All Questions

24
votes
6answers
3k views

Is zero inflation desirable?

Is zero inflation really desirable? To be more precise: Does inflation in real life have benefits that in some situations outweigh its social cost? E.g.: it works as a disincentive against holding ...
33
votes
11answers
6k views

What is the economic purpose of increasing the minimum wage?

It is generally accepted among economists that minimum wage warps the equilibrium point between the supply and demand of labor by instituting a price floor and increases unemployment for unskilled ...
21
votes
2answers
21k views

How can I obtain Leontief and Cobb-Douglas production function from CES function?

In most Microeconomics textbooks it is mentioned that the Constant Elasticity of Substitution (CES) production function, $$Q=\gamma[a K^{-\rho} +(1-a) L^{-\rho} ]^{-\frac{1}{\rho}}$$ (where the ...
64
votes
13answers
14k views

Fundamental equations in economics

For the other sciences it´s easy to point to the most important equations that ground the discipline. If I want to explain Economics to a physicist say, what are considered to be the most important ...
14
votes
3answers
535 views

Destroying the dollar

Let's destroy the USD dollar: I am the government of a small, economically and geopolitically unimportant country that has its own currency and a local central bank. I order the local central bank (at ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Implications of abolishing Fractional Reserve Banking on mortgages and interest rates

Suppose for a moment that someone with legislative power decides to abolish Fractional Reserve Banking and passes a law that forces banks to only lend the money they own, that is M0. What would be the ...
14
votes
5answers
4k views

How do economies grow?

These days, we hear again and again about the so-called "need" for economic growth. But how do countries actually grow economically? That is, why/how does their GDP increase over time? Related, what ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?

I suppose GDP is supposed to create a measure of a country's wealth/welfare, something easily indexable. But how exactly is it composed? And is its composition disputed? How good is it at measuring a ...
93
votes
15answers
17k views

How will non-rich citizens make a living if jobs keep getting replaced by robots and are outsourced?

Decades ago a factory job could support a wife and kids until retirement and they offered insurance, benefits, etc. Now, no more unions, those jobs as well as tech and customer service jobs are ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Productivity vs real earnings in the US — what happened ca 1974?

Somewhat related to the most recent US elections, I've been researching the whole "white working class" situation, and one strange anomaly has popped up. When one looks at a graph of productivity (...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What would happen if the world switched to a single currency?

What would happen if all countries suddenly stopped using local currencies and adopted a global currency (like the Euro, but for everyone)?
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Mathematical Micro/Macro Economics Textbook Recommendation

I was formerly an economics major and now also majoring in mathematics. I want a textbook that is rigorously based on mathematics; not just using mathematcis whenever the author wants, but in a more ...
16
votes
6answers
481 views

Experiments contradicting the expected utility model

This is a question I asked on the cognitive science beta, but which never got any answer. I do not know what the policy should be for question migration/reposting (maybe worth discussing in the meta?),...
4
votes
3answers
811 views

Price Elasticity of Demand for Positive Price Increases

What does it mean when the price elasticity of demand %Qd/%P is greater than one? Typically I hear that it means the demand is elastic since if, say, the price decreases by 1% the demand for the ...
3
votes
1answer
340 views

Optimization problem with Kuhn-Tucker conditions

Consider a game with two players where each player $i=1,2$ has preferences $u_i=s_i^a c_i^{1−a}$, where $c_i$ is consumption and $s_i$ is social interaction. $s_i$ is given by $s_i=t_i+t_{ij}\times t_{...
35
votes
7answers
2k views

Seminal papers that later were proven to contain errors

I was reading on institutions, and I came across Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (AJR) paper on The Colonial Origins of comparative development: An Empirical Investigation, and this paper seemed so '...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

From an economics perspective, what are the ramifications of a currency with fixed money supply?

