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Analysis of current economic conditions and policy
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15 августа, 21:27

Measuring global economic activity

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Measuring the level of global economic activity is of key interest. But the measures we have on variables like industrial production don’t cover all countries and are only available with a significant lag. Michigan Professor Lutz Kilian suggested in an influential paper published in 2009 that we could get a useful timely indicator by looking […]

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15 августа, 05:50

The CBO on Trade Policy Uncertainty

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The CBO’s Budget and Economic Outlook is a must read. In addition to the widening budget deficit (no supply side miracle here), and the downward revision in projected 2018 growth, there is this commentary in the section blandly titled “Some Uncertainties in the Economic Outlook” (page 14 onward): A sizable uncertainty in the U.S. trade […]

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14 августа, 18:49

Treatment of Nations Implementing Measures Not Consistent with the WTO

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Statement yesterday, as reported by Washington Examiner: “[That country] really needs to make up its mind” … “Do they want to be in the community of nations, do they want to be part of the WTO and just behave like everybody else, or don’t they?” … “And if they don’t, then we, the community of […]

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13 августа, 21:17

Implications of Pre-Maria Population Decline for Estimated Excess Mortality in Puerto Rico

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In this post, I used IMF estimated data for predicting the counterfactual mortality levels, necessary to calculate excess deaths. It is important to note that by not taking into account the recent population decline, one is probably biasing down estimates of excess deaths. For instance, here are three estimates: Figure 1: Estimated mid-year population for […]

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13 августа, 09:46

Guest Contribution: “Trump’s Trade Policy Uncertainty Deters Investment”

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Today, we are fortunate to be able to present a guest contribution written by Steven J. Davis, William H. Abbot Distinguished Service Professor of International Business and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Donald Trump has upended U.S. trade policy. The particulars include a […]

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13 августа, 03:21

(I Can’t Believe I Follow this Stuff Now): Peak Pegasus Docks in China

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Not quite the Flying Dutchman, Peak Pegasus and its load of US soybeans finally docks at Dalian in China. Source: Reuters. To me, this suggests the owner of the ship’s contents (trading house Louis Dreyfus) has decided that the tariffs are here to stay, and (given the transportation costs of moving to an alternative market) […]

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11 августа, 21:55

等待果陀? – Soybean Farmer Edition

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(Translation: “Waiting for Godot”) Many observers have noted that the Chinese must eventually come to the US for some of their soybean needs, as the supply of Argentine and Brazilian soybeans are depleted and American soybeans are harvested. Current futures for November 2018 do not indicate a price recovery to pre-Trump tariff war levels, even […]

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11 августа, 05:28

A Time Series Approach to Estimating Excess Mortality Rates in Puerto Rico, Post-Maria

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One of the aspects of previous formal studies of excess deaths in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria is that the population decline in the years preceding the hurricane strike, while acknowledged, is not accounted for (Santos-Lozada and Howard, 2017, Rivera and Rolke, 2018, Kishore et al., 2018, Santos-Lozada and Howard, 2018). This […]

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10 августа, 20:23

A Short Macrohistory of Kansas

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Following up on Chinn-LeCloux (2018), here are five aggregates for the Kansas economy. Figure 1: Kansas Real GDP (blue), real personal income (red), coincident index (green), nonfarm payroll employment (black) and civilian employment (teal), all in logs, normalized to 2007Q4=0. Dark arrows (↓) denote peaks, light arrows (↑) denote troughs. NBER defined national recession dates […]

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09 августа, 19:21

Predictions With and Without Confidence Intervals: Puerto Rico Post-Maria

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Compare this assessment (5/31/2018): Thus, the data suggests that the hurricane accelerated the deaths of ill and dying people, rather than killing them outright. I would expect the excess deaths at a year horizon (through, say, Oct. 1, 2018) to total perhaps 200-400. Still a notable number, but certainly not 4,600. With a contemporaneous prediction: […]

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09 августа, 06:55

When Storage Does Not Save One from Low Commodity Prices

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When prices are low for a storable commodity, agents (farmers or intermediaries) can wait for higher prices to sell. Of course, there is a carrying cost to storage for many commodities, like soybeans (deterioration of stock, direct storage costs, opportunity cost of capital tied up in commodity). Hence, while storage can mitigate losses, it does […]

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09 августа, 02:39

A Post in Which I Thank Donald Trump: Pork Chop Edition

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I don’t pay close attention to prices of groceries, but the other day, I saw the price of pork chops and said to myself “darned if that isn’t remarkably cheap for pork chops.” So tonight’s dinner has inspired me to give thanks for DJT’s actions. Figure 1: Lean hog futures for August settlement, as of […]