by Tyler Cowen
on September 9, 2011 at 9:59 am
1. What’s not getting cheaper (best charts on the second page of the link).
2. Truth from Arnold Kling.
3. U.S. individual stock correlations are running fearfully high.
4. New book on the economics of sex.
5. Alex on the Obama jobs bill, Bryan on the Obama jobs bill, I’ve been traveling.
Re: link 1 second chart.
How does “real estate” contribute +0.3%/year to productivity growth but “construction” contribute -0.2%/year to productivity growth? What is the non-construction real estate productivity increase?
Re: Link 4
This study is by Roy Baumeister, the same author who wrote Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty, one of my favorite books.
I will be very interested to read the paper when it is published.
Agreed about the brilliance of Roy Baumeister.
For non-gamers, the interview (not the study) can be summarized as follows: feminism leads to an increase in female sluttiness, and slut-shaming is done by women.
On link #1, my family’s big recurring costs are rent and health insurance. Frankly, if these were lower I probably wouldn’t need to take a job. This may be a feature, not a bug, of the current economic setup.
1. I see a TGS problem with goods becoming cheaper. It means we’re no longer fixing stuff. So television repair is no longer a good trade because today you just toss it in a landfill. I’m not sure long-term the cost is any lower, but I don’t have any data to support that.
So, (a) education, health and housing is unproductive and expensive and (b) computer, electronics, telecom, transportation (and not listed, food, entertainment, clothing) productively provide plentiful and cheap options.
If only we could find some distinguishing characteristic between the two groups that could help us guide political policies.
“But there’s a dark side behind the advance of productivity: Cheaper goods need cheaper workers.”
That line is bad. On an article that has the word “productivity” on its title it is very, very bad.
And the non-news is that energy and markets with heavy intervention from the government are getting expensive, while people on other markets are suffering. Why the hundreds of words?
#1 seems obvious to me. The items described as more expensive have risen in quality quite a lot. I bet that a 1950’s home would be very cheap now a days (and so would 1950’s health care). Education is the one item that made me think… I think most of the cost increase is related to signaling even though quality could also have improved (hard to tell). I think that education is probably an area where we will have quite a bit of change soon. A friend of mine works for WGU (http://www.wgu.edu/) and he says business is going very well, specially since the economic crisis began.
Education is due in part to the loss of cheap labor following Vatican II.
“How do we know that women are withholding sex? Couldn’t it also be that countries with great inequality regulate women’s personal autonomy thereby constraining their access to sex?
“That is not in evidence from this study. ”
Uhm, has this guy studied Saudi Arabia?
# 1 his energy costs are off because he measures the cost of energy inputs but we do not buy energy we buy mobility, cool, warmth, tv viewing time etc. and those cheap new manufactured goods deliver more of those output per energy input BTU.
Also housing is on the mend recently. prices are falling. That leaves medical care and schooling/credentials which is what we really buy (education apart from schooling/credentials has gotten much, much cheaper since the internet). Medical care is a strange good but if you just look at output that is health life expectancy we are doing much better than in 1970. I think that schooling/credentials on the verge of big positive change. I think that we need a separation between education and grading/testing.
So I am very optimistic.
On the inflation link….”the core of our life–gasoline, electricity, homes, health care, and education–is getting expensive faster than general inflation.” Two problems: First, housing was tracking general inflation almost perfectly. Second, how does something more specific than “general inflation” somehow represent “the core of our life”? (Note, it’s not clear what they used for general inflation, but the ~70% cumulative change since 1990 lines up pretty well with total CPI)
The Financial Times isn’t too interested in letting people read their articles, are they?
Isn’t housing too expensive because there are, or were, government backed loans for anyone that could sign his name, regardless of ability to pay?
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