Monday, November 23, 2009

A Bit of Macro over the Weekend

I ran across two items that might be of interest to you. The first is a paper from a pair of Harvard professors. (HT to Greg Mankiw.) Their research is noteworthy for its conclusion: "Fiscal stimuli based upon tax cuts are more likely to increase growth than those based upon spending increases." Their results on fiscal adjustments to reduce deficit and debt to GDP ratios are also counter to what is happening. On the surface this seems to have some intriguing implications.

I wouldn't change my AP course section on fiscal policy just yet. The test is, after all, the test. Nevertheless, this might be food for discussion. And it's certainly worth following. It's a short paper and very readable. 

The second item I ran across is a human-interest story from The Washington Post. It is largely an anecdotal account of how the recession forced a promising student to re-evaluate her goals and training. We often teach that the business cycle helps an economy reallocate resources to their "best use." (I can certainly identify with that.) And while you might have a hard time making a case that this situation is the best use of well-educated young woman's talent; you might be able to make the case that the road she was on might not have been the best use, either.

I know anecdotes are not data. But as someone told me recently, the plural of anecdote is data. I welcome your comments.

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