Fervo Energy is building a commercial geothermal facility that will power 300,000 Utah homes; the firm has started permitting on another half dozen facilities.
In a landmark step for enhanced geothermal technology’s potential as a dependable carbon-free energy source, startup Fervo Energy has wrapped up a full-scale, 30-day well test at its Project Red site in northern Nevada, which was able to generate 3.5 megawatts of electricity. (One megawatt can power roughly 750 homes at once.) Project Red will connect to the grid later this year and power Google's data centers and infrastructure throughout Nevada. With the demo complete, Fervo is attempting to repeat its success at its southwest Utah site, which is currently under construction. With design improvements maximizing power output as expected, the Utah site is predicted to deliver about 400 megawatts by 2028, roughly enough electricity to power 300,000 homes at once. Related: This Geothermal Startup Showed Its Wells Can Be Used Like a Giant Underground Battery
California’s Department of Finance forecast the state’s population will be smaller in 2060 than it was in 2020.
More than a century of long-term population growth in California could be over, according to new projections that show the state will have about the same number of people in 2060 as it does now. The California Department of Finance predicts that there’ll be 39.5 million people in the state by 2060. Just three years ago, forecasters were expecting the number to be 45 million — and a decade ago, the population was seen surging to almost 53 million. If there’s a bright spot in the forecast, the state is at least expected to recoup its pandemic population decline in the coming years — returning to its 2020 population level in the 2030s, before peaking in 2044. Related: Taxes, Revenues, and Net Migration In California and The Population of California Declined, Again
The American semiconductor industry trade association reports the industry is facing a likely shortfall of 60% of the 115,000 new positions they will need through 2030. @markets
Chipmakers are on course to add about 115,000 jobs by 2030 [according to] Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). Based on a study of current degree completion rates, though, about 58% of those projected positions could remain unfilled. Not enough Americans are studying science, engineering, math and technology-related subjects, according to the SIA. And people from other countries who are acquiring those skills are leaving, the group said. At US colleges and universities, more than 50% of master’s engineering graduates and 60% of those with a Ph.D. in engineering are citizens of other countries. About 80% of those master’s graduates and 25% of those who earn doctorates depart the US — either by choice or because immigration policy doesn’t allow them to stay. Related: The Extreme Shortage of High IQ Workers and TSMC To Send Hundreds More Workers To Speed U.S. Plant Construction
After adjusting for population aging, the employment-to-population ratio is within .1% of its Feb 2020 level and labor force participation ratio is at its highest level since 2001. @ernietedeschi
The employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) has returned to its age (and gender)-adjusted prepandemic trend. The labor force participation rate (LFPR) age-adjusted in June 2023 was consistent with rates last seen in 2001. When looking over extended periods of time, labor market indicators should be age-adjusted to distinguish between secular demographic trends versus other cyclical economic effects. Second, after accounting for demographic shifts in labor supply and demand, the current U.S. labor market is unusually strong from a historical perspective, posting elevated and even record measures of participation and employment. Related: Unions’ Inflation Warning?
The rapid rise of China and South Korea’s household debt to GDP ratio has strong parallels to EU and North American real-estate boom-bust cycles in 2007. @profsufi
The Chinese and Korean booms are comparable with the booms that occurred in the United States and United Kingdom from 2001 to 2007. [Going forward] in both countries, consumer spending could be quite weak. This is an especially pronounced problem in Korea, where the debt service ratio has risen substantially and is now at an exceptionally high level. A rise in the debt service ratio during a household debt boom portends slower growth in the historical data, and Korea appears likely to follow that historical pattern. The allocation of production to real estate and construction activities over the past decade in China is historically unprecedented. It is difficult to imagine that the rate of activity in the real estate sector is sustainable, and it is difficult to see what sectors can take up the production slack if there is a continued decline in real estate activity. Related: Can China’s Long-Term Growth Rate Exceed 2–3 Percent?
Since 2019, adjusted for PPP and inflation, wages are down 3% in Germany, 3.5% in Italy and Spain, and 6% in Greece. Over that same period, US wages were up 6%.
