Request for requests

Yes, it's that time again.  Please leave your requests for future coverage in the comments…


Tyler I would like to see you write about the fairness implications of currency revaluations. On one hand I understand that if Greece had its own currency we could see a coordinated lowering of that country's real wages and that Greek workers would become more "competitive". However it's a little paradoxical to me if we look at a an example of say a Greek ocean-side resort with a steady supply of tourists from Northern Europe. If they have trade, it means they are already competitive and don't need to change. Will a devaluation impact the resort owner and resort workers differently? How will a devaluation impact industries that compete directly with Germany, say a Greek engineering consulting company? Or a service industry that provides services to the resort and the engineering company?

More material on behavioural and experimental economics....

Fewer pictures of bugs!

What do you think about pecuniary externalities? What would be a good definition of such externalities, if you find them to be plausible? Without the fiction of an infinite number of buyers and sellers, why isn't it the case that any transaction through the price system, through an impact on price, causes an externality, and might one call such an externality a pecuniary externality? I cannot find much on this subject.

view of jimmy carter and his presidency

I'd like to know more about US military benefits. It appears politicians have no trouble passing any legislation that increases benefits to combat veterans. People follow the mantra of "we can never repay them for their sacrifices," but that should mean in terms of gratitude, as policy makers constantly attempt to repay them with higher benefits. How high are total benefits now, and how high can they go? Interesting analysis of where GroupOn falls on the supply-demand curve. Your comments please.

Could you say something about the degrowth movement? Is it even feasible, given human nature?

Why do hot dogs and hot dog buns - two near perfect complements - come in packages of different quantities?

I would be interested in your thoughts as to what constitutes "authentic" ethnic food. "Traditional" is a problematic definition for many cultures because of the recent adoption of imported ingredients (i.e., use of chilies in Asia only goes back about 400 years; likewise tomatoes in Italy). Relatedly, if a (e.g.) Thai entrepreneur opens a Thai restaurant in the U.S. and concocts a new dish, under what circumstances is that dish "authentic"?


You certainly enjoy eating different types of cuisine. As a parent did you pass this on to your kid(s)? If you were, was it difficult? Is there something that a parent can do to make it easier for their kids to eat something besides traditional kid fare short of bribery or punishment?

Is the rehire of Isiah Thomas irrational, or the most irrational thing you've ever seen?

What is your favorite Autechre or Aphex twin album?

Your favorite things German? or Austrian?

I'd like to see your perspective from a political economy point of view, on international environmental agreements. Considering that many of our environmental externality problems involve transboundary pollutants (CO2, much of the river/ocean pollutants, other GHG's, ect.), I would be interested in what you think should be done.

P.S. I agree with the above poster that more recipes would be great too!

"the quality of raw ingredients in the US is poor, .... Surely there's a simple explanation."

Americans are happy to eat any old rubbish. Anyway, a nation that drinks cold, fizzy, brown gloop with its meals wouldn't be able to taste good ingredients.

I would love to see some analysis of the economic implications of our emerging two class system...

1. There is a large and growing public sector that is both well paid and relatively secure in their employment [this group would of course include Academics at public and well endowed private universities :-)]. As a group this "class" also has better benefits than private sector workers.

2. The "other" class would consist of private sector workers - they are in general paid less and less likely to see incomes rise over time - they have less robust benefits and are more at risk for job loss.

The irony of course is that the second group is the "golden goose" that makes the first class possible. It is also worth noting that the first group sees things as pretty good - and that much is being done to make their state better - while it is the second group that lacks confidence in our economy and our government.

So any analysis would need to assess how sustainable this system is - how did it emerge - was there a tipping point that we can point to where the economic momentum became irreversible.

I would also suspect that this sort of "clasiffication" is not new or unique to the US - Greece would seem to be an example of how extreme this sort of bipolar system can become.

