Macro Musings

Macro Musings

United States

Hosted by David Beckworth of the Mercatus Center, Macro Musings is a new podcast which pulls back the curtain on the important macroeconomic issues of the past, present, and future.


41 - Gauti Eggertsson on the Zero-Lower Bound and Liquidity Traps  

Gauti Eggertsson is a professor of economics at Brown University. Previously, he worked at the research departments at the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He joins the show to discuss his work on the history of liquidity traps and extremely low and even negative interest rates. He and David discuss examples from the Great Depression to Japan in the 1990s to today. Gauti also shares his thoughts on the Fed’s quantitative easing (QE) program and why it failed to return the economy back to normal. David’s blog: Gauti’s Brown University homepage: David’s Twitter: @davidbeckworth Related links: “The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy” by Gauti Eggertsson and Michael Woodford “Great Expectations and the End of the Depression” by Gauti Eggertsson “The Fed’s Dirty Little Secret” by David Beckworth “Japan’s Trap” by Paul Krugman

40 - Anat Admati on Debt, Equity, and Financial Instability  

Anat Admati is the George G.C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and co-author of the book, *The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do About It.* She joins the show to discuss her book, which argues that America’s banking system continues to be dangerously fragile even in the aftermath of the Dodd-Frank Act. Anat argues that banks take on too much leverage and that they should be required to hold more equity. David’s blog: Anat’s Stanford profile: David’s Twitter: @davidbeckworth Anat’s Twitter: @anatadmati Related: *The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do About It* by Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig Anat’s paper, “It Takes a Village to Maintain a Dangerous Financial System”

39 - Allan Meltzer on the Monetarist Counterrevolution and Economic Reforms  

In this week’s special episode recorded in front of a live audience, David interviews the renowned monetary economist, Allan Meltzer. Meltzer, a professor of political economy at Carnegie Mellon University and one of the founders of the monetarist school of thought discusses his long career in academia and policy. David and Allan also discuss current central bank policy, both in the United States and abroad, and how monetary policy can become more rules-based. Finally, Allan also argues many of our current economic problems are real, not nominal, and he hopes a Trump Administration can address some of these woes. Note: this episode took place before the December 2016 interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. David’s blog: Allan Meltzer’s bio: David’s Twitter: @DavidBeckworth Related links: “A History of the Federal Reserve (Volumes I and II)” by Allan Meltzer (University of Chicago Press) “Keynes’s Monetary Theory: A Different Interpretation” by Allan Meltzer (Cambridge University Press)

38 - Ylan Mui on the Fed Beat and Trumponomics  

Ylan Mui covers White House economic policy for the Washington Post. Previously, she covered the Federal Reserve. Today, she joins the show to discuss what it is like to attend Fed press conferences and write on the technical nuances of Fed policy. David and Ylan also discuss what a Trump Administration might mean for economic issues ranging from trade to infrastructure spending to monetary policy. David’s blog: Ylan’s archive: David's Twitter: @davidbeckworth Ylan's Twitter: @ylanmui

37 - Laura Birg and Anna Goeddeke on Christmas Economics  

In this week’s special episode, David discusses the economics of Christmas with Laura Birg, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Goettingen, and Anna Goeddke, a professor of economics at the ESB Business School at Reutlingen University. Topics include the dead-weight loss of gift-giving, Christmas’ effects on seasonal GDP, increases in alcohol consumption, and the effect of secularization on Christmas celebrations. [Note: We will be taking a break next week for the holidays, but we will be back the following Monday, January 2, with the Washington Post’s Ylan Mui!] David’s blog: David’s Twitter: @davidbeckworth Anna’s VoxEU profile: Anna’s Twitter: @annagoeddeke Laura’s University of Goettingen profile: Related links: “Christmas Economics – A Sleigh Ride” by Laura Birg and Anna Goeddke (2014) “The Seasonal Cycle and the Business Cycle” by Robert Barsky and Jeffrey Miron (1988) “The Business Cycle Effects of Christmas” by YI Wen (2001) We Wish you a Merry Christmas Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

