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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
We do: we fire people for plagiarism, and for misreporting data.
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what part of "Congress shall make no law..." as describing some of the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States is hard to teach?
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**Should-Read: Ann Marie Marciarille**: Eat Out Much?: "With 16 dead and well over 400 documented as infected, it is fair to say San Diego is in the midst of an epidemic of Hepatitis A... >...Other cities with large populations of homeless individuals should be afraid, very afraid. I'm looking at you: Detroit, Salt Lake City, Santa Cruz, and others. It is significant that there already appears to be a satellite outbreak in Santa Cruz. We are, at present, witnessing the second largest U.S. based Hepatitis A outbreak in decades.... Public health authorities have had to try to reach customers of a popular tourist restaurant who may have been exposed through contact with a kitchen worker, who may have been exposed through a partner. I note that responsible articles go out of the way to elaborate that restaurant transmission is not a common occurence, though a drop off in business at the particular restaurant has already been reported.... Fear of Hepatitis A transmission in California has officially made the leap from what I call "them to us."... >Then why are we so laissez-faire? First, it is and was invasive to require physical health examination of all food service workers for contagious... Continue reading
On fiscal policy, for my entire adult life, Republicans have fallen into four groups: 1. The few who care about a smaller government and about properly financing that government now and into the future. 2. Rather more who want a smaller government and who regard the higher debts and large deficits that result from tax-cutting policies misleadingly sold as not a bug but the feature: once the debt and deficit are created, some Democrats who sincerely believe in budget balancing will come over to the spending cut side. 3. Those who want to tax cuts and really don't care very much and whether they are good or sustainable policies. 4. Those who see an opportunity to profit personally by selling misleading rationales for tax cuts. Back before 2007, I had thought of Greg Mankiw as a member of faction number one. But now... Greg: the fiscal space you threw away over 2002-2008 would have been a very valuable thing to have to have available for use in 2009-2011. As Max Sawicky says: if you take a political appointment—particularly one working for a politician for whom technocratic accuracy and effectiveness is not Job #1 or even Job #5—you cannot then protest... Continue reading
**Should-Read: Jacob Leibenluft _et al._**: Like Other ACA Repeal Bills, Cassidy-Graham Plan Would Add Millions to Uninsured, Destabilize Individual Market: "Cassidy-Graham Block Grant and Medicaid Per Capita Cap Cut Federal Funding for Most States by 2026... >...[Million dollars in 2026:] Alabama +1713, Alaska -255, Arizona -1600, Arkansas -1102, California -27823, Colorado -823, Connecticut -2324, Delaware -724, District of Columbia -431, Florida -2691, Georgia +1685, Hawaii -659, Idaho +177, Illinois -1420, Indiana -425, Iowa -525, Kansas +821, Kentucky -3062, Louisiana -3220, Maine -115, Maryland -2162, Massachusetts -5089, Michigan -3041, Minnesota -2747, Mississippi +1441, Missouri +545, Montana -515, Nebraska +203, Nevada -639, New Hampshire -410, New Jersey -3904, New Mexico -1350, New York -18,905, North Carolina -1099, North Dakota -211, Ohio -2512, Oklahoma 1118, Oregon -3641, Pennsylvania -850, Rhode Island -625, South Carolina +804, South Dakota +218, +Tennessee 1642, Texas +8234, Utah +313, Vermont -561, Virginia 268, Washington -3333, West Virginia -554, Wisconsin +252, Wyoming -90... Continue reading
**Should-Read**: Time to start trying to think about what books to assign for Econ 210b next semester... **Pseudoerasmus**: The 25 most stimulating economic history books since 2000: "Allen, _The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective_... >...Clark, _A Farewell to Alms_.... De Vries, _The Industrious Revolution: Consumer Culture and the Household Economy, 1650-present_, Engerman & Sokoloff, _Economic Development in the Americas since 1500_, Federico, _Feeding the World: An Economic History of Agriculture, 1800-2000_, Findlay & O’Rourke, _Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium_.... Greif, _Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy: Lessons from Medieval Trade_, Kuran, _The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East_, Lee & Feng, _One Quarter of Humanity: Malthusian Mythology and Chinese Realities, 1700-2000_.... Mokyr, _Gifts of Athena: The Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy_, Mitterauer, _Why Europe? The Medieval Origins of its Special Path_, North, Wallis & Weingast, _Violence & Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History_, O’Rourke & Williamson, _Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy_, Pomeranz, _The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy_, Seabright, _The Company of Strangers: The Natural History of Economic... Continue reading
**Live from Harvard Professor John Stauffer Sets His Reputation on Fire**: Apropos of the role of the university, we had this quote last week from Stauffer re Michelle Jones: >We didn’t have some preconceived idea about crucifying Michelle. But frankly, we knew that anyone could just punch her crime into Google, and Fox News would probably say that P.C. liberal Harvard gave 200 grand of funding to a child murderer, who also happened to be a minority. I mean, c’mon... Stauffer says that the facts have been "selected and distorted" here. I believe that the Marshall Project selected facts. But how is this quote distorted? I read this letter below as an admission that this quote is accurate. **Josh Marshall**: John Stauffer Replies: "Back on September 15th I wrote... on Michelle Jones.... who spent twenty years in prison for murdering her son and is beginning a PhD program at NYU... >...her rejection from the history PhD program at Harvard. In the original Times story and in my post responding to it, John Stauffer, a Professor at Harvard, played a leading role. Stauffer has submitted the following letter to clarify his position. I’m publishing it in full: >>To TalkingPointsMemo.Com: >>In his... Continue reading
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**Over at [Equitable Growth](http://EquitableGrowth.org): Must- and Should-Reads:** * “Any Community… Flourishes only When Our Members Feel Welcome and Safe…” | Equitable Growth * **Will Wilkinson**: What Drives Opposition to Immigration? In-Group Favoritism, Out-Group Hostility, and Donald Trump: "Friedman contrasts 'xenophobia' and 'nationalism', but I’d like to reframe... (To many of us, xenophobia and nationalism go hand in hand.)... * **Josh Barro**: : Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill has Alaska Purchase for Lisa Murkowski: "Making things odder: Neither VerBruggen nor I could locate the provision in the bill... * **Ezra Klein**: Graham-Cassidy could’ve been the GOP’s best Obamacare replacement: "Instead, Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy wrote the worst plan yet... * **Ben Thompson**: THE GDPR AND FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE, INTELLIGENT TRACKING PREVENTION, DATA PORTABILITY AND SOCIAL GRAPHS: "Several folks have suggested that the GDPR’s requirements around data portability... * **Kristie De Peña**: Entrepreneurial Visas: "Some of the most powerful and effective innovators are immigrant entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the unique opportunities the United States offers... * **Liz Hipple**: : New federal antitrust legislation recognizes U.S. workers are not only consumers: "The introduction of two new antitrust bills by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, last week... * **Jeff Stein**: GOP senators are rushing to... Continue reading
**Should-Read**: Will says: "The standard form of liberal civic nationalism is egalitarian within the in-group of shared citizenship..." There has been something more with _American_ civic nationalism: it is a nationalism of people who have come and whose ancestors have come from all over the world to a place where they can live freely, work hard, raise each other up, and build a utopia to show the rest of the world how good things can be: "He shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, 'may the Lord make it like that of New England'. For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us...", in the words of my ancestor John Winthrop. All that seems to be lost in the minds of an aging group of greedy white guys, scared that mysterious others are going to take away what they have somehow: **Will Wilkinson**: What Drives Opposition to Immigration? In-Group Favoritism, Out-Group Hostility, and Donald Trump: "Friedman contrasts 'xenophobia' and 'nationalism', but I’d like to reframe... (To many of us, xenophobia and nationalism go hand in hand.)... >...In-group favoritism (“nationalism”) need... Continue reading
**Should-Read**: Republicans: worse than you can imagine, even after you have compensated for the fact that they are worse than you can imagine: **Josh Barro**: : Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill has Alaska Purchase for Lisa Murkowski: "Making things odder: Neither VerBruggen nor I could locate the provision in the bill... >...So I asked a staffer in Cassidy's office.... The spreadsheet came down off the senator's website after I inquired about it... Continue reading
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Somehow I do think the _New York Times_ could have put more thought into their questions for the community of the University of California at Berkeley . I think that they could have written better questions, if only they had read the "Terms of Service" they require those of us answering their questions to agree to. From the "Terms of Service": >You shall not... [write]... any libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, abusive, or otherwise illegal material. >Be courteous. You agree that you will not threaten or verbally abuse other Members, use defamatory language, or deliberately disrupt discussions with repetitive messages, meaningless messages or "spam." >Use respectful language. Like any community, the online conversation flourishes only when our Members feel welcome and safe. You agree not to use language that abuses or discriminates on the basis of race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual preference, age, region, disability, etc. Hate speech of any kind is grounds for immediate and permanent suspension of access to all or part of the Services. >Debate, but don't attack. In a community full of opinions and preferences, people always disagree. NYT encourages active discussions and welcomes heated debate on the Services, but personal attacks are a direct violation of... Continue reading
