This is J. Bradford DeLong's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following J. Bradford DeLong's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
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
Image
**Memo to Self**: The Claremont Canyon-Panoramic Ridge trail is more of a "we run a bulldozer along it every five years" thing than it is a *trail*, properly so-called... Continue reading
**Must-Read**: November 8, 2016 was indeed the end of the long twentieth century: **Samuel Osborne**: _Angela Merkel says Germany can no longer rely on Donald Trump's America_: "'We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands'... >...She said that "the times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days."... Trump, who has previously called global warming a hoax, came under concerted pressure from the other leaders to honour the 2015 Paris Agreement on curbing carbon emissions. Although he tweeted to say he would make a decision next week, his apparent reluctance to embrace the first legally binding global climate change deal, signed by 195 countries, clearly annoyed Ms Merkel. >"The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying," she told reporters. "There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris Agreement or not." G7 leaders went on to blame the US for the failure to reach an agreement on climate change, in an unusually frank statement which read: >>The United States of America is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the... Continue reading
Image
**Must-Read**: The Federal Funds rate is currently bouncing around between 0.82 and 0.91%. When the Federal Reserve embarked on its tightening cycle in December 2015, its median expectation was that by now it would have raised the Federal Funds rate to between 2.25 and 2.50%—that it would have undertaken 9 25 basis point interest rate hikes rather than three. Its expectation was that, even after those nine hikes, PCE core inflation would be running at 1.9% per year rather than the 1.5% per year that the smart money currently sees. A policy significantly looser than they thought they were embarking on. And inflation outcomes noticeably worse, in the sense of falling below target, than they anticipated even with the tighter policies they thought they would adopt. Yet I have very little sense of how the Federal Reserve is adjusting its thinking to its forecasting overoptimism for 2016 and now for 2017. Nor do I have any great sense of how the Federal Reserve is dealing with the fact that it has now been overoptimistic in forecasting 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008: **Gavyn Davies**: _The Fed’s Lowflation Dilemma_: "The [last] two months together have left... Continue reading
Image
**Must-Reads:** * **Kavya Vaghul**: _Trump administration 2018 budget swaps heavy cuts to education for focus on school choice_: "The more fundamental problem is that there isn’t much evidence that school choice programs, specifically vouchers, have substantial positive effects... * **Kevin Drum**: _Trump: I'll Put a Stop to Germany Selling Cars in the US_: "This from Der Spiegel... * **Ben Bernanke**: _Some reflections on Japanese monetary policy_: "The BOJ shouldn’t stop its determined pursuit of its inflation target... * **Haley Byrd**: _CBO on Health Care Bill: Sick People Could Face Higher Premiums and Even Be Priced Out of the Market_: "Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)... hadn't read the full report... said he saw it as “good news”... * **Martin Wolf**: _Conservatism Buries Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher_: "Trump... has ended up with “pluto-populism”—policies that benefit plutocrats, justified by populist rhetoric... * **Larry Summers**: _A warning on Trump’s budget_: "You cannot use the growth benefits of tax cuts once to justify an optimistic baseline and then again to claim that the tax cuts do not cost revenue... * **Nicholas Bagley**: _Taking the Nuclear Option Off the Table_: "Last Thursday, fifteen states and the District of Columbia moved to intervene in House... Continue reading
Image
Thank you very much. Let me follow the example of our Lord and Master Alpha-Go as it takes the high ground first. Let me, therefore, take the hyper-Olympian and very long run historical point of view. The human brain is a massively parallel supercomputer that fits inside half a shoebox. It draws 50 watts of power. It is an amazing innovation, analysis, assessment and creation machine. 600 million years of proto-mammalian and mammalian evolution coupled with the genetic algorithm means that almost every single human can solve AI problems far beyond our current engineering reach—so much so that much of what our machines find impossible our brains find so trivially easy that we call such capabilities "unskilled". When combined with our brains, human fingers are amazingly fine manipulation devices. Human back and leg muscles—especially when testosterone soaked—are quite good at moving heavy objects. Thus back in the environment of evolutionary adaptation, we used our brains, our big muscles, and our fingers to lead cognitively interesting if stressful and short lives. But history has rolled forward since the hunter-gatherer age. And as history has rolled forward, we have figured out other things to do to add economic and sociological value than... Continue reading
