Gerard Ryle led the international team that divulged the Panama Papers, the 11.5 million leaked documents from 40 years of activity of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca that have offered an unprecedented glimpse into the scope and methods of the secretive world of offshore finance. Hear the story behind the biggest collaborative journalism project in history. Full story here
The Real Insider Traders
…Insider traders are younger than their associates, less likely to own real estate, and have fewer family members on average. More than half have criminal records, with almost all charges stemming from traffic violations. Originally posted by Tyler Cowen – read the whole piece on Bloomberg View here.
How Well Do Portfolio Managers Perform? There is Not Much Evidence of Skill
Fresh from the NBER oven…
The portfolio management sector oversees vast amounts of investment, for individuals, pension funds, universities and many other institutions, and one of the most frequently asked questions in this area of finance is whether these managers earn their keep. A team of researchers, including the University of Chicago’s Joseph Gerakos (above), looked into the matter and presented some answers at the recent NBER Conference on New Developments in Long-Term Asset Management. View a video of the presentation, read a summary of their findings, or download their paper on the conference page. All nine conference presentations and papers are indexed here.
Watch this in case you prefer a video highlight
Blinder on Trade
The Grumpy Economist – Alan Blinder has an excellent op-ed in the WSJ on trade. It’s hard to excerpt as every bit is good.
1. Most job losses are not due to international trade. Every month roughly five million new jobs are created in the U.S. and almost that many are destroyed, leaving a small net increment. International trade accounts for only a minor share of that staggering job churn. …
2. Trade is more about efficiency—and hence wages—than about the number of jobs. You probably don’t sew your own clothes or grow your own food. Instead, you buy these things from others, using the wages you earn doing something you do better. …
3. Bilateral trade imbalances are inevitable and mostly uninteresting. Each month I run a trade deficit with Public Service Electric & Gas. They sell me gas and electricity; I sell them nothing….
4. Running an overall trade deficit does not make us “losers.”…
5. Trade agreements barely affect a nation’s trade balance. ..a nation’s overall trade balance is determined by its domestic decisions, not by trade deals… America’s chronic trade deficits stem from the dollar’s international role and from Americans’ decisions not to save much, not from trade deals. Trade deficits are not a major cause of either job losses or job gains. …trade makes American workers more productive and, presumably, better paid.
One could say much more. Trade is not a “competition,” for example. But, having done this sort of thing, I’m sure lots of other good bits are on the cutting room floor.
Alan is more sympathetic to government “help” to trade losers, which I agree sounds nice if it were run by the benevolent and omniscient transfer payment planner, but I think works out poorly in practice when we look at the success or failure of actual trade adjustment programs. But that is a small nitpick.
Alan closes by wishing that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump understood these simple facts a bit better. I think his list of politicians needing enlightenment could be a little longer. But he’s courageous enough for speaking the kind of heretical truth that will come back to haunt him should he ever want a government job.
“Zero is zero. If you don’t kill a tax completely, it keeps coming back like zombies in a science fiction movie”
John Cochrane on growth-oriented policy.
Probably one of he best essays ever written about this here
“What do you call a person whose labor is worth less than the minimum wage? Permanently unemployed.”
Seattle has experienced the largest 3 month job loss in its history last year, following the introduction of a $15 minimum wage. Original FEE.org article here
How to Leverage Spotlight’s Oscar Win
This is an email from the AJC regarding their investigative journalism that leverages the Oscar win for Spotlight.
As you can probably guess, our newsroom has been buzzing since “Spotlight” was awarded its best picture Oscar. We’re excited because the film did such an extraordinary job of presenting to a broad audience the kind of work that inspired many of us to become journalists.
I want to take this opportunity to let you know that the AJC is committed to investigative journalism and considers the work of holding officials and institutions accountable. We challenge ourselves to demand integrity and effectiveness in your government and public institutions.
Here are some of the “spotlight” stories we’ve done in your community:
- State officials failed to heed warnings about prison doctor – he was fired after we raised questions about the deaths of nine inmates. ?
- We found that since 2010, police officers have shot more than 180 Georgians with little independent scrutiny of what happened. ?
- Corrupt county government officials were sentenced to prison for misusing your tax dollars. ?
- Georgia’s chief medical examiner abruptly retired after we questioned his private business practices on state time. ?
- Our podcast, Breakdown, follows the twists and turns of a case that some say landed an innocent man in prison. ?
We want to share in the celebration of the story “Spotlight” had to tell and to remind you that we do this kind of work every day at the AJC.
Kevin G. Riley
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Will the Economic Recovery Die of Old Age?
Much conventional wisdom views an aging expansion as increasingly fragile and more likely to end in recession. Empirical evidence indicates that expansions during the past 70 years do not become progressively more fragile with age. Details here
US Home prices above 2005 peak
fred data here