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**Should-Read**: "Harder"... I am not sure this is the way to look at it. Yes, it is becoming harder in the level-log specification they adopt. But why should that be the benchmark? And it is certainly true that innovations have less of an effect on human "utility" because we are so much richer. But why should that come as a surprise? I have to think about this more... **Nicholas Bloom, Charles I. Jones, John Van Reenen, and Michael Webb**: Are Ideas Getting Harder to Find?: "In many growth models, economic growth arises from people creating ideas, and the long-run growth rate is the product of two terms... >...the effective number of researchers and their research productivity. We present a wide range of evidence from various industries, products, and firms showing that research effort is rising substantially while research productivity is declining sharply. A good example is Moore's Law. The number of researchers required today to achieve the famous doubling every two years of the density of computer chips is more than 18 times larger than the number required in the early 1970s. Across a broad range of case studies at various levels of (dis)aggregation, we find that ideas — and... Continue reading
**Must-Read**: Stuart Butler is the person who knows something about health care who should, given his values and his analytical judgments, be most favorably inclined toward Graham-Cassidy. He is strongly opposed: "[a] high probability of really bad outcomes..." is his bottom line. And nobody else of any reputation or note has even as favorable a judgment... **Ezra Klein**: Graham-Cassidy could’ve been the GOP’s best Obamacare replacement: "Instead, Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy wrote the worst plan yet... >...Here’s where they went wrong. >It didn’t need to be this way. >Squint, and you can see how Graham-Cassidy, the latest Republican repeal bill, could have been the basis for a grand compromise on health care. >To hear Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy explain it, their bill takes Obamacare’s money and hands it over to the states to do with it as they will, unleashing them to be, in Louis Brandeis’s immortal phrase, the laboratories of democracy. Blue states can keep Obamacare or try to build on it — Obamacare-plus, single-payer, whatever. Red states can reject Obamacare and prove that they can get better results by going a different path. >“Instead of a Washington-knows-best approach like Obamacare, our legislation empowers those closest... Continue reading
**Should-Read: Liz Hipple**: New federal antitrust legislation recognizes U.S. workers are not only consumers: "The introduction of two new antitrust bills by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, last week... >...indicates that Democrats are serious about making antitrust enforcement a central plank in their economic policy platform. In July, congressional Democrats released “A Better Deal,” intended to be the jumping off point for their policy agenda for the 2018 elections, and antitrust was a major plank. Sen. Klobuchar’s bills would implement many of the antitrust policy issues highlighted in “A Better Deal.” >The increased interest in issues of competition and antitrust enforcement on the political side is matched by that on the research side. As examples of market concentration mount, researchers are increasingly asking whether any number of the economic ills we’re experiencing—from the rise in inequality to decreased business investment, stagnant wages for less-educated workers, and the decline in startups—are perhaps all related to one underlying cause: the growth in market power of a small handful of “superstar” firms in their fields... Continue reading
**Should-Read**: It is hard for me to see why anybody who is not a white nativist would be opposed to this—and thus hard to see why it has not already become law—unless you take a very pessimistic view of the present and future shape of the Republican coalition indeed... **Kristie De Peña**: Entrepreneurial Visas: "Some of the most powerful and effective innovators are immigrant entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the unique opportunities the United States offers... >...Immigrants are twice as likely to start a business, and immigrants and their children created 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. Forty-two spots on the Forbes 400 list are occupied by U.S. billionaires from 21 foreign countries, who have a combined net worth of $250 billion.... Unfortunately, the only opportunity for most foreign entrepreneurs to come to America to start is a business is to secure an H-1B visa and launch a venture on the side—a notoriously difficult endeavor—or to secure work authorization through a family visa. Just 85,000 H-1B visas—20,000 of which are reserved for master's degree holders—are granted annually, but the past few years have seen increasing demand... for the fifth consecutive year, the cap was met within five days.... We... Continue reading
**Should-Read**: We seem to be headed toward a future in which governments—at least in Europe—both entrench and then heavily regulate Google and Facebook, with their information edge creating the possibility that they will be for the 21st century