline... >...The idea that the United States as a whole is locked in zero-sum economic competition with other countries or that average Americans could become wealthier at the expense of foreigners is simply wrong. At best, it’s an analytical error... At worst, it’s a con job... to distract middle- and working-class Americans from very real questions about the domestic distribution of economic resources by casting aspersions on foreigners.... The extent of expert consensus on the economic impact of both trade and immigration is important to understand.... Both sides of the argument agree that the typical American was made better-off by trade with China. By the same token, the entire bitter argument among labor economists about immigration and wages is about whether or not immigrants have depressed the incomes of native-born high school dropouts.... But... only 8 percent of the native population lacks a high school diploma. Both sides agree that most Americans are benefitting from immigration.... >Globalization is, fundamentally, an enormous opportunity for almost everyone in the world.... The United States has... taken... Continue reading
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**Over at [Equitable Growth](http://EquitableGrowth.org): Must- and Should-Reads:** * **Tim Worstall**: The Robots Stealing Human Jobs-Bring It On: "Spinning especially was a hugely labour intensive process which near all women did to some extent... * **John Holbo**: Thinking About Groups: "I’m going to say a few (thousand) words about... Jacob Levy’s good new book, _Rationalism, Pluralism, Freedom_... * **Jacob T. Levy**: Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom * **Claudia Sahm**: On Twitter: "And yes, Marginal Revolution commenters have got EJMR'ers back... I used to comment on @MargRev and it would really piss me off... * **Justin Wolfers**: Evidence of a Toxic Environment for Women in Economics: "Ms. Wu set up her computer to identify whether the subject of each post is a man or a woman... * **Oliver Kamm**: On Twitter: "This is extraordinary. Just yesterday I was asked for recommended reading on Srebrenica... ---- **Interesting Reads:** * **Jacob Levy**: The Multiculturalism of Fear * **Kevin O'Rourke**: It has finally happened: "in August of this year, the inevitable happened: measured in terms of industrial output, our current recovery was overtaken by that of the interwar period. Pretty dismal stuff..." * **Dan Drezner**: White House aides can’t stop talking about President Trump like he’s... Continue reading
**Must-Reads**: * **Jacob T. Levy**: Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom * **Justin Wolfers**: Evidence of a Toxic Environment for Women in Economics: "Ms. Wu set up her computer to identify whether the subject of each post is a man or a woman... ---- **Should-Reads**: * **Tim Worstall**: The Robots Stealing Human Jobs-Bring It On: "Spinning especially was a hugely labour intensive process which near all women did to some extent... * **John Holbo**: Thinking About Groups: "I’m going to say a few (thousand) words about... Jacob Levy’s good new book, _Rationalism, Pluralism, Freedom_... * **Claudia Sahm**: On Twitter: "And yes, Marginal Revolution commenters have got EJMR'ers back... I used to comment on @MargRev and it would really piss me off... * **Kevin Williamson** (May 3, 2016): Pre-planning my 'I Told You So': "Remember, You Asked for This... * **Oliver Kamm**: On Twitter: "This is extraordinary. Just yesterday I was asked for recommended reading on Srebrenica... * **Jesse Rothstein**: Inequality of educational opportunity? Schools as mediators of the intergenerational transmission of income: "Chetty et al. (2014) show that children from low-income families achieve much better adult outcomes... in some places than in others... * **Will Dobbie and Jae Song**: Targeted debt relief... Continue reading
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On Twitter : The hard-working and intelligent Jim Tankersley sends me to: >Reihan Salam : "The best 'Why I'm running' statement I've ever read from a GOP candidate": Randy Boyd: Why I'm Running . But Boyd is a joke: Boyd's Goal #1: >Complete the Drive to 55... 55 percent of the population has some credential past high school by the year 2025. We are only at 39 percent now... That's 8 years. At the moment (roughly) 0.5% of Volunteers are gaining their Associates degree every year. So doesn't attaining that goal require (roughly) immediately quintupling to 2.5% of Volunteers the number of Volunteers getting Associates degrees every year? Where is the proposed **immediate** quintupling of the state university system to make this possible? And where are the financing channels and resources to induce people to attend? Goal #2: >To Be #1 in the Southeast for High Quality Jobs... by reduc[ing] restrictions, regulations and red tape. Sometimes the way government helps business the most is to just get out of the way... Reducing the size of government is supposed to attract high-quality employers away from Atlanta and Miami and the Research Triangle? What is the mechanism supposed to be here? Goal... Continue reading
