Ed Dolan's Econ Blog

Archive for July, 2013

  • US GDP Grows 1.7 Percent in Q2, Beating Expectations, but Earlier Quarters Revised Down to a Crawl

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis today released its much anticipated advance estimate of second quarter GDP growth, along with rebenchmarked data for earlier quarters. Q2 growth was reported as 1.7 percent, hardly scintillating, but better than some analysts had expected. However, growth for Q1 was revised down from 1.8 percent to just 1.1 percent, and […]

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  • The Dubious Economics of Crop Insurance

    Insurance is an essential part of the financial infrastructure of a market economy. By spreading losses among members of a group with similar exposure, insurance encourages people to take prudent risks while protecting individuals from ruin in case they are the unlucky ones. Not all risks are insurable, however. Attempts to insure the uninsurable create […]

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  • Does Peak Phosphate Spell Doom for Humanity, or Will the Market Save Us?

    Although climate change catches the headlines, it is not the only doomsday scenario out there. A smaller but no less fervent band of worriers think that peak phosphate—a catastrophic decline in output of an essential fertilizer—will get us first. One of the worriers is Jeremy Grantham of the global investment management firm GMO. Grantham foresees […]

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  • How Concerned Should We Be About June’s Sharp Jump in Inflation?

    U.S. consumer price inflation jumped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of over 5.9 percent in June, according data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was up from an inflation rate of just 1.8 percent in May. In March and April, the CPI actually decreased. How much do we need to worry […]

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  • Why Libertarians Should Support a Carbon Tax—Even if They Can’t Love It

    In the first two parts of this series, I discussed the reasons why both conservatives and progressives should love a carbon tax, and why many of each political persuasion do. In this third installment, I take up the more difficult case of libertarians. There is no way that a good libertarian could love a carbon […]

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  • Why Progressives Should Love a Carbon Tax—Although Not All of Them Do

    Progressives should love a carbon tax. Most progressives love the environment and believe that carbon emissions cause environmental harm. Unlike conservatives, whose attitudes toward carbon taxes were the subject of my last post, progressives have no generalized aversion to taxes. Carbon taxes should be a natural for progressives, then, if they can accept the power […]

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  • Part-Time Work is Increasingly by Choice as U.S. Labor Market Strengthens

    The U.S. labor market continued to strengthen in June, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Strong June data and upward revisions for April and May put payroll job gains for the second quarter of 2013 ahead of those for the first three months of the year. The unemployment rate remained […]

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  • Why Conservatives Should Love a Carbon Tax—and Why Some of Them Do

    Last Week the White House released a long-anticipated Climate Action Plan. Conservatives have been swift to attack it as a “backdoor energy tax.” The critics could not be more wrong. A carbon tax, or energy tax of any kind, is the one big piece that is missing from the President’s plan. Despite the criticism, though, […]

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