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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
Well, I have wound up, by surprise, giving the last third of the lectures in Economics 105: The History of Economic Thought: Smith, Marx, Keynes. I admit I was not as averse to being imposed on by the Department as I might have been because I thought it might push me to get my head and my thoughts together. Here they are—unfinished. But I should give the students an opportunity to see how I think about these thinkers and their works: ---- #books #highlighted #history #historyofeconomicthought #moralphilosophy #politicaleconomy #2019-11-09 ###### This File: ###### Edit This File: Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
The calculations I was doing for the first-year graduate students yesterday were that, in terms of the proportional rate of increase in our stock of productive ideas about technology and organization, we are now creating them at a proportional rate 100 times the rate at which useful ideas were being created as recently as 1500. Is that going to speed up as ideas increasingly need instantiation not in large clunky macro arrangements of atoms but as patterns of information? Quite possibly... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
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**Doug Jones**: _Copernicus Versus the Scientific Method_ : 'Ptolemy needed to assume that the five planets (not counting the sun and moon) have both cycles (the big circles) and epicycles (the little circles).... Some of the cycles and epicycles vary independently, while others are exactly tied to the motions of the sun. For Mercury and Venus, the epicycles vary independently, taking different periods of time (88 days, 225 days) to complete a circuit. Their cycles, by contrast, take exactly one Earth year to complete a circuit. Furthermore, the deferent, the point at center of each epicycle, is always exactly in line with the sun. For Mars, Jupiter and Saturn on the other hand, it’s the other way around. The cycles vary independently (1.88, 11.86, and 29.46 years to make a complete circuit). But the epicycles take exactly one Earth year... [and] the line from deferent to planet is exactly parallel to the line from Earth to Sun.... Copernicus’s model, by contrast, doesn’t just replace five circles (the cycles for Mercury and Venus, and the epicycles for Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) with one (for the Earth going around the Sun). It also automatically explains why the five superfluous cycles show an... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
**Mark Knopfler**: _Good On You Son_ : ---- #fortheweekend #music #2019-11-01 Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
**Jeremiah Dittmar and Kipper Seabold**: _New Media and Competition: Printing and Europe's Transformation after Gutenberg_ : "We study the role of book content in economic, religious, and institutional development after the introduction of printing, and the role of competition in determining the amount and content of local printing. We focus on (1) business education content and (2) religious ideas during the Protestant Reformation. We construct data on printing output and competition in European cities 1454-1600.We document positive relationships between business education content and city growth, and Protestant content and institutional change. We find competition predicts content. We confirm the relationships between competition, content, and outcomes using printer deaths as a source of exogenous variation... ---- #noted #2019-10-31 #notebookecon135 ###### Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
**Matthew Chapman**: _[Uber and Lyft Put Up $60 million for Ballot Fight](https://www.rawstory.com/2019/08/uber-and-lyft-put-up-60-million-for-ballot-fight-to-avoid-paying-their-drivers-as-employees/)_: 'On Thursday, Bloomberg News reported that ride-sharing giants Uber and Lyft are prepared to spend 60 million in support of a potential California ballot question in 2020 that would prevent their workers from being classified as employees. The push comes as the California legislature advances AB 5, which would require any workers who perform functions that aren’t outside the course of their employer’s business to be classified as an employee—codifying a decision last year by the California Supreme Court. Uber and Lyft have kept their margins low by classifying their workers as self-employed contractors who just happen to use their app as a social network to find passengers. This means that they are not covered by a number of protections that employees receive, like the right to unionize or to receive overtime pay... ---- #noted #politicaleconomy #siliconvalley #2019-10-31 Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
A very nice look-back at a big story from a decade ago that simply did not happen: **Ben Casselman**: _The White-Collar Job Apocalypse That Didn’t Happen_ : "'Where in retrospect I missed the boat is in thinking that the gigantic gap in labor costs between here and India would push it to India rather than to South Dakota', Mr. Blinder said in a recent interview.... Adam Ozimek revisited Mr. Blinder’s analysis to see what had happened over the past decade. Some job categories that Mr. Blinder identified as vulnerable, like data-entry workers, have seen a decline in United States employment. But the ranks of others, like actuaries, have continued to grow.... Over all, of the 26 occupations that Mr. Blinder identified as 'highly offshorable' and for which Mr. Ozimek had data, 15 have added jobs over the past decade and 11 have cut them. Altogether, those occupations have eliminated fewer than 200,000 jobs over 10 years, hardly the millions that many feared.... In the jobs that Mr. Blinder identified as easily offshored, a growing share of workers were now working from home. Mr. Ozimek said he suspected that many more were working in satellite offices or for outside contractors, rather... