Archive for the 'Policy' Category

What else would you expect in Philly?

January 31, 2016

Tim B. Lee has an interesting piece about the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s attempts to throttle Lyft and Uber (edited for continuity):

The PPA is a taxpayer-supported government agency, so you might have expected it to remain neutral. But according to records obtained by the Philadelphia Daily News, senior PPA officials actively strategized with taxi officials to preserve PPA’s authority over Uber and other ride-hailing companies and appears to have used taxpayer funds to lobby against Uber.

Well put, but the phrase “might have expected” suggests a curiously innocent view of government regulation — and Philadelphia. It’s not all bad: My sister tells me Parking Wars was terrific.


Electronic money in India

July 9, 2014

Here’s another one from Leo Mirani at Quartz. It seems e-money has failed to take hold in India, not for lack of need, and not for lack of suppliers. The bottleneck is a regulation that prohibits telecom companies from entering the business without bank partners. The irony is that e-money is largely a response to failure by the banking system to provide the services people need.

If you know more about this, please let me know, either by email or in the comments.

Competition for internet access

June 6, 2014

Kim Schoenholtz passes on another piece about competition — or rather its absence:  Read the rest of this entry »

Business in the real world: Comcast & Netflix

May 24, 2014

Another example: Comcast is said to have slowed down streaming from Netflix, perhaps as prelude to an agreement in which Netflix paid for better service. Hard-nosed business practice — or something else?   Read the rest of this entry »

Portugal: was austerity a mistake?

April 30, 2014

A post by Luis Cabral

As Portugal exits its 2011 stabilization program, it’s a good time to ask:  Was the program too severe?  The “troika” — the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund – demanded significant cuts in government spending in return for temporary external financing.  Many in Portugal and elsewhere argued against this policy of “austerity.”  Were they wrong?   Read the rest of this entry »

Deflation in Europe?

January 15, 2014

Tom Cooley and Kim Schoenholtz have a new piece up at CNBC. As they say:

The great promise of the European common currency was that a single disciplined central bank could end the persistent inflationary bias in much of Europe. How things have changed! The latest data show inflation in the euro area has slowed well below the European Central Bank’s stated goal [of 2%]. It is not out of the question that the region could sink into a sustained deflation.

By deflation we mean negative inflation. There’s some question about its consequences, but there are well-documented periods in which deflation and poor economic performance came together, notably the US in the 1930s and Japan in the 1990s.

Tomorrow becomes yesterday

December 15, 2013

No, not the title of an old show tune, but a quote from Mervyn King. His successor, Mark Carney, mentioned this delightful turn of phrase on Charlie Rose, and I tracked it down through the magic of Google:

Monetary policy supports demand and output by encouraging households and businesses to switch demand from tomorrow to today. But when tomorrow becomes today, an even larger stimulus is required to bring forward more spending from the future. Since the paradox of policy has been evident for almost four years, tomorrow has become not just today but yesterday. When the factors leading to a downturn are long-lasting, only continual injections of stimulus will suffice to sustain the level of real activity. Obviously, this cannot continue indefinitely. At some point the paradox of policy must be resolved.

Thoughtful comment, nicely put. More here.

Mervyn King @ NYU

September 26, 2013

Mervyn King, the former head of the Bank of England, is visiting. The economics and finance faculty spent some time with him yesterday, courtesy of Kim Schoenholtz’s Center. Tom Cooley threatened to “grill him,” but in the end we had an interesting and congenial exchange of ideas about the state of economics after the crisis. Some of the highlights (my recollection, not exact quotes):

  • We’re shifting to a new equilibrium that monetary policy neither can nor should prevent.
  • We need other policies to raise income, in particular supply side policies: tax reform, education, international agreements on intellectual property, and so on.
  • A flexible exchange rate was crucial to the UK’s recovery.

Lots of food for thought, and also for teaching. We look forward to grilling him further, perhaps at his upcoming talk.

Modern monopolies

July 24, 2013

Bruce Buchanan once summarized Michael Porter’s strategy advice this way: “Be a monopolist when you can.” This generates mixed feelings among economists. If you create a monopoly by developing a great new product, that’s a good thing. But if you simply take over an existing market, that’s good for you but bad for the rest of us. The reasoning will be familiar to anyone who has taken an economics course or read Adam SmithRead the rest of this entry »

Three years of Dodd-Frank

July 18, 2013

John Asker passes on this wonderful set of figures (they call it an “infographic”) from law firm Davis-Polk. It’s hard to believe applications to law school are falling, this looks like the full employment act for lawyers.