Was Argentina Really Better Off Than the United States in 1800?

Originally published at joefrancis.info Joe Francis When a prominent economic historian provides a new estimate of something, it is likely that the estimate will be taken at face value. Other economic historians will cite it, so it becomes reified, until it is treated as fact, even when it is little more than fancy. John Coatsworth’s […]

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Is the Penn World Table Credible?

Originally published at joefrancis.info Joe Francis Last year the eighth edition of the Penn World Table (PWT) was released to considerable fanfare – indeed, one commentator described it as ‘a special day for all researchers and practitioners of economics‘. Yet its series for Argentina raises more questions than it answers. PWT 8.0’s major innovation was […]

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Argentina: Decline or Urbanisation?

Originally published at joefrancis.info Joe Francis Recently the Economist published a front-page feature on ‘The Tragedy of Argentina: A Century of Decline‘. By summarising the current scholarship on the ‘Argentine paradox’, the article demonstrates why the study of the country’s history remains so necessary. The article begins with the standard claim that Argentina was rich at the beginning […]

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Fix, Nitzan & Bichler, ‘Real GDP: The Flawed Metric at the Heart of Macroeconomics’

Abstract The study of economic growth is central to macroeconomics. More than anything else, macroeconomists are concerned with finding policies that encourage growth. And by ‘growth’, they mean the growth of real GDP. This measure has become so central to macroeconomics that few economists question its validity. Our intention here is to do just that. […]

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Real GDP: The Flawed Metric at the Heart of Macroeconomics

Blair Fix, Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler The study of economic growth is central to macroeconomics. More than anything else, macroeconomists are concerned with finding policies that encourage growth. And by ‘growth’, they mean the ­growth of real GDP. This measure has become so central to macroeconomics that few economists question its validity. Our intention […]

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Fix, ‘The Aggregation Problem: Implications for Ecological and Biophysical Economics’

Abstract This paper discusses the dimension problem in economic aggregation, as it relates to ecological and biophysical economics. The dimension problem consists of a simple dilemma: when we aggregate, the observer must choose the dimension of analysis. The dilemma is that this choice affects the resulting measurement. This means that aggregate measurements are dependent on […]

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2018/03: Fix, ‘The Aggregation Problem’

Abstract This article discusses the aggregation problem and its implications for ecological economics. The aggregation problem consists of a simple dilemma: when adding heterogeneous phenomena together, the observer must choose the unit of analysis. The dilemma is that this choice affects the resulting measurement. This means that aggregate measurements are dependent on one’s goals, and […]

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