The eurozone economy grew about 6% over the past 15 years, measured in dollars, compared with 82% for the U.S., according to International Monetary Fund data. That has left the average EU country poorer per head than every U.S. state except Idaho and Mississippi. Private consumption has declined by about 1% in the 20-nation eurozone since the end of 2019 after adjusting for inflation. In the U.S., where households enjoy a strong labor market and rising incomes, it has increased by nearly 9%. The European Union now accounts for about 18% of all global consumption spending, compared with 28% for America. Fifteen years ago, the EU and the U.S. each represented about a quarter of that total. Related: From Strength To Strength and The Economics Of Inequality In High-Wage Economies
Money market funds are once again the marginal buyer of Treasuries. The replenishment of the Treasury General Account allows further quantitative tightening. @FedGuy12
The return of money funds as major investors in bills provides a mechanism where banking system reserves can be replenished and removes a significant obstacle to QT. While the recent bout of bill issuance was largely used to replenish the Treasury General Account (TGA), future bill issuance will be used to finance ongoing government spending. This means that money will flow out of the RRP, into the TGA, and then be spent into the banking system through fiscal spending. Bank reserves can remain abundant for an extended period of time, and net deposit outflows will be smaller than expected. QT can continue for the expected two more years given that bank reserves are likely to remain abundant. Related: Probing LCLoR and How Was the U.S. Current Account Deficit Financed In 2022?
The S&P 500 equity risk premium fell back to 5% at the start of July, roughly the mean value since 2008. @AswathDamodaran
The S&P has had a strong first half of 2023, increasing 15.91%, the NASDAQ has delivered almost twice that return, with its tech focus.After a year for the record books, in 2022, when the expected return on stocks (the cost of equity) increased from 5.75% to 9.82%, the largest one-year increase in that number in history, we have had not just a more subdued year in 2023, but one where the expected return has come back down to 8.81%. In the process, the implied equity risk premium, which peaked at 5.94% on January 1, 2023, is back down to 5% at the start of July 2023. Even after that drop, equity risk premiums are still at roughly the average value since 2008. If the essence of a bubble is that equity risk premiums become "too low", the numbers, at least for the moment, don't seem to be signaling a bubble. Related: Data Update 2 for 2023: A Rocky Year for Equities
Michael Cembalest @jpmorgan notes the 2020/20221 IPO class has performed extremely poorly relative to the overall equity market. IPO returns since 2010 were highly skewed; if the top 5% were removed, returns were strongly negative vs the market.
Since 40%-60% of IPOs generate negative returns even in good times, their value proposition is whether a small subset of winners offsets all the losers. A highly skewed investment universe is characterized by average returns that are much higher than median. As shown below, IPOs are an example of that; in many years, average net returns were positive while median net returns were close to zero. But these positive average returns are highly skewed: look how quickly they decline when excluding the best 3%, 5%, and 7% of IPOs. Even when only excluding the top 3%, average net returns become negative, and average absolute returns fall by more than half. In other words, long-term IPO survival odds are low and skewed to a small number of mega-winners.
.@joshrauh & Gregory Kearney of @HooverInst argue academic research suffers from a feedback loop that encourages economists to produce left-leaning research to achieve widespread coverage in the mainstream media.
Social sciences researchers hoping to become public influencers have one clear path: through the mainstream media. Unfortunately, journalists aren’t unbiased arbiters. For more than a decade, the media has praised economists Saez, Zucman and Piketty. Their data purport to show the income share of the top 1% of [US] earners climbed to 21% in 2019 from 9% in 1970. In a recent paper that has received far less attention, Auten of the U.S. Treasury and Splinter of Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation find the income share of the top 1% climbed to 13.7% in 2019 from 9.2% in 1970. and, incorporating increases in redistributive government policy, the income share of the top 1% only increased to 8.8% in 2019 from 6.8% in 1970. In 2017, [Harvard’s Raj Chetty] published findings that U.S. trends in the likelihood of children achieving a higher income status than their parents has grown progressively worse, a point that received intense media coverage. Research published by Scott Winship of the American Enterprise Institute shows the fall in mobility was a direct consequence, not of inequality, but of slowing economic growth that began in the 1970s. Journalists’ propensity to ignore research that refutes their beliefs encourages academics to pander to the liberal tilt of mainstream news organizations, leading to the general public’s misunderstanding of important policy issues.
