An Economics Tool Kit: Unintended Consequences

Next to “no free lunch,” perhaps the most important idea in an economics tool kit is “unintended consequences.” Our story starts in Bogota, Colombia and a visiting professor who tells the Freakonomics people that his friends picked him up with…

Election Economics: Too Much or Not Enough Stimulus Spending?

For the first quarter of 2009, GDP declined at a 5.5% rate and, at 7.6% during January, unemployment was rising. With the economy in a tailspin, policy makers wanted to act quickly. Primarily split along party lines, the Congress responded with…

A New Kind of Keynesian?

Reading about John Maynard Keynes’s investing acumen in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, I wondered whether being a Keynesian could involve more than your attitude about the role of government. So, as a teacher, I created this “Am I a Keynesian?” quiz:…

Unopened Stimulus Packages

Economists recently have been debating whether the $787 billion 2009 stimulus package has helped the economy. Perhaps first they should ask what has been spent. For a variety of reasons, recipients of stimulus money are not spending it. Dollars destined…