J. Bradford DeLong

Inequality and the internet

J. Bradford DeLong Berkeley – The conclusion that America has become vastly more unequal over the past 35 years is beyond doubt. Since 1979, the pattern has been clear: The richer you were, the far richer you have become. And if you were poor, you probably stayed poor. But the same period has...

Saturday, December 20, 2014, 12:00 AM

American wellbeing since 1979

J. Bradford DeLong Berkeley – The story goes like this: Since 1979 – the peak of the last business cycle before the inauguration of Ronald Reagan as President – economic growth in the United States has been overwhelmingly a rich-only phenomenon. Real (inflation-adjusted) wages, incomes, and...

Friday, October 31, 2014, 12:00 AM

The rise of the robots

J. Bradford DeLong BERKELEY – For decades, people have been predicting how the rise of advanced computing and robotic technologies will affect our lives. On one side, there are warnings that robots will displace humans in the economy, destroying livelihoods, especially for low-skill workers....

Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 12:00 AM

The greater depression

BERKELEY – First it was the 2007 financial crisis. Then it became the 2008 financial crisis. Next it was the downturn of 2008-2009. Finally, in mid-2009, it was dubbed the “Great Recession.” And, with the business cycle’s shift onto an upward trajectory in late 2009, the...

Friday, August 29, 2014, 12:00 AM

Revisiting the Fed’s crisis

BERKELEY – Reading through the just-released transcripts of the US Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee meetings in 2008, I found myself asking the same overarching question: What accounted for the FOMC’s blinkered mindset as crisis erupted all around it? To be sure,...

Monday, March 3, 2014, 12:00 AM

Is America turning Japanese?

Back in the late 1980’s, Japan seemingly could do no wrong in economists’ eyes. They saw a clear edge in Japan’s competitiveness relative to the North Atlantic across a broad range of high-tech precision and mass-production industries manufacturing tradable goods. They also saw...

Saturday, February 1, 2014, 12:00 AM

The taper and its shadow

BERKELEY – The central banks of the North Atlantic region have vowed not to raise their short-term nominal interest rates until the economies under their stewardship show substantial recovery. So far, that has not happened. On the contrary, these economies continue to be battered by the...

Friday, September 27, 2013, 12:00 AM

America’s health-care divide

BERKELEY. In 1883, the authoritarian imperial government of Prince Otto von Bismarck – who famously declared, “It is not by speeches and majority votes that the great issues of our time will be decided…but by blood and iron” – established national health insurance for...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 12:00 AM

Inequality on the horizon of need

BERKELEY – By any economic measure, we are living in disappointing times. In the United States, 7.2% of the normal productive labour currently stands idle, while the employment gap in Europe is rising and due to exceed that of the US by the end of the year. So it is important to step back and...

Sunday, June 2, 2013, 12:00 AM

Over the Cliff we go

Unless something unexpected happens, the United States’ many legislated reductions in taxes over the past 12 years – all of which have been explicitly temporary – will expire simultaneously at the start of 2013. American tax rates will revert overnight to their Clinton-era levels....

Saturday, December 29, 2012, 12:00 AM

Hopeless Unemployment

However bad you think the global economy is today in terms of the business cycle, that is only one lens through which to view the world. In terms of global life expectancy, total world wealth, the overall level of technology, growth prospects in emerging economies, and global income distribution,...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 12:00 AM

The Shadow of Depression

Four times in the past century, a large chunk of the industrial world has fallen into deep and long depressions characterized by persistent high unemployment: the United States in the 1930’s, industrialized Western Europe in the 1930’s, Western Europe again in the 1980’s, and...

Friday, March 30, 2012, 12:00 AM

Neville Chamberlain was Right

BERKELEY – Neville Chamberlain is remembered today as the British prime minister who, as an avatar of appeasement of Nazi Germany in the late 1930’s, helped to usher Europe into World War II. But, earlier in that fateful decade, relatively soon after the start of the Great Depression...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 12:00 AM

America’s Financial Leviathan

BERKELEY – In 1950, finance and insurance in the United States accounted for 2.8% of GDP, according to US Department of Commerce estimates. By 1960, that share had grown to 3.8% of GDP, and reached 6% of GDP in 1990. Today, it is 8.4% of GDP, and it is not shrinking. The Wall Street Journal’s...

Friday, January 6, 2012, 12:00 AM

The 70% Solution

BERKELEY – Via a circuitous Internet chain – Paul Krugman of Princeton University quoting Mark Thoma of the University of Oregon reading the Journal of Economic Perspectives – I got a copy of an article written by Emmanuel Saez, whose office is 50 feet from mine, on the same corridor, and the Nobel...

Thursday, December 1, 2011, 12:00 AM

Economics in Crisis

BERKELEY – The most interesting moment at a recent conference held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire – site of the 1945 conference that created today’s global economic architecture – came when Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf quizzed former United States Treasury Secretary Larry Summers,...

Sunday, May 1, 2011, 12:00 AM

The fairness of financial rescue

BERKELEY – Perhaps the best way to view a financial crisis is to look at it as a collapse in the risk tolerance of investors in private financial markets. Maybe the collapse stems from lousy internal controls in financial firms that, swaddled by implicit government guarantees, lavish their...

Friday, January 1, 2010, 12:00 AM

Slouching toward sanity

BERKELEY – In America today – and in the rest of the world – economic-policy centrists are being squeezed. The Economic Policy Institute reports a poll showing that Americans overwhelmingly believe that the economic policies of the past year have greatly enriched the bankers of Midtown Manhattan...

Friday, October 30, 2009, 12:00 AM

The Anti-History Boys

BERKELEY – If you asked a modern economic historian like me why the world is currently in the grips of a financial crisis and a deep economic downturn, I would tell you that this is the latest episode in a long history of similar bubbles, crashes, crises, and recessions that date back at least to...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 12:00 AM

Sympathy for Greenspan

BERKELEY – In the circles in which I travel, there is near-universal consensus that America’s monetary authorities made three serious mistakes that contributed to and exacerbated the financial crisis. This consensus is almost always qualified by declarations that the United States has been well...

Saturday, June 27, 2009, 12:00 AM

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