What do Easter trading laws and bus timetables have in common?

Today is Good Friday, I have just moved house, and have no food – so I’m trying to work out how to source some.  As a result, you may think I’d be supportive of ACT saying that the Easter trading laws are archaic and need to be overhauled.  But even in my hungry stupor, I realise that there is a potential defence of Easter trading laws – the co-ordination of bus routes.

Now that might seem entirely random, but hear me out.  Making firms close on Good Friday is a way to ensure that no-one is working, and that everyone is on holiday at the same time.  As a result, having the day off today isn’t just having the day off – it is having the day off while everyone else is having the day off.  It is an enforced holiday for all.  This may be a good thing, if there is a “co-ordination failure” in terms of when people take time off.

How does this work?  Say that you value having the day off more when all your friends, family, and arbitrary other people are also having the day off than having the day off with everyone else still busily working – or at least you like that to occur a few times a year.  However, it is costly and difficult to organise a situation where that happens with people.  If individuals take days off on the basis of specific personal plans, or at random, then we will end up in a situation where people take holidays at different times – and as a result, we end up in a pareto inferior equilibrium.  But if the government, or some overarching institution (the Church) organises a day we can all have off together, then we can do that and all be a bit happier for it.

How is this like bus timetables?  Well, the co-ordination of bus routes is another type of co-ordination game – if you have to catch two buses, you would like the times to line up.  If the first bus is too early, your trip takes longer.  If your first bus is too late, you can’t take trip!  As a result, having bus routes planned help out.

Anyway, I’m done with this.  I’m going to go find a service station so I can buy something to eat!  Happy Easter and all that!

General Equilibrium and factor shares

Note:   I want you all to be highly critical of my posts on factor shares – and where you can throw literature at me.  I wrote a bunch of posts in a single day based on one book (and some prior knowledge), I have no appeal to authority here and would love to have your ideas thrown in there :)

I was surprised that there was a chapter focused solely in general equilibrium – and not GE in general, but competitive, neo-classical, GE.  I was especially surprised as such a model isn’t really “built” for distributional analysis – economists often say we need a different framework to do distributional work!

It is a neat chapter though, so let’s pop it in here :) Read more

Neo-Ricardian factor shares

Note:   I want you all to be highly critical of my posts on factor shares – and where you can throw literature at me.  I wrote a bunch of posts in a single day based on one book (and some prior knowledge), I have no appeal to authority here and would love to have your ideas thrown in there :)

Last time I said I thought Neo-Ricardian was Post-Keynesian – it seems like they have similar authors, but the essays focus on different “important elements”.  Furthermore, the direct issues with “neo-classical factor models” are indeed clearer here!  However, the focus seems much more on short-term, and in some ways monetary policy, issues rather than long-term trends in factor shares.  That is ok, but it is important to note that some of the Post-Keynesian models in these chapters are discussing different questions than the questions the earlier part of the book was based on. Read more

Discussion Tuesday

Let’s think a little bit about value judgements shall we:

Every element, every linguistic and ontological device, is packed with implicit ethical assumptions.  As a result, it is impossible to frame trade-offs in any way that doesn’t involve unjustified moral assumptions.

Once again, remember that these are points for discussion – I am not saying I agree or disagree with them.

Post-Keynesian factor shares

Note:   I want you all to be highly critical of my posts on factor shares – and where you can throw literature at me.  I wrote a bunch of posts in a single day based on one book (and some prior knowledge), I have no appeal to authority here and would love to have your ideas thrown in there :)

We are now in an area which is getting well outside my area of knowledge, so I’m hoping these essays will help tighten me up :) .  I see there is an essay on Post-Keynesian income distribution work and a following one on Neo-Ricardian income distribution work (which I am marginally more familiar with) – I had thought they were the same thing, so hopefully I learn the difference while reading :)

I am sure many of you know more than me – and I’m more than happy to have things explained to me as I’m keen to learn.  Just remember, the goal here is to explore ideas about factor shares and what they mean in a distributional sense – not to dig too far into ideology or policy. Read more