Category Quora

What is a better measure of (Workers’) productivity than GDP (PPP) per hour worked?

My answer on Quora: The ideal measure is output or value-add per worker. I say ideal because true output or true value is hard to measure. GDP has been labelled one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, but it is not well suited for the 21st century. When output is a physical item, like […]

What did John Maynard Keynes get right about economics?

My answer on Quora: Two things: 1) Fiscal Policy Very simply (and very broadly), Keynes established that fiscal policy can play a role in managing aggregate demand. In plain English: government spending (whether it’s increasing or decreasing) can help the economy from getting too hot or too cold. When it is too hot (resources (capital […]

Why do people have such strong political opinions about economic issues? If we knew what works economically, why wouldn’t all people already support that?

My answer on Quora: Two key points stand out to me on this issue. The first is on what we know about the economy. The second is on how we talk about the economy. We do know a lot about the economy, but we don’t always know what the best way forward is. This is […]

Assuming all countries have the same rates, what is the optimal average tariff? Is it 0%, or does a small nominal rate produce better outcomes?

My answer on Quora: I do not believe there is such a thing as a common optimal tariff rate across countries. I also do not believe that a world with zero tariffs will produce better outcomes than having a range of country- and industry-specific tariffs (from zero to above zero). This is because countries differ […]

How does improving basic infrastructure enhance economic growth?

My answer on Quora: Basic infrastructure enhances economic growth in three broad ways: (1) by supporting the production of goods and services, (2) by connecting people to each other and to those goods and services, and (3) by helping people secure basic needs like food, clean water, housing, health care and quality education (a healthy […]

What’s the IMF?

My answer on Quora: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a multilateral/international institution whose primary purpose is to be a lender of last resort to member governments. If one of its member countries is having a financial, banking or related crisis, or is about to have one, the IMF is there to lend that country’s […]

What is the optimal home ownership rate in the US?

My answer on Quora: I think this question just gave some economist out there an idea for her next paper, because, to my limited knowledge on this literature, there do not seem to be many studies that try to answer this question. There may be a reason for that and that reason could be methodological […]