Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Keynes on exams

The results of his civil service exams infuriate Keynes. He writes to Strachey:

"I have done worst in the only two subjects of which I possessed a solid knowledge - Mathematics and Economics. I scored more marks for English History than for Mathematics - is it credible? For Economics I got a relatively low percentage and was eight or ninth in order of merit..."

He was later to say: "I evidently knew more about Economics than my examiners."


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Development and grammar


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Friday, May 28, 2010

On economists

Therefore, the total impact includes a journal's impact on many disciplines
other than economics. For many purposes this may be an entirely reasonable
measure of influence, but economists, being a rather narrow-minded and
self-centered group, are probably more concerned with a journal's impact on the
economics profession

Liebowitz and Palmer (1984)
Journal of Economic Literature 22, p.81-82.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Interview with the BBC on the costs of default

here (my part starts at minute 8)


Friday, May 14, 2010

Ravi Kanbur is very wise

issue makes me uncomfortable within myself, takes me off my high moral perch when I talk (or lecture) to others about poverty, and it is an issue for which I do not have an answer. It is quite simply this—those of us, including me, who analyze poverty and discourse about poverty, seem to do rather well out of it. Working on poverty issues, whether in international agencies, in bilateral donor

The rest is here

The development set poem by Ross Coggins

‘Excuse me, friends, I must catch my jet
I’m off to join the Development Set;
My bags are packed, and I’ve had all my shots
I have traveller’s checks and pills for the trots!

The Development Set is bright and noble
Our thoughts are deep and our vision global;
Although we move with the better classes
Our thoughts are always with the masses.

In Sheraton Hotels in scattered nations
We damn multi-national corporations;
injustice seems easy to protest
In such seething hotbeds of social rest.

We discuss malnutrition over steaks
And plan hunger talks during coffee breaks.
Whether Asian floods or African drought,
We face each issue with open mouth.

We bring in consultants whose circumlocution
Raises difficulties for every solution –
Thus guaranteeing continued good eating
By showing the need for another meeting.

The language of the Development Set
Stretches the English alphabet;
We use swell words like “epigenetic”
“Micro”, “macro”, and “logarithmetic”

It pleasures us to be esoteric –
It’s so intellectually atmospheric!
And although establishments may be unmoved,
Our vocabularies are much improved.

When the talk gets deep and you’re feeling numb,
You can keep your shame to a minimum:
To show that you, too, are intelligent
Smugly ask, “Is it really development?”

Or say, “That’s fine in practice, but don’t you see:
It doesn’t work out in theory!”
A few may find this incomprehensible,
But most will admire you as deep and sensible.

Development set homes are extremely chic,
Full of carvings, curios, and draped with batik.
Eye-level photographs subtly assure
That your host is at home with the great and the poor.

Enough of these verses – on with the mission!
Our task is as broad as the human condition!
Just pray god the biblical promise is true:
The poor ye shall always have with you.’

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Grecia edi costi del default

Il debito pubblico si differenzia da quello privato, per la mancanza di una procedura ben definita per punire uno stato che non ripaga i debiti. Le ripercussioni si pagano in termini di reputazione, commercio estero e accesso ai mercati internazionali. Ma sono effetti che durano pochi anni. Per la teoria economica la ristrutturazione del debito sembrerebbe meno costosa di quanto si pensi. Forse perché è stata sempre accompagnata a un deprezzamento del tasso di cambio. Cosa impossibile per la Grecia.
il resto e' qui
grazie a Giulia

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What will happen if Greece defaults? Insights from theory and reality

My piece (with Eduardo Borensztein) on the costs of default: here

Friday, April 30, 2010

Intervista sulla crisi greca alla radio della svizzera italiana

qui oppure qui

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nadine with models

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bankers' conflicts of interest in the interwar years: Lessons for today’s regulators

My (joint with Marc Flandreau and Norbert Gaillard) new piece on VOX

The global crisis is frequently compared to the Great Depression and the interwar debt crises. This column argues that, contrary to prevailing opinion, the interwar debt crisis had little to do with bankers’ conflicts of interest – intermediaries were in fact careful in selecting and placing sovereign bonds. Then, as now, public opinion may not be the best guide to policy

The rest is here

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Me on the Economist

Eduardo Borensztein and Ugo Panizza counts as many as 257 sovereign defaults between 1824 and 2004. Between 1981 and 1990 alone, there were 74 defaults....Messrs Borensztein and Panizza show that having defaulted is associated with a credit-rating downgrade of nearly two notches.....That said, markets appear to have short memories. Only the most recent defaults matter and the effects on spreads are short-lived. Messrs Borensztein and Panizza find that credit ratings between 1999 and 2002 were affected only by defaults since 1995.....Messrs Borensztein and Panizza find that a defaulting country grows by 1.2 percentage points less per year while its debt is being restructured compared with a similar country that is not in default. This effect, too, is concentrated in the first year after default. Once again, measuring from the point of default will somewhat understate the damage: defaults tend to occur during recessions, so GDP is already depressed when a country reneges...Another element to the costs of default may also alarm Greek policymakers. Messrs Borensztein and Panizza find that political leadership changed in the year of default or the year after in half of the 22 cases they study. That is twice the usual probability of such change. These political costs, at least, are unlikely to vary.

The rest is Here

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Great vox piece

with great pictures too. Here
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Macro Data 4 STATA

is now public

This is Alex Tabarrok on MR. One commenter suggests to install Kountry. I did not now about it and it's indeed very cool (however, I am not sure that it is more useful than Md4Stata, they are both useful and I think that they complement each other)

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Monday, February 15, 2010

New paper on "Old Bonds"

Conflicts of Interest, Reputation, and the Interwar Debt Crisis: Banksters or Bad Luck?
(with Marc Flandreau and Norbert Galliard)
This paper builds a new dataset with detailed information on the universe of
foreign government bonds issued in New York in the 1920s and uses these data to
describe the behavior of the financial intermediaries which operated in the New
York market during the period leading to the interwar debt crisis. The paper
starts by showing that concerns over reputation played an important role in
intermediaries‘ underwriting choices. Next, the paper checks whether banks
managed to charge abnormal underwriting fees on bonds that would eventually
default and finds no evidence of such practice (―banksterism‖). The paper
concludes by discussing some parallels between the experience of the 1920s and
the current debate on the "originate and distribute" model.
The paper is here
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New paper with Ricardo Hausmann on abstinence versus redemption


This paper updates our previous work on the level and evolution of original sin. It shows that while the number of countries that issue local-currency debt in international markets has increased in the past decade, this improvement has been quite modest. Although we find that countries have been borrowing at home, thanks to deepening domestic markets, we document that foreign participation in these markets is more limited than what is usually assumed. The paper shows that the recent decline of currency mismatches and the consequent ability to conduct countercyclical macroeconomic policies is due to lower net debt (abstinence) and not to redemption from original sin. We conclude that original sin continues to make financial globalization unattractive and developing countries have opted for abstinence because foreign currency debt is too risky. The promised paradise of financial globalization will need to wait for redemption from original sin.

The full paper is here.
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Redemption or Abstinence

Our (Ricardo Hasumann and I) new piece on original sin is here.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

More evidence that housing prices in Geneva are too high

The rental yield in Zurich is twice that of Geneva. This is not because rental prices are lower (they are basically the same) but because houses are much more expensive to buy: Here
Older posts: here, here; here
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Stuff I did not remember having written about

The cultural values of Islam (Written in 2002, probably because I was pissed off at Oriana Fallaci, but why was I qualified to wrote about this???).
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