**Mitch Landrieu**: _Transcript of Address on Confederate Monuments_: "Thank you for coming... >...The soul of our beloved City is deeply rooted in a history that has evolved over thousands of years; rooted in a diverse people who have been here together every step of the way–for both good and for ill. >It is a history that holds in its heart the stories of Native Americans: the Choctaw, Houma Nation, the Chitimacha. Of Hernando de Soto, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the Acadians, the Islenos, the enslaved people from Senegambia, Free People of Color, the Haitians, the Germans, both the empires of Francexii and Spain. The Italians, the Irish, the Cubans, the south and central Americans, the Vietnamese and so many more. >You see: New Orleans is truly a city of many nations, a melting pot, a bubbling cauldron of many cultures. >There is no other place quite like it in the world that so eloquently exemplifies the uniquely American motto: e pluribus unum — out of many we are one. >But there are also other truths about our city that we must confront. New Orleans was America’s largest slave market: a port where hundreds of thousands of souls were... Continue reading
**The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed**: _The Deleted Passage of the Declaration of Independence (1776) _: "When Thomas Jefferson included a passage attacking slavery in his draft of the Declaration of Independence it initiated the most intense debate... >...among the delegates gathered at Philadelphia in the spring and early summer of 1776. Jefferson's passage on slavery was the most important section removed from the final document. It was replaced with a more ambiguous passage about King George's incitement of "domestic insurrections among us." Decades later Jefferson blamed the removal of the passage on delegates from South Carolina and Georgia and Northern delegates who represented merchants who were at the time actively involved in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Jefferson's original passage on slavery appears below: >>He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought... Continue reading
Image
**Should-Read: Chad Stone**: _Donald Trump's Indefensible Economic Growth Forecasts_: "The 1.1 percentage point gap between the Trump annual growth forecast over the next decade and CBO's is the largest on record and much larger than any since the Reagan-Bush era... Continue reading
Image
**[Project Syndicate][]: J. Bradford DeLong**: _[Where US Manufacturing Jobs Really Went][1]_: In the two decades from 1979 to 1999, the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States drifted downward, from 19 million to 17 million. But over the next decade, between 1999 and 2009, the number plummeted to 12 million. That more dramatic decline has given rise to the idea that the US economy suddenly stopped working–at least for blue-collar males–at the turn of the century... [1]: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/manufacturing-jobs-share-of-us-economy-by-j--bradford-delong-2017-05> [Project Syndicate]: https://www.project-syndicate.org/ But that thought-nugget way of putting it—that manufacturing was fine, with no massive destruction of manufacturing jobs until 2000—is wrong. There was enormous destruction of manufacturing jobs: but destroyed jobs in one region and sector were more-or-less matched in absolute numbers—but not in shares of the labor force—by rising jobs in another sector and region. A little family history: Consider the career of my grandfather William Walcott Lord, born early in the twentieth century in New England. The Lord Bros. Shoe Company in Brockton, MA, facing imminent bankruptcy in 1933 at the nadir of the Great Depression, had to close up shop. They moved to and reopened in a place where wages were even lower: South Paris, ME.... Continue reading
Image
**Over at [Equitable Growth](http://EquitableGrowth.org): Must- and Should-Reads:** * **The Future of Education and Lifelong Learning: DeLong Opening DRAFT | Equitable Growth** * **The Benefits of Free Trade: Time to Fly My Neoliberal Freak Flag High!: Hoisted from March 2016 | Equitable Growth** * **Kavya Vaghul**: _Weekend reading: the “fantasy budget” edition_: "Greg Leiserson discusses... fantasy budgeting around policies and plans that have yet to be developed... * **Kavya Vaghul**: _Trump administration 2018 budget swaps heavy cuts to education for focus on school choice_: "The more fundamental problem is that there isn’t much evidence that school choice programs, specifically vouchers, have substantial positive effects... * **Kevin Drum**: _Trump: I'll Put a Stop to Germany Selling Cars in the US_: "This from Der Spiegel... * **Ben Bernanke**: _Some reflections on Japanese monetary policy_: "The BOJ shouldn’t stop its determined pursuit of its inflation target... * **Nicholas MacPherson**: _Joseph Chamberlain sets the Tories a bad example_: "On the big national issues of his day, he was on the wrong side of history... * **Nick Bunker**: _U.S. over-education and underemployment over the course of a lifetime | Equitable Growth_: "Ammar Farooq also finds that almost half of the moves into underemployment—defined as having a... Continue reading
**Should-Read: Kavya Vaghul**: _Weekend reading: the “fantasy budget” edition_: "Greg Leiserson discusses... fantasy budgeting