36 - The Macroeconomics of Star Wars and Star Trek  

In this week’s special episode, David compares and contrasts the economics of the Star Wars and Star Trek universes. He is joined by Zachary Feinstein, an Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, and Manu Saadia, author of *Trekonomics.* Topics include the economic fallout from the destruction of the Death Star, the absence of money in Star Trek, and whether a universe can really eliminate scarcity. David’s blog: David’s Twitter: @davidbeckworth Manu’s *Trekonomics* website: (you can order the book, *Trekonomics,* here as well) Manu’s Twitter: @trekonomics Zach’s faculty profile: Zach’s Twitter: @FictionomicsWU Related links: “It’s a Trap: Emperor Palpatine’s Poison Pill” by Zachary Feinstein “The Case for the Empire” by Jonathan Last

35 - Peter Conti-Brown on *The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve*  

Peter Conti-Brown is an Assistant Professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joins the show to discuss his new book, *The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve,* which exams the evolution of the Federal Reserve and what central bank independence really means. Peter also shares his thoughts on what a Trump presidency might mean for monetary policy. David’s bio: Peter’s UPenn bio: David’s Twitter: @davidbeckworth Peter’s Twitter: @PeterContiBrown Related links: *The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve* by Peter Conti-Brown *America’s Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve* by Roger Lowenstein

34 – JP Koning on Goldbugs, African Monetary History, and Fedcoin  

JP Koning is an economic consultant and writer. He joins the show to discuss fascinating stories in monetary history in Libya, Zimbabwe, and Switzerland. He also shares his thoughts on Blockchain technology and Fedcoin, a hypothetical cryptocurrency stabilized by the Federal Reserve. David’s blog: JP’s blog “Moneyness”: David’s Twitter: @davidbeckworth JP’s Twitter: @JP_Koning Related links: “What Happens When a Central Bank Splits in Two?” by JP Koning “A Modern Example of Gresham’s Law” by JP Koning “Fedcoin” by JP Koning

33 - Mark Calabria on Housing Policy and the Behavioral Case for Monetary Rules  

Mark Calabria is the director of Financial Regulation Studies at the Cato Institute. Before joining Cato in 2009, he worked as a member of the senior staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. He joins the show to discuss working on Capitol Hill amidst the 2008 financial crisis. Mark also discusses his recent Cato paper where he argues insights from behavioral economics suggest monetary policy should be more rules-based. David’s blog: Mark’s Cato Institute profile: Mark’s Alt-M archive: David’s Twitter: @davidbeckworth Mark’s Twitter: @markcalabria Related links: “Yes, the Fed has a Diversity Problem” by Mark Calabria “Behavioral Economics and Fed Policymaking” by Mark Calabria

32 - Roger Farmer on the Natural Rate of Unemployment Hypothesis and Prosperity for All  

Roger Farmer is a Distinguished Professor of Economics at UCLA. He joins the show to discuss his new book, Prosperity for All: How to Prevent Financial Crises. He and David also discuss his criticism of the natural rate of unemployment hypothesis, an important proposition in mainstream macroeconomics. David’s blog: Roger’s personal website: David’s Twitter: @davidbeckworth Roger’s Twitter: @farmerrf Related links: Roger’s UCLA profile Prosperity for All: How to Prevent Financial Crises by Roger Farmer “The Natural Rate Hypthesis: An Idea Past Its Sell-by Date” by Roger Farmer

31 – Mark Koyama on the Macroeconomics of Ancient Rome  

Mark Koyama is an Assistant Professor of Economics at George Mason University and a Senior Fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. He joins the show to discuss his research on the economic history of ancient Rome from the rise of the Roman Republic to the transition to the Roman Empire to the Empire’s eventual fall. David’s blog: Mark’s Medium page: Mark’s GMU profile: David’s Twitter: @DavidBeckworth Mark’s Twitter: @MarkKoyama Related links: “The Roman Market Economy” by Peter Temin (2012, Princeton University Press) “Peter Temin and the Malthusian Hypothesis for the Limits of Roman Growth” by Mark Koyama “Why did the Roman Economy Decline?” by Mark Koyama