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
There are remarkably good odds that the next global recession will be triggered by the miscalculations of politicians who have no business holding any office whatsoever. I have but one quibble with Nouiiel Roubini's argument here. The situation in Argentina is dire for Argentina and the southern cone, but it is not the kidn of thing that can provoke a global recession. Trump and Johnson, by contrast, might: **Nouriel Roubini**: _Four Collision Courses for the Global Econom_ : "Between US President Donald Trump's zero-sum disputes with China and Iran, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's brinkmanship with Parliament and the European Union, and Argentina's likely return to Peronist populism, the fate of the global economy is balancing on a knife edge. Any of these scenarios could lead to a crisis with rapid spillover effects.... In each case, failure to compromise would lead to a collision, most likely followed by a global recession and financial crisis.... The problem is that while compromise requires both parties to de-escalate, the tactical logic of chicken rewards crazy behavior. If I can make it look like I have removed my steering wheel, the other side will have no choice but to swerve. But if both sides... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
Of all the very strange things the _New York Times_ has published since October 1, 2016, perhaps the strangest is the Bret Stephens column [comparing George Washington University Professor Dave Karpf to Joseph Goebbels](https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/30/opinion/world-war-ii-anniversary.html). Why did Stephens do this? Because Karpf had tweeted “the bedbugs are a metaphor. The bedbugs are Bret Stephens” in reply to _New York Times_ assistant editor Stuart A. Thompson's tweet that there were bedbugs in the _New York Times_ newsroom. In response to things like this, I find the _Washington Post's_ Alexandra Petri usually responds at the appropriate level. And she does so here: **Alexandra Petri**: _[I Am a Bedbug and Would Like to Be Kept Out of This Mess](https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/28/i-am-bedbug-would-like-be-kept-out-this-mess/?noredirect=on)_: "My name has been soiled and made dirty like a place I would love to relax at with my blood meal. Please, I would like to be kept out of this mess. I know that, as a bedbug, this is not a phrase you would expect to hear vibrate forth through my rostrum, but hear me out. I am just trying to live my life. Instead, I have been thrust into a story I never asked to be part of. This is not my fight,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
No matter what our domestic economic problems, it is still essential to remind ourselves that for humanity as a whole the years since 1980 have seen the greatest improvement in economic well-being, globally, of any forty-yer period in human history. We have been truly blessed: **Noah Smith**: _Globalization Has Cut Inequality Between Rich and Poor Countries_ : "Up through the 1980s, the blessings of the Industrial Revolution seemed largely confined to a handful of countries in Western Europe, East Asia, the U.S., Australia and Canada. But in the past three decades, there has been a sea change, and developing countries have made great strides in catching up. Although inequality has risen within some nations, at the global level it’s going down: Much of this catch-up is happening in countries that are still largely poor, such as India or Indonesia. To an economist—or someone who cares about alleviating the suffering of the world’s poorest people–this still represents a miracle. But a skeptic of globalization might wonder whether it can really be called a success if broad middle-class living standards still remain the exclusive privilege of a handful of nations, many of them former colonial powers... ---- #noted #globalization #notebookslouching #notebookecon135 #2019-10-31 Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