I'm thinking specifically of bitcoins. What are the pros and cons of having a fixed number of coins, as opposed to more "normal" currencies? Would the currency have no inflation?
7
votes
2answers
309 views

Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage

The aim of this question is to better explore the mathematical economics model behind Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage and the claims that can be made based on this model. This seems ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Textbook for macroeconomics (advanced undergrad)

I find that many contemporary macroeconomics textbooks are too applied, filled with examples, case studies and intuitive illustrations, often at the expense of quantitative rigour and therefore the ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the pros and cons of eliminating corporate taxes?

I recently heard a story on npr about economic policy changes that both liberal and conservative economists definitively agree on. Among other things, complete elimination of corporate taxes was ...
14
votes
1answer
537 views

Have there been instances where economists have advocated a trade embargo?

Due to Comparative Advantage, it is generally accepted among economists that free-trade is the best policy for a country and increases the standard of living for the citizens of that country and the ...
10
votes
2answers
22k views

Marshallian Demand for Cobb-Douglas

When trying maximize the utility having a cobb-douglas utility function $u=x_1^ax_2^b$, with $a+b = 1$, I found the following formulas (Wikipedia: Marshallian Demand): $x_1 = \frac{am}{p_1}\\ x_2 = \...
8
votes
3answers
286 views

Is there an alternative metric to GDP that measures a country's assets rather than flows?

The Gross domestic product measures the value of all final goods and services produced in a period. This has some limitations. For example, if a car hits a lightpost and both need to be repaired and ...
4
votes
3answers
159 views

How does a central bank create the money used for quantitative easing or lowering the value of their currency?

Up until last week, the Swiss central bank used Francs to buy Euros, in an effort to lower the value of the Franc; today the European central bank announced that it would use Euros to buy bonds in ...
10
votes
1answer
300 views

Are there fundamental reasons why (exponential) economic growth is highly desirable?

One of the most widely published measures of the economy is the economic growth as a % of the GDP; i.e. the degree to which an economy grows exponentially. In my understanding, when the rate of ...
21
votes
6answers
1k views

Who exactly foots the bill if Greece defaults

Apologies if the topic is not appropriate (economics newbie here) but I am curious as to who exactly would foot the bill if Greece defaults on the ~300 billion dollars it owes. It looks like most of ...
5
votes
2answers
981 views

Elasticity of demand equals -1 but income decreases!

In my textbook, it's stated that: When $\epsilon < -1$, demand is elastic and raising price will result in smaller income, while lowering price will result in bigger income. When $\epsilon =...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

Where to start learning economics as a mathematician?

I study pure mathematics at university and I'm looking to get into economics, with pretty much no background knowledge about it. Are there good sources to learn from with a decent mathematical ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Book recommendations on empirical methods in economic research and econometrics?

This question is more so geared toward anyone with research experience within economics, though of course, anyone is welcome to respond. I'm an undergraduate math major with a minor in economics. I'...
10
votes
5answers
923 views

What are the arguments against the rational expectations hypothesis?

I believe the rational expectations hypothesis says that agents in a model bear expectations that are the same as mathematical expectations. Under what circumstances does this hypothesis become ...
12
votes
4answers
67k views

What is the definition of exogenous and endogenous preferences?

Wikipedia states: Exogenous Preference -- one that comes from outside the model and is unexplained by the model. Endogenous Preference -- preferences then cannot be taken as given, but are ...
11
votes
2answers
358 views

The Case for Basic Income in developed and underdeveloped countries

From what I can tell, the idea of the basic income guarantee is very popular in some circles as an excellent alternative to a lot of modern welfare systems. Has anybody developed a theoretic or ...
7
votes
2answers
12k views

Lexicographic preference relation cannot be represented by a utility function

I am stuck on the following exercise, related to preference relations and von-Neumann-Morgenstern utility function. A farmer wants to dig a well in a square field $[0,1000]\times[0,1000]$. The ...
5
votes
5answers
427 views

Why (neoclassical) economic models have no profits, unlike the real world?

