Econ blog roundup

George Akerlof’s 72-page AEA Presidential Address “The Missing Motivation in Macroeconomics” is online (hat tip: Mark Bahnisch). I might blog on it if I get time.

I can recommend Joshua Gans’ review of Richard Dawkins latest tome, The God Delusion (aka ‘why you should tell all your friends you’re an atheist’). The NYRB thought the book was amateurish, but Gans has a more elevated view of Dawkins.

Andrew Norton also has a good post on the rise of politicial familism. In economic terms, major Australian political parties seem to think that (a) there is a positive exernality from having children, (b) people with children are somehow especially deserving of government handouts, or (c) people with children are credit-constrained. I know of no evidence for any of these three propositions. Taxing the childless middle class in order to give cash to middle-class families with kids may be good politics, but it’s lousy economics.

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2 Responses to Econ blog roundup

  1. a student says:

    What about the children themselves? They’re credit constrained, so it could be good policy if those dollars find their way to the kids.
    The problem is that they can’t pay for the care they receive. Of course parents provide the resources, but would they provide the socially optimal amount? From a utilitarian perspective, if you write down a model with the parent caring about their own consumption and the child’s consumption and a child only caring about their own, then the answer is no. They provide less.
    If the policy runs for a long enough time then the childless middle class would have benefited when they were children.

  2. Christine says:

    Andrew: surely it’s just a matter of time (a few months?) before you see the light?

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