Maggie Koerth-Baker: Science proves that you should wear glittens
Dan Crawford: Suitpossum's top economic/finance blogs
Barry Eichengreen: The Politics of Global Recovery in 2013: "The consensus forecast for US growth in 2013 is lower than for 2012…. Similarly, it should not be hard for Europe to do better in 2013…. But here, too, policy blunders could torpedo hopes for improvement…. The IMF sees China’s GDP growth accelerating in 2013…. The danger is that the Chinese authorities will continue to do too little to rebalance their economy, allowing vulnerabilities to build up…. The problem is that growth based on low wages, supported by an artificially competitive exchange rate, cannot continue for much longer. Trophy investments threaten to produce low returns and bad debt. Yet, heedless of the dangers, powerful export interests and regional governments continue to fight for these policies."
Innovation pessimism: Has the ideas machine broken down?: "Mr Gordon sees it as possible that there were only a few truly fundamental innovations—the ability to use power on a large scale, to keep houses comfortable regardless of outside temperature, to get from any A to any B, to talk to anyone you need to—and that they have mostly been made. There will be more innovation—but it will not change the way the world works in the way electricity, internal-combustion engines, plumbing, petrochemicals and the telephone have. Mr Cowen is more willing to imagine big technological gains ahead, but he thinks there are no more low-hanging fruit. Turning terabytes of genomic knowledge into medical benefit is a lot harder than discovering and mass producing antibiotics…. The third argument is the simplest: the evidence of your senses. The recent rate of progress seems slow compared with that of the early and mid-20th century. Take kitchens. In 1900 kitchens in even the poshest of households were primitive things. Perishables were kept cool in ice boxes, fed by blocks of ice delivered on horse-drawn wagons. Most households lacked electric lighting and running water. Fast forward to 1970 and middle-class kitchens in America and Europe feature gas and electric hobs and ovens, fridges, food processors, microwaves and dishwashers. Move forward another 40 years, though, and things scarcely change. The gizmos are more numerous and digital displays ubiquitous, but cooking is done much as it was by grandma…. As Mr Thiel and his colleagues at the Founders Fund, a venture-capital company, put it: 'We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.' A world where all can use Twitter but hardly any can commute by air is less impressive than the futures dreamed of in the past…. [But] the science fiction of the mid-20th century, important as it may have been to people who became entrepreneurs or economists with a taste for the big picture, constituted neither serious technological forecasting nor a binding commitment."
Scott Lemieux: 5 Myths About Roe v. Wade
Linda Greenhouse & Reva B. Siegel: Before (and After) Roe v. Wade: New Questions About Backlash
Jeffrey Toobin: The Real Lesson of Roe v. Wade
Irin Carmon: 5 things you don’t know about Roe
Duncan Black: Eschaton: People Hate Not Knowing: "People don't like waiting for mass transit, but what they really hate is waiting with uncertainty…. It's the nagging concern that 10 minutes might actually be 20…. Real time information is really a big help in this area. My local transit authority's real time bus location service isn't perfect. The GPS only gets polled about every 3 minutes, and there are occasionally ghost or missing buses. It does provide a decent enough clue about what you can expect, and especially for bus lines without super frequent service (I'm looking at you, #64), it makes the experience much better."
Justin Fox: How Big Should Government Be?: "As one critic wrote of Robert Lucas's American Economic Association presidential address on economic growth in 2003, in which the Nobel laureate cited several studies showing dramatic welfare gains from hypothetical tax cuts in France and the U.S.: 'Such findings have two distinctive features. First, they show big numbers. Second, they are not really findings. Contrary to the words offered so traditionally and casually by economists, none of these authors actually 'found' or 'showed' their results. Rather, they chose to imagine the results they announced. In every study Lucas cited here the crucial ingredient was a theoretical model laden with assumptions.' The author of these words is University of California, Davis economic historian Peter Lindert, who hid them among the data appendices in volume two of his epic 2004 empirical study, Growing Public: Social Spending and Economic Growth Since the Eighteenth Century. The books have developed something of a cult following among econowonks across the political spectrum. People on the left love Lindert's conclusion, contained in this shorter working paper, that the rise in spending (and accompanying taxation) has not carried with it the costs predicted by neoclassical economic theories such as the ones wielded by Lucas. But those on the right love his explanation that this is mostly because countries with high social spending have tax systems that appear to have been designed by a neoclassical economist: with low progressivity, low taxes on capital, and big value-added taxes on consumption."
Macroadvisers: Fiscal Risks: Debt Ceiling, Sequester, Shutdown!: "Enactment of the American Tax Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) eliminated the near-term uncertainty surrounding tax policy, shifting attention to three other downside fiscal risks to our forecast. A brief encounter with the debt ceiling this winter might not be calamitous, but a prolonged one would cause the deepest recession since the Great Depression. Just the possibility of hitting the debt ceiling could create enough uncertainty to reduce GDP by roughly ½ percentage point this year, even if the ceiling is raised before it is reached."