30 - Rudi Bachmann on German Macroeconomics, Walter Eucken, and Ordoliberalism  

Rüdiger (Rudi) Bachmann is a Stepan Family Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame. He joins the show to discuss the economic history of his native Germany. David and Rudi also discuss how the German approach to macroeconomics is distinctly different from the approach taken in the United States. David’s blog: Rudi’s Notre Dame webpage: David’s Twitter: @DavidBeckworth Related links: Rudi on his work on economic uncertainty: NYT Upshot Article: “How Economists Came to Dominate the Conversation” Peter Bofinger’s Vox EU article: “German Macroeconomics: The Long Shadow of Walter Eucken”

29 - Narayana Kocherlakota on the FOMC, the 2008 Crisis, and Monetary Rules  

Narayana Kocherlakota is the Lionel W. McKenzie Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester, and he previously served as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. He joins the show to discuss to discuss what it is like working as a Fed president and a member of the Federal Open Market Committee. He also shares some of his thoughts on the drawbacks of current proposals on establishing monetary rules. David’s blog: Narayana’s website: David’s Twitter: @davidbeckworth Narayana’s Twitter: @kocherlakota009 Related links: Narayana’s profile, speeches, and articles as Fed president: Narayana’s Bloomberg archive: Narayana’s Brookings article: Rules vs. Discretion: A Reconsideration Responses to the Brookings article by John Taylor and George Selgin:

28 - Izabella Kaminska on Blockchain Technology and the Economics of Star Trek  

Izabella Kaminska is a writer for the Financial Times at its premier blog, FT Alphaville. She joins the show to discuss her work on blockchain technology as well as current proposals on monetary and fiscal policy. Finally, Izabella and David, who are both big sci-fi fans, talk about economics in the Star Trek and Star Wars sagas. David’s Twitter: @DavidBeckworth Izabella Kaminska’s Twitter: @izakaminska David’s blog: Izabella Kaminska’s FT bio and archive: Related links: “You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century” – Izabella Kaminska Even lower rates? “Thanks but no thanks” say banks everywhere – Izabella Kaminska Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek – Manu Saadia It’s a Trap: Emperor Palpatine’s Poison Pill – Zachary Feinstein

27 - Claudio Borio on Financial Stability, the Triffen Dilemma, and International Monetary Policy  

Claudio Borio is the director of the monetary and economic department at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). He joins the show to discuss his career in monetary policy, banking, and macroprudential regulation. In particular, he and David discuss problems afflicting the Eurozone and how to address massive financial imbalances across the world. David’s Twitter: @DavidBeckworth Claudio’s bio and research: David’s blog: Related links: “Revisiting Three Intellectual Pillars of Monetary Policy” by Claudio Borio

26 – Andy Levin on Federal Reserve Reform  

Andrew Levin is a professor of economics at Dartmouth College and a former Federal Reserve Board economist. For two years, he worked as a special adviser to Chairman Ben Bernanke and Vice Chair Janet Yellen. He joins the podcast to discuss his experiences at the Fed  and the need for more accountability. His ideas include increasing transparency, setting term limits, and fostering diversity of thought and background among its members.    David’s Twitter: @DavidBeckworth Andy Levin’s Twitter: @AndrewTLevin David’s blog: Andy Levin’s bio:   Related links: Dartmouth College Q&A with Professor Andy Levin     How Andy proposes to reform the Fed:

25 - Morgan Ricks on *The Money Problem,* Financial Regulation, and Shadow Banking  