**Should-Read: Tim Worstall**: The Robots Stealing Human Jobs-Bring It On: "Spinning especially was a hugely labour intensive process which near all women did to some extent... >...Thus that very word, homespun. By the time the Spinning Jenny got into its stride, as Henderson says, hundreds of thousands were employed in industry, outside the home. But that homespun, and thus that domestic labour, had disappeared. This is again the automation of a domestic task, the automation also bringing it out into the paid, market, economy.... Discussions of working hours, automation, robots and so on only make sense in an historical context if we include domestic labour as well as market. When we do we see that the process increases incomes, leisure and there are still jobs available... Continue reading
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Cosma Shalizi reminds me of the internet "data scientists are (good and empirically oriented) statisticians" discussion of 2011-12. Let me say three things: 1. You should **never** use Excel to handle your data. 2. I don't know whether it is depressing or exhilarating to recognize that, for me as for Cosma, how often my reaction these days is: "I already wrote something incisive and very much worth reading about that—now to find it in my weblog archives..." 3. Increasingly, data management, analysis, and presentation are things that many more people need for their jobs than statistics departments can reasonably expect to funnel through their major programs. It's like in the middle ages: the number of people who needed to have a good, clear, legible-penmanship chancery hand vastly exceeded the number of professional calligraphers and illustrators. Data management, analysis, and presentation skills are, increasingly, the legible-penmanship chancery hand of the twenty-first century. ---- **Cathy O'Neil** (2011): Why and how to hire a data scientist for your business: "When do you need a data scientist?... >...When you have too much data for Excel to handle: data scientists know how to deal with large data sets. When your data visualization skills are being... Continue reading
**Should-Read: John Holbo**: Thinking About Groups: "I’m going to say a few (thousand) words about... Jacob Levy’s good new book, _Rationalism, Pluralism, Freedom_... >...At its core is a dilemma–an antinomy: two models of the optimal form and function of groups within a liberal order. Neither model can be quite it. It seems we need to split the difference or synthesize. But there is no coherent or necessarily stable way. (Well, that’s life.) There, I gave away the ending. Groups? Yes, you know the sort: families, political parties, ethnic groups, clans, churches, professional organizations, civic organizations, unions, corporations, neighborhood groups, bowling leagues. The lot.... In a modern liberal democratic society is like this: there are citizens and there is the state. Citizens enjoy a basket of liberties and rights, over and against each other and the state.... Now, if you have these two basic units, the state and the individual, it makes it kind of tricky what the normative status is of intermediate groups, eh? >What is all that in-between stuff good for or bad for? What sorts of ‘mediating groups’ need to exist–because they’re great! possibly vital for the health of citizens and/or the state itself! What sorts of stuff... Continue reading
**Comment of the Day: Phil**: Groupishness TLDR, “Jubilation T. Cornpone” Edition: "The song 'The night they drove old Dixie down' is an interesting illustration... >...Celebrating that particular lost cause just seems toxic–and it’s not as if it’s hard to find reasons why it should seem that way. But in 1968(?) when Robbie Robertson read up on Stoneman’s cavalry and wrote the song–and in 1974 when Greil Marcus was writing his appreciation of the Band–most listeners had no problem identifying with poor old Virgil Caine and his people.... Why did the veiled and semi-veiled racism of the Lost Cause go down so easily, 50 years ago and less?... **Peter Viney**: : The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down: "Jonathan Taplin (quoted by Robert Palmer)... >...It was May and they'd just finished it the night before. They said it'd come out fast and hard and clean. It was just the most moving experience I'd had for, God, I don't know how long. Because for me, being a Northern liberal kid who'd been involved in the Civil Rights movement and had a whole attitude towards the South, well I loved the music but I didn't understand where white Southerners were coming from. And... Continue reading
**Must-Watch: Jacob T. Levy**: Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom: ---- **Jacob T. Levy**: Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom: "Intermediate groups—voluntary associations, churches, ethnocultural groups, universities, and more—can both protect threaten individual liberty... >...The same is true for centralized state action against such groups. This wide-ranging book argues that, both normatively and historically, liberal