Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Still Number One

Economics 10B: “Principles of Economics” topped the charts in undergraduate enrollment for the fifth consecutive spring semester, boasting 585 students as of Monday morning, according to the Registrar’s office of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences....[It] enrolls 200 more students than the next most popular course on campus.
FYI, here are this semester's guest lecturers:

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Wisdom about Bitcoin

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Industrial Organization Summer Camp

Organized by my colleagues Eric Maskin and Ariel Pakes and aimed at graduate students, information here.

History of Econ Summer Camp

Click on graphic to enlarge. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Decline in Brand Value

The University of Chicago's Allan Sanderson alerts me to this story about the Chicago real estate market:
Condos in Trump International Hotel & Tower sold for an average of $747 a square foot in 2017....That's down almost 12 percent from 2016....In the same period, prices in the downtown condo market overall rose by 2.8 percent.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Robert Barro on the Tax Bill

My colleague Robert Barro is enthusiastic about the recently passed tax bill. You can read his analysis of it here. His bottom line:
I estimate that the total tax package will create extra GDP growth of 1.1% a year through 2019. The main effect (0.8%) comes from changing the individual tax code, with the remainder from the corporate reform. Over the following eight years, the projected growth rate rises by 0.2 to 0.3 percentage point a year because of the law’s expansionary effects on long-run capital and GDP per worker.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Measuring Bias, or Reflecting Reality?

The above graphic, from today's NY Times, is intended to show bias in economics textbooks. I am not so sure that is the right interpretation.

In the world, only 4 percent of CEOs (of Fortune 500 companies) are women, so does the figure of 6 percent shown above demonstrate underrepresentation of women in textbooks or an accurate reflection of reality? Similarly, policymakers mentioned in texts are most often Presidents or Fed chairs. Historically, only one woman has been a member of this group. Economists mentioned in texts are most often important historical figures (Smith, Ricardo, Keynes) or prominent modern economists, such as Nobel laureates. Once again, 8 percent is higher than for the population being sampled.

To be sure, the role of women in society is changing, and in some circles there is some bias. But measuring the amount of bias is hard. The graphic above is not a useful gauge.

Or maybe in my next edition, I should add a discussion of Paulina Volcker's disinflation.


Update: Some twitter commentators seemed to misinterpret my cheeky last line. At the risk of being pedantic, let me explain: Textbooks reflect reality, which includes a history in which men played a larger role than women in some spheres of life. If a history professor were to write a text on the history of presidential politics, and you were to find that there were more mentions of men than women in the book, would that be evidence that the historian is biased? I don't think so. The writer has to reflect what occurred and is not free to change the gender of historical protagonists.