Monday Morning Economic Quarterbacking
Formerly known as our research roundup.
- In this paper Richard Freeman condemns the “virtues of labor market flexibility” because of the severe increase in, and persistence in, unemployment in the U.S. during the “Great Recession.” First, seeing a paper from Freeman drawing this conclusion is about as surprising as Milton Friedman suggest that free-markets work better. Second, one might wish to compare the U.S. experience with other countries, and at least throw a bone at folks who understand that other institutions contravene labor market progress in pretty significant ways. His conclusion is snarkily suggesting that strong labor institutions are more important than labor market flexibility. Which may or may not be true. But, true strong labor market institutions are themselves free-market institutions. The modern labor movement has of course moved far astray from this by needing the NLRA and other support mechanisms institute something close to a thugocracy. And we can of course just dismiss any political institutions that cripple labor market flexibility, right? Employment mandates, taxes, health insurance mandates, anti-discrimination policies on both race and disability, minimum wage rhetoric and changes, zoning, and on and on and on. No, those shouldn’t b e expected to make labor markets more rigid. I can assure you that I am not in any way going to try to employ someone else these days. Here, perhaps, is a start at a more complete analysis.
- Is research funding important for reducing mortality? It seems to be, and strongly so – and it seems to take time. Of course, this doesn’t imply that the private sector cannot do it, but it does suggest that while we waste trillions of dollars on disastrously bad government programs, there are plenty of less expensive, high-value things we can be doing collectively. Not gonna happen in my lifetime.
- Economists refuse to abandon their fetish with the Phillips Curve, a creature strangely resembling my favorite animal.
- More dispatches from unicorn world. When you ban something, it doesn’t go away. And it may even get “worse.” The case of child labor.
- I am sure findings like this are relied upon heavily by the wizards in the IPCC to estimate just how severe the costs of global warming are going to be. Remember, one of the major costs was supposed to be the serious negative impact of expanding malaria ranges in Africa. Sciency goodness abounds.
- Former U of R economist Gordahn Dahl and colleagues finished up a major study of paid maternity leave expansions in Norway. You are probably not going to be surprised by their findings:
“Taken together, our findings suggest the generous extensions to paid leave were costly, had no measurable effect on outcomes and regressive redistribution properties. In a time of harsh budget realities, our findings have important implications for countries that are considering future expansions or contractions in the duration of paid leave.”