Saturday, May 31, 2014

Online courses in microeconomics and macroeconomics

I'm teaching both microeconomics and macroeconomics in the summer session at Susquehanna University.  Both of these are online courses, start on Monday, June 9th, and last seven weeks.  There are still spaces available if anybody wishes to register.

Here's a video lecture from the course (or go to link here):

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014

How much credit should a governor get for an economy's performance?

This is the question I was asked by John Finnerty, a Pennsylvania reporter.  My answer was that in general, governor's will get too much credit when things are good and too much blame when things are bad.  That said, I thought one specific policy where Pennsylvania's governor, Tom Corbett, deserves credit was his decision not to restrict fracking.

I also commented how government spending that is funded by tax dollars won't boost an economy.

Link to the story is here.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Climategate 2?

Link here

In an echo of the infamous “Climategate” scandal at the University of East Anglia, one of the world’s top academic journals rejected the work of five experts after a reviewer privately denounced it as “harmful”.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Learning economics through pictures: correlation does not equal causation

Link to site

I got a chuckle from this.  While I am not a fan of organic foods or the organic foods industry, can anybody really claim that organic foods cause autism?

Unfortunately, on many topics, people do confuse correlation for causation.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Quoted in a story on fracking in The Buffalo News

Those figures leave out the ancillary growth that occurred because of gas drilling – the building of new hotels and gas company facilities, for example, and the growth in the local trucking industry that has suddenly had to ship the vast quantity of water required in the fracking process.
“The exact number of jobs that would be created, I don’t know that. I don’t know if anyone knows that,” said Matthew Rousu, an economics professor at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. “There’s a pretty big trickle-down effect, what they call the ‘multiplier effect.’ Nobody knows how large it is, but it certainly exists.”
Hints of the trickle-down effect can be seen in construction employment in the Pennsylvania counties with the most newly drilled gas wells.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Why we should not trust National Climate Assessment economic impact study

Link here

Nobody should take this study seriously.  This study should be taken as seriously as when IBM releases a study saying that IBM has a positive economic impact on society, or when the organic food industry releases a report non-organic foods will kill you.  Nobody believes those organizations because they have a financial (and/or non-financial) incentive to make these claims.

Likewise, the incentives for objective climate change research are not there.  Look at who's writing this report - academics and government officials.  Their research funding (which you could instead call their livelihood, their income, their vacations, or their kids' college tuition fund) will only continue if there continues to be a "problem" with climate change.

A quick glance through tells us the study - and when I say study, I mean the website that's set up like a campaign website, I couldn't find a report - is flawed.  Where is the detailed discussion of the positive economic benefits from climate change?  Surely some regions are better off from climate change, right?  Is every single area really worse off?

Unfortunately, reports like this are what we came to expect of former communist countries, where researchers/people were simply paid to promote the party line.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Susquehanna news story on my newest research project

Link here

When Susquehanna University Associate Professor of Economics Matt Rousu received a prestigious grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the preferences of smokers, he knew he would need students to help with the research. In turn, the students, ranging from first-years to seniors, are getting invaluable, real-world economics experience.