very much what AT&T in the United States was for the bulk of the 20th century: **Ben Thompson**: THE GDPR AND FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE, INTELLIGENT TRACKING PREVENTION, DATA PORTABILITY AND SOCIAL GRAPHS: "Several folks have suggested that the GDPR’s requirements around data portability... >...including that it be machine accessible (i.e. not just a PDF) will help new networks form, but in fact the opposite is the case.... It’s a reasonable regulation: my friend on Facebook didn’t give permission for their information to be given to Snapchat, for example. It does, though, make it that much more difficult to bootstrap a Facebook competitor... Continue reading
**Should-Read**: Republican Senators can find nobody who will, even in public (with private reservations), even pretend to agree with them that GC will not result in massive losses of health insurance coverage by tens of millions. Not even Avik Roy. Nobody. Literally nobody: **Jeff Stein**: GOP senators are rushing to pass Graham-Cassidy. We asked 9 to explain what it does: "Republican senators are struggling to articulate why they are rushing to pass their last-ditch effort to repeal and replace Obamacare... >The GOP senators insisted that the tens of billions in cuts to federal health spending proposed in the bill would not result in coverage losses because, they said, the states would have more flexibility. “They can do it with less money,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who was unable to explain how or why... Continue reading
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Apropos of Janet Napolitano's : The future of NAFTA and the state of U.S.-Mexico relations: "A forum hosted by the University of California and Tecnológico de Monterrey..." ... ---- **My present thoughts about NAFTA**: Nearly a quarter century ago, early in the Clinton administration, I was one of the leads on the team responsible for constructing estimate of the economic impact of NAFTA. And I definitely have some explaining to do. Our models showed NAFTA as: * a small plus for American consumers; * a substantial plus for Mexico; and * a minus for other developing countries that were potential competitors with Mexico for the American market. * and on manufacturing: * a small plus for capital-intensive manufacturing (machine tools, aircraft, high-end silicon, etc.) * a small minus for labor-intensive manufacturing (apparel, food processing, etc.) * a substantial minus for manufacturing that had been sheltering behind protectionist walls they had purchased with the help of lobbyists (leather, furniture). In reality, NAFTA turned out to be: * a substantial short-run minus for Mexico (the 1994-95 financial crisis); * a long-run plus for Mexico that I still hope will be larger than the short-run minus (guaranteed tariff- and quota-free access to the... Continue reading
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**Should-Read: Nick Bunker**: Another lesson from the 1930s for the Federal Reserve: "Matthew Jaremski... and Gabriel Mathy... the excess reserves in the 1930s... >...primarily created by increased flows of gold into the United States.... Unsterilized gold flowing into the United States was an effective, and a kind of proto-quantitative, easing program. The unwinding of that program was similarly a passive affair.... The announcement from the Federal Open Markets Committee about its balance-sheet policies (assuming it does arrive tomorrow afternoon) will start shedding light on the answers to these questions. But hopefully the committee will keep in mind another important lesson from the recovery from the Great Depression—that of 1937—as they move forward... Continue reading
**Should-See**: UC President Janet Napolitano is organizing a NAFTA conference in DC this week: **Janet Napolitano _et al._**: The Future of NAFTA and the State of U.S. Mexico Relations: "September 21 :: U.C. Washington Center :: 1608 Rhode Island Ave NW... Continue reading
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**Live from Evans Hall**: In this morning's mail, two books that look excellent and interesting: Bates's _The Development Dilemma_ and Mulgan's _Big Mind_. But when will I have time to read either of them? I'll give each of them away to anybody around here who will promise me 2000 words on what it says and why it is (or isn't) interesting and reliable... ---- **Geoff Mulgan**: Big Mind: How Collective Intelligence Can Change Our World: "A new field of collective intelligence has emerged in the last few years, prompted by a wave of digital technologies... >...that make it possible for organizations and societies to think at large scale. This “bigger mind”―human and machine capabilities working together―has the potential to solve the great challenges of our time. So why do smart technologies not automatically lead to smart results? Gathering insights from diverse fields, including philosophy, computer science, and biology, Big Mind reveals how collective intelligence can guide corporations, governments, universities, and societies to make the most of human brains and digital technologies. >Geoff Mulgan explores how collective intelligence has to be consciously organized and orchestrated in order to harness its powers. He looks at recent experiments mobilizing millions of people to... Continue reading
Ars longa. Vita brevis. But thanks for the Upshot link. It is, of course, 100% correct...
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