around policies and plans that have yet to be developed... >...Ammar Farooq, which takes a close look at the proportion of college-educated workers in occupations that don’t require a college degree.... Nick Bunker also writes on the incidence of over-education across a lifetime.... The Trump administration proposed large cuts to the U.S. Department of Labor... explains Elisabeth Jacobs.... John Schmitt sits down with Sandra Black.... The fiscal year 2018 budget put forward a 13 percent spending cut for the U.S. Department of Education.... Kavya Vaghul unpacks.... >Dylan Matthews... calls out the “magical economic assumptions”.... Why has wage growth stagnated...? Pedro Nicolaci da Costa explores.... The American Health Care Act was scored by the U.S. Congressional Budget Office... explains Casey Quinlan.... “Inclusive prosperity”... has become increasingly unattainable, writes Richard Florida.... Lawrence Mishel and Josh Bivens strike down on the argument that increasing automation—the robot apocalypse—leads to inequality and job displacement..." Continue reading
Image
**Harvard Class of 1982 35th Reunion :: Science Center B :: Saturday, May 27, 2018, 10:45-12:00 noon** * Seth Lloyd, MIT: Moderator * Brad DeLong, U.C. Berkeley * Ivonne Garcia, Kenyon * Noel Michele Holbrook, Harvard * William Sakas, CUNY * Carol Steiker, Harvard ---- In the spring of our freshman year, then-young economics professor Richard Freeman came to Ec 10 to tell us that going to Harvard would not make us rich. He was wrong. Up until 1980 America was winning, and Richard Freeman expected it to keep on winning, the race between education and technology: Thus there were ample numbers of people to take the increasing number of jobs requiring formal education for first class performance. Thus the amount the market paid you extra for taking a college requiring rather than a high school requiring job was modest: 30% or so--not enough to make up for the income you would've earned, had you taken the tuition you would not have spent and the extra wages you would have made from working, and put them into some reasonable investment. But after 1980 America began to lose the race between education and technology. The expansion of American higher education slowed... Continue reading
Image
**Hoisted from March 2016: The Benefits of Free Trade: Time to Fly My Neoliberal Freak Flag High!** : I think Paul Krugman is wrong today on international trade. For we find him in “plague on both your houses” mode. On the one hand: Paul Krugman: Trade and Tribulation and A Protectionist Moment?: “Protectionists almost always exaggerate the adverse effects of trade liberalization… >…Globalization is only one of several factors behind rising income inequality, and trade agreements are, in turn, only one factor in globalization. Trade deficits have been an important cause of the decline in U.S. manufacturing employment since 2000, but that decline began much earlier. And even our trade deficits are mainly a result of factors other than trade policy, like a strong dollar buoyed by global capital looking for a safe haven. >And yes, Mr. Sanders is demagoguing the issue…. If Sanders were to make it to the White House, he would find it very hard to do anything much about globalization…. The moment he looked into actually tearing up existing trade agreements the diplomatic, foreign-policy costs would be overwhelmingly obvious. In this, as in many other things, Sanders currently benefits from the luxury of irresponsibility…. But on... Continue reading
**Should-Read: Kavya Vaghul**: _Trump administration 2018 budget swaps heavy cuts to education for focus on school choice_: "The more fundamental problem is that there isn’t much evidence that school choice programs, specifically vouchers, have substantial positive effects... >...on the students they are meant to serve. A review... by... the Center on Education Policy at The George Washington University found that school vouchers had no concrete positive impact on students’ educational achievement. A more recent study of the Louisiana Scholarship Program—a voucher program that provides publicly financed scholarships for K-through-12 students to go to private schools—even found negative effects. Scholarship recipients who were performing at the median level prior to entering the program were 13 percentile points lower than their non-scholarship counterparts after two years in the program... Continue reading
**Must-Read**: Trump should simply not be allowed out of the country—and not be allowed to talk policy inside the country either. It really seems like none of Robert Lighthizer, Steve Mnuchin, or Gary Cohn are doing their jobs—but nobody else in the Trump administration is doing his or her job either: **Kevin Drum**: _Trump: I'll Put a Stop to Germany Selling Cars in the US_: "This from Der Spiegel... >>...US President Donald Trump complained bitterly about the German trade surplus on his meeting with the EU top in Brussels. "The Germans are evil [note: probably should be "naughty"], very evil. Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US, and we'll stop that."