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Robert Vienneau: Thoughts Economics

A Pattern Over The Wage Axis In A Case Of Joint Production

Figure 1: Wage Curves with Corn as Numeraire1.0 Introduction This post presents an example of a fluke switch point in which the choice of technique cannot be analyzed by the construction of the wage frontier. Under joint production, the technique that is cost-minimizing, for a given rate of profits, does not necessarily maximize the wage. Nevertheless, one can still see what I call a pattern over the wage axis in this case. The example is a generalization of the numerical example in...

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Martin Weitzman’s The Share Economy

I happen to have one book by Marty Weitzman (1942 - 2019) on my bookshelf. So I thought I would write a bit about The Share Economy: Conquering Stagflation. This is an ill-timed book. It proposes that firms negotiate with workers to pay them a percentage of revenues, instead of, say, an hourly money wage. It argues that such a change will address the widespread macroeconomic problem, throughout the 1970s, of simultaneously high unemployment and high inflation. But, by the time the book...

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Elsewhere

This list is mostly a matter of aspirational reading. Maybe I want to read Ted Burczak's Socialism after Hayek. (The Amazon page has one of Herb Gintis' long reviews.) Binyamin Appelbaum's The Economists' Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society is not even out yet, and already some mainstream economists are whining about it on twitter. William R. Clark and Vincent Arel-Bundock have a paper, Independent but not indifferent: Partisan bias in monetary policy at the...

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Mass Publics Apathetic About Democratic Norms?

This post gestures to a worrisome argument that could be constructed by combining arguments from certain references. It is also more about current events than most posts on this blog. Philip Converse's argument that most members of the mass public are ideologically innocent has long been influential among political scientists. Why should those who have families to raise, bills to pay, and jobs to take up their time pay much attention to the details of politics? Barber and Pope (2018)...

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Economists Insulting Me And Insulting Keynes

I happen to think the minimum wage in the United States should be raised. I'll go along with the consensus of $15 an hour. I also happen to know that, even under ideal conditions, wages and employment cannot be explained by supply and demand. Some economists, who I no (other) reason to disrespect, seem to think my true statement about labor economics can be discredited by attacking my motivations. So they point out how, under (incoherent) neoclassical theory, higher minimum wages can...

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Reswitching, Recurrence, And The Incoherence Of The Marginal Productivity Theory Of Distribution

Blair Fix argues that economists argue in a circle in putting forth the marginal productivity theory of distribution. I know that there is no such consistent theory anyways. It occurs to me that process recurrence, as well as the reswitching of techniques, can be used to demonstrate this inconsistency. Suppose you completely know the technique being used in an economy to produce its output. And, which is even more impossible, you know all other possible techniques. I am thinking of a...

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Structural Economic Dynamics And Reswitching In A One-Good Model

This post, as suggested, extends this one-good example. I assume a constant returns-to-scale technology, as specified in Tables 1 and 2. Labor is advanced to the capitalists, and wages are paid out of the surplus at the end of the year (period of production). The capitalists (incorrectly) expect the technology in existence at the start of the year to continue to exist. I assume prices of (re)production prevail. Table 1: Inputs for The Technology InputProcess(I)(II)(III)Labor30 eσ0,1(1 -...

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Structural Economic Dynamics, Markups, Real Wicksell Effects, And The Reverse Substitution Of Labor

I am being published in Structural Change and Economic Dynamics. Currently, this link is without my corrections to proofs, I guess. Research highlights: Technical progress and variations in industry markups can change characteristics of the labor markets. A numeric example illustrates the theory of the choice of technique. In the example, switch points are created and destroyed with varying coefficients of production and varying markups. Around some switch points, higher wages are...

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No Such Thing As The Natural Rate Of Unemployment

I know that the idea of a "natural rate" of unemployment or a non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU) makes no sense. I cite, for example, James Galbraith's 1998 book, Created Unequal: The Crisis in American Pay. I think Colin Rogers' 1989 book is related. Jared Bernstein gives the idea of a natural rate of unemployment at the first of four examples of ideas that [mainstream] economists have gotten wrong for decades. This is not the first example of a case where Post...

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Harrod-Neutral Technical Progress and Fluke Switch Points

Figure 1: A Pattern Diagram I have put up a working paper with the post title. Abstract: This article considers Harrod-neutral technical progress in the context of an analysis of the choice of technique. In a model of the production of commodities by means of commodities, neutral technical change is compatible with the reswitching of techniques, capital reversing, process recurrence, and the reverse substitution of labor. A taxonomy of fluke switch points is applied to an example,...

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