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Edward Conard Debate Highlights

Since the publication of his New York Times top-ten bestselling book, Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong (2012), Edward Conard has made over 100 television appearances in which he has debated leading ... [Read More]

The Weekly Standard Reviews The Upside of Inequality

The Weekly Standard Reviews The Upside of Inequality

Michael M. Rosen The Weekly Standard November 21, 2016 As impassioned calls to curb income inequality, including through a growing movement to establish a “guaranteed basic income," have increasingly dominated the political conversation here and ... [Read More]

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AEI Debate on “The Upside of Inequality”

I summarize my Top 10 NYT bestselling book, The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class for the American Enterprise Institute with Steven Roberts.  The book argues that today's knowledge-based economy is constrained by ... [Read More]

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A Missed Opportunity for Serious Debate

AEIdeas by Edward Conard September 22, 2016 Richard Epstein, a libertarian law professor, reviewed my new book, “The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class“, for the WSJ. Unfortunately, Epstein misses the central ... [Read More]

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More Evidence of Synergistic Clustering

The author notes: "Still, the concentration of American corporate might is stark. Nearly 40 percent of all public companies are in just four states: California, Massachusetts, New York and Texas. Three of them — California, New York and Texas — ... [Read More]

New York Times

A Proposal For Accelerating Middle Class Incomes

New York Times by Edward Conard September 19, 2016 When manufacturing jobs are outsourced, economists believe that opportunistic entrepreneurs will race to employ displaced workers and competition will raise their productivity and wages. But ... [Read More]

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Hard Truths About Easy Money From Ned Phelps

In his WSJ op-ed last Friday, Noble Prize winner Ned Phelps reminds us:  “An even worse possibility [than inflation] arises from [loose monetary policy because of] the peculiar structure of the U.S. economy. It is highly integrated with financial ... [Read More]

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Is Technology Changing the Value of Leisure?

Shocking facts from Erik Hurst’s (Professor of Economics at Chicago Booth) graduation address to The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, "Video Killed the Radio Star" … Between 2000 and 2015, the employment rate for lower-skilled men ... [Read More]

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Equity Risk Premium Remains High

My new book, The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class, argues that the economy’s capacity and willingness to take risk now binds growth. Since the financial crisis, the equity risk premium—often measured as: [1/PE ... [Read More]

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A Theory for Slow Productivity Growth

Jim Pethokoukis provides a convenient summary of the various theories for why productivity growth has slowed. His list, however, doesn’t contain my theory.  In my book The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class, I argue ... [Read More]

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Can Trump Gain Support of Top Republican Economists?

The WSJ surveyed all 45 of the former members of the White House Counsel of Economic Advisors—23 who served under a Republican President and 22 who served under a Democrat—and asked each whether they supported their respective party’s candidate. None ... [Read More]

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Yale Economist Shiller Wrong About Zero Sum Economy

In his Sunday New York Times op-ed " Today’s Inequality Could Easily Become Tomorrow’s Catastrophe,” Yale economist Robert Shiller paints a dire picture of the economy as a zero-sum game where the gains of the rich come at the expense of the poor. He ... [Read More]

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Low-Wage Workers are High-Cost Workers

If low-wage workers were low-cost workers, they wouldn’t be the last workers hired and the first ones fired—quite the opposite. Eric Morath and Julie Jargon of The WSJ report that the pay of the lowest-paid workers is finally beginning to rise faster ... [Read More]

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The Cure for Wage Stagnation

In their Wall Street Journal op-ed, “The Cure for Wage Stagnation,” The American Enterprise Institute’s Kevin Hassett and Aparna Mathur present a plethora of evidence that lower corporate tax rates raise wages. I make a similar argument in my book, ... [Read More]

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Are Tough Credit Standards Slowing the Recovery?

The purpose of banking is to put risk-averse savings to work. If corn sits in the silos unused, rather than being planted or consumed, employment and/or wage growth slows relative to what would have been the case if the economy had fully deployed all ... [Read More]

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IMF Study Finds Deep Flaws in Key Piketty Hypothesis

A new IMF study, Testing Piketty’s Hypothesis on the Drivers of Income Inequality: Evidence from Panel VARs with Heterogeneous Dynamics, by Carlos Góes finds flaws in Thomas Piketty’s famous R > G hypothesis that returns to capital exceeding the ... [Read More]

Political polarization

The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg Isn’t Blue

In Sunday’s NYT, Yale’s Jacob Hacker and Berkeley’s Paul Pierson make a not-very-convincing argument that differences in the prosperity of Red and Blue state show that liberal Blue state policies produce more prosperity than conservative Red state ... [Read More]

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What Mike Pence and Tim Kaine Have In Common

According to  AEI’s Andrew G. Biggs, vice presidential nominees, “Pence and Kaine have something…in common: Both presided over two of the few states that don't overpay government employees. … Virginia and Indiana…paid state employees slightly less ... [Read More]

Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club Wins the All-or-Nothing Lottery

The New York Times’ Steven Davidoff Solomon makes the same point about the success of Dollar Shave Club that I make in the first chapter of my upcoming book The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class. Today, ... [Read More]

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Does the Threat of Inflation Stimulate Growth?