... >>According to a report from the "Süddeutsche Zeitung", the EU side was terrified about the lack of awareness of the Americans about trade policy. Apparently, it was unclear to the guests that the EU countries concluded trade agreements only jointly.... >Forgodssake, when are the Trumpies going to learn that they can't do a trade deal with only Germany? It's the whole EU or nothing. Last month we heard reports that Angela Merkel had to tell Trump a dozen times before he finally got it, but... Continue reading
**Must-Read**: This first part reads as though Ben Bernanke is not talking just about the Bank of Japan, but rather about the Federal Reserve as well—or perhaps more about the Federal Reserve. The argument against a 4%/year inflation target—or a price level-path target with catchup—is that there is value in keeping inflation too low to be salient in people's decisions. But that benefit is uncertain and speculative. The costs of being unable to use monetary policy to offset a negative demand shock are very concrete and real, and very dire indeed: **Ben Bernanke**: _Some reflections on Japanese monetary policy_: "The BOJ shouldn’t stop its determined pursuit of its inflation target... >...Getting inflation and interest rates higher will promote economic stability by increasing the BOJ’s ability to respond to future recessions.... Kuroda’s program of “qualitative and quantitative easing” has had important benefits, including higher inflation and nominal GDP growth and tighter labor markets. Recent changes to the BOJ’s framework will make it more sustainable.... >What tools remain if current policies are not enough? The scope for significant further easing by Japanese monetary authorities on their own seems limited, as interest rates are near zero for government bonds even at long maturities... Continue reading
**Should-Read: Nicholas MacPherson**: _Joseph Chamberlain sets the Tories a bad example_: "On the big national issues of his day, he was on the wrong side of history... *>...scuppering Gladstone’s attempts to keep the UK together by granting home rule to Ireland... his imperialist vision of a Greater Britain proved to be a fantasy... “imperial preference”.... >It fell to Joe’s son, Neville, finally to implement imperial preference in 1932. The policy was of course a failure, contributing to the general contraction of world trade in the 1930s. It was swept away by the move towards multilateral agreements after the second world war. Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Liberal prime minister between 1905 and 1908, and JM Keynes probably provide the most fitting epitaphs to Chamberlain’s career. The former said of him that he used “the foolishness of the fool and the vices of the vicious to overwhelm the sane and wise and sober”. The latter described him as a “fanatical charlatan”. It is a wonder that such a man can continue to have any influence today. Continue reading
**Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage:** Ah. I see. Charles Murray, W. H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is once again trying to rehabilitate his Racial Science. Burn one cross and spend your life arguing that people with dark skin are genetically inferior, and people call you a racist. Is that fair? **Eric Turkheimer, Kathryn Paige Harden, and Richard E. Nisbett**: _Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ - Vox_: "Podcaster and author Sam Harris is the latest to fall for it... >...Readers who wish to know about the current state of intelligence theory and research may be especially interested in the academic article “Intelligence: New findings and theoretical developments,” in the Feb.-March 2012 issue of American Psychologist, by Nisbett, R. E., Aronson, J., Blair, C., Dickens, W., Flynn, J., Halpern, D. F., and Turkheimer, E... And: **Scott Lemieux**: _Charles Murray is a Hateful Crackpot Whose Views Should Not Be Legitimized - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money_: "Presenting Murray’s views as subject to reasonable debate... is extremely pernicious. To present him as a serious intellectual and victim of political correctness, as Harris apparently did, is simply beyond the pale..."... Continue reading
**Should-Read: Elizabeth Jacobs**: _Why enforcing U.S. labor standards may be more important than ever_: "Effective enforcement of basic labor standards is key for functional capitalism... >...Labor standards improve productivity and economic performance.... Four key structural changes to the U.S. labor market make rigorous “strategic enforcement” of worker protections especially critical. First... the U.S. labor market has “fissured,” and employer-employee relationships are more complex.... Second, the decline of union density.... Third, America’s New Deal-era regulatory framework is out of sync with current structures of industrial organization.... Finally, technological change is rapidly changing the kinds of jobs available and the organizational design of those jobs... Continue reading
**Should-Read: Nick Bunker**: _U.S. over-education and underemployment over the course of a lifetime | Equitable Growth_: "Ammar Farooq also finds that almost half of the moves into underemployment—defined as having a job for which one is overqualified... >...don’t happen after workers with college degrees become unemployed. Instead, about half the moves happen when these workers are already employed but shifting into positions that require less than a college education, peaking at around 60 percent of all moves during ages 40 to 45.... Transitions aren’t all about unemployment forcing workers