2 things I'd love you to elaborate on (though perhaps you left them as cliff hangers for a reason):
1. You once said being interesting and responsible are more important values than happiness. Could you elaborate on why you think that?
2. You've mentioned that you are a pro-religion non believer. What does that mean exactly? I'm assuming it means you're an atheist but don't think religion is worth attacking?

Would Sumnerian monetary stimulus help Japan, or has the long run finally arrived to Japan after 20 years of adjustment and monetary policy is irrelevant?

How is the Keynesian revolution holding up at this point?

Paying NCAA football and basketball (and other?) athletes. Given the Kentucky rumor about a "recruitment fee"/signing_bonus of $200k for a basketball recruit, would a one-time upfront payment like this be a good/workable substitute for payment?

Much has been written on growing income inequality. But, I never see any discussion of inequality of wealth. Is this a greater or lesser problem than income inequality? In what ways is it a problem, in what ways is it not a problem. How do the trends for wealth inequality behave differently than the trend lines for income inequality? I would think that it would matter much more, since incomes fluctuate more than wealth. But, again, no data that I have ever seen, no discussion.

Why did Rome fall?
Was Paris worth a Mass?

Unpacking Dodd-Frank.

Can we begin to index the broad rate of technological change? What would that curve look like over the last 200 years? How does it correspond to asset returns? Does that say anything about prospective returns?

More about philosophy. As a major in both your field and in philosophy, I find it very interesting when you come at the latter from the perspective of an alternately trained observer of the field.

If you are an economist long enough, do you forget how ridiculous economics seemed when you were introduced to economic models for the first time?

20 year chart of GDP with and without government spending included.

Will Canada's (or BC's) economy take a nosedive if pot is legalized in Cali?

R.J. Lehmann said:

I'd like a public choice analysis of why legislation permitting self-service gas stations cannot pass in our mutual home state of New Jersey. The oil companies are in favor. The station owners are in favor. There are no organized unions of gas station employees, nor have there been any serious attempts to unionize them. Yet the electorate there -- and just about only there, as I think Oregon is the only other state that bans them -- become apoplectic whenever the idea is floated.

The station owners are decidedly not in favor of self-serve. They correctly perceive the stations run by big oil companies and convenience chains (Wawa) will use economies of scale to undercut the independent owners.

1. Can you expound on what role the lessons you've learned on "meta-rationality." from Plato's Dialogues play in relation to your views on/disputes with the current trends in reductionism viz. Evolutionary Psychology, the arche of your epistemic differences with Robin Hanson , and Strong AI.

2. What's an extremely popular latter-day idea/doctrine that you surmise will fade in 50 years?

3. The connection between the trajectory of classical music and the history of democratization since the French Revolution. Related: Your thoughts on Alex Ross quoting Hanslick on Wagner?

‘Wagner’s operatic style,’ [Eduard] Hanslick had written, ‘recognises only superlatives, and a superlative has no future. It is the end, not the beginning.’

Prospects of economic growth in Puerto Rico

Hi Tyler, would love to hear your thoughts on the rise of China.  I've been working in Shanghai the past year and I don't share the common belief that China will be a super power on par with the US.  From my impression the government (or more often the local police) spends too much time hindering small business. Bribes and corruption twist incentives away from producing a good service for customers to using connections (guanxi) to keep competitors out of the picture.  I'm less clear about the national picture, but again it seems the government spends to much of its people's wealth coercing them and picking winners in business.

What is your favorite song about creative destruction? Mine is "Video Killed the Radio Star". Its actually the only one I could think of!

A link to this cartoon :)

Is there going to be an ebook equivalent to the hardcover book (as mechanism of price discrimination)? If so, what will it be?

More coverage of important Indian issues (if you are interested) similar to your coverage of China.

How apocalyptic are you? What is the probability of Great Accident (referring to, among others, Paul Virilio) - something like the BP spill, but with greater human impacts? What about the probability of Climate Change induced apocalypse? Post-modern wars? General ruts causing general chaos? Others?