Tyler Cowen wrote a thoughtful piece expressing skepticism about the economy’s responsiveness to inflation and how some economists are now just assuming, with little evidence, that growth would be highly responsive to a helicopter money drop. In ... [Read More]

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Constraints to Growth

In a recent blog post, Michael Pettis‎ notes that while more invested capital per worker increases productivity in developing economies, economies have varying abilities to invest capital effectively. He labels this ability:‎ “social capital ... [Read More]

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Wage Growth Stronger Than It Appears

Wage growth is 3.5 to 4% per year—on par with prerecession wage growth—according to the San Fran Fed. Median wage growth is pushed down when baby boomers with higher-than-median wages retire and workers with lower-than-median wages are hired. Wage ... [Read More]

RCP: DiCaprio and the Hypocrisy of Moral Licensing

DiCaprio and the Hypocrisy of Moral Licensing

Real Clear Politics by Edward Conard May 06, 2016 This week, Time Magazine released its list of the top 100 Most Influential People and placed Leonardo DiCaprio on the cover of its magazine for the personal example he sets on climate change. How ... [Read More]

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GAO Misleadingly Claims 70% of Companies Pay No Taxes

The GAO recently published a misleading headline that claimed: “from 2006 to 2012, at least two-thirds of all active corporations had no federal income tax liability.” While true, that’s because most businesses are unprofitable. According to analysis ... [Read More]

More evidence that incentives drive work effort.

More Evidence that Incentives Drive Work Effort

Harvard’s Raj Chetty et al just released a new study on the effects of childhood environment on adult employment showing low workforce participation rates for adults who were raised as poor children—even lower for men than women. My first thought ... [Read More]

Who is voting for Donald Trump? Source: WSJ

Who Is Voting For Donald Trump?

Trump voters are less religious and socially conservative than one might assume. The Wall Street Journal's new interactive graph lays out the views and backgrounds of voters supporting a Republican Party split into three groups--social conservatives ... [Read More]

Evolution of the U.S. economy since 1980. Source: The Economist

Evolution of the U.S. Economy Since 1980

A fascinating interactive graph worth bookmarking showing the evolution of the U.S. economy relative to the rest of the world since 1980. For example, the U.S. accounts for 70% of the world’s venture capital.     Find The ... [Read More]

Fear of Big Government at an All-Time High. Courtesy: Gallup

Fear of Big Government at an All-Time High

69% of Americans, including a majority of Democrats, see big government, and not big business or big labor, as the greater threat to America, up from 53% when President Obama first took office, according to Gallup. Courtesy of  Marc Thiessen ... [Read More]

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Is Inequality Killing the American Dream?

Ed Conard discusses income inequality and how risk-taking and innovation drive the economy with Michelle Fleury on the BBC's "Talking Business.” Is Inequality Killing the American Dream? (Part 1) Is Inequality Killing the American ... [Read More]

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Does the Pursuit of Status Drive Growth?

After Scott Sumner surveyed, with aghast, the uselessness of the leather-bound backgammon sets and other luxury goods on the FT’s HowtoSpendit website, he couldn’t help but post an argument for progressive consumption taxes. Sadly, his argument ... [Read More]

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A New Year’s Resolution Worth Making

Real Clear Politics By Edward Conard | December 31, 2014 With oil prices plunging below $60 a barrel, the U.S. economy growing at an annualized 5 percent last quarter, and the Dow soaring above 18,000, it's easy to overlook academic research ... [Read More]

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Does Rat Race Waste Resources? Krugman and I disagree

Paul Krugman demonstrates a laughable misunderstanding of economics in his blog post “Having It and Flaunting It” yesterday. He mistakenly claims “status competition…is a zero-sum game … where a lot of our economic growth has simply been wasted, ... [Read More]

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Does Economics 101 Apply to Immigration?

