Wednesday , February 19 2020
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Tag Archives: Uncategorized

The Get Brexit Done lot want cheerful soldiers not Philosopher King technocrats

Much has been made of the appalling spectacle of the cabinet participating in a Q and A chant with Boris Johnson.  The video circulating can be taken to be a homage to those of the Trump cabinet, featuring supplicants offering praise. Conventionally, UK cabinet members are supposed to be the equals to the PM’s  ‘first among equals’.  Heavyweight minds negotiating policy solutions and probing their costs and benefits ceaselessly. But the video is not meant to be a mini-documentary...

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The price and weight of a bar of gold : Raise the bar at the St. Louis Fed’s Economy Museum

[embedded content] The U.S. Mint is missing one gold bar. No. This isn’t the plot of a National Treasure sequel. It’s the latest addition to the St. Louis Fed’s Economy Museum: a 9.75” long, 1.5” tall bar of gold on loan from the Mint. Because the bar is 99.999% pure gold, it weighs 28 pounds! So, how much does a 28-pound gold bar cost? Let’s use FRED data to figure out the price of this bar, which is on display, coincidentally, right across from the museum’s FRED exhibit. Although some...

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What’s the state of your air quality? : State-level CO2 emissions

View on GeoFRED® Many data series in FRED are versatile enough to be viewed in different ways. We’ve offered two perspectives so far on CO2 emissions at the national level. Today, we offer another perspective—emissions at the state level—thanks to GeoFRED. The map above shows total emissions for each continental U.S. state. These numbers depend on the number of residents, types of economic activity, and types of fuel used. So it’s no surprise that the most populous states are the ones...

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Power? No thanks, I’m a decently paid and fulfilled megaphone

If you were designing a marketplace for ideas for policies to solve social problems, one thing you might hope is that it would incentivize people actually to take power and do things.  Only by doing things in government do problems get solved and lives altered. If you are of a particular persuasion, the failure of the Labour Party to orient itself to obtaining power is remarkable.  A demonstration that the marketplace rules are not providing the right incentives. But perhaps there is...

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A failing marketplace for ideas and policies: parties, party governance and FPTP

The UK system for marketing ideas for policy has failed us.  My own ‘centrist Dad’ brand of economics and politics no doubt colours this view.  But I think even if you do not subscribe to that kind of politics it’s possible to discern failures in the process.  A lot of this was prompted by a conversatoin with an old friend who, given his job, I can’t credit here. Both major parties departed in pretty serious ways from recognisably sound economics, and, in the case of the Tories,...

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No blogging. Too much Twitter.

Apologies for the lack of posting on this blog.  Or perhaps you are relieved.  Most of my blog like thoughts seem to have migrated onto Twitter. This may or not be a good thing.  I don’t think I am alone, as several authors have Tweeted or written columns on proper websites about the decline of the blog. Is this the honing of thoughts into ever neater kernels, forced by the benevolent market place of ideas?   Or the slow corrosion of attention spans and mental health as Brexit and...

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Data fluctuations from Manic Monday to Freaky Friday : FRED tracks weekdays per month, quarter, and year

[embedded content] High-frequency data can include seasonal factors that affect economic activity. The timing of federal and local holidays changes each year, and weekends can fall all over the place in any given month. So not every period has the same number of business days. FRED now has data to help you sort that out. Although it doesn’t account for holidays, the graph above shows the number of weekdays in a month. The data come from a release on domestic auto and truck production...

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Central banking since 1701 : Three centuries of Bank of England asset data

[embedded content] The British have a history of recording excellent historical data, and we’ve already written a few related posts. Today we look at central bank assets for the Bank of England, founded in 1694. The graph above shows the assets as a share of GDP since 1701, which is a remarkable timeline, especially because it requires estimates of GDP from before the American Revolutionary War not to mention the Battle of Culloden! This FRED graph shows us that assets in the 18th...

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CO2 in the air: How does it get there? : CO2 emissions by fuel type and sector

[embedded content] In a previous post, we looked at carbon emissions by fuel type broken down by different economic sectors. Today, we slice the data another way: We look at each economic sector and break down their emissions by fuel type. The first graph shows that the big emitters are transportation, electric power generation, and industry. Overall emissions have tended to decline, mostly thanks to a decline from power generation. [embedded content] The next graph shows the commercial...

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Have you heard the news? News can affect markets : The effects of economic news on expectations of future financial performance

[embedded content] FRED’s all about data, which economists often use to conduct or test their research. So let’s look at some of that research… In a recent St. Louis Fed working paper, economists Maximiliano Dvorkin, Juan M. Sanchez, Horacio Sapriza, and Emircan Yurdagul study how the arrival of news affects emerging markets. They use a logic from a 2006 paper by Beaudry and Portier to identify news events—aka “shocks.” The idea is to compare a financial index that captures the expected...

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