George Borjas finds that a 1981 French program giving legal status to undocumented workers who represented about 1% of all workers resulted in increased employment and wages for low-skill native and immigrant men and raised GDP 1%.
This paper documents the economic consequences of a large amnesty program implemented in France. In July 1981, the newly elected government of President François Mitterrand proposed to regularize all undocumented workers. The regularized workers were predominantly male, low-skill, and lived disproportionately in the Paris region. The regularized immigrants composed 2.0% of workers in Paris and nearly 1% of all workers in France. In short, by reducing monopsony power in the undocumented labor market, a regularization program improves labor market efficiency and can generate a substantial increase in output, a “regularization surplus.” Our empirical analysis of employment, wage, and output data in the French labor market confirms that the regularization program indeed had positive effects on the employment and wages of many groups, and particularly for male, low-skill workers. Moreover, there was a sizable jump in the growth rate of per-capita GDP in the affected region, suggesting an increase in total French GDP of around 1%. Related: Immigration to Drive All US Population Growth Within Two Decades and Immigrants & Their Kids Were 70% of U.S. Labor Force Growth Since 1995
.@_seulakim documents the importance of the 50 largest US firms in generating novel patents that combine technical components in new ways.
The share of mega firms in novel patent applications had been declining for almost two decades but there has been a turnaround since the early-mid 2000s. By the mid-2010s, the share of mega-firms was the highest since 1980 when our sample starts. We show that mega firms are more likely to apply for novel patents even after controlling for various firm characteristics including size, industry, and the total number of patents. This finding also holds within firms––firms produce more novel patents than before as they become mega firms. This suggests that closing on market leadership is associated with more, not less new combinations. We also examine the opposite side of the spectrum, the not-yet-public VC-backed startups, and find that those also play a disproportionately large role in generating novel patents, especially “hit” novel patents, so that successful novel patents appear to be produced in a bi-modal pattern, both by super large mega firms and relatively small startups. Related: The Economics of Inequality in High-Wage Economies and Where Have All the "Creative Talents" Gone? Employment Dynamics of US Inventors
In 27 years, people aged 65+ will make up 40% of the population in some parts of East Asia and Europe, almost 2X the share of 65+ adults currently living in FL.
In East Asia and Europe, extraordinary numbers of retirees will be dependent on a shrinking number of working-age people to support them. Not only are Asian countries aging much faster, but some are also becoming old before they become rich. While Japan, South Korea, and Singapore have relatively high income levels, China reached its peak working-age population at 20 percent the income level that the United States had at the same point. Vietnam reached the same peak at 14 percent the same level. Slightly higher fertility rates and more immigration mean the United States and Australia, for example, will be younger than most other rich countries in 2050. In both the United States and Australia, just under 24 percent of the population is projected to be 65 or older in 2050, according to U.N. projections — far higher than today, but lower than in most of Europe and East Asia, which will top 30 percent. Related: The Forever Labour Shortage and Fully Grown - European Vacation!
.@wilson_daniel_j @sffed argues that rising temperatures between now and 2050 will drive a shift in population and employment away from the Sunbelt and toward the North and Mountain West.
The link between extreme heat and population growth was strongly positive in the 1980s. That relationship weakened substantially over the subsequent two decades and vanished entirely over 2010-2020. The projections for the decades ahead show a continuation of this pivot. “Hot” climate counties have gotten considerably hotter - to a point where they are no longer as tolerable. The 90th percentile county over 1951-1980 averaged about 62 days per year of daily average temperatures above 80◦F. That number grew to 72 days from 1991-2020. The projected climate changes are predicted to cause a general shifting of population from the Southeast and parts of the Southwest to the North, the Mountain West, and most of the Pacific coastline. Related: Sunbelt Cities Nashville and Austin Are Nation’s Hottest Job Markets and Young Families Have Not Returned to Large Cities Post-Pandemic
Excess deaths in the United States have returned to pre-pandemic levels. According to the CDC, the weekly excess death level is less than 1%. @DLeonhardt
The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal. During Covid’s worst phases, the total number of Americans dying each day was more than 30% higher than normal, a shocking increase. For long stretches of the past three years, the excess was above 10%. But during the past few months, excess deaths have fallen almost to zero, according to three different measures. The Human Mortality Database estimates that slightly fewer Americans than normal have died since March, while The Economist magazine and the Center for Disease Control both put the excess-death number below 1% percent. Related: Our Model Suggests That Global Deaths Remain 5% Above Pre-Covid Forecasts
Peder Beck-Friis and Richard Clarida @PIMCO argue that fiscal policy has been a key driver of the current temporary inflationary episode, consistent with @JohnHCochrane fiscal theory of the price level.