**John Authers**: _Newsletter: Powell Will Need a Horror Show to Cut Again_ : 'Every so often, I make a good call. It’s nice when it happens. So I start by drawing your attention to... “Could this be the point when Powell tries to stake out his hawkish credentials once again, and stock market day-traders, mugs though they are, show they have at last learned to anticipate this and price it in? We will know soon enough.” It turns out that the answer was “yes”. One more good call and I can say I am right more often than a broken clock.... The Federal Open Market Committee cut its target rate for the third meeting running, and tried to give itself space not to cut again, also for the third time running.... But it still included a caveat which was enough to reassure everyone that he was no more hawkish than they had feared: “if developments emerge that are a cause for a material reassessment of our outlook, we would respond accordingly.”... A “material reassessment” would imply the Fed would need to be proved seriously wrong, which in turn would imply a recession. So we could go along with the gloriously... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
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MUST OF THE MUSTS * **Comment of the Day**: _Grizzled in Age of the Expert as Policymaker Is Coming To an End_ : 'Alas, I don't think it's usually possible for non-experts to evaluate expert judgements. The Reinhard and Rogoff example is more the exception than the rule. Consider the case of global warming. Google 'Conversion of a Global Warming Skeptic'. This is a case where is took 18 months of work, which was funded so it could be not only full time but assisted, for a Phd in physics to accumulate enough background to become convinced that the climate scientists had been right all along... * **Hoisted from the Archives**: _Orlando Letelier (1976): The ‘Chicago Boys’ in Chile: Economic Freedom’s Awful Toll: _ : 'It is nonsensical... that those who inspire, support or finance that economic policy should try to present their advocacy as restricted to “technical consid erations,” while pretending to reject the system of terror it requires to succeed... * **Hoisted from the Archives**: _Contra Raghu Rajan: Economic Stimulus Has Not Failed, It Has Not Been Tried (on a Large Enough Scale)_ : 'Back in 2007 I would have said that every macroeconomist who has done any... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
**Carmen Ye**: _[Why We Need Better Re-Employment Policies For Formerly Incarcerated African American Men](https://equitablegrowth.org/better-reemployment-policies-formerly-incarcerated-african-american-men/)_: "African American men... 33 percent of the 1.56 million Americans held in state or federal prisons.... When these men are released from prison, what will their employment prospects look like?... Black applicants with no criminal record receive a callback or job offer at the same rate as white applicants with a felony conviction. Yet black applicants without a criminal record were three times as likely to get a callback as those with a record... ---- #noted #equitablegrowth #2019-10-30 Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
IMHO, the late Marty Weitzman's finest work. I would give a testicle or equivalent value to have written this: **Marty Weitzman**: _Prices vs. Quantities_ : "There is, it seems to me, a rather fundamental reason to believe that quantities are better signals for situations demanding a high degree of coordination. A classical example would be the short run production planning of intermediate industrial materials. Within a large production organization, be it the General Motors Corporation or the Soviet industrial sector as a whole, the need for balancing the output of any intermediate commodity whose production is relatively specialized to this organization and which cannot be effortlessly and instantaneously imported from or exported to a perfectly competitive outside world puts a kink in the benefit function. If it turns out that production of ball bearings of a certain specialized kind (plus reserves) falls short of anticipated internal consumption, far more than the value of the unproduced bearings can be lost. Factors of production and materials that were destined to be combined with the ball bearings and with commodities containing them in higher stages of production must stand idle and are prevented from adding value all along the line. If on the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
I have some disagreements with this by the smart Sufi, Mishkin, and Hooper: the evidence for "significant nonlinearity" in the Phillips Curve is that the curve flattens when _inflation_ is low, not that it steepens when _labor slack_ is low. There is simply no "strong evidence" of significant steepening with low labor slack. Yes, you can find specifications with a t-statistic of 2 in which this is the case, but you have to work hard to find such specifications, and your results are fragile. The fact is that in the United States between 1957 and 1988—the first half of the last 60 years—the slope of the simplest-possible adaptive-expectations Phillips Curve was -0.54: each one-percentage point fall in unemployment below the estimated natural rate boosted inflation in the subsequent year by 0.54%-points above its contemporary value. Since 1988—in the second half of the past 60 years—the slope of this simplest-possible Phillips curve has been effectively zero: the estimated regression coefficient has been not -0.54 but only -0.03. The most important observations driving the estimated negative slope of the Phillips Curve in the first half of the past sixty years were 1966, 1973, and 1974—inflation jumping up in times of relatively-low unemployment—and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
