Tuesday, November 19, 2013

After the ACA -- Crafting an Alternative to Obamacare

I gave a talk at Hoover, encouraging those of us who are less than fans to speak up and outline the alternative to Obamacare. Podcast here.

Repeal and status quo is not enough. We need to listen, and point out how a radically freed and competitive system will address the genuine concerns that motivate many to support the law despite its flaws -- preexisting conditions, health care for the poor, outrageous cost and so forth.

The essay "After the ACA" lays it out in some detail.  The talk is a lighter discussion of where we are, but emphasizes how sitting back and letting the ACA unravel will just lead to an even more expensive and incorherent system. Stand up and state the alternative.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A limited central bank

Philadelphia Fed president Charles Plosser gave a noteworthy speech, "A limited central bank." It's especially noteworthy in the context of Janet Yellen's nomination, discussion between Congress and Fed about how the Fed should be run, the Fed's focus on unemployment, and the current state of the hawks vs. doves debate.

We find out what he thinks of micromanaging the taper based on monthly employment reports:
The active pursuit of employment objectives has been and continues to be problematic for the Fed. Most economists are dubious of the ability of monetary policy to predictably and precisely control employment in the short run, and there is a strong consensus that, in the long run, monetary policy cannot determine employment....

Friday, November 8, 2013

New vs. Old Keynesian Stimulus

While fiddling with a recent paper, "The New-Keynesian Liquidity Trap" (blog post), a simple insight dawned on me on the utter and fundamental difference between New-Keynesian and Old-Keynesian models of stimulus.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Work Behind the Prize: Video and Text

This is a link to the "Work Behind the Prize" event from Monday Nov 4. Our charge was, explain to the community of scholars at the University of Chicago, what Lars Hansen and Gene Fama's research was that won them Nobel Prizes. Jim Heckman and John Heaton talk about Lars Hansen's work, Toby Moskowitz and I talk about Gene Fama. 10 minutes each. I start at 33:50.

Here is the text of my remarks. (Faithful blog readers will note some recycling. Let's call it "refining.") A pdf with embedded pictures is here. The video on youtube is here

Eugene Fama: Efficient markets, risk premiums, and the Nobel Prize

In 1970, Gene Fama defined a market to be “informationally efficient” if prices at each moment incorporate available information about future values.
A market in which prices always `fully reflect’ available information is called `efficient.’” - Fama (1970)
If there is a signal that future values will be high, competitive traders will try to buy. They bid prices up, until prices reflect the new information, as I have indicated in the little picture. “Efficient markets” just says that prices in a competitive asset market should not be predictable.

“Efficient markets” is not a complex theory. Think Darwin, not Einstein. Efficiency is a simple principle, like evolution by natural selection, which organizes and gives purpose to a vast empirical project.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Work Behind the Prize

This afternoon (Monday November 4) a panel of four will try to explain the research that Gene Fama and Lars Hansen did to win the Nobel Prize for the University of Chicago community.

This is classic University of Chicago, community of scholars stuff: Yes, we've congratulated you.  Now, let's talk seriously about the ideas and the research.

My job: Explain efficiency, long run returns and volatility in 10 minutes flat. Wish me luck. John Heaton and Jim Heckman will describe Lars Hansen's work, and Toby Moskowitz will join me on the Fama panel.  Gary Becker will moderate

The announcement is here; RSVP if you want to attend as seating is limited. The event will be web-cast here