In advanced economies, there’s a significant positive relationship between core inflation and sovereign debt growth since the start of the pandemic. The fiscal expansions delivered this decade will likely lead to price levels adjusting permanently higher. But this is not the same thing as permanently higher inflation: Our base case is that as temporary pandemic-related deficits gradually normalize, inflation is likely to diminish – and today’s restrictive monetary policies aim to accelerate this process. And unlike in the 1970s, monetary policy credibility appears intact, with medium-term inflation expectations still anchored around central bank targets. Related: The Second Great Experiment Update, Inflation and Debt Across Countries and Waining Inflation, Supply and Demand
.@FedGuy12 argues slowing employment growth is consistent with an American economy that is at full employment and running out of workers. This works against Fed aims, as higher wages are needed to attract marginal workers into the labor force.
The pandemic was a significant negative labor supply shock because it led to a wave of early retirements. This sudden labor shortage led to a spike in wages, which appeared to draw in people who were otherwise not looking for a job. The prime-age labor force participation rate has risen to multi-year highs and is not too far from all-time highs last seen in the 1990s. This suggests that there is very little slack in the labor market and additional workers will be increasingly difficult and expensive to find. While that shock has been digested, workers continue to retire and place increasing demand on a stagnant worker pool. In this scenario, moderating employment growth reflects labor scarcity and would be accompanied by reacceleration of wages similar to that seen in the most recent non-farm payroll report. Related: “The Great Retirement Boom”: The Pandemic-Era Surge in Retirements and Implications for Future Labor Force Participation and Unions’ Inflation Warning?
.@M_C_Klein notes that robust nominal wage growth is not consistent with inflation returning to target.
The main reason to worry is that nominal wages have consistently been rising about 5%-6% a year since last summer. The drop in the share of workers quitting their jobs for better opportunities elsewhere and the declining wage premium for workers switching jobs do not seem to be having an impact (yet). Regardless of what I want to happen, the experience of the past three years makes me reluctant to conclude that something fundamental has changed after only a few months of somewhat encouraging data. Broad price inflation cannot remain disconnected from nominal income growth by very much over any meaningful time horizon. At this point, the hope is that the current bout of disinflation buys time for wage growth to (somehow) slow down on its own without the need for any active measures to hurt the economy. The alternative does not seem to be priced in. Related: Furman On CPI Report
.@JohnHCochrane argues that current conditions of trillion-dollar deficits with 3.6% unemployment are not consistent with a persistent decline in inflation.
There was a big expansion in M2 before the US inflation. Monetarists took a victory lap. M2 has since fallen a lot. There is not much correlation between monetary expansion and inflation across countries, however. The slope of the regression also clearly depends on one or two points. Money or debt, which is it? When governments print money to finance deficits (or interest-bearing reserves), fiscal theory and monetary theory agree, there is inflation. Printing money (helicopters) is perhaps particularly powerful, as debt carries a reputation and tradition of repayment, which money may not carry. A core issue separating monetary and fiscal theory is whether a big monetary expansion without deficits or other fiscal news would have any effects. Would a $5 trillion QE (buy bonds, issue money) with no deficit have had the same inflationary impact? Monetarists, yes; fiscalists, no. Related: The Second Great Experiment Update,Waining Inflation, Supply and Demand and Fiscal Arithmetic and the Global Inflation Outlook
.@martinwolf_ suggests that the G7 is losing relevance as its share of global GDP declines. He notes that China is a larger trade partner than the G7 for many emerging markets.
