September 16, 2021

Originally published at sbhager.com Sandy Brian Hager I put together Figure 1 for a paper I will be presenting at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics in Lyon this summer. The …

August 28, 2021

Originally published at notes on cinema James McMahon Part 1 introduced Scorcese’s argument in his Harper’s essay, which was about much more than Fellini. The first part also explained how we can connect Scorcese’s essay …

August 25, 2021

Originally published at sbhager.com Sandy Brian Hager With the academic term winding down, I thought it would be useful to post some reflections on my teaching experiences this past year. In total, I taught three …

August 20, 2021

Originally published at notes on cinema James McMahon Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings is a telling example of Hollywood rationalizing its so-called inability to widen the boundaries of its creativity. In this case, the …

August 19, 2021

Originally published at sbhager.com Sandy Brian Hager I’m spending some time during these summer months developing a new undergraduate course on wealth and income inequality. Branko Milanovic’s wonderful new book Global Inequality: A New Approach …

August 16, 2021

Originally published at notes on cinema James McMahon What is more pleasurable: reading Martin Scorcese on cinema or reading reactions to Scorcese on cinema? The reactions compete for our pleasure because they reveal how easy …

August 13, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix If you listen carefully, you can hear Jeff Bezos getting richer. There’s the sound again. Another billion in Bezos’ coffers. Let’s put some numbers to …

July 27, 2021

Originally published at dtcochrane.com DT Cochrane In Part 2, I looked at the shifts in U.S. household consumption that occurred during WWII. While aggregate consumption increased alongside massive government intervention, the qualitative mix of that …

July 23, 2021

Originally published at dtcochrane.com DT Cochrane In Part 1, I explained the motivation for this series. I want to use the analogy of WWII, as invoked by economists JW Mason and Mike Konczal in an …

July 22, 2021

Originally published at dtcochrane.com DT Cochrane Economist JW Mason recently tweeted the following: Bloomberg writer Peter Coy was motived to perform this research by an NYT op-ed from Mason and Mike Konczal. Mason and Konczal’s …

July 20, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Donald Trump took an IQ test … you’ll never guess what he scored! Apologies. That was my attempt at clickbait.1 Now that I’ve hooked you, let’s talk …

July 9, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Prices are caused by supply and demand, right? So say neoclassical economists. If you’ve bought their fairy tale, I recommend you watch the video below. In it, …

June 26, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down In the early 1970s, Geert Hofstede discovered something interesting. While analyzing a work-attitude survey that had been given to thousands of IBM employees around the world, Hofstede …

June 18, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. In science, the corollary is that a good chart is worth a whole article. Okay, that’s probably …

June 8, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down How can we live the ‘good life’ without killing the planet? My last post on energy and empire got me thinking about this question. We know that …

May 24, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down They called him the ‘Little Emperor’. Romulus Augustus — better known as Romulus ‘Augustulus’ (‘Little Augustus’) — was the last Western Roman Emperor. He assumed the throne …

May 12, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down I’ve always been baffled why ‘modern monetary theory’ is called a theory. I don’t mean this in a disparaging way. As far as theories of money go, …

May 4, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix As some of you may know, I recently became the editor of the Review of Capital as Power (RECASP), a journal that publishes research on …

March 29, 2021

If it is very easy to substitute other factors for natural resources, then there is in principle no “problem”. The world can, in effect, get along without natural resources. — Robert Solow, 1974 In the …

February 12, 2021

By Cassandra Jeffery1 and M. V. Ramana2 The “largest bribery, money-laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people and the state of Ohio” came to light during an unexpected press conference in July 2020 in Columbus. …

February 5, 2021

Tim Di Muzio1 PDF version available here The phrase, ‘there’s a sucker born every minute’ is typically attributed to the American showman, P.T. Barnum and was made infamous since the mid-19th century by gamblers, hucksters …

February 2, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down I’ve written a lot on this blog about the absurdity of marginal productivity theory. But I haven’t said much about the other pillar of mainstream economics: neoclassical …

