Sunday, May 24, 2015

My appearance on Economic Rockstar podcast

I went on the Economics Rockstar Podcast recently with Frank Conway and had a great time.

The link is here.

I hadn't heard much of this podcast before, but was extremely impressed with his preparation prior to our talk and his interviewing ability.  We had a 45-minute chat that seemed like it was 5-minutes.  I've since listened to some of his back episodes, which I recommend.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Guidelines for Conducting Economic Impact Studies on Fracking

My newest paper is titled "Guidelines for Conducting Economic Impact Studies on Fracking" and was recently published in International Advances in Economic Research.  This is collaborative work with Dave Ramsaran (a sociologist at Susquehanna University) and Dylan Furlano (2014 graduate from Susquehanna University).

Here is the abstract:
In recent years, many studies have attempted to estimate the economic impact of fracking. When done properly, economic impact studies can be valuable to both policy makers and researchers. Unfortunately, the quality of these economic impact studies varies. Often times these studies are released with obvious errors or authors clearly exhibit bias either for or against fracking. In this paper, we briefly review the studies that have estimated the economic impact of fracking. We discuss many of the issues researchers face when attempting to estimate the economic impact of fracking, and provide recommendations to those who wish to conduct these studies in the future.

Romney on Obama (on International Trade)

A nice note from Mitt Romney's facebook feed:

Economists overwhelmingly agree freer international trade is good for society.  Many Americans oppose free trade, however.  That's unfortunate, because free trade is good for America.  It will help Americans, both rich and poor, live better lives.

On top of that, free trade is the single greatest thing we can do to help poor people in other countries.  When we buy products from third world countries, they build new factories and employ workers.  This makes those in impoverished countries better off, and is far more effective and sustainable than virtually any other "solution" that's provided to help the poor.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Textbook Confessions: Government Failure

Textbook Confessions: Government Failure.  That's the title of an article recently published in The Journal of Private Enterprise by Eyzaguirre, Ferrarimi, and O'Roark.  Here's the abstract:

What students learn in the Principles of Economics course may become the permanent lens through which they view and understand how the economy works. While most textbooks cover a core of material in a consistent manner, the same cannot be said for the treatment of government failure. We review twelve principles of economics textbooks to analyze the treatment given to government failure. Our analysis shows that authors fall short in adequately addressing this topic, thereby exposing students to the fallacy that government is the solution to market failure and drawing dangerously close to the line between positive and normative analysis.

The rationale for the paper is straightforward.  While almost all textbooks have detailed sections on how markets can fail, the just-as-important coverage of how governments fail is often lacking.  If students in economics only learn about how markets fail and not governments, they'll get a distorted view of the world. 

In their analysis, they found big differences in coverage across textbooks.  One fact I found surprising is that Mankiw, a Republican, covered government failures less than Baumol and Blinder, who are Democrats (or at least worked for them).  I was not surprised that Krugman's book ignored government failures completely. 

The whole paper is very readable, and their paper is motivating me to create and post lecture videos on government failures for my courses.  I'll post links to the lectures when they're available.