Brad DeLong: Worthy reads on equitable growth, March 16-22, 2021

Worthy reads from Equitable Growth:

1. This is very well done by Joanna Venator. Solid evidence that migration benefits men’s access to material resources and within-the-household status more than it benefits women. If I were at the U.S. Department of Labor department right now, I would be thinking about job-search assistance for “trailing” spouses as one place where the fruit is very low-hanging and where the potential benefit-cost ratio is very, very high. Read Joanna Venator, “Dual-Earner Migration Decisions, Earnings, & Unemployment Insurance,” in which she writes: “Access to unemployment insurance for trailing spouses increases long-distance migration rates by 1.9–2.3 percentage points (38-to-46 percent) for married couples … Women are the primary beneficiaries of this policy, with higher UI uptake following a move and higher annual earnings of $4,500 to $12,000 three years post-move … [My] structural model of dual-earner couples’ migration decisions … increasing the likelihood of joint distant offers substantively increases migration rates, increases women’s post-move employment rates, and improves both men and women’s earnings growth at the time of a move. However, unconditional subsidies for migration that are not linked to having an offer in hand at the time of the move reduce post-move earnings for both men and women, with stronger effects for women.”

2. It is time to re-up this from a year and a half ago. Read Equitable Growth”s “Nobel laureates, former Fed Chair, two former CEA chairs endorse the Measuring Real Income Growth Act of 2019,” which reads: “Robert Solow and Joseph Stiglitz, former chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen, and former chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman and Laura Tyson, endorsed the Measuring Real Income Growth Act of 2019, which was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate today by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) … The Measuring Real Income Growth Act would add a distributional component to the National Income and Product Accounts, breaking out income growth into deciles of income and allowing us policymakers and the American people see who prospers when the U.S. economy grows.”

Worthy reads not from Equitable Growth:

1. The intellectual panoply the social sciences currently possess is, unfortunately, much better tuned to analyzing the societies of western Europe between 1900 and 1950 than in analyzing any significant chunk of the world today. We academics need to figure out which political economy and social theory authors and schools will be most insightful as tools for understanding the world of 2045. And we then need to figure out how to best teach those authors and schools. Read my “What Are We Doing When We Teach “Political Economy,” in which I write: “We have … more technological and organizational change in the world economy now in every two years than we had in any century back before 1500 … Political economy is thus social theory in the age of this extraordinary transformation of technology, understood as human powers to transform nature—not always in a good way—and to organize humans—not always in a good way at all … [and] not that economists or political scientists have any special expertise in figuring out what the appropriate social theory for this age of extraordinary transformation of technology is … The economy is changing and changing so rapidly and those changes ramify so far that they pretty much have to be at the core of whatever analysis you might undertake. Now: rubber, meet road: What should we teach?”

2. Figuring out how to do antitrust in the age of the attention economy is really, really hard. Read Ben Thompson, “The FTC’s Google Documents, the Staff Memo, the Economists Memo,” in which he writes: “The fundamental premise of the Politico article, along with much of the antitrust chatter in Washington, misses the point: Google is dominant because consumers like it. That doesn’t mean the company didn’t act anticompetitively, or that we shouldn’t think seriously about acquisitions or contracts or advertising. Such thinking, though, has to start with a certain degree of humility about the fundamentally different nature of the Internet and how it is leading to these Aggregator-type outcomes. It really might be different this time.”

March 22, 2021


Brad DeLong


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