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November 5, 2014

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Posted: 05 Nov 2014 12:06 AM PST

What’s Next for the Fed?

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 07:58 AM PST

I have a new column:

What's Next for the Fed?: Last week, the Federal Reserve announced an end to its quantitative easing program. This brings up the obvious question, what is next for the Fed? Before getting to that, here are a few notes on quantitative easing and what the Fed's announcement means for the economy. ...

'Stagnation: Noise vs Signal'

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 07:57 AM PST

Chris Dillow:

Stagnation: noise vs signal: A commenter on my previous post invites me to bet on the idea that economic growth is slowing. I'm going to decline the offer. This isn't (just) because I'm an empty blowhard: I was only raising the possibility of slower growth. Nor is it just because I'm risk-averse: in being scarred by memories of the early 80s recession, I am one of Malmendier and Nagel's Depression Babies (pdf).
Instead, I reject the bet because facts might not suffice to prove or disprove the secular stagnation hypothesis.
Even over a period as long as ten years - to take Matt's suggested time period - average GDP growth will be due in part to luck as well as to fundamental forces. ...
We can quantify this luck by measuring the standard error... Over a ten year period, the standard error is 0.7 percentage points. Our 1.5% growth might therefore mean simply that true growth was the same between 2014 and 2024 as it was between 1973 and 2013 and that we got unlucky, in drawing more bad years than good out of the hat. Or it might mean that there really has been secular stagnation and the growth rate has halved...
We can't tell for sure. ...

'Why Don’t We See More Macroeconomic Populism?'

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 07:56 AM PST

Paul Krugman has a question:

Why Don't We See More Macroeconomic Populism?: As I've been noting recently, there's a lot of opposition within Japan to the Bank of Japan's policy of printing more money; there's also a lot of pressure on the government to raise taxes. And that's not really very different from what has been happening in the rest of the advanced world: central banks that have pursued quantitative easing have done so despite political pressure, not because of it, and fiscal austerity has been imposed almost everywhere.
The funny thing is that when you ask for justifications for pursuing hard money and tight budgets in a depressed, low-inflation economy, the answers you get often start from the presumption that money-printing and deficit finance are immensely tempting to politicians, so that you don't dare let them get even a slight taste of these addictive drugs. This is often said in a tone of great wisdom, and presented as the lesson history teaches us.
Now, as Simon Wren-Lewis points out — and as I've pointed out in the past — history actually teaches us no such thing. ...
But ... populist politicians should love it when people tell them that printing money and running big deficits is OK — seems plausible. And things like this have happened in Latin America — indeed are happening again today in Venezuela and Argentina. So why don't they ever happen in America, Europe, or Japan? Why, in a time of deflationary pressure, have calls for belt-tightening dominated the political scene?
I actually don't know, although I continue to think about it. But it is a puzzle worth pondering.

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