There is no single effect of "automation" on the workforce and the labor market. It is long past time for us to dig deeper, and here is a good piece of spadework: **Sotiris Blanas, Gino Gancia, and Tim Lee**: _How Different Technologies Affect Different Workers_ _: "Since the early 1980s, technology has reduced the demand for low and medium-skill workers, the young, and women, especially in manufacturing industries. The column investigates which technologies have had the largest effect, and on which types of worker. It finds that robots and software raised the demand for high-skill workers, older workers, and men, especially in service industries.... From 1982 to 2005, using data from 30 industries spanning roughly the entire economies of ten high-income countries.... We used the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to evaluate which jobs are more prone to automation based on the type of tasks they require.... Industrial robots decrease low-skill employment, while they increase the income shares of high and medium-skill workers, old workers, and men.... In manufacturing, robots lower low-skill, young, and female employment, while in services, they increase medium-skill and male employment. In both sectors, robots increase the income shares of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
**Gary Forsythe**: _[A Critical History of Early Rome](https://delong.typepad.com/forsythe-rome.pdf)_: 'By 264 B.C. peninsular Italy was firmly under Roman military control. Its population consisted of three different categories of people. First of all, there were the Roman citizens. They occupied the actual territory of the Roman state, which stretched across central Italy from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic, extended southward in a strip down along the Volscian coast to the Bay of Naples, and included northern Campania. According to Roman census figures, which seem to be credible from the early third century B.C. onwards, the adult male Roman population at this time numbered more than a quarter of a million. Secondly, there were the states allied to Rome. In geography and population they formed the largest of the three categories. They were the various Etruscan, Umbrian, Picene, Sabellian, Messapic, and Greek communities of northern and southern Italy, who still exercised local autonomy over their own affairs but were bound to Rome by individual bilateral treaties. Generally speaking, these states were governed by republican constitutions of various configurations, and political power was largely in the hands of local landed elites, who had the same basic social, economic, and political interests and outlook as... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
**Phoebe Weston**: _Ancestral Home of All Human Beings Discovered_ : 'Vast wetland south of Zambezi river was cradle of all mankind and sustained our ancestors for 70,000 years: Scientists have pinpointed a fertile river valley in northern Botswana as the ancestral home of all human beings: The earliest anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) arose 200,000 years ago in a vast wetland south of the Zambezi river which was the cradle of all mankind, a new study has revealed. This lush region–which also covered parts of Namibia and Zimbabwe – was home to an enormous lake which sustained our ancestors for 70,000 years, according to the paper published in the journal Nature. Between 110,000 and 130,000 years ago, the climate started to change and fertile corridors opened up out of this valley. For the first time, the population began to disperse–paving the way for modern humans to migrate out of Africa, and ultimately, across the world... >...Lead researcher Professor Vanessa Hayes, a geneticist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia, said: “It has been clear for some time that anatomically modern humans appeared in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. What has been long debated is the exact location of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
But... But... But... There are **no** hot summer nights in Sausalito!: **Wikipedia**: _Sausalito Summernight_ ... ---- #music #noted #california #berkeley #2019-10-30 Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
**Alwyn Young** (1994): _The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience_ : 'The fundamental role played by factor accumulation in explaining the extraordinary postwar growth of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.... While the growth of output per capita in these economies has averaged 6% to 7% per annum over the past two and a half decades, the growth of output per effective worker in the non-agricultural sector of these economies has been only 3% to 4% per annum.... Total factor productivity growth rates... are well within the bounds of those experienced by the OECD and Latin American economies over equally long periods of time. While the growth of output and manufacturing exports in the newly industrializing economies of East Asia is virtually unprecedented, the growth of