Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Debt miracle: Why the country that borrowed the most industrialised first

There is nothing inherently economic about picking cashews out of a bowl at a dinner party — unless you're a behavioral economist ...

ATO offered 1.5 per cent pay rise

Debt miracle: Why the country that borrowed the most industrialised first

Casey Warman and Christopher Worswick have a new and interesting NBER paper on Canadian immigrants.  Apparently even the better-educated ones are not reaping real gains from (supposedly) skill-enhancing technical change:
That is a new and important paper by Robert Z. Lawrence.  It is a little hard to excerpt, but the core messages are pretty simple:
1. Labor and capital are mostly complements.
2. The recent problems of labor are due to a lack of capital, not substitution of capital for labor.
If Lawrence is right — and he has plenty of data on his side — a lot of what you read about these topics is wrong, at least circa the status quo.  And the idea that we need stiffer taxes on capital income could be disastrously off base.  This paper is interesting throughout, yet I predict it will be largely ignored for its inconvenient nature.

eccentric bird links

Wealthy Hindu temples such as this one are repositories for much of the $1 trillion worth of privately held gold in India — about 22,000 tons, according to an estimate from the World Gold Council. In 2011, one temple in south India was found to have more than $22 billion in gold hidden away in locked rooms rumored to be filled with snakes. Another has enough gold to rival the riches stashed at the Vatican, experts say.
There is more here, the main theme of the article is that some are calling for the gold reserves to be mobilized, a running theme in economic debate since Keynes and earlier in the nineteenth century as well.

Justice for sale: Big companies could soon escape prosecution for corporate corruption - by paying their way out  

Jack Bogle Explains How the Index Fund Won With Investors CNN Money. The headline isn’t very interesting. This, from Vanguard Group founder Bogle on secondary markets, is:
Q: You’re concerned that the financial sector is too big. Why?
[BOGLE]: The job of finance is to provide capital to companies. We do it to the tune of $250 billion a year in IPOs and secondary offerings. What else do we do? We encourage investors to trade about $32 trillion a year. So the way I calculate it, 99% of what we do in this industry is people trading with one another, with a gain only to the middleman. It’s a waste of resources.
Why 99% of trading is pointlessMarketWatch. Following up on Bogle:
It’s a lot of money, $32 trillion. Nearly double the entire U.S. economy moving from one pocket to another, with a toll-taker in the middle. Most people refer to them as “stock brokers,” but let’s call them what they are — toll-takers and rent-seekers.
Eesh, it’s like these Wall Street guys have Volume III of Das Kapital on their nightstands for bedtime reading. What’s the world coming to?