Why is Corruption More Prominent in Some Countries Than Others?

Corruption is widely acknowledged to be a serious problem in many countries. Ukraine has experienced a series of corrupt governments, and revulsion against widespread corruption is one factor that brought about the ouster of the Yanukovych administration last February (Poroshenko). Chinese officials have recently acknowledged corruption to be a serious problem.  Extreme levels of corruption […]

Universal Basic Income vs. Unemployment Insurance: Which is the Better Safety Net?

A universal basic income (UBI) and unemployment insurance (UI) are two possible forms of social insurance for an economy in which job loss is a significant risk. Which works better? How generous should either program be? Would a combination of the two be best of all? These are the questions that Alice Fabre, Stéphane Pallage, […]

Fed Watch: Forward Guidance Heading for a Change

The lackluster August employment report clearly defied expectations (including my own) for a strong number to round out the generally positive pattern of recent data.  That said, one number does not make a trend, and the monthly change in nonfarm payrolls is notoriously volatile.  The underlying pattern of improvement remains in tact, and thus the […]

Income Distribution: Equal Opportunity vs. Equal Results

Income distribution has become less equal in many countries in recent decades, and prominent economists and politicians have advocated policies that would reverse the change in inequality. Some advocates of greater equality have acknowledged a trade-off between greater equality and higher total income. However, Paul Krugman (2014) and Alan Blinder (2014) have recently denied that […]

A Universal Basic Income and Work Incentives. Part 1: Theory

Everywhere you look, it seems, people are talking about a Universal Basic Income (UBI)—a monthly cash benefit paid to every citizen that would replace the existing means-tested welfare system. Supporters maintain that a UBI would not only provide income support to people in need, but would also increase work incentives. That is because, unlike the […]

Krugman vs. the Libertarians on Phosphorus and Freedom

Paul Krugman is at it again with a stunningly ignorant NYT op-ed on libertarians and the environment, “Phosphorus and Freedom.” As the author of a book on the libertarian perspective on environmental policy, I would like to respond. Phosphorus comes into the picture in the form of agricultural runoff that pollutes Lake Erie, recently making […]