Moreover, both the “unipolar” moment of the US and the economic dominance of the G7 are history. True, the latter is still the most powerful and cohesive economic bloc in the world. It continues, for example, to produce all the world’s leading reserve currencies. Yet, between 2000 and 2023, its share in global output (at purchasing power) will have fallen from 44 to 30 percent, while that of all high-income countries will have fallen from 57 to 41 percent. Meanwhile, China’s share will have risen from 7 to 19 percent. For some emerging and developing countries, China is a more important economic partner than the G7: Brazil is one example. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva may have attended the G7, but he cannot sensibly ignore China’s heft.
In an analysis of the 2022 midterms using voter file data, @Catalist_US finds younger voters exceeded their 2018 turnout by 6% with 65% of voters 18-29 supporting Democrats.
Gen Z and Millennial voters had exceptional levels of turnout, with young voters in heavily contested states exceeding their 2018 turnout by 6% among those who were eligible in both elections. Further, 65% of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 supported Democrats, cementing their role as a key part of a winning coalition for the party. While young voters were historically evenly split between the parties, they are increasingly voting for Democrats. Many young voters who showed up in 2018 and 2020 to elect Democrats continued to do the same in 2022. Extreme “MAGA” Republicans underperformed. Across heavily contested Senate, Gubernatorial, and Congressional races, voters penalized “MAGA” Republicans. Women voters pushed Democrats over the top in heavily contested races, where abortion rights were often their top issue.
.@iamstevenpedigo and @NateMJensen write that the CHIPS Act, which requires state and local subsidies to access federal dollars, has thus far been gamed by corporations to the detriment of state and local governments.
Offering tax breaks and other incentives to corporations has been proved to be one of the least effective ways for localities and states to grow their economies. State audits and independent evaluations of these programs found poor targeting of incentives, weak oversight and excessive costs that harmed rather than benefited local governments. The CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act are threatening to give [unproductive tax incentives] an enormous infusion of steroids. Micron chose to build in upstate New York [after] the state offered a staggering $5.5 billion in tax credits over the life of the project … costing local and state governments upward of $95 million annually, far more than they are likely to gain from hosting the new facilities. In February, Ford agreed to build its new electric vehicle plant in Michigan, but only after extracting a promise of as much $1.75 billion in state and local incentives...enough money to pay all the new workers’ salaries for around 15 years.
The American labor force grew by 32.8M workers between 1995-2022, and 70% of that growth consisted of immigrants or children of immigrants. Immigrants and their children are 29% of the total American workforce.
From 1995 to 2022, the U.S. labor force increased from nearly 131.6 million workers to over 164.3 million—an increase of nearly 32.8 million workers: 16.1 million of that increase came from immigrant workers (49%) and 6.7 million were children of immigrants (21%), according to data from the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Just 9.9 million were U.S.-born citizens without a foreign‐born parent. The actual effect of cutting off all immigration would have been even greater since the working immigrant population would have declined without more immigration by about 4.5 million. Immigrants have increased from about 10% of the U.S. labor force in 1995 to 18% in 2022, and immigrants and their children have gone from 18% to 29%.
According to an @TheEconomist analysis, Europe has significantly more economic exposure to China than the US. 8% of public European firms’ revenues are from China relative to 4% for American firms.
Europe is more economically exposed to China than America is. Some 8% of publicly-listed European firms’ revenues are from China, compared with 4% for American ones, according to Morgan Stanley. Europe and America send a similar share of goods exports to China (7-9%), but because Europe is a more trade-intensive economy its sensitivity is higher. Multinational investments in China are worth 2% of Europe’s GDP compared with 1% for America. We have come up with a yardstick of “total China exposure,. We measure each country’s exposure as a share of its own economy. The European big six’s total China exposure has hit 5.6% of their combined GDP, up from 3.9% in 2011. That is higher than America’s at 4.2%. There is a big range: Italy and Spain are at just 1-2%, France and Britain are at 4-5%. Germany is a huge outlier at 9.9%.
From 2019-2022 students in the mean school district fell half a year behind in math and a third of a year behind in reading. The learning losses were more significant in poorer school districts.
