Entitlements: What is the Right Size for the Safety Net?

At the beginning of The Intouchables, we meet an unemployed French worker awaiting a job interview. Uninterested in being hired, he needs a third signature for his benefits form to prove he is looking. Inexplicably, he gets the job and…

How Has The Safety Net Affected the Unemployment Rate?

University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan believes that the US unemployment rate has remained high because of many separate public policy changes. Big and small, each one influenced workers, businesses and consumers by creating new incentives. For workers, Dr, Mulligan…

Trade Deals

What if Mr. Jones, an assembly line worker, lost his job because of low cost imports? And, what if Mrs. Smith, a travel agent, also is unemployed but the reason is online firms like Expedia?  Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt asks…

Silver Job Fairs

It is more likely that a 75 year-old South Korean will be working than a 60 year old Frenchman. According to OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and development) statistics cited by Floyd Norris, workers in South Korea and Japan remain…

Economic Freedom

Composed of 179 countries, the Index of Economic Freedom ranks France 64 and the United States 8. At the top of the list, with the more free economies and the lowest numbers, are Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia while North Korea,…

Costly Legislation

Looking at a recent NY Times article, whose title was, “Cost of Jobs Bill Leaves Some Democrats Leery,” I wondered whether the author realized just how many costs his discussion involved. If passed, the bill would extend jobless pay, provide…

The Tip of the Iceberg?

Growth or a safety net? Thinking at the margin, an increasing number of European policy makers are debating a change. The result is a classic economic dilemma. Unemployment and medical insurance, pensions, licensing protections, and job guarantees can each tug GDP…