Consider a simple neoclassical model of an economy populated by firms with a constant returns to scale production function, using homogeneous labour and capital. Firms are equal, and are price takers ...
5
votes
1answer
672 views

Interest rate parity: Counter intuitive

What is the basis for interest rate parity to hold? I know, the reason stated is excess returns Excess returns as such should not be the reason for a currency depreciation. for e.g. when we posit ...
5
votes
1answer
486 views

Are there data for the evolution of global economic inequality

Please excuse my ignorance of economics. I recently learned about the Gini-Coefficient as a measure of the economic inequality in a country. I have since seen several plots of this coefficient over ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

What is a substitute/complement in terms of mixed partial derivatives?

I am trying to understand how substitutability relates to mixed partial derivatives. I thought the change in marginal utility with respect to a change in the amount of $x$ would correspond to $$\frac{\...
8
votes
2answers
714 views

What is the necessity of the FDIC in the US banking system?

A bank's basic function is to "borrow short and lend long". In other words, it borrows money from depositors over the short term, promising to repay it on demand, while it lends most of that money out ...
6
votes
1answer
269 views

Present value of a payment

Suppose I've just won 1'000'000 dollars in a game show. At the end of the program they tell me that they will pay me the prize as following: they will deposit in my bank 50'000 dollars every year for ...
5
votes
2answers
244 views

How do we estimate production functions?

In a standard economics education we learn about production functions, indicating an output as a function of a given input of capital and labour. An average model looks like this: (1) $F(L,K)=L^{...
3
votes
2answers
748 views

Why is modest inflation a good thing? [duplicate]

I have been reading a BBC news article about inflation in the UK, which is saying that inflation has recently become negative (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33147660). The article suggests that ...
10
votes
2answers
815 views

Inflation and economic growth

Noticeable works about the impact of inflation on economic growth are dated back to the 90s. For example, Barro (1995): the impact effects from an increase in average inflation by 10 percentage ...
8
votes
1answer
8k views

Finding demand function given a utility min(x,y) function

I am confused about a particular point regarding finding a demand function. All the problems in this practice set I am doing have involved applying the method of Lagrangian multipliers. But I am ...
8
votes
2answers
964 views

Alternatives to Pigouvian tax

Two common drawbacks of Pigouvian subsidy mentioned in the literature are related to monetisation and measurement of social cost (Baumol) and reciprocity of social cost (Coase). What alternatives to ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do top professional sport players get usually paid so much?

I'd like to find an answer to this question as I can't see how something like this can be happening. I can see three reasons that they would earn that much but any of them if thought better is wrong. ...
7
votes
3answers
562 views

How does lowering a corporate tax rate benefit a nation?

When governments talk about about lowering corporate tax rates they claim there is benefit in one form or another. The problem is the mechanism of how the benefit can work is never explained. The ...
6
votes
2answers
29k views

How to derive firm's cost function from production function?

I recently learned how to solve the following type of problem using the method of Lagrangian multipliers: Given a consumer with utility function $u(x,y)$, wealth $w$, prices $p =(p_x,p_y)$, budget ...
4
votes
1answer
72 views

Multiplicative factorization of stochastic growth time series--solving for an eigenfunction/eigenvector

I'm trying to understand the tools used/presented in Lars Hansen's Econometrica paper "Dynamic Valuation Decomposition within Stochastic Economies." In a part in the paper, Hansen introduces a long-...
4
votes
5answers
305 views

Have automation and technological advance been shown to have a positive impact on society and the economy or a negative one?

My friends and I, 2 of which are computer science majors think it is worse because is humans can't work and thus afford necessities, how will they survive? The definition of automation: the use of ...
3
votes
1answer
368 views

Intuition: Difference in price elasticities of demand due to different bases

Source: pp 91-92, Principles of Microeconomics, 7 Ed, 2014, by N Gregory Mankiw If you try calculating the price elasticity of demand between two points on a demand curve, you will quickly ...

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