political thought rests on a deep tension between a rationalist suspicion of intermediate and local group power, and a pluralism favorable toward intermediate group life, and preserving the bulk of its suspicion for the centralizing state. >The book studies this tension using tools from the history of political thought, normative political philosophy, law, and social theory. In the process, it retells the history of liberal thought and practice in a way that moves from the birth of intermediacy in the High Middle Ages to the British Pluralists of the twentieth century. In particular it restores centrality to the tradition of ancient constitutionalism and to Montesquieu, arguing that social contract theory's contributions to the development of liberal thought have been mistaken for the whole tradition. >It discusses the real threats to freedom posed both by local group life and by state centralization, the ways in which those threats aggravate each... Continue reading
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**Should-Read: Claudia Sahm**: On Twitter: "And yes, Marginal Revolution commenters have got EJMR'ers back... I used to comment on @MargRev and it would really piss me off... >...if my attempts to talk about research ended up me being called a female body part. In a discussion of economics it's not *that* hard to set gender (or race or sexual orientation) aside and debate merits of an argument. I certainly never called the guys there such gendered names... stuck to why their logic stunk :-). And of course, my tweets got some pushback at MR... an example: >But I've got a nice story about why I don't reply (or "fight" as this says). After one awful blowup, I decided to get some advice, thankfully @mathbabedotorg had an advice column Aunt Pythia then. So I wrote in: on left is snippet of my question and right a bit of her advice, >Full exchange here: Continue reading
**Should-Read: Kevin Williamson** (May 3, 2016): Pre-planning my 'I Told You So': "Remember, You Asked for This... >...I want to leave a note here, because I expect to have many occasions to link back to it in the next several months. Americans and Republicans, remember: You asked for this. Given the choice between a dozen solid conservatives and one Clinton-supporting con artist and game-show host, you chose the con artist. You chose him freely. Nobody made you do it. I will be reminding you all of that, from time to time. Continue reading
**Must-Read**: It should not be necessary to say that the "community" of EJMR is not Berkeley—or indeed, is not anywhere IRL. Also: cf.: [Griefer][]. Do not ignore or dismiss this. Do note that I can recall only one economics professor of any ideology or university ever praising EJMR: George Borjas of Harvard, who called it "refreshing". [Griefer]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griefer But, again, do not ignore of dismiss this: **Justin Wolfers**: Evidence of a Toxic Environment for Women in Economics: "Ms. Wu set up her computer to identify whether the subject of each post is a man or a woman... >...The simplest version involves looking for references to “she,” “her,” “herself” or “he,” “him,” “his” or “himself.” She then adapted machine-learning techniques to ferret out the terms most uniquely associated with posts about men and about women. >The 30 words most uniquely associated with discussions of women... in order... [are]: hotter, lesbian, bb (internet speak for “baby”), sexism, tits, anal, marrying, feminazi, slut, hot, vagina, boobs, pregnant, pregnancy, cute, marry, levy, gorgeous, horny, crush, beautiful, secretary, dump, shopping, date, nonprofit, intentions, sexy, dated and prostitute.... >Words about men[: juicy, keys, adviser, bully, prepare, fought, wharton, austrian, checkers, homo, genes, e7ee, mathematician, advisor, burning,... Continue reading
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**Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Kevin Drum**: Give It Up, Folks: Confederate Statues Are All About Racism: "I got... pushback from folks offering non-racist explanations for why these bursts of monument building happened to coincide with periods of white terror campaigns against blacks... >...For your entertainment, here are the three most popular arguments: >1. This is right around the 50th and 100th anniversaries of the Civil War. No. The first spike starts in 1895, the second in 1955. Those are 35th and 95th anniversaries. Maybe those numbers have some special significance in the South? >2. The Civil War generation was dying right around 1895. The average Confederate trooper would have been about 55 then. They weren’t dying off. As for the Confederate leaders who seem to attract the most statue attention, I looked them up. Robert E. Lee died in 1870, Stonewall Jackson in 1863, Nathan Bedford Forrest in 1877, Roger Taney in 1864, and Jefferson Davis in 1889. Of the eight full generals in the Confederate army, only three died later than 1880. 3. Maybe there was just a big explosion of statue building right around then. Anything is possible, I guess. Knock yourself out if you want... Continue reading
