Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Deferred compen-sensation

A good friend found this article from NBC HardballTalk on the plethora of deferred compensation a.k.a. generous annuity plans still payable in major league baseball. It's impressive how players and agents set up such plans in the first place. Even more impressive is how they've taken clubs and financial markets to the cleaners with the enormous present value of those plans, given how interest rates have remained at historic lows especially since the Great Recession but even stretching back to the tech bust of 2001.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

CA mandates vaccinations

Amid controversy, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a new law requiring children in public schools to be vaccinated. Recent work on this topic by Malia Jones and Alison Buttenheim had made the case that Californian parents were otherwise likely to continue filing for personal belief exemptions (PBEs) allowing postponement of vaccinations.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

UK demography

The Guardian reports on UK population trends, including an historical look at natural increase and net immigration, and a sideways age pyramid.

Friday, April 17, 2015

MaCurdy on the minimum wage

Here in Berkeley, CA, there was a Fight for 15 march this past Wednesday, where the 15 is the minimum wage target of interest. Thomas MaCurdy recently wrote an op-ed summary of his hot-off-the-presses JPE paper (link to a helpful Marginal Revolution page) on the minimum wage.

MaCurdy takes at face value the New Minimum Wage literature of the 1990s that found tiny reductions or even increases in employment following minimum wage increases. Rather, his focus is on producers' price setting responses, and he shows that minimum wage increases are "at best a scattershot approach to raising the income of poor families" because minimum wages raise earnings of many workers in many families across the income spectrum, while they raise the prices of goods purchased more typically by low-income families.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Christie on entitlements

Yesterday, NJ governor Chris Christie delivered this speech on entitlement reform. If you ignore the partisan invectives at the beginning and the end, it's an absolutely remarkable read. This guy or his speechwriters really get it. His means-testing proposals are legitimate solutions, in stark contrast to the completely unrealistic budget plan presented by the GOP's Paul Ryan, which relies heavily on the falsehood of revenue-increasing tax cuts.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hoynes on EITC

Today at Berkeley, Hilary Hoynes spoke about the impacts of the Earned Income Tax Credit on female labor supply. She and a coauthor find increases in working of about 6 percentage points among single mothers after the EITC expansion of the early 1990s, compared to single women without kids. Moms with more kids and thus more tax credits also worked (even) more.

This is a bread-and-butter labor supply issue, great for applied teaching. To paraphrase her words, the substitution effect dominates, and moms who see higher after-tax wages because of the EITC substitute away from leisure and toward working even though their incomes also rose.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

PTSD as moral exile

David Brooks summarizes this view today. With self-reported exposure to combat near an all-time high among the current cohort of war veterans, understanding how PTSD works is vital. The shocking thing is that the WWII cohort reported similarly high rates of exposure, but it was only after Vietnam that medicine started taking a modern approach toward PTSD.