Robert VerBruggen, a writer for RealClearPolicy, has written a pithy summary of Harvard labor economist’s, George Borjas’, recently published tough-minded book, Immigration Economics. VerBruggen writes: “[Borjas] lays out evidence that ... [Read More]

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Krugman Ignores Failed Keynesian Predictions

    In his blog post yesterday, Paul Krugman claimed: “We have a pretty good model of aggregate demand, and of how monetary and fiscal policy affect that demand. … And it remains true that Keynesians have been hugely right on the ... [Read More]

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June Employment Worse than it Appears

Mort Zuckerman’s claim in today’s Wall Street Journal—that an increase of 288,000 jobs in June is the result of a 523,000 drop in full-time employment offset by an 800,000 increase in part-time employment—motivated me to look more carefully at ... [Read More]

taxes

Scott Sumner makes a noteworthy point about taxes

“You cannot put the burden of a tax on someone unless you cut into his or her consumption. If the Obama tax increases did not cause Gates and Buffett to tighten their belts, then they paid precisely 0% of that tax increase. Someone else paid, even if ... [Read More]

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Piketty and Krugman Admit the Laffer Curve Is Real

Real Clear Politics By Edward Conard | April 23, 2014 Liberal and conservative economists disagree sharply over the extent to which a lower marginal tax rate motivates talented workers to take the risks and suffer the consequences necessary to ... [Read More]

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Brookings reports decline in income inequity

A new Brookings report, “Income Growth and Income Inequality: The Facts May Surprise You” reports that after-tax income inequality declined between 2000 and 2010, and likely declined through 2012 (the most recently reported numbers). While it’s ... [Read More]

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Alan Blinder Wages War on the Facts

Alan Blinder claims “in the late 1970s, the U.S. labor markets began to turn ferociously against workers with low skills and education,” that “technology was clearly the major villain,” and that “the U.S. government piled on” by “[waging a] war on ... [Read More]

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Response to Austan Goolsbee on inflation

Austan Goolsbee, former chair of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, makes a contradictory argument for loose monetary policy in a WSJ column on January 10th, 2014. Goolsbee claims that it’s time for “critics of quantitative easing” who ... [Read More]

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Larry Summers & The Causes of Slow Growth

In his December 15th Financial Times blog post, Larry Summers continues warming to the notion that the slow recovery stems from permanent structural problems and not a temporary Keynesian lull in demand. Presumably, then, optimal economic policy ... [Read More]

MiddleClass

Shamus Khan Declares War on the 1%

Shamus Khan declares war on the 1 percent in The New York Times claiming economics is zero sum and that U.S. growth has not trickled down to the middle class despite the U.S. economy and employment having grown twice as fast the high wage economies ... [Read More]

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Declining U.S. Poverty

A recently released study by a number of Columbia University professors, extends an approximation of the Census Department’s recently developed supplemental poverty measure (SPM) back in time to show that poverty has declined dramatically in the ... [Read More]

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Equity, Not Inflation, Drives Innovation and Growth

Real Clear Politics By Edward Conard | November 27, 2013 It has finally dawned on left-leaning economists like Paul Krugman and Larry Summers that the U.S. economy is not suffering from a temporary lull in demand but rather from a structural ... [Read More]

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Yellen Should Focus on Innovation, Not Inflation

Bloomberg View By Edward Conard | November 21, 2013 President Barack Obama has shown a determination to redistribute wealth by increasing government spending, despite unsustainable deficits. We shouldn’t be surprised if Janet Yellen, the ... [Read More]

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The case for hostage taking

POLITICO By Edward Conard | October 14, 2013 As the budget and debt ceiling-standoff continues in Washington, many are asking the wrong question: Which party will pay a political price for the government shutdown? Democrats are comparing ... [Read More]

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We don’t need more humanities majors

Washington Post By Edward Conard | July 30, 2013 It’s no secret that innovation grows America’s economy. But that growth is constrained in two ways. It is constrained by the amount of properly trained talent, which is needed to produce ... [Read More]

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What we can learn from the Fed’s failures

Fortune Magazine By Edward Conard | July 1, 2013 Bernanke's efforts have failed to produce a robust recovery and they've underscored the need for lower government spending. After Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke announced the Fed would ... [Read More]

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How to Fix America

Which Tools Should Washington Use? Unleash the Private Sector By Edward Conard | May 13, 2013 In "Can America Be Fixed?" (January/February 2013), Fareed Zakaria argues that American democracy has grown increasingly dysfunctional since the 1970s ... [Read More]

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Ed Conard on The Marc Steiner Show

Ed Conard discusses President Obama's proposed budget with Margaret Flowers, co-director of It’sOurEconomy.US, and Scott Lilly, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. ... [Read More]

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The Goal of Tax Policy

People often view debates over economic policy as debates between selfish libertarians, who seek to keep what they earn, and generous communitarians seeking to help the poor. Communitarians recognize that talent is randomly distributed among ... [Read More]

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Why tax hikes fall short for cliff talks

POLITICO By Edward Conard | December 12, 2012 To accelerate private-sector growth, Republicans will need all their negotiating leverage to minimize taxes on investors by maximizing spending cuts. In a world where the majority of voters garner ... [Read More]

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Warren Buffett Is Wrong About Taxes

Bloomberg By Edward Conard | December 3, 2012 The U.S. is holding a debate that is critical to its future: whether to tax, redistribute and consume income that would otherwise be invested. Warren Buffett has weighed in, supporting higher taxes ... [Read More]