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The Birth of Parentonomics: A Guest Post

My friend Joshua Gans is one of Australia’s best young economists, and he is also a parent. And as passionate as Joshua is about economics, he’s just as passionate about…



Roland Fryer on The Colbert Report

I’m a bit late getting to this, but I just saw that my friend Roland Fryer appeared on The Colbert Report on Monday. He was — officially — talking about…



Is Virtue What We Buy or What We Sell?

If we judge politicians by what they buy, then Eliot Spitzer has clearly violated the public’s trust: he purchased the services of a high-priced prostitute, and may well end his…



What Explains the Supply of Fame?

Over a long dinner (and more than a few glasses of wine) with some economist friends, conversation turned to trying to understand why happiness is declining in Belgium. Helena Svaleryd…



Postcard from Sweden, Marathon Edition

The Noel Coward song suggests that “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.” Following Saturday’s Stockholm Marathon, I’ll add marathon runners and thousands of cheering Swedes…



New Editors at Brookings

O.K., I’ll admit that I’ve done plenty of hand-wringing about the state of economics. And now I’m going to do something about it. This morning, Brookings announced that David Romer…



Is Happiness Contagious?

If those riding intellectual fads are sometimes guilty of sloppy reasoning, imagine what happens when two fads collide. That’s what happened when the British Medical Journal elected to publish a…



Is Ignorance Really Bliss?

A regular blog reader, Mitch Kosowski, sent along an interesting question: “Is ignorance truly bliss? Are people with lower intelligence happier than those with higher intelligence?” Let’s start with a…



Ouch!

It isn’t often that economics makes the pages of Science, but I finally got around to taking a look at E. Roy Weintraub‘s review of Steve Marglin‘s The Dismal Science:…



Have Economic Debates Changed Since 1977?

I recently happened upon one of George Stigler‘s humorous asides in the 1977 Journal of Political Economy — “The Conference Handbook.” In order to make discussions of research papers more…



Richard Freeman on Colbert

I have been looking forward to seeing the resurrection of serious political coverage, and finally The Colbert Report returned to the air last night. And it was a wonderful surprise…



Usain Bolt: It’s Just Not Normal

Usain Bolt‘s wonderful run in the Olympic 200-meter sprint reminds us that the normal distribution — the familiar bell curve beloved by economists and statisticians — can be wildly inappropriate…




What’s Wrong With Economists?

You probably recall Hillary Clinton turning anti-economist in the dying days of her campaign: “Well I’ll tell you what, I’m not going to put my lot in with economists.” And…



Is Income Volatility Really Rising? For Whom?

Jacob Hacker‘s Great Risk Shift described rising income risk over recent decades as an important and quite general phenomenon. While there’s been plenty of controversy around that claim, the most…




What Exactly Concerns Us About Gas Prices?

There’s no doubt that Americans are currently frustrated by high gas prices. And certainly many voters believe that “something oughta be done about it.” But why? Here’s a simple taxonomy…



Why Does So Much Hate Mail Come From Men?

I’m sure that most academics are used to the following: Occasionally I write a scientific paper, an OpEd, or a blog entry in which I wade into some controversy or…



Amazing New Trade Data

Wow. We really do live in the midst of a tidal wave of more detailed and interesting data. The latest: importgenius.com, the brainchild of brothers Ryan and David Petersen, with…



The Fiscal Costs of Marriage and Divorce

This morning’s inbox leads me to two observations: 1) There is some excellent research out there about marriage and divorce. 2) There is no shortage of ways for imaginative advocates…





The Secret Consensus Among Economists

If you follow the economic policy debate in the popular press, you would be excused for missing one of our best-kept secrets: There’s remarkable agreement among economists on most policy…



More on the Missing Macroeconomists

My recent post bemoaning the “missing macroeconomists” in today’s policy debate yielded a number of very insightful responses. I received two particularly interesting missives from two of the brightest stars…



A Beet Paradox

Photo: Darwin Bell Beets are the new broccoli. Or at least they will be after Obama takes office on January 20, as the president-elect recently revealed his distaste for this…



Scoring the Pennsylvania Primary

How do you score a bruising fight like the Pennsylvania primary? In politics, it seems, expectations are everything. And regular readers will not be surprised to hear that I would…



Superbowl Wrap-Up: A Guest Post

A fun game to watch yesterday, with the Giants winning 17-14 over the Pats. More to the point, a clear victory for Steve Levitt, whose advice to punters was to…



Super Tuesday Viewer’s Guide: A Guest Post

I have heard from plenty of nervous friends around the country, anticipating the results from Super Tuesday. Truth is, I haven’t a clue who will win. But I thought it…