Archive for September 2011


What skills shortage?

I remember well the gas shortages of the 1970s. Long lines at the pumps and gas prices through the roof. Higher prices are, of course, the textbook free-market response to a shortage. Some economic analysts argue that an important reason we have high unemployment today  is because we have a shortage of skilled workers. Employers […]

Two health-care graphs

Lane Kenworthy has posted two extremely helpful graphs that try to gauge the efficiency of the US health-care system relative to those of other wealthy countries. The first shows life expectancy in each country, in 2007, against per-capita health expenditures in the same year. The United States is a huge outlier. We spend the most […]

Small Business Bust

Back in the summer of 2009, Nathan Lane and I wrote a CEPR report (pdf) documenting something that is surprising to many Americans. The United States has just about the smallest small-business sector in the world’s rich economies. Our report used OECD data to look at the share of workers in small businesses in each […]

What does cynicism have to do with it?

Matt Yglesias offers some “Cynical Thoughts on The Minimum Wage.” Cynical is fine, but informed would be better. Most of the post focuses on what Yglesias believes are enforcement problems with the minimum wage. He recites an anecdote about a magazine that reclassified workers as interns rather than pay them the minimum wage; links to […]

The Disposable Worker Hypothesis

The eminently mainstream economist Robert Gordon has posted a surprisingly hard-hitting paper at the voxeu site. The brief paper estimates that the US economy is currently short about 10 million jobs (14 million using a less conservative estimate –see graph above). What makes the paper hard-hitting is that Gordon argues a major cause of this […]