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Articles from John Quiggin

What’s left of microeconomic reform?

October 5, 2020 - 18:10 -- Admin

I happened to mention on Twitter that I now use the word “reform” without scare quotes, even when I think the reform in question is a bad one. In fact, that’s my default assumption when I see the word, at least in the context of economic policy. That led me to think about how much fof the 1980s and 1990s microeconomic reform program still stands up. Here’s the result from Threadreader (via @ScooterBodgie)


October 5, 2020 - 18:01 -- Admin

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.

Monday Message Board

October 5, 2020 - 17:58 -- Admin

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link

Inequality and the pandemic, Part 3: Risk and reward

October 4, 2020 - 12:48 -- Admin

So, far I’ve argued that the inequality of incomes in our society is largely a matter of luck rather than inherent personal ability, and that it is only distantly related to the social value of the contributions people make through their work. These conclusions undercut the idea that taxing those on high incomes will harm society by reducing incentives to work for the most able and social valuable workers.

Inequality and the Pandemic Part 2: Merit

October 1, 2020 - 16:07 -- Admin

Unequal incomes are regularly justified by claiming that high incomes reflect a larger contribution to society. This has never been true as a general proposition.

Some high incomes, like those of skilled surgeons, reflect a contribution well above the norm. Others, like those of entertainers and sports stars, reflect services that are highly valued by our society whether or not they make it a better place.

Inequality and the Pandemic, Part 1: Luck

September 30, 2020 - 16:55 -- Admin

Here’s an extract from my contingent* book-in-progress, Economic Consequences of the Pandemic commissioned by Yale University Press. Comments and compliments appreciated, as always.

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us several things about inequality, or rather, it has dramatically reinforced lessons we, as a society, have failed to learn. The first is the importance of luck in determining unequal outcomes.

No Planet B

September 28, 2020 - 18:52 -- Admin

Five planets visible in the sky at the moment. Mercury in the West just after sunset, Jupiter and Saturn near the moon, Venus and Mars in the morning. Earth is the one we really need.