Is It Time to Name This Recession?

As evidenced by this chart from the betting site Intrade, the probability of Slumdog Millionaire winning the Oscar for Best Picture has risen over the past two months right along with the probability that 2009 will be a year of recession (i.e., two negative quarters of G.D.P.):


This correlation isn’t meaningful in any way. Lots of things rise (or fall) in lockstep all the time without having anything to do with one another. Intrade sent this picture around just for kicks, pointing out the presence of “a feel-good movie for feel-bad markets.”

But it did get me to thinking. However you want to characterize this economic storm we’re living through — Gordon Brown “mistakenly” called it a depression while Richard Posner has called it a depression outright — the fact is that it doesn’t yet have a proper name, just as many historic events don’t have a name until long after the fact.

I am now wondering if “Slumdog,” a new word that has burst into public consciousness, shouldn’t be the name, or at least part of it. It’s got the requisite feel-bad connotations — slums, dogs, etc. Are we living through the Great Slumdog? The Slumdog Recession/Depression? The Day of the Slumdog?

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  1. aaron says:

    The Oil Bubble Recession

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  2. Robin says:

    Millennium Recession II: Revenge of the Shorts

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  3. drew says:

    The Great Recession

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  4. aaron says:

    or The Congestion Recession.

    You can see here how fuel economy declined when gasoline prices started climbing in 2006. While some of it may be due to changes in the fleet structure and increasing cell phone usage, most of it is probably due to poor reaction to rising fuel prices. People mistakenly believe that driving and accelerating slower is more fuel efficient, it is not. Accelerating quickly, but smoothly is slightly more efficient than accelerating slowly, and accelerating slowly adversly affects traffic.

    Higher cruising speeds actually produce better fuel economy below 55mph.

    We also probably experience Giffen Behavior as well. When margins are trimmed due to rising costs, people probably shifted driving more to peak traffic times to maintain income and did less driving in the off-peak hours for personal consumption.

    Jim Hamilton has also writen about how consumers react to energy shocks. The uncertainty after upward price shocks leads to larger decline in consumption because of uncertainty. Downward spikes do not produce a similar increase in consumption.

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  5. Tim H says:

    The Bush Ka-Boom

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  6. Cory says:

    The Beginning of the End

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  7. David says:

    I thought we’d already settled on “Depression 2.0″

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  8. DrNova says:


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