According to our calculations, the average student was half a year behind in math and a third of a year behind in reading. In 2019, the typical student in the poorest 10 percent of districts scored one and a half years behind the national average for his or her year – and almost four years behind students in the richest 10 percent of districts – in both math and reading. By 2022, the typical student in the poorest districts had lost three-quarters of a year in math, more than double the decline of students in the richest districts. The declines in reading scores were half as large as in math and were similarly much larger in poor districts than rich districts. The pandemic left students in low-income and predominantly minority communities even further behind their peers in richer, whiter districts than they were.
Gun homicides in the US are being driven not by an increase in gun ownership but a decline in local trust levels. @jburnmurdoch
Levels of trust in the US have been eroding for decades and the share of Americans who say they do not trust other people in their neighbourhood is now roughly double what you would expect based on US socio-economic development. Few appreciate that at country and state level, the statistical relationship between gun availability and gun deaths is driven almost entirely by suicides. The more people who have access to guns, the more who use them to take their own lives. And since the vast majority of all gun deaths are suicides, this dynamic dominates the overall guns-deaths link. Look only at gun homicides instead, and the link with the number of guns is much weaker, whether the unit of analysis is different countries or US states. But add in interpersonal trust as well as gun ownership, and the relationship returns. In other words, it’s the interplay between guns and fear that sends homicide rates climbing.
Using evidence from two large retailers @RDMetcalfe @ASollaci @ChadSyverson find that individual managers, outside of firm-wide management practices, explain 25-35% of variance in store level productivity.
Overall, managers explain between 25 and 35% of the variance of store-level productivity, which is about 50-70% of the explanatory power of store fixed effects. In the four largest connected sets across both companies, moving a manager from the 10th percentile to the 90th percentile increases overall productivity by between 22% and 82%. On average, this implies an effect on output equivalent to adding a fifth employee to a team of four. We estimate that replacing a manager at the bottom of the distribution by one at the top could increase a store’s productivity by at least 50%, and perhaps as much as doubling it, depending on the company and the relevant connected set.
Enrico Moretti and @wilson_daniel_j find 35% of billionaires leave states that have an estate tax. However, for the average state the additional revenues from an estate tax exceed the loss of revenues from forgone income taxes by 31 percent.
We find that billionaires responded strongly to geographical differences in estate taxes by increasingly moving to states without estate taxes, especially as they grew older. Our estimated elasticity implies that $80.7 billion of 2001 Forbes 400 wealth escaped estate taxation in the subsequent years due to billionaires moving away from estate tax states. Yet despite the high elasticity of geographical location with respect to the estate tax, we find that for most states the benefit of additional revenue from the estate tax exceeds the cost of forgone income tax revenue by a significant margin. Adoption of an estate tax implies a one-time tax revenue gain for the state when a resident billionaire dies, but it also reduces its billionaire population and thus their flow of income tax revenue over remaining lifetimes. For the average state the benefit of additional revenue from the estate tax exceeds the cost of forgone income tax revenue by 31 percent. While the cost-benefit ratio varies substantially across states, most states that currently do not have estate taxes would experience revenue gains if they adopted estate taxes. California, which has the highest personal income top tax rate, is the main exception In California, the cost-benefit ratio is 1.45, indicating that if California adopted the estate tax on billionaires, the state would lose revenues by a significant margin. (Currently, California does not have an estate tax.)
A new @NBERpubs paper shows that parents’ comparative skill advantage in math (vs. language) is significantly linked to the comparative skill advantage of their children. @EricHanushek @SimonWiederhold
Our analysis shows that comparative skill advantages are transferred across generations: Parents who were relatively better at math (vs. language) in childhood are more likely to have children with a similar comparative skill advantage in math. We also find that parents’ comparative skill advantage is a strong predictor of their own STEM choices and those of their children. The new Intergenerational Transmission of Skills (ITS) database that we develop permits matching skills of Dutch parents and children derived from similar tests taken at similar ages. We measure comparative skill advantage as the ordinal difference between math and language skills in the parent and child generation, respectively, each assessed by the percentile position in the nationwide skill distribution. We find that parents with a comparative advantage in math skills are significantly more likely to have children with a similar math skill advantage.
Real hourly earnings for the bottom 10% earners rose by 6.4% between January 2020 and September 2022. Real hourly earnings for the top 10% and median earners were down in real terms.
