Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The near future in the life of your host

Blogging will be light for at least the next week - there are some exciting things coming up.

First, on Thursday morning I'm off to Cambridge, Massachusetts to present preliminary findings from an analysis of trends in the supply of new engineers to the labor market from the mid-1980s today. The conference is organized by Richard Freeman and Hal Salzman (my co-author) at the NBER's Science and Engineering Workforce Project. We're coming up with some really interesting stuff. One of the things I like about our analysis is that we're taking a very close look at the reaction of engineering programs to the increased demand for engineers. Lot's of people have modeled the labor market for engineers, and lots of people have looked at graduation trends from engineering programs - but we look at the growth, development, and composition of these programs over time as well, which I think is somewhat more unique. I'm hopefully going to get to present these results at the Urban Institute later this year as well - the chapter will be finished in May 2011, and the book (NBER and U. Chicago Press) will come out some time in 2012 I believe.

The conference participants are also going to attend a seminar at one of Harvard's Science-Based Business Initiative Seminars. Not sure what the topic will be, but that looks interesting.

I'm thrilled to be a part of this, and I'm very excited to meet Richard Freeman - a very well known labor economist at Harvard. Here's a clip of Freeman speaking about his research:

And this is Richard Freeman's Jefferson lecture at Berkley in 2008. He emphasizes Jefferson's views on inequality:

One of the things I like a lot that comes out strongly in both of these talks (towards the end of both of these talks) is what Freeman calls "progressive federalism". It's largely the same point I've made on here on several occasions.

That conference is Thursday and Friday. I'll be back Saturday and studying for two days straight for my second shot at the GRE Monday morning. Shooting for an 800, of course - but we shall see. Something very much in the "safe zone" at least. I'll be pushing forward with applications after that. One of the things I'll be applying for is an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, which involves a much more detailed description of my proposed research - so I may be blogging more about that as I sketch it out.


  1. Inequality isn't a big deal. Cuba has a lot of equality I am sure; equality in misery that is.

  2. Having gotten to the part about corporate and individual income taxes I would note that the income tax amendment was sold as a "soak the rich" policy (same with the social security tax I will add). Of course rich people were better able to defend themselves against it than everyone else, as is the case everywhere on the planet. One of the many numerous unintended consequences (or not?) of liberal/progressive policies.

  3. Ah yes, the old "simply declare the opposite, then identify the proposition with a Communist dictatorship" rhetorical strategy. Always very convincing.

  4. The point is of course that the U.S was far more equal in the 1880s when agriculture dominated the scene as far as career choice is concerned, yet the U.S. was also far more poor. The U.S. is certainly unequal, but the U.S. is also far more rich than it was and what the less rich can afford is far above what they could afford in 1880 or 1980 for that matter.

  5. Right... so?

    You seem to be under the impression that someone is arguing "inequality is the only thing that matters not growth" when I don't think anyone is arguing that.

    There also seems to be lurking under the surface some assumption that more equality is inimical to growth.

  6. Efforts to create equality by government tinkering are inimical to growth.

    Now he is into the issue of lobbying ... want less lobbying, well, that's easy, have a smaller government.

  7. I love how he goes after the Koch brothers, Cato, etc.; lots of eye rolling on my part at that.

  8. Speaking of federalism, this is what the Obama administration has to say about federalism: http://reason.com/blog/2010/10/20/vote-no-because-otherwise-reck


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