**Should-Read: Oliver Kamm**: On Twitter: "This is extraordinary. Just yesterday I was asked for recommended reading on Srebrenica... >...and here it is. Now, this guyPiers Robinson—a pundit on @RT_com—is, of all things, a prof of journalism at a fine UK university. And he is disseminating an article by a notorious Srebrenica denier, which claims the number of Srebrenica victims is inflated: >>Historical and analytical perspective on 'fake news' and propaganda from Ed Herman... ---- **Oliver Kamm**: On Twitter: "A few recommendations follow. On the massacre itself, I recommend _Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica_ by David Rohde of NYT... >...On heroic work by @TheICMP locating and identifying the remains of Srebrenica victims, read _Bosnia's Million Bones_ by Christian Jennings. On pursuit of Srebrenica's perpetrators: Julian Borger's _The Butcher's Trail_. (My family gave evidence for prosecution in Karadzic trial.) A harrowing BBC film called "Srebrenica: A Cry from the Grave" is vital. Please set aside 100 mins to watch it. And please follow the work of @SrebrenicaUK, and @TheICMP & its director-general @KatBomberger... Continue reading
**Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Josh Marshall**: On Twitter: Bannon: "Journalists will sometimes, I think rightly, give someone the benefit of the doubt if they have no experience with the ground rules of... >...journalism. In such a case, Kuttner might have interrupted and said, you know we're on the record, right? But Bannon is a top presidential adviser and ran a news publication for years. Zero question that if you call up a journalist and start talking you are on the record unless you set ground rules to the contrary. Zero question. Of all people, Bannon knows this. All I can figure is that he somehow thought he could ingratiate himself with Bob over trade policy. Even based on his own account, it's obvious he was on the record... ---- >So I read the whole Kuttner piece. My read is Bannon doesn't care. The economic nationalism is his biggest issue. He's trying to build a right/left alliance for a trade war with China. Bob's been on this issue for decades. Look, Bannon spent something like a year having Josh Green be his Boswell. He told Josh everything and Josh published everything. Did he give a f--- then? Apparently not...... Continue reading
**Today's Economic History**: Would I be out-of-turn to point out that these thesis statements by E.P. Thompson from his _The Making of the English Working Class_ are, well, pretty much completely wrong? That there was no English working class in any Marxian sense of what a self-conscious class is that had been "made" by 1832? That there is almost no commonality between the working class of England as it stood in, say, 1926 and what there was in 1832? **E.P. Thompson**: [The Making of the English Working Class](http://amzn.to/1NRYigC): "Class happens when some men, as a result of common experiences (inherited or shared)... >...feel and articulate the identity of their interests as between themselves, and as against other men whose interests are different from (and usually opposed to) theirs.... This book can be seen as a biography of the English working class from its adolescence until its early manhood. In the years between 1780 and 1832 most English working people came to feel an identity of interests as between themselves, and as against their rulers and employers. This ruling class was itself much divided, and in fact only gained in cohesion over the same years because certain antagonisms were resolved (or... Continue reading
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**Over at [Equitable Growth](http://EquitableGrowth.org): Must- and Should-Reads:** * **Jesse Rothstein**: Inequality of educational opportunity? Schools as mediators of the intergenerational transmission of income: "Chetty et al. (2014) show that children from low-income families achieve much better adult outcomes... in some places than in others... * **Will Dobbie and Jae Song**: Targeted debt relief and the origins of financial distress: Experimental evidence from distressed credit card borrowers: "We identify the separate effects of the payment reductions and debt write-downs using variation from both the experiment and cross-sectional differences... * **Drew Conway**: The Data Science Venn Diagram : "The primary colors of data: hacking skills, math and stats knowledge, and substantive expertise... * **Fardels Bear**: Was James Buchanan a Racist? Libertarians and Historical Research: "Today’s libertarians face a similar problem that Morley faced half a decade ago... * **Sarah Kliff**: Top Democratic, Republican health experts agree on this plan to fix Obamacare: "'This package is no one’s conception of what is perfect health reform', says Ron Pollack... of... Families USA, an ardent defender of the ACA... * **Nick Bunker**: Weekend reading: “Jolting news this week!” edition: "Estimates of the potential growth rate of U.S. gross domestic product have declined... * **Barry Eichengreen**:... Continue reading