America’s lowest-earning workers are enjoying higher wage growth than top earners, after taking into account the effects of the recent bout of high inflation. Since 2020, real wages for the bottom 10 percent of the workforce have returned to their pre-pandemic level. In contrast, top earners and those on average incomes have taken a substantial hit once the effect of price growth is taken into account. Real hourly earnings for the lowest earners rose by 6.4 percent between January 2020 and September 2022.
New research shows that a major increase in federal student loan funding that started in 2006 had the effect of dramatically increasing tuition without improving either inclusion or the future earnings of graduates. @JeffDenning @Econ_Sandy @AEI
In 2006, the federal government essentially uncapped student borrowing for graduate programs with the introduction of the Graduate PLUS loan program. We find that access to additional federal loans increased previously constrained students’ borrowing and shifted the composition of their loans from private to federal debt. However, the increase in borrowing limits had no effect on graduate student enrollment or the racial and gender composition of entering graduate students. We find little evidence of short or longer-run effects on the human capital accumulation of students who were or would have been constrained by federal borrowing limits in the absence of Grad PLUS, even though cumulative debt significantly increased for these students when they gained access to Grad PLUS loans. This suggests that access to additional liquidity did not constrain graduate student borrowers’ human capital investments prior to the implementation of Grad PLUS. We also find little evidence of an impact on later earnings, consistent with no change in human capital accumulation. Where we do see effects ison program prices. Grad PLUS-driven increases in federal student loans significantly increased program prices.
.@TaxFoundation analysis finds that for every dollar earned by the lowest quintile of American households, they receive an additional $1.27 from the government. @tevermeer @ericadyork @alex_durante_ @JaredWalczak
The U.S. system of taxes and transfers is highly progressive. The lowest quintile experienced a combined tax and transfer rate of negative 127.0 percent, meaning that for each dollar they earned, they received an additional $1.27 from the government, netting transfers (gains) and taxes (losses), while the top quintile had a rate of positive 30.7 percent, meaning on net they paid just under $0.31 for every dollar earned. The top quintile funded 90.1 percent, or $1.6 trillion, of all government transfers in 2019. For each dollar of taxes paid, the top quintile received $0.11 in gross government transfers. Government transfers account for 59 percent of the bottom quintile’s comprehensive income. For each dollar of taxes paid by the bottom quintile, they received $6.17 in gross government transfers.
John Fernald @sffed argues that slower total factor productivity growth is likely not a function of the business cycle or scarring due to the crisis, as growth slowed in advance of 2008 across advanced economies.
TFP is the main factor accounting for differences in labor productivity growth across countries and over time. Since the mid-2000s, TFP growth has been lackluster across the large economies we analyze here. At the level of the market economy, productivity slowed because the productivity frontier (the U.S.) slowed, with similar slowdowns elsewhere. At a more disaggregated level, the frontier economy is sometimes different, but the pattern of slow TFP growth since the mid-2000s is evident in both manufacturing and market services. Qualitatively as well as statistically, the evidence suggests that, following that mid-1990s pickup, U.S. TFP growth slowed before the Great Recession.
Nicholas Eberstadt and Peter Van Ness @AEIecon find significant variation in labor force participation across metropolitan areas. Notably, they find no correlation between local LFP and the change in manufacturing jobs’ share of employment since 2000.
For many years, a stylized fact floating in the economic policy ether (on both the left and the right) has been the now widely accepted notion that deindustrialization has driven down post-war LFPRs for American men. The figure above squarely challenges that assumption. Less ephemerally, careful studies by David Autor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his colleagues have detailed the devastating impact of the "China shock" — the shift in worldwide trade patterns that followed China's accession into the World Trade Organization in 2001 — on the U.S. manufacturing sector. That immediate shock was, alas, very real, but our chart suggests it was also temporary. This figure, we believe, should be taken as an invitation to reexamine a matter many scholars and policymakers consider settled.
