Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

David Backus (1953-2016)

June 21, 2016

It is with profound sadness that the Economics Faculty at New York University and the Stern School of Business mark the passing of our beloved colleague David Backus. Dave, the Heinz Riehl Professor of Economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business died on June 12, 2016. The cause of death was leukemia.

Dave was a renowned economist. He pioneered a new approach to international macroeconomics, infusing it with tools from finance. His approach shapes our understanding of credibility and monetary policy, exchange rate behavior and international finance. His work on asset markets, with a wide variety of authors, helped lay the foundation for the thriving new research area at the intersection of macroeconomics and finance.

In addition to being an intellectual leader at the Stern School, Dave served for seven years as the Vice Dean for Faculty and as Chair of the Economics Department and the Accounting Department. Dave was much loved by his colleagues and by generations of Stern students for his strength of character, his generosity and kindness, and his sharp wit. Dave was a gifted teacher. Driven by his own deep intellectual curiosity, he developed and spearheaded many visionary courses for both undergraduates and graduate students.

Dave was the consummate modern academic. He loved research, teaching, and students. He was also a skilled leader who valued and strengthened the culture of academic institutions. Dave was never happier than when he could bring people together socially to share a beer and talk about research and ideas. Dave you will be deeply missed, you left us too soon. Friday afternoons will never be the same.

Prior to joining Stern in 1990, Dave studied at Hamilton College (BA, 1975) and Yale University (PhD, 1981), taught at Queen’s University and the University of British Columbia, and served at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. He grew up in Pittsburgh and remained an avid supporter of the Pirates, Steelers, and Penguins.

Dave is survived by his wife Marilyn Jason, his children Paul and Melanie Backus, his mother Marjorie Backus, and his sisters and brother Lois Backus, Laura Hoffman, Ruth Grillo, and Rudolf Ramsauer.


Graph of the day

August 25, 2014

Kim Ruhl passes on this graph of how many people woke up during the earthquake. One reason you want to learn to code: so you can do cool things like this.

Krugman compliments Cecchetti and Schoenholtz

August 25, 2014

Or does he?  

A new post by Cecchetti and Schoenholtz on core inflation reminds me that this concept, too, has been a huge success. Actually, I don’t think C&S get the argument for using some kind of core measure quite right.  

In my world, that’s as close as you want to come. Better yet, read the original.  

Silber on Volcker

August 21, 2012

Bill Silber, our star teacher of Foundations of Finance, has a book out about Paul Volcker that’s getting a lot of attention.

Volcker is known for many things, among them the Volcker rule, the Volcker Commission, and (to us) his long-time support of the Stern School.  But to macroeconomists, he’s the guy who killed off inflation.  Inflation ratcheted up in the 1970s and resisted attempts to bring it under control through wage and price controls (Nixon), WIN buttons (Ford), and “a number of partial remedies” (Carter).  Volcker took over as chair of the Federal Reserve in 1979 with inflation nudging 10%.  By 1983 it had fallen below 4%, where it has stayed ever since.  Silber recounts the story in a Bloomberg View piece.  Silber’s version is more lively than what we do in class (slides 103-106), but we like to think we have better graphics.

Two headlines from Europe’s Hall of Mirrors

March 30, 2012

Kim Schoenholtz passes on two headlines about the same story.  From Bloomberg, we have 

Europe Caps Fresh Crisis Aid at 500 billion Euros.”

From the FT, we have (subscription required, but you can search in Google news):   
Eurozone boosts rescue fund to E700bn.”

Ok, which is it, a boost or a cap?  Kim refers to this as a “Rashomon moment,” proving once again he’s more sophisticated than I am.  Great metaphor, though, once I figured it out.  

Going bald for charity

March 24, 2012

Our own Kim Ruhl was shaved bald yesterday in front of a standing-room-only happy hour crowd at Amity Hall.  He attributed this brazen attempt to raise his teaching ratings to a lifelong desire to raise money for cancer research.  He immediately left town for China and points beyond.  His wife Denise could not be reached for comment.

Kim Ruhl gets a close shave at Amity Hall.

Félicitations Viral!

March 23, 2012

A post by Stan Zin 

Allais, Bastiat, Bertrand, Cournot, Debreu, Roy, Say, Walras… the French know a thing or two about economics.  Given this illustrious intellectual history, we were thrilled to hear that our friend and colleague, Viral Acharya, was awarded the prestigious Banque de France – Toulouse School of Economics Junior Prize in Monetary Economics and Finance.  Displaying his customary humility, Viral’s acceptance speech doesn’t tout his many research contributions, but rather lays out the case for enlightened re-regulation of the financial services industry to achieve financial stability.

Félicitations Viral!

More conflicts on Wall Street

March 16, 2012

A post by John Asker

Greg Smith’s vocal exit from Goldman Sachs generated an enormous amount of discussion.  One of the issues raised is whether clients understand when their banks are conflicted.  Certainly in some cases they do; see the ruling related to Goldman’s multiple roles in the El Paso sale, which we found via Dealbook.

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David Cameron @ NYU: Is Keynes dead?

March 16, 2012

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron stopped by NYU yesterday to speak to a group of students.  He spent most of his time answering questions, including this one about 21 minutes in (lightly edited for continuity):

Q:  Is Keynesianism dead?

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Regulating money market funds

March 8, 2012

Up through the Depression, financial panics were marked by runs at banks, as depositors rushed to withdraw their money while money was still available.  Even solvent banks were caught out.  The classic solution is deposit insurance, with the government guaranteeing bank deposits and regulating banks to prevent insolvencies that would burden taxpayers.  In the US, federal deposit insurance was mandated in the 1930s and bank runs became a thing of the past.  Friedman and Schwartz hailed this as “the most important structural change” made in the 1930s to deal with bank runs.  

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