Entries by jamesz

Product diversity and development

Tim Harford’s latest Undercover Economist column covers some interesting research on industrial development. The paper examines the type of products that countries produce, and the way that a country’s ‘manufacturing portfolio’ changes over time. The key finding is that countries tend to develop by producing similar products to those that they already produce. This makes […]

Let the healthcare debate continue…

There are plenty of worthwhile discussions amongst economists and policy-makers about the best way to fund health care. A debate that goes on largely outside the policy-makers’ domain, however, is whether increased health care spending actually improves health care at all. There is a sizable body of research which suggests that increased health care spending […]

Fair pay for the military?

This blog is all about the times that the market should give way to government intervention; however, I liked Stephen Levitt’s comment on military conscription too much not to post it up. It’s a great example of a case where an area traditionally managed by the government might be improved if we let the market […]

Who needs government anyway?

We talk about government intervention all the time, but there are those who believe that governments themselves are unnecessary in modern economies. Peter Leeson says Anarchy, like all political-economic organizations, is riddled with problems. It is not clear that these problems are any more numerous or severe than those that plague governments, however. …Where the […]

Pie-in-the-sky policies

Here at this blog we talk a lot about corrective regulation but rarely stop to examine current government policy. In reality, most government tax policy focuses either on revenue gathering or on discouraging consumption of demerit goods. Infrequently, a corrective tax is proposed – such as the ‘fart’ tax – and then discarded when it […]

Rodrik vs GMU

It’s game on between Dani Rodrik and the GMU crowd at Marginal Revolution and EconLog these days. Rodrik made a very interesting post about the different types of economists, saying that: I think the best way to understand the source of [economists] disagreements is to recognize that there are two genres of economists. I call […]