total factor productivity in these economies is not... ---- #noted #notebookslouching #notebookecon135 #2019-10-30 Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
**Justin August**: _Upgrading to OSX Catalina as an Anaconda User_ : 'Big news! There’s a new MacOS out! It brings lots of nice features. Bad news! If you’re a user of the Anaconda distribution for Python, Data Analysis and Jupyter Notebooks you may want to wait. Installing Catalina will disable your Anaconda distribution and move the folder from your root directory to a folder on your desktop called Relocated Items. More details can be found here. My steps for correcting this were... ---- #noted #2019-10-30 Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
The fall of the Roman Empire in the west: implications for literature and literary culture: **Erich Auerbach**: _Mimesis_: 'Gregory of Tours: "Serious local fighting arose at that time between inhabitants of the region of Tours. For Sicharius, son of the late John, celebrated the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord at the village of Manthelan with Austrighiselus and the other neighbors. And the priest of the place sent a boy over to invite some of the men to come to his house for a drink. When the boy got there, one of those he invited drew his sword and did not refrain from striking at him. He fell down and was dead. Sicharius was friendly with the priest, and when he heard that one of his boys had been murdered, he took his arms and went to the church to wait for Austrighiselus... >>...The latter heard about this and armed himself also and went to meet him. When they had all mingled in fighting and both parties suffered harm, Sicharius got away unnoticed under the protection of the clergy and made for his homestead leaving behind at the priest's place his silver, his clothes, and four of his servants... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
**Very Briefly Noted** 2019-10-29: 1. **Boing Boing**: _Multi-Tools_ ... 2. **Daniella Thompson**: _[High-Peaked Colonial Revival, a Bay Area Phenomenon](http://berkeleyheritage.com/eastbay_then-now/highpeak_colonial.html)_ 3. **Nadiezda Kizenko** (2000): _[A Prodigal Saint: Father John of Kronstadt and the Russian People](https://books.google.com/books?isbn=027101976X)_ : "Three introductory comments.... While I have tried to do justice to a figure as complex as Father John, this is not a hagiography.... Because I intend this book... for readers... interest[ed] in the history of Russia and... of Christianity, I have included background material.... I am well aware that Father John still sparks intense reactions... 4. **Orlando Letelier**: _The ‘Chicago Boys’ in Chile: Economic Freedom’s Awful Toll_ : 'Repression for the majorities and “economic freedom” for small privileged groups are two sides of the same coin... 5. **Joshua Gans**: _Does Being Rich Make You Better at Allocating Capital?_ ... 6. **Steven Greenhouse**: _Where Are the Workers When We Talk About the Future of Work?_ : 'CEOs, Silicon Valley investors, and techno-academics talk to themselves about new technologies, but workers must have a say in these debates as well... 7. **Emily Stewart**: _Elizabeth Warren Has a Lot of Supporters on Wall Street Over Trump_ : '“I’m fully on board with soaking the rich, 100 percent, and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
=**Ian Dunt**: _"Catherine McKinnell_ : 'Every member in this House represents people who voted Leave and Remain. What nobody voted for was a wing and prayer, cake and eat it, blindfold Brexit with no impact assessments on the biggest transformation of our economy in peacetime history... ---- #noted #orangehairedbaboons #2019-10-29 Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
**Hoisted from the Archives from 2013**: _[Contra Raghu Rajan: Economic Stimulus Has Not Failed, It Has Not Been Tried (on a Large Enough Scale)](https://www.bradford-delong.com/2013/01/contra-raghu-rajan-economic-stimulus-has-not-failed-it-has-not-been-tried-on-a-large-enough-scale.html)_: "Back in 2007 I would have said that every macroeconomist who has done any homework at all believes that coordinated monetary and fiscal expansion together increase at least the flow of nominal GDP. Now comes the very smart Raghu Rajan to say, apparently, not so.... From my perspective... Raghu is... saying that if we were to undertake more aggressive coordinated monetary and fiscal expansion we would hit the inflation wall sooner than I think likely--that the difficulties of retraining and readjustment mean that the division of the increase in the flow of spending would soon shift to 100% inflation, 0% extra production. Perhaps it will. But we have not gotten there yet. We are still in a world where the flow of nominal GDP in the North Atlantic is some six percentage points below its pre-2008 trend. Fix that trend of nominal GDP first via coordinated monetary and fiscal expansion, and then we will examine the division at the margin of PY into P and Y, and talk…... ---- #hoistedfromthearchives #austerity #economicsgonewrong #macro #notebookmodernmacro #2019-10-29 Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2019 at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality