Unequal representation caused problems for Britain in 1776, & will for us soon

Summary: Conservatives belittle concerns about America's increasingly unrepresentative government. Citizens in these big states have 29% the voting weight of small states in the Federal government (even slaves were weighted at 60%). Citizens in cities have less representation than those in rural areas (just as in Britain's 18th century rotten boroughs). Unequal political representation has caused serious … Continue reading Unequal representation caused problems for Britain in 1776, & will for us soon

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Warning: the income gap between races is widening in America

Summary: We begin the Trump years with generations of progress unraveling in the healing of America's racial divide, with the likelihood of further deterioration quite high. We should understand what's happening to better prepare for what's next. A new study looks at the causes of the widening income gap between black and white Americans. It … Continue reading Warning: the income gap between races is widening in America

A new study explains why people join ISIS (with unexpected answers)

Summary: Insurgencies can't be fought like conventional wars. Patton's Third Army didn't need to know what motivated the NAZIs. The nations of the Middle East cannot defeat ISIS without understanding it, while America's ignorant efforts (invading, occupying, bombing, and assassinations) have helped destabilize the region. But academics have begun to provide answers, puzzling though they … Continue reading A new study explains why people join ISIS (with unexpected answers)

Hard data from Harvard about police violence & race

Summary: At last in the long debate about police violence we have an actual analysis (rather than the amateur tallies). Professor Fryer Jr. (economics, Harvard) looks at a sample of the data and discovers some surprising news. He gives some innovative suggests for practical police reforms (i.e., possible to implement). His conclusions are essential reading … Continue reading Hard data from Harvard about police violence & race

See America’s income inequality grow during 1979-2011, a driver of Campaign 2016

Summary: To understand this election we must see the accumulated stresses which produced the insurgencies in both parties. Rising income inequality -- "the hollowing out" of the middle class and rise of the 1% -- is probably the biggest, yet still poorly understood (until recently conservatives denied it). This great study by one of our … Continue reading See America’s income inequality grow during 1979-2011, a driver of Campaign 2016

Fewer new superstar firms: another step towards secular stagnation for America

Summary: Economists are studying the mysterious multi-decade slowing of the US economy. One bright spot was rapid job growth in a few rapidly-growing young firms. A new study shows that since 2000 both the number of start-up firms and the number of those with very rapid growth has been declining. It's another step on the … Continue reading Fewer new superstar firms: another step towards secular stagnation for America

NBER: rapidly rising household debt predicts recessions. See America’s future.

Summary: Perhaps the most important frontier in microeconomics is the effect of debt on growth, especially private sector debt (government debt has different dynamics). Many economists have attempted to integrate debt levels into mainstream theory (e.g., Hyman Minsky). While so far unsuccessful, research has produced many useful insights. Here is a new study with a … Continue reading NBER: rapidly rising household debt predicts recessions. See America’s future.