Monday, July 20, 2009

What's Wrong With Chicago?

Casey Mulligan, Professor at Chicago, has apparently taken it upon himself to show that those insane caricatures of Chicago economists do apply to some people.

Here, he thinks that falling unemployment is due to workers being unwilling to work:

Suppose, just for the moment, that people were less willing to work, with no change in the demand for their services. This means that employees would have to be more productive because they have to get by with fewer workers.
Why are people suddenly less willing to work, at exactly the same time that there's a recession going on? That's left unanswered.

Here, he thinks that University endowments function like banks:

The non-financial sectors of our economy will not suffer much from even a prolonged banking crisis, because the general economic importance of banks has been highly exaggerated. Although banks perform an essential economic function — bringing together investors and savers — they are not the only institutions that can do this. Pension funds, university endowments, venture capitalists and corporations all bring money to new investment projects without banks.
You can examine for yourself how little the troubles in the financial system have fed over into other parts of the economy.

Here, he confuses correlation with causation:

The nearby chart shows the results for all of the administrations since Lyndon Johnson (I pool Richard Nixon and Ford). Johnson, Carter and Bill Clinton were all Democrats, yet none of them witnessed much labor market progress for women during their administrations. Essentially all of the labor-market progress for women occurred during Republican administrations: eight years of Reagan, four years of George H.W. Bush, and six years of George W. Bush (I do not yet have the data for the last two years of the current administration).
Women gain in relative income when Republicans are in power, so we should vote Republican.

Here, he says those people warning of a crisis on payrolls were crazy, since payrolls did not drop. He ignores the massive efforts taken to ensure employment. This is a little like saying "We shouldn't have built that levee against the flood, because thing's didn't turn out that bad."

How do these people get tenure, and op-ed spots at the New York Times?

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