Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Real Ariel Rubinstein. Exposed at his 60th birthday

A couple of months ago, one of the world’s leading game theorists (its unclear whether he would like to be called that anymore, but it is what he is generally considered to be), turned 60. To celebrate the occasion, some of his students prepared a “Festschrift” to his honor. This is definitely not a normal piece. On the contrary! It is presented as a collection of “leaked” documents disclosing various moments in the academic life of Rubinstein. It even has a foreword by Julian Assange (or does it?). Everything is very nonsensical and completely hilarious. It is academic economist humor at the highest level. So I would really encourage you … Continue reading

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John Cochrane on QE2

I have previously mentioned John Cochrane on this blog as a good example of an economist who insists on using sound academic arguments in even the most heated debates. That this does not imply death by boredom, he shows in a recent commentary on quantitative easing at bloomberg.com : “Is QE2 a Savior, Inflator, or a Dud?: Business Class“. Ben Bernanke said the following about QE2 in March 2011: “Yields on 5- to 10-year nominal Treasury securities initially declined markedly as markets priced in prospective Fed purchases; these yields subsequently rose, however, as investors became more optimistic about economic growth and as traders scaled back their expectations of future securities … Continue reading

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Steady as she goes: The ECB keeps policy rate unchanged again

After having raised the key policy interest rate in April (from 1 to 1.25 %), the ECB kept it unchanged on June 9, thus repeating their “non-action” of May. This is a somewhat bold and perhaps unconventional move by a central bank whose overriding legal mandate is price stability. Given their own definition of price stability as meaning an annual Euro-wide HICP-inflation rate not above 2%, you would have thought that the increase in April would have been followed by further increases. After all, HICP-inflation is currently above 2.5%, and unemployment is falling slightly (continuing the downward adjustment, which I have argued earlier could have been the trigger for the … Continue reading

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Politics beat quality any day: Diamond calls it quits

Politics are powerful. Much more powerful than scientific arguments. This is probably a well-known dictum, and I am certain that I could find some cool references to great thinkers who have said something like this in the past. I have refrained from doing so, as I just wanted to put this recent example within economics on record: In the US, members of the board of governors for the Federal Reserve are appointed through a long-winded political process. The fact that elected politicians should have a saying in the nomination of members who will shape monetary policy is sensible from a democratic point of view. I will not dispute that. However, … Continue reading

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