into jobs for which they may be overqualified..... Furthermore, when workers are moving into jobs that don’t require a degree, they aren’t moving into jobs that require lots of experience. Those job moves also result in wage declines for the worker... Continue reading
**Must-Read**: Crocodile tears from House Republican Tea Party Caucus Chair Mark Meadows: **Haley Byrd**: _CBO on Health Care Bill: Sick People Could Face Higher Premiums and Even Be Priced Out of the Market_: "Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)... hadn't read the full report... said he saw it as “good news”... >...Meadows seemed surprised. “Well, that’s not what I read,” Meadows said, putting on his reading glasses and peering at the paragraph on the phone of a nearby reporter. The CBO predicted: “...the waivers in those states would have another effect: Community-rated premiums would rise over time, and people who are less healthy (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive non-group health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all — despite the additional funding that would be available under H.R. 1628 to help reduce premiums."... >After reading the paragraph, Meadows told reporters he would go through the CBO analysis more thoroughly and run the numbers, adding he would work to make sure the high-risk pools are properly funded. Meadows, suddenly emotional, choked back tears and said, "Listen, I lost my sister to... Continue reading
Image
**Over at [Equitable Growth](http://EquitableGrowth.org): Must- and Should-Reads:** * **A Note on Coursera CEO Rick Levin’s Clark Kerr Lecture… | Equitable Growth** * **A Few Notes on the CUNY “After Piketty” Panel… | Equitable Growth** * **Haley Byrd**: _CBO on Health Care Bill: Sick People Could Face Higher Premiums and Even Be Priced Out of the Market_: "Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)... hadn't read the full report... said he saw it as “good news”... * **Martin Wolf**: _Conservatism Buries Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher_: "Trump... has ended up with “pluto-populism”—policies that benefit plutocrats, justified by populist rhetoric... * **Branko Milanovic**: _Liberation from the Shackles of Space_: "A couple of things are worth noticing regarding the second unbundling... * **Larry Summers**: _A warning on Trump’s budget_: "You cannot use the growth benefits of tax cuts once to justify an optimistic baseline and then again to claim that the tax cuts do not cost revenue... * **James D. Hamilton**: _Why You Should Never Use the Hodrick-Prescott Filter_: "Here's why. (1) The HP filter produces series with spurious dynamic relations that have no basis in the underlying data-generating process... * **Nicholas Bagley**: _Taking the Nuclear Option Off the Table_: "Last Thursday, fifteen states... Continue reading
**Comment of the Day: Tracy Lightcap**: _A Note on Coursera CEO Rick Levin's Clark Kerr Lecture..._: "I think Thoma's course is indicative of the kinds of courses that succeed on-line... >...There appear to be two varieties: required courses and puzzle courses. If an on-line course is required, then students will keep with it in hopes of fulfilling the requirement. Since most of theses courses are entry-level, they are mainly concentrated on delivering facts and fitting them into descriptions. This is admirably suited to on-line work. >The second kind of course is one that is concentrated on puzzles. Most introductory math and computer science courses are like that. Students are introduced to a variety of techniques that can be used to solve puzzles that arise in a particular field. There's good evidence that this works well. >What doesn't work very well are courses that teach how to apply the techniques found in puzzles to analytical reasoning. This is one reason why you don't hear much about success in even basic lab science courses on-line. Face-to-face courses work much better for such advanced work. Such courses can work with a "hybrid" model too: two days looking at vids and on-line material +... Continue reading
**Must-Read: Martin Wolf**: _Conservatism Buries Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher_: "Trump... has ended up with “pluto-populism”—policies that benefit plutocrats, justified by populist rhetoric... >...slash taxes on the rich, at the expense of the poor.... Confidence in the benefits of free markets, free trade and free movement of people has been lost... more tribal, less global. The devastation caused by the financial crisis of 2007-09 is one explanation. Hostility to immigration is another.... The US and UK have moved into a period marked by suspicion of foreigners and doubts about free markets.... It seems highly likely that this shift will last beyond the personalities now involved. The result is likely to be a different ideological centre of gravity for policy.... [Will]the policies being promoted will assuage the anxiety of those who brought Mr Trump and Mrs May to power[?].... The opposite is far more likely.... Trump’s... slashing... is likely to be highly damaging to the welfare of many of his supporters. Meanwhile, nothing he does will bring back lost manufacturing and mining jobs. This failure seems sure to make the base angrier.... >It would be a good thing if the British and Americans recognised that they do not possess all (perhaps... Continue reading