Inequality Granger-causes growth

So say Andrews, Jencks and Leigh. For what that’s worth.

Does the Welfare State screw the poor?

Milton Friedman’s complaints about rent control and the minimum wage are cliche. These programs hurt the people they’re intended to help. Unintended negative consequences are the first things I look for when I think about a policy intended to help the poor. I just took their existence as an empirical fact. But I never really […]

Question for those that want to stick it to the banks

Some seem to really dig plans for the housing market that stick to the banks. I’m down; I dig redistributional policy and we should encourage people to do what’s best for them and their families (even if its bad for the banks for “the system”). I just took a peak at the CalPERS annual statement […]

Mike D’s utility

Mike D commented on this post: Let’s think about two axes here. On the x axis, put altruism (the weight my assessment of your utility has in my utility function) and on the y axis, put respect (if I assess your situation using my utility function, respect = 0, if I assess your situation using […]

Genes or culture or both?

An implication of Wilkinson’s theory is that intergenerational mobility should decrease over time. Wilkinson claims intergenerational mobility has decreased. It hasn’t (estimates from Lee and Salon 2009): The “intergenerational elasticity” (the percentage kids’ incomes raise for every percentage increase in parents’ income) has stayed about the same over the last couple of decades. Other studies […]

A definition of paternalism

Just read Mankiw’s new paper and this occurred to me: I’m definitely a jerk if I don’t have other’s outcomes in my utility function. I’m a paternalist if I have other people’s consumption in my utility function, not their utility. This is why a paternalist can give you healthcare instead of cash because your consumption […]

What is progress?

I’m a political newb, but even I can see why progressives would concern themselves with “stagnating” middle class wages rather than poverty (e.g. here). Poor folks don’t vote, but if you can convince the middle class (which is like everybody if you ask ‘em) they’re getting screwed and you’ll fix it, then you’ll get elected. […]

Of safety nets and inequality

Kenworthy responds to the core of Wilkinson’s argument. Kenworthy says income inequality matters because outcomes are determined by luck. Its not fair that two people of equal talent, who both worked hard in school, etc, etc should have different outcomes because one was lucky enough to “have a friend in the business” or won the […]

Status seeking is great!

Elizabeth Anderson points to this video suggesting its proof about how truly terrible is status seeking (ergo inequality is bad!). In it, kids are quoted saying they divide themselves up, not by race, but by wealth. Its not “this kid is black or Mexican” anymore its “this kid is rich or poor”. These sentiments are […]

Doesn’t follow

I really, really want someone to tell me why concerns about status seeking are so easily conflated with concerns about inequality. I’ve read Robin Hanson enough to believe we’re built-in status seekers and we’d be so whether or not the gini index rose last year. In a response to Wilkinson’s essay, Elizabeth Anderson quotes Adam […]