Ed Dolan's Econ Blog

Archive for March, 2011

  • Econ 101, Hayek, and Why We Are Losing the War Against Drugs

    Last week The New York Times reported that the drug cartels, after shaking the political and economic structures of Colombia and Mexico to their foundations, are moving into Central America. Just one more sign, as if we needed it, that the United States is losing its endless war on drugs.

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  • Will Central Banks Accommodate the Oil Price Shock?

    Inflation rates are rising in the world’s major economies. The consumer price index rose by half a percent in the United States in February, equivalent to an annual rate of 6.2 percent. Consumer prices rose at a 4.4 percent annual rate in the UK and a 2.4 percent rate in the euro area. All three central banks have explicit or implicit inflation targets of 2 percent or less.

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  • Move Over Ethanol, Market Forces Favor CNG as a Gasoline Replacement

    Ethanol is finally getting the bad press (1) (2) it richly deserves. Cracks are even beginning to appear in its once-solid support on Capitol Hill. In April, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee plans to hold hearings that are expected to skewer ethanol. The Committee is led by Democratic Chair Barbara Boxer and ranking Republican James Inhofe, both committed foes of burning food to run our cars.

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  • What Can the U.S. Learn from the French Health Care System?

    As reported in the first post in this series, the French health care system comes in at or near the top of international rankings, while the US system falls well down the lists. It stands to reason, then, that US health care reformers should have something to learn from the French experience, but just what? There seem to be lessons both for those who are optimistic about US health care reform and those who think reform will be difficult.

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  • How a Price-Smoothing Oil Tax Could Help Make This the Last Oil Price Crisis

    It must be Groundhog Day. Events in Libya have pushed world oil prices over $100 a barrel yet again. Retail gasoline prices, usually low this time of year, are at an all-time seasonal high. Are we in for another round of the same-old, same-old? A replay of Jimmy Carter pledging, “Never Again!” and then doing nothing? Or is there some way we can make this the very last oil price shock?

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  • What Can the U.S. Learn from Other Countries’ Health Care Systems?

    Even after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010, and in part, because of it, health care remains a major issue of public policy in the United States. It is central to ideologically charged discussions of fairness, the role of government, and even the budget, since the cost of health care is the single largest driver of the federal deficit. In confronting this complex and sensitive issue, it seems only reasonable that we ask what we can learn from the experience of other countries. As the first in an occasional series, this post will look at broad international comparisons of health care systems. Subsequent posts will examine what can be learned from individual countries.

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