January 5, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. If the history of science has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t trust our preconceptions about how the world works. All human societies have developed stories …

December 17, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Today I’m going to revisit a topic that a month ago I committed to stop writing about — the productivity-income quagmire. Neoclassical economists argue that income is …

November 9, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Have you heard of the ‘productivity-pay gap’? It’s the (apparently) growing gap between the productivity of US workers and their pay. Here’s what it looks like: Figure …

October 21, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. As social animals, humans live and die by the success of our groups. This raises a dilemma. What’s best for the group is often not what’s best …

October 9, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. In this two-part post, I’ve been reflecting on the challenges of doing revolutionary science. (See Part 1 here.) I’ve argued that revolutionary science — the practice of …

October 1, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Science is miraculously improbable. To work, it must fight against a deep human instinct — our desire to conform. As social animals, humans are built to do …

September 25, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Governments are different than firms, right? Perhaps not. In Part 1 of this series, I argued that when it comes to size, governments behave like they’re ‘just …

September 17, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. I have a confession. I’m a political economist by trade, but I spend most of my time reading outside my discipline. I read about physics, cosmology, biology …

September 5, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. You can’t get the right answer when you ask the wrong question. This truism, I’ve come to believe, explains much of what is wrong with economics. When …

August 19, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. I confess that I have a recurring nightmare. In it, I realize that everything I’ve ever written about economics is wrong. Neoclassical economics is not, as I’ve …

August 11, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Income, I’ve come to believe, is shaped largely by rank within a hierarchy. If you’re at the top of a hierarchy, you’ll earn a handsome sum. But …

August 11, 2020

THINKING ABOUT DEATH I’ve been thinking a lot about death recently. No, it’s not something that came about because of the global pandemic and my new daily ritual of checking graphs on COVID-19 death tolls around the …

July 25, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. I recently read David Graeber’s book Bullshit Jobs: A Theory. If you’re not familiar, David Graeber is the anthropologist who wrote Debt: The First 5000 Years, a …

July 19, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. In How Hierarchy Can Mediate the Returns to Education I examined the pay structure of the US military. I found that hierarchical rank is (by far) the …

July 12, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. In The Social Environment as a Cause in Economics I argued that human behavior has two parts: Individual variation An environment that acts on this variation To …

July 4, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Have you noticed that economists are missing a word in their vocabulary? In microeconomics you’ll see words like ‘individual’, ‘utility’ and ‘maximize’. But you won’t see the …

June 23, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Science is the quintessential public good. It’s an iterative process in which new knowledge builds on previous knowledge. For this process to work, science needs to be …

June 14, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Does productivity explain income? I asked this question in a previous post. My answer was a bombastic no. In this post, I’ll dig deeper into the reasons …

June 6, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Like many Canadians, I grew up with a faith in meritocracy. Do your best, I believed, and the world would reward you. In school, this idea seemed …

May 27, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. A revolution is underway around us and it’s called the digital. And it’s changing everything. More than 80% of wealth is now non-material. — Charles Foran in …

March 1, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. When it comes to earning income in a hierarchy, it’s not what you know that matters. It’s who you control. This was the provocative idea that I …

February 21, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. A 25% chance. That’s the likelihood that when I tell someone I’m searching for a job, they’ll say: Remember, Blair … to land a job, it’s not …

February 15, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. The biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky famously wrote that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”. I propose a corollary in economics: nothing in economics …

February 10, 2020

If you ask the average person what ‘science’ is, they’ll probably answer something like ‘it’s what we know about the world’. To the lay person, ‘science’ is a body of facts. To the trained scientist, …

February 3, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Do you think that the discipline of economics is a sham — an ideology masquerading as science? If so, here is a reading list for you. These …

January 25, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. In Problems With Measuring Inequality, I discussed how inequality is an ambiguous concept. The problem, in short, is that a single metric can never capture every aspect …