On the economics of philanthropy.

so I read the story about the CEO of HP who stepped down amid allegations of harassment and financial improprieties. He left with a $12 million severance. This made me wonder if the golden parachute makes CEOs more risky in general and whether that that was a net benefit to the companies that employed them. Or is it an incentive to do inappropriate things knowing that their future was secured.

Debt deflation.

Two things:

Quarterly population growth in Q1 2008 was negative for the first time since the 50s. Should we macroeconomists be taking population as an important endogenous variable? Is there any other explanation for these movements than jobs drying up in the crisis, and, if so, could this population drop have been predictable in advance? (Giving an explanation for the burst of the housing bubble?)


Would you care to return to the "Chait-Manzi" debate in light of the excellent recent paper on welfare across countries by Jones and Klenow, which puts France and Germany ahead of the US? ( )

I live in Mexico City. I have a neighbor -- a Castillian-lisping Spaniard, not that it should matter -- who burns his trash. How can I make him stop? I've asked him to, as have my wife and landlady. Hasn't helped.

When I called the police, they showed up, rang his bell, waited a few minutes, and left when he didn't answer. So going to the authorities doesn't seem promising either.

Again, not that it should matter, but I live in a fairly well-to-do part of town. But it isn't very nice with our antisocial neighbor.


what's more complicated, a person or an economy?

I'd like you to "live blog" Hayek's The Pure Theory of Capital.

Take on the ideas of this core builder of your science -- rather than continue to slash bizarrely at invented straw Hayek's.

The U.S. auto bailout. Is it working?

Anything about Urban Economics, land markets, transportation, etc. Thank you.

More on decriminalization of drugs and whether that might be an effective way to end the drug violence in Mexico.

You may have answered this, but here's my query: from your travels or your reading and research, have you drawn any inferences or conclusions about how cultures vary in self-deception? In what things they deceive about, and degree?

Thoughts on Australian fiscal policy? Stiglitz is a fan ( But did stimulus work? And was it necessary given the room for monetary expansion?

I'd be interested in knowing if you ever watch the Food Network and, if so, what you think of the show Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. It's the kind of thing I could imagine you hating. Or loving.

How many economists became very very rich as a result of correctly forecasting the GFC and investing accordingly?

What conclusions do you draw about the competence of the remaining economists?

Why does anyone still pay attention to Ayn Rand?

picks up the upcoming NBA season...

What, if any, will be the long-term effects of the current shrinking of the labor force? Increase in disability insurance beneficiaries? (See recent CBO report)
Will a culture of non-work become more and more prevalent in America?

At a workplace cafeteria an employer is encouraging people to eat at least one vegetarian meal per week. The workforce has a high percentage of people who are under 40 but seem overweight and inactive. How likely is it that to reduce future health insurance liablities, employers will monitor and police employee eating and exercise? Is there a way to calculate the unfunded liability for emplyer X who has a workforce that has an obesity rate of 40 percent and average age of 35?

Is China establishing de facto colonies in Africa [see recent Financial Times stories on Lesotho, etc.] & if so does this have implications for Americans?

Net neutrality (Google and Verizon)

Is there any further rationale for the US President to be US-born ? Especially for a nation that has grown through immigration.

What role if any does justice or fairness play a role in the economic goals Tyler Cowen the economist?

I'd like MR to think about tipping - efficiency, equity, norms in different places, and the sources of those norms. Is there anything interesting that we can learn from how people tip?

The BP oil spill situation doesn't sit right with me. It seems that torts should prevent a company from messing up quite so much without sufficient safeguards and contingency plans in place since the result is massive economic damage and hence enormous liability. What is going wrong today? Are there liability shields or caps? What is preventing the free market from taking care of this problem? Or are we witnessing the free market in action. What should the role of government be to regulate or "insure" offshore drilling?

Would you like to comment on 'Economists are Irrational' blog by a psychologist

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