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Nobels Give Econometrics Pioneers Their Due
By Lars Peter Hansen Oct 12, 2011 5:01 PM GMT+0000 Comments
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Thomas J. Sargent and Christopher A. Sims richly deserve the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences they were awarded this week for their seminal work in the fields of macroeconomics and time series econometrics.
I was fortunate to have a front-row seat to observe the development of their path-breaking research. As a graduate student at the University of Minnesota in the 1970s, I was a research assistant for both: Sims became my adviser, and Sargent was a member of my dissertation committee. Since then, Sims, who now teaches at Princeton University, has had a major influence on my research, and Sargent, at New York University, has been my longtime collaborator.
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Policy Uncertainty Is Choking Recovery: Baker, Bloom and Davis
By Scott R. Baker, Nicholas Bloom and Steven J. Davis Oct 5, 2011 5:01 PM GMT+0000 Comments
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The recovery from the recession of 2008-09 remains anemic. Job growth has stalled, unemployment stands above 9 percent, and there are renewed fears of another output drop.
A major factor behind the weak recovery and gloomy outlook is a climate of policy-induced economic uncertainty. An index we devised (see attached chart) shows U.S. policy uncertainty at historically high levels.
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Euro Area’s Rescue Options Are Shrinking Fast: Anil K Kashyap
By Anil K Kashyap Sep 28, 2011 5:00 PM GMT+0000 Comments
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One of the benefits of being an academic economist is that market participants and government officials will often tell you what they think in relatively frank terms.
Here is what I learned in dozens of meetings last week in Frankfurt, Madrid and London:
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Why Identifying a Bubble Is So Much Trouble: John H. Cochrane
By John H. Cochrane Sep 21, 2011 5:01 PM GMT+0000 Comments
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We seem to be surrounded by “bubbles” -- tech stocks, real estate, and now maybe sovereign debt.
You might expect that any textbook would have a precise definition of this phenomenon; some set of characteristics that distinguish sensible high prices in good times from prices that are “too high” or in a “bubble.” Alas, “bubbles” seem to be in the eye of the beholder.
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Euro Bonds Won’t Cure What Ails Europe: Kotz, Krahnen and Leuz
By Hans-Helmut Kotz, Jan Pieter Krahnen and Christian Leuz Sep 14, 2011 5:01 PM GMT+0000 Comments
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In recent weeks, euro bonds have gained traction in policy circles as the solution to the sovereign-debt crisis.
The proposed debt could be structured in different ways, but in all cases it would imply joint and severally issued obligations by the members of the euro zone and would fundamentally change the fiscal operations of the union.
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How a Debt Exchange Could Ease Europe’s Crisis: Luigi Zingales
By Luigi Zingales Sep 8, 2011 12:26 PM GMT+0000 Comments
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The political response to the European crisis so far has been denial and temporary patches. But policy makers are facing more than just a liquidity crunch; they also need to tackle a solvency crisis and possibly a structural one. One of the most pressing issues is addressing the over-leverage of the southern European nations.
Economic theory tells us that in situations of over- leverage there are multiple equilibrium points. If all parties expect a sovereign borrower to be able to pay, the market will refinance that creditor at low rates, ensuring it won’t default. Conversely, if lenders expect a default, it will happen. The enormous volatility we are witnessing is the result of the impossibility of knowing which of these outcomes will prevail.
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More Accounting Transparency May Distort Markets: Haresh Sapra
By Haresh Sapra Aug 31, 2011 5:00 PM GMT+0000 Comments
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It is now believed that in the years preceding the recent financial turmoil, banks took excessive risks that weren’t disclosed, and regulators were only able to intervene after widespread panic had brought the system to its knees.
More transparency, it is argued, could have allowed the market to discipline such excessive risk-taking behavior. Yet there is evidence that, in many situations, greater disclosure may not be good corporate governance or even desirable.
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For Texas `Miracle,’ Cut the Cost of Doing Business: Brian Barry
By Brian Barry Aug 25, 2011 5:00 PM GMT+0000 Comments
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Unemployment is high across the U.S., but some states are better than others at creating jobs. Texas Governor Rick Perry cast a spotlight on this when he entered the presidential race. His fast-growing state accounts for as much as half of all net U.S. jobs since mid-2009. Texas is part of a broader pattern, from which all states can learn.
Research shows that states keeping costs low for business have enjoyed better job growth during the past couple of decades. The low costs appear to be more important than other advantages often associated with higher spending, including infrastructure and an appealing quality of life.
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Secret to Productivity Found at Busy Auto Plant: Syverson, Levitt & List
By Chad Syverson, Steven Levitt and John List Aug 18, 2011 4:54 PM GMT+0000 Comments
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Where do productivity gains come from? Economists have known for decades that the broadest measure of efficiency -- known as total factor productivity -- drives long-term income growth and prosperity. Progress occurs as firms figure out how to boost output without having to hire more workers or install more capital.
If total factor productivity sounds like something of a black box -- a quasi-magical ingredient that creates output out of seemingly nothing -- well, it sort of is. Sure, economists have some ideas about its sources: adoption of new technologies, better management practices, and improvements in production chains. But a more detailed understanding is emerging.
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Hurst: Making the Most of Recession’s Lost Work Time
By Erik Hurst Aug 12, 2011 7:05 AM GMT+0000 Comments
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the time American workers spent at their paying jobs decreased by more than 8 percent between 2007 and 2010.
This sharp decline in aggregate market work hours occurred for two reasons: The unemployment rate  increased dramatically during this period, and the downturn reduced the average hours worked per week for those who were employed. It isn't surprising that the time people spend working in the labor market falls during recessions. But a close look at what individuals do with the lost work hours yields important insights into how they adjust to the hardships of a weak economy.
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BUSINESS CLASS CONTRIBUTORS
ANIL KASHYAP
Anil K Kashyap is the Edward Eagle Brown Professor of Economics and Finance at University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His research focuses on banking, business cycles, corporate finance, monetary policy and the Japanese economy.
JOHN COCHRANE
John H. Cochrane is the AQR Capital Management Professor of Finance at Chicago Booth. His publications include the book Asset Pricing, which received the TIAA-CREF Institute Paul A. Samuelson Award.
STEVEN KAPLAN
Steven N. Kaplan is the Neubauer Family Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at the Chicago Booth and is among the world’s top researchers on private equity, venture capital and corporate governance.
BRIAN BARRY
Brian Barry is clinical professor of economics and executive director of Chicago Booth’s Initiative on Global Markets. The IGM studies global movements of capital, products and talent, and examines how these markets work, their effects, and the way they interact with policies and institutions.
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