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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Timothy Noah and I agree twitter is not good for a serious discussion.

Timothy Noah and I agree twitter is not good for a serious discussion.  I think Timothy Noah is also interested in discussing seriously, but I'd really rather blog about whether Claudia Goldin and Larry Katz are leftists.

OK so Larry was the one of my PhD supervisors who spent hours and hours talking with me (and also just about every graduate student in the program so when exactly does he sleep ?).  I am sure he is a leftist.  He is also absolutely 100% totally intellectually honest and uh very thorough when it comes to data analysis.  This means his results are not always comforting to the left.  My evidence

1) back in the day when all economists were convinced that the minimum wage is a bad idea (I mean Brad DeLong gave a half hearted defence for a few seconds then corrected himself saying he was reloading data from the hard disk (kids these days have no idea how little ram we had back then)) I asked him what he thought of the proposal to increase the minimum wage.  He winced and said he thought the earned income tax credit was a much better approach.

Since then Katz's buddy Alan Krueger and David Card ("he's the best" -- Larry Katz) have convinced econonomists who care about evidence that the minimum wage is cool, but this was long long ago.

2) I don't give up easily.  I wanted to find out if he was more a leftist or more an economist (he was clearly a leftist economist).  So some months later, I thought of local Cambridge MA politics.  The big issue was rent control and the progressive slate (or whatever) was all about supporting rent control.  Even now economists pretty much all hate rent control.  So I asked him how he voted in Cambridge elections.  He winced and said he didn't vote in local elections.  

I barely know Claudia Goldin.  She has a PhD from the economics department of the University of Chicago. While working on it she took time off to demonstrate against Democrats -- at the 68 convention -- from the left.  When I heard this, I said that the U Chicago economics department group of demonstrators way to the left of the Hubert Humphrey must have been "interesting".  She said it was a funny class as all the US men had run off to Canada.

The 68 Democratic convention in Chicago was the time when the liberal sheep and the leftist goats were separated.  Claudia Goldin is a goat.

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