John Irons's Blog


Economic News, Data and Analysis

Greenspan’s Not Looking too Good

Someone over at the graphics department at CNN has too much time on their hands…
Long-term Treasury yields are low. Will they keep falling? – May. 26, 2005

Filed under: Economists

When does Greenspan go?

Fed chairman addresses Wharton commencement – May. 15, 2005
“The 79-year-old central bank chairman must step down early next year when his term on the central bank’s board expires at the end of January.”

Filed under: Economists


The Center for American Progress is hiring for the econ team…
Job Opportunities – Center for American Progress
Associate Director for Economic Policy: The associate director will work as a member of the economic policy team and will be responsible for analyzing and monitoring a portfolio of economic issues. The associate director will also be responsible for directing the economic policy team’s work on economic inequality. Responsibilities will include writing, editing, rapid response, and individual research projects. Full description in PDF
Senior Policy Analyst, Economy: The Center for American Progress has an immediate opening for a Senior Economic Policy Analyst. The analyst will work under the direction of the Senior Vice President and Coordinator for Economic Policy on a variety of economic policy issues. The analyst will also be responsible for a portfolio of economic policy issues and work with other members of the economic team. responsibilities will include writing, editing, rapid response, and individual research projects. Full description in PDF

Filed under: Economists


What do George Akerlof, Jesse Ventura, Eminem, and Richard Kogan have in common?

Apparently they are all Angry White Men Against Bush.

Angry white economists should watch
Eminem’s latest video.

Angry white rappers should read Akerlof’s Election 2004: Fiction vs. Reality, and Kogan’s President Bush, the Federal Budget, and Deficits.

And then there’s Jesse.

Filed under: Economists

Talking to Communists

Remarks by John S. Irons (Senior Policy Analyst, and Economist, OMB Watch)
Prepared for the Visit of the Delegation from the Ho Chi Minh National Political Academy (Vietnam) to Temple University
Wednesday, April 22, 2004
It is a pleasure to be here today. I hope I can give you a small taste of the kinds of work that citizen advocacy groups pursue here in the US. Rather than trying to summarize all the kinds of work undertaken by thousands of organizations, I thought it would be more useful to describe my organization in more detail. While each organization is unique and might focus on different policy areas, or take different tactics towards policy change, we often share a similar approach to policy advocacy.
My organization, OMB Watch, is an independent, non-governmental, nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote government accountability and citizen participation.
We believe that a responsive and responsible government must be accountable to the people and must operate in the open. Sound governmental and economic policy, as well as good decision-making, critically depends upon the public’s right to know what the government is doing; and it is important for citizens to provide input on policy choices and to hold their government accountable for their actions.
My organization is devoted to monitoring the activities of the federal government, including the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), other governmental agencies, and throughout the legislative process in Congress.
OMB Watch was formed 20 years ago to lift the veil of secrecy shrouding the powerful White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – an agency which oversees much of the executive branch of government and which therefore has a large amount of power to affect the implementation of policy. We receive the vast majority of our funding from grants from private foundations, with private donations from individuals making up most of the rest – we do not receive funding from the government.
The organization’s mission centers on four main areas: regulatory policy; public access to government information; participation in the policy making process by nonprofit organizations; and the federal budget. We are primarily focused on domestic federal policy.
On the regulatory side, we work to monitor the federal government’s rulemaking process, and regulations, especially in the area of the environment. We believe that the government plays an important role in establishing sensible safeguards and protections for workers and the public.
In the area of public access to government, we operate a website called “RTK Net” which provides Internet access to government databases on the environment – the data allows citizens to assess the impact of factories on their local environmental conditions. We also chair an anti-secrecy coalition – made up of nonprofits, journalists, and others – which seeks to advance the public’s right to know and to reduce secrecy in government.
We also believe that an important means for citizen participation is through nonprofit organizations. As a result we also follow issues and policy that would affect the ability of nonprofits to be engaged in policy advocacy. We work to encourage organizations to be more engaged in the policymaking process, and to speak out on matters of importance to them.
As an economist, my work primarily involves the federal budget – both tax policy as well as government expenditures. This includes 1) policy research and analysis, 2) dissemination of government budget information, including explanations of the complexities of the government’s budget, as well as the implications of tax and budget decisions, and 3) organizing other non-profit organizations to effectively speak out on tax and budget issues. We believe that the federal government has a unique, important, and necessary role in society, and work to ensure that the government works in the best interest of all its citizens.
The success of our system of government requires that government operate in the open in order to be responsive to the public, to foster trust and confidence in government, and to encourage public participation in civic and government institutions.
We hope that our (small) organization makes a difference in keeping the government as open as possible, educates others about the importance of citizen participation, and contributes to a healthy and vibrant society.