A Spanish antipoverty program that gave recipients a cash transfer equivalent to almost 50% of the national minimum wage had strong negative labor market effects, with primary recipients 20% less likely to work relative to the control group. @iza_bonn
In this paper, we studied the employment effects of an antipoverty program that does not include any such conditions. The two-year program, implemented in Barcelona (Spain), consisted of a monthly cash transfer to households with income below the subsistence level. The benefit level depended on the household income, size, and composition. On average, households received roughly e500 ($792 PPP) per month, equivalent to nearly 50 percent of the national minimum wage. Although the benefit was household-based, transfers were made to the account of a designated household member, the main recipient. Our findings for overall impacts can be summarized in four parts. First, we find strong evidence for sizeable negative labor supply effects. After two years, households assigned to the cash transfer were 14 percent less likely to have at least one member working compared to households assigned to the control group; main recipients were 20 percent less likely to work. Second, negative employment effects persisted until at least six months after the last payment. Third, we find tentative evidence that effects are mainly driven by households with care responsibilities. Fourth, there is no evidence of effects on social participation and education-related activities.
.@mtkonczal updates @Mark_J_Perry price changes graph and argues the implication isn’t government regulation drives price shifts but that goods have deflated and services have inflated.
In our version of the AEI chart the number one item isn’t health care but ‘delivery services,’ which is “fees for delivery of items such as letters, documents, and packages at non-US Postal Services facilities.” Think UPS or FedEx. This is pretty far from a government monopoly, indeed it’s the private sector alternative to a government program. But it is services and it is labor intensive. The biggest thing, to me, isn’t “regulations” but whether it’s a service or a good. This is academically well known, check out The Missing Inflation Puzzle: The Role of the Wage-Price Pass-Through, which finds that the low inflation of pre-pandemic era “can be traced to a growing disconnect between unemployment and core goods inflation” and that “increased import competition and rising market concentration reduce pass-through from wages to prices” when it comes to goods.
.@paulkrugman argues that higher marginal taxes rates won’t be enough to close the long-run fiscal gap. “We’ll eventually have to raise taxes, at least somewhat, on people making less than $400,000.”
Very high marginal tax rates create problematic incentives. Conservatives emphasize how taxes reduce the incentive to work and create wealth; this effect is surely overrated, but it does exist. More important, high tax rates encourage extraordinary efforts to avoid taxes (which is legal) or evade them (which isn’t). Estimates of the revenue-maximizing top tax rate tend to be in the range of 70 percent to 80 percent, well above the federal maximum of 37 percent — but bear in mind that many high earners also face state and local taxes that raise their effective marginal rate to something like 50 percent. So, the amount of additional revenue we can raise from taxing the rich, while substantial, is considerably less than their remaining untaxed income.
Robert Hall argues that a substantial rise in the volatility of costs can free the prices of a significant fraction of goods and services prices from the grip of New Keynesian “zone of inaction.” @NBERpubs
The basic idea of this paper is that a substantial rise in the volatility of costs and other determinants of prices can completely free the prices of a significant fraction of goods and services from the grip of New Keynesian stickiness, when the volatility of cost rises. There is a critical configuration of the model such that at lower values of the of the cost volatility, the price is a constant over time—resetting never occurs, except possibly to bring the price into the zone of indifference at the beginning of time. The surprising implication of this investigation is that an increase in the volatility of cost that leaves the average level of cost unchanged can trigger a near collapse of price stickiness. The next section of the paper presents an empirical analysis demonstrating a large increase in cost volatility around the time of a burst of inflation during and after the pandemic, followed by a reversal.
Persistently loose monetary policies are associated with financial crises. A 1pp lower mean in a five-year window increases the probability of a financial crisis in the next 5 to 7 years by 5.5pp and by 15.5 in the following 7-9 years. @MSchularick @sffed
We are the first to show that, as a causal matter, a loose stance has strong implications for medium-term financial instability. The sample consists of 18 advanced economies over the period from 1870 until 2020. Since the unconditional probability of experiencing a crisis in a 3-year window is 10.5%, these effects are big. Moreover, these results are robust to alternative measures of stance and alternative definitions of financial stability. Lower interest rates in general and loose monetary policy in particular imply, ceteris paribus, higher asset valuations. This opens the door for collateral-driven credit booms. Such credit and asset price booms, in turn, have been identified by the literature as harbingers of financial turmoil.