EconoMonitor

Ed Dolan's Econ Blog

  • How Natural is Natural Monopoly? The Case of China’s Crumbling Hold on Rare Earths

    Rare earth elements (REEs) are a group of seventeen elements with exotic names like neodymium and yttrium that are key ingredients in many high-tech products, many important for national defense. Imagine the consternation of Western officials when they woke up one morning in September 2010 to learn that China held a near-monopoly in the production […]

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  • A Fiscal Program for Rand Paul: He Wants to Balance the Budget. Here’s How He Should Do It

    “As President,” says candidate Rand Paul, “I will work to authorize common sense solutions that will solve our nation’s fiscal crisis.” He has floated a broad proposal for a constitutional amendment that would require the federal government to balance its budget. Soon he will need to start filling in the specifics. Here are some ideas […]

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  • Did Austerity Work in Britain? One Chart Tells It All

    The general election campaign is in full swing in Britain, and it seems it’s all about austerity. From London, The New York Times reports that the campaign revolves around a single issue: the economy, and whether its rebound is the result of an austerity policy championed by the Conservative-led government of David Cameron, or in […]

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  • Deconstructing ShadowStats. Why is it so Loved by its Followers but Scorned by Economists?

    It is hard to think of a website so loved by its followers and so scorned by economists as John Williams’ ShadowStats, a widely cited source of alternative economic data on inflation and other economic indicators. Any econ blogger who has ever written a line about inflation is familiar with ShadowStats. Time and again, readers […]

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  • Does Putin’s Proposed Eurasian Currency Union Make Sense?

    At a meeting in Kazakhstan last week,  Russian  President Vladimir Putin proposed a currency union for the members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).  Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Armenia are the current members, and Kyrgyzstan is scheduled to join later this spring. Does a common currency for the EAEU make sense? Not in economic terms, […]

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  • Job Surge Spooks Markets as Unemployment Approaches Natural Rate

    The BLS announced Friday that the US economy added 295,000 jobs in February, bringing the unemployment rate to 5.5 percent, a new low for the recovery. The leading stock indexes immediately plunged. The Dow lost 1.5 percent, the S&P 500 1.4 percent, and the NASDAQ 1.1 percent. Why  the negative reaction to such good news? […]

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  • Revisions Push Private Payroll Job Gains to Levels Not Seen Since Dot.Com Boom

    Strong upward revisions reported yesterday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics pushed US payroll job gains to levels not seen since the dot.com boom of the 1990s. According to preliminary data, the economy added 257,000 total payroll jobs in January 2015. The report revised gains for November upward from 353,000 to 423,000 and those from […]

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  • What Ever Happened to the Misery Index?

    Remember the 1960s? The 1970s? Back then, inflation surged from one peak to another but failed to deliver the low unemployment rates promised by the Phillips curve. In fit of frustration, economist Arthur Okun invented what he called the misery index—the sum of the inflation and unemployment rates. As the following chart shows, those were […]

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  • As US Growth Slows in Q4, Inflation Turns Negative

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported today that the growth rate of real GDP slowed to an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. That is barely half of the 5 percent rate reported for the third quarter, but still a bit above the 2.4 percent average growth rate since the […]

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  • Prices are Falling in the Eurozone, but is it “Real” Deflation?

    The Eurozone has been on the brink of deflation for months. The latest data show that for the first time, consumer prices for the currency area as a whole (and for 12 of its 19 member countries) were actually lower in December than a year earlier. But is it “real” deflation? In a pair of […]

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