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November 2, 2014

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Posted: 02 Nov 2014 12:06 AM PDT

'The Vital Role of the Occasional Voter'

Posted: 01 Nov 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Sendhil Mullainathan:

The Vital Role of the Occasional Voter, NY Times: Low voter turnout is a bad thing. Let's get that out of the way immediately.
The midterm elections take place on Tuesday, but it's highly likely that relatively few Americans will actually go to the polls. In 2010, in the last midterm election, only 37 percent of the voting-age population voted.
What's more, voter turnout isn't evenly dispersed... And even if low turnout were uniformly spread among economic and racial groups, it would still be disheartening. ...
But one type of nonvoter provides a silver lining in this otherwise gloomy state of affairs. These people, whom I call sporadic voters, don't apathetically sit out all elections. They fail to go to the polls sometimes but do go at other times, presumably when they perceive the stakes to be high. And unlike apathetic nonvoters who undermine democracy, sporadic voters may actually bolster it. In fact, recent behavioral research suggests that this group may provide a reservoir of neutrality that can help keep democracy from going astray. ...

'Keynes Was Right'

Posted: 01 Nov 2014 09:50 AM PDT

Anatole Kaletsky:

... It ... seems appropriate to consider what we can learn from all the policy experiments conducted around the world since the 2008 crisis.
The main lesson is that government decisions on taxes and public spending have turned out to be more important as drivers of economic activity than the monetary experiments with zero interest rates and quantitative easing that have dominated media and market attention. ... While every major economy in the world has followed essentially the same monetary policy since 2008, their fiscal policies have been very different and the divergence in outcomes, especially when we compare the United States and Europe, has been exactly the opposite to what was implied by the rhetoric of most politicians and central banks. ...

Thus the six years since 2008 have provided strong empirical support for the supposedly outmoded Keynesian view that government borrowing is more powerful than monetary policy in stimulating severely depressed economies...

More here.

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