Filed under: Background, Economics, Economists, Policy, Politics

Nobel Prize Announced

Nobel e-Museum
“for methods of analyzing economic time series with time-varying volatility (ARCH)”
Robert F. Engle
“for methods of analyzing economic time series with common trends (cointegration)”
Clive W. J. Granger
United Kingdom

Filed under: Economists

Nobel Prize Tomorrow

Nobel e-Museum
Check the link above tomorrow for the Nobel Prize announcement. My guess… hmmm…
Two ideas come to mind…
P. Diamond
Some international economist combination Dixit, Krugman, G. Grossman(?), J. Bhagwati.

Filed under: Economists

Buzzflah interviews Krugman

Paul Krugman talks about economic policy, and what it’s like writing for the NY Times.

Paul Krugman, New York Times Columnist and Author of “The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century” – A BuzzFlash Interview
KRUGMAN: There is no economic policy. That’s really important to say. The general modus operandi of the Bushies is that they don’t make policies to deal with problems. They use problems to justify things they wanted to do anyway. So there is no policy to deal with the lack of jobs. There really isn’t even a policy to deal with terrorism. It’s all about how can we spin what’s happening out there to do what we want to do.
Now if you ask what do the people who keep pushing for one tax cut after another want to accomplish, the answer is they are basically aiming to create a fiscal crisis which will provide the environment in which they can basically eliminate the welfare state.

Filed under: Economists

State of Economic Policy

The EPI has posted a conference call transcript from August 12 on the state of the economy. Participants included two Nobel prize winners and several other prominent economists.
State of the economy

Filed under: Economics, Economists, Economy

Clark Medal Awarded

Delong congratulates Steve Levitt on winning the John Bates Clark medal.
By my count, 10 of the 28 (36%) of the past medal winners have gone on to win the Nobel Prize. Winners of both: Samuelson, Friedman, Klein, Tobin, Arrow, Solow, Becker, Stiglitz, Spence, Heckman.
Here’s a trivia question, John Bates Clark and one of the past winners of the Medal both graduated from the same college… name the college and the past winner.

Congratulations to Steve Levitt!!: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong’s Webjournal
Congratulations to Steve Levitt!!
The American Economic Association awards the John Bates Clark medal every second year to the outstanding economist under forty who has not previously received the award. This year’s winner is Steve Levitt.
1947 Paul Samuelson
1949 Kenneth Boulding
1951 Milton Friedman
1953 —-
1955 Jim Tobin
1957 Ken Arrow
1959 Larry Klein
1961 Biob Solow
1963 Hendrick Houthakker
1965 Zvi Griliches
1967 Gary Becker
1969 Marc Nerlove
1971 Dale Jorgenson
1973 Frank Fisher
1975 Dan McFadden
1977 Marty Feldstein
1979 Joe Stiglitz
1981 Michael Spence
1983 Jim Heckman
1985 Jerry Hausman
1987 Sandy Grossman
1989 David Kreps
1991 Paul Krugman
1993 Larry Summers
1995 David Card
1997 Kevin Murphy
1999 Andrei Shleifer
2001 Matt Rabin
2003 Steve Levitt
Some lean left. Some lean right. Some are aggressive. Some are thoughtful. Some are nice. Some are not-so-nice. Some are easy going. Some believe that to allow any error to go uncorrected is to encourage intellectual immorality.

Filed under: Economists