Thursday, October 3, 2013

A few labor market links

- I don't entirely agree with LK's thoughts on Hutt here. I will concur that there is a rose-colored glasses view of unemployment in his Theory of Idle Resources and I also agree that it is over-touted as a refutation of Keynes (by Hutt himself and by his fans), but if we put that aside the idea is essentially sound. In fact, I'm near finishing a chapter on the ways we think about unemployment that discusses Hutt and Beveridge as having broadly similar approaches to the question which lay the foundations for modern search theories (where unemployed workers are not "idle" because they are searching for work), and Beveridge obviously is no thorn in the side of Keynesianism.

- Bryan Caplan has good thoughts on "malemployment" (I always thought this was just called "underemployment", although I suppose that has specific connotations about hours worked... or maybe "mismatch"?). I advise that people approach the "Team Georgetown" that Caplan discusses carefully. They are active in the STEM workforce debate and can be similarly misleading on these skilled labor classification questions.

- Obamacare and doctor shortages (HT Ryan Long). Readers know I don't think much high skill labor shortage claims, but this is one area where the problem is very real, largely due to AMA regulations.

- I am quoted in this article on the impact of the shut-down. There's nothing wrong with what is attributed to me but I don't think it really captures the details I communicated to the reporter. For those that are interested, here's our email exchange:
- What are you studying at AU? How many years left do you have and are student loans a concern?
A: Economics Phd, two or three years left, student loans not a concern.

- Do you and your family live in the District? How does this impact your household finances and ability to pay loans, a mortgage or rent?
A: We live in Falls Church, VA. The shut-down itself doesn't threaten our bills too much. We've saved, I have some grant income, and in all likelihood we should get backpay from the shutdown.

- Are you worried about the impact on household finances immediately or in the future? Do you have vacations or plans you need to cancel that are paycheck dependent?
A: This is the right question. What I'm really worried about is what this indicates about the future. I'm increasingly concerned about not raising the debt ceiling and more continuing resolutions as a result of these political dynamics. That puts increasing pressure on us. We have definitely scaled back vacation and been more frugal over the last several years because of this. This is what I think a lot of people don't understand. This is coming on top of years of pay freezes, hiring freezes, and a summer of furloughs for federal workers.

- How are your child care needs impacted?
A: Nothing directly yet. I work a lot from home and can take care of our newborn, and my wife is on maternity leave right now. This definitely will reduce our ability to pay for child care as our daughter gets older if the continuing resolutions and pay freezes continue.

- Where is your wife working? Has she already been hit by sequester-related furloughs and now facing another furlough through shutdown?
A: National Defense University. She has been hit by sequester, and she also hasn't had a raise since she's been hired. This is despite the fact that she is taking on more and more work because of the hiring freezes that are in place.

- Did you save money in the event of a shutdown impacting finances?
A: Not with a shut down in mind, but yes, we are very conscious of trying to save money.

- Who do you blame for the inaction in Congress? Do you see it getting better in Washington, or is this rock bottom? Will elections in 2014 turn things around?
A: The Republicans without exception. There is room for improvement on the Democratic side, but the only reason why this is an issue is that it is tied to the ACA, and that falls directly in the lap of Republicans. Republicans are also chiefly to blame for the fiscal austerity of the last several years.

1 comment:

  1. I think "malemployment" sounds like an ugly term, and I think that "underemployment" sounds less ugly and more appropriate. But that's just my opinion.

    Speaking of W.H. Hutt's book, Daniel Kuehn...what level of mathematics does it use? Does it use differential calculus and integral calculus like A.C. Pigou's 1933 book, The Theory of Unemployment? (J.M. Keynes picks that book as his target because it was at the time, the most powerful and advanced formulation of the classical school's theorizing about unemployment in *rigorous, mathematical terms*. In fact, J.M. Keynes writes on Page 279 of The General Theory: "I have criticised at length Professor Pigou's theory of unemployment not because he seems to me more open to criticism than other economists of the classical school; but because his is the only attempt with which I am acquainted to write down the classical theory of unemployment precisely. Thus it has been incumbent on me to raise my objections in the most formidable presentment in which it has been advanced."

    BTW, Daniel...did you get my last e-mail?


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