Morgan Ricks is a law professor at Vanderbilt University and an expert on financial regulation. From 2009-2010, he was a senior policy adviser at the U.S. Treasury Department where he focused on financial stability initiatives. Morgan joins the show to discuss his new book, “The Money Problem: Rethinking Financial Regulation,” which argues that shadow banking institutions create large sums of private sector money through issuing short-term debt. This rapid expansion creates instability to the financial system and to the broader economy. To solve this problem, Morgan proposes that only properly chartered, FDIC-insured banks be allowed to issue short-term liabilities. Although there may be more bureaucracy in insuring the financial system under this proposal, Morgan argues there would be less need for higher capital requirements and other regulations. David’s blog: Morgan Ricks’ Vanderbilt profile: David’s Twitter: @DavidBeckworth Morgan Ricks’ Twitter: @MorganRicks1 Related links: The Money Problem: Rethinking Financial Regulation David’s review of The Money Problem in National Review (gated) “A Simpler Approach to Financial Reform” by Morgan Ricks “A Former Treasury Adviser on How to Really Fix Wall Street” by Morgan Ricks in The New Republic

24 - Ryan Avent on *The Wealth of Humans,* Job Automation, and Globalization  

Ryan Avent is an economics columnist for The Economist and author of the new book, The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century. He joins the show to discuss his new book, which explores how the Digital Revolution is dramatically changing the economy and our lives. He also discusses how he previously worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and as a private sector consultant before moving to journalism. Finally, David and Ryan talk about economic angst both in the United States and abroad as well as some sound macroeconomic policies to address this. David’s Twitter: @davidbeckworth David’s blog: Ryan Avent’s Twitter: @ryanavent Ryan Avent’s website: Related links:

23 - Michael Bordo on Anna Schwartz, Financial Crises, and Life as a Monetary Historian  

Michael D. Bordo is a professor of economics and the director of the Center for Monetary and Financial History at Rutgers University, a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has also been a visiting scholar at numerous central banks across the world. Michael, a prolific scholar, joins the show to discuss a long career in monetary economics, including his research with the legendary Anna Schwartz. He shares his thoughts on the Great Recession and how it compares with the Great Depression. Additionally, he challenges the notion that financial crises like the 2007-2009 crisis are necessarily followed by slow recoveries. David and Michael also chat about the history of American banking law and how restrictions on interstate-branch banking until the 1990s hindered economic growth. Finally, Michael gives some advice about how to be a successful monetary historian! David’s blog: Michael Bordo’s homepage: David’s Twitter: @davidbeckworth Related links: Michael Bordo in The Wall Street Journal: “Financial Recessions Don’t Lead to Weak Recessions” “A Lesson from the Great Depression that the Fed Might have Learned: A Comparison of the 1932 Open Market Purchases with Quantitative Easing” “A Fiscal Union for the Euro: Some Lessons from History” “Under What Circumstances can Inflation be a Solution to Excessive National Debt: Some Lessons from History”

22 - Peter Ireland on the Chicago School, Federal Reserve Policy Targets, and Monetary Aggregates  

Peter Ireland is the Murray and Monti Professor of Economics at Boston College, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a member of the Shadow Open Market Committee. He joins the show to discuss his experience as a student at the University of Chicago as well as the nuts and bolts of how the Federal Reserve sets out to achieve its short-, medium-, and long-term objectives. David and Peter also discuss the role of monetary aggregates in monetary policy. Economists largely don’t pay much attention to the traditional simple-sum measures of the money supply anymore, but Ireland argues that more complex measures of money, called Divisia indices, can teach us a lot about the stance of monetary policy. [To learn more about the upcoming conference, Monetary Rules for a Post-Crisis World, co-hosted by the Mercatus Center and the Cato Institute, and register, please click the link below. You can also watch the conference online by clicking the link.]…aign=MonetaryRules David’s blog: Peter Ireland’s personal website: Peter Ireland’s Boston college profile: David’s Twitter: @davidbeckworth Peter Ireland’s Twitter: @PIrelandatBC Related links: The Shadow Open Market Committee A “Working” Solution to the Question of Nominal GDP Targeting by Peter Ireland and Michael Belongia

Video player is in betaClose