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Noel Maurer
Interests: My current research asks whether foreign governments or international institutions can improve economic governance. Is it possible to alter a country’s property rights system from the outside? This research has two prongs. The first is a historical work, tentatively entitled Imperial Experiments: Intervention, Economic Growth, and Property Rights, which tests various hypotheses about the success and failure of American attempts to improve economic governance outside the United States and protect the property rights of U.S. investors before World War II. The second is a series of contemporary case studies about attempts to alter nations’ internal economic governance from the outside: bilateral investment treaties, investor protection clauses in trade agreements, conditional loans, the “mortgaging” of export revenues, vulture funds, and military intervention. I also watch a lot of baseball, enjoy very bad music, and do a lot of travelling. The travel tends to be either in total luxury, or to places where I need to wear body armor and live in constant fear of, well, death.
Recent Activity
The former governor of New Mexico is about to win the Libertarian Party nomination. Libertarianism is an extreme ideology, when taken seriously. But Gary Johnson seems to be to libertarianism what François Hollande is to socialism: in the direction but... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Power and the Money
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Speaker Ryan may be helping the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico against the wishes of his caucus, but man is he letting them fly their freak flag when it comes to the District of Columbia. One Republican basically said that if... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at The Power and the Money
To recap, the Puerto Rico Oversight Act as it currently stands will: Give Puerto Rico a six-month stay on all debt payments; Require the Governor to create 5-year fiscal plans and submit them to an appointed Oversight Board for approval;... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at The Power and the Money
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Short version: PROMESA would grant bankruptcy protection to Puerto Rico. (Since I hate these cutesy names Congress loves, I will henceforth call it the Puerto Rico Oversight Act.) But the bill would also put P.R. under a fiscal receivership. An... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Power and the Money
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OK, so when I flew into Mexico earlier this month I was astounded to see the brownish murk as my plane descended into the Valley of Mexico. The horizon disappeared, the mountains were invisible. After landing, the sky had a... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at The Power and the Money
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Sadly, Die Hipster the blog is no more. But today South Brooklyn scored a victory over the new cool whatever not-Brooklyn Brooklyn with the restoration of express service on the F Train. That hasn’t existed since I was in high... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2016 at The Power and the Money
I am stunned, very surprised, almost shocked, certainly flabbergasted, quite open-mouthed, confused, what have you. No, not at Bernie staying the race until California. Not at the acrimony expressed by Bernie supporters. And not even at the unrest in Nevada.... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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Details here. I would like to see more on profitability, but I suppose I can go look at the damn filings myself. The basic problem is that the refineries are not optimized to produce higher grade fuels. That is fixable,... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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This is not all the historical perspective that I would like. I would love to get some periodic estimates of the wage distribution. What percentage earned the minimum? How many jobs bunched up at the minimum? How did that vary... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2016 at The Power and the Money
Let us just say that Watson did not cover itself with glory when it used its market analysis software to make conclusions about the presidential candidates based on their writings. But get back to me in 2040. That is more-or-less... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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Put yourself in the position of an honest conservative. You don’t believe that Hillary Clinton will bring down America, or any such tripe, any more than I worried that President Marco Rubio would damage the Republic. But you do think... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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I used to go to the Middle East a lot. But then stuff happened. I got disinvited by the government of Bahrain, wound up on Hezbollah’s side of a debate over energy policy in Lebanon, and experienced a surprisingly less-than-warm... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2016 at The Power and the Money
Lee Alston, co-author of a great new book on Brazil, has an excellent piece on Brazil’s political crisis. He points out that so far the impeachment has been a good thing: markets have risen and Interim President Michel Temer is... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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No points for guessing! This essay (hat tip: Jon Rabinowitz) is a great read. Yes, the econometrics are pretty basic. Sure, the data is a little less-than-robust. (The guy collected rent data for S.F. back to 1949, but did not... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2016 at The Power and the Money
In the realm of economic history, I have come across a few recent papers that take on the view that far-off history explains everything. The first argues that Catholicism had a causal effect in holding back Irish development. That sounds... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2016 at The Power and the Money
I don’t have particularly strong opinions about Brazil’s new president, Michel Temer. The scandal accruing around the Rouseff administration certainly merited impeachment, even if the specific charge appears a bit overblown. And while I would be very hesitant to blame... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2016 at The Power and the Money
The New York Times had an article today about Obama’s “war presidency.” It isn’t a bad article, but it makes much of the idea that there is something new in the idea of a U.S. fighting foreign enemies in less... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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Hillary as president, big burst of traffic. Mexico shows the amazing advance of solar power, something that may save the planet even if You-Know-Who is elected, meh. Oh, well. Anyhoo, I just saw this email from Randy McDonald: “I’d be... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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This Saturday I took a flight back from Miami to Washington. I was seated next to a GOP political operative; communications director for a major gubernatorial campaign and senior campaign aide to a currently beleaguered senator. Smart fellow. We talked... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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Ireland celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising on March 27th. (The rising actually started on April 24th, 1916.) The Rising started the process of gaining Ireland its independence from the United Kingdom. The revolt was not popular in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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It is pretty clear that oil exports could be attached if PDVSA defaulted on its bonds. It would work as follows. PDVSA would sell oil to a refinery in the United States. Creditors would sue. The refinery would still get... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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The United Kingdom has been in the midst of a giant immigration backlash prompted by the net arrival of roughly 1.4 million Eastern Europeans since 2004. From my perspective, that was surprising. After all, the Eastern Europeans are white and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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So people I know are debating why tactical voting isn’t a thing in the United States. For those of you who don’t the term, tactical voting is when you have more than two candidates in a district. If you dislike... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2016 at The Power and the Money
It is hard to come up with counterfactual tariff revenue if NAFTA is repealed. You need to go through the U.S. uniform tariff schedule, apply those tariffs to the current duty-free trade with Mexico, and then estimate how much trade... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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Two years ago, this blog noted that San Jose, California, had incredible upward mobility. But it also suggested that rising house prices put that upward mobility at risk, by reducing geographical mobility. That in turn might prevent people from taking... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2016 at The Power and the Money