Showing posts from October, 2015

Paul Krugman on Food Economics

Paul Krugman doesn't typically write about food, so I was a little surprised to see this.  Still, I think he got most things right, at least by my way of thinking.  Among the interesting things he discussed. 1. The importance of behavioral economics in healthy food choices 2. That it's hard to know how many actual farmers are out there, but it's a very  small number . 3. That we could clean up farming a lot by  pricing externalitie s [also  see ], or out-right banning of the most heinous practices, but that doesn't mean we're going to go back to the small farms of the pre-industrial era, or anything close to it. 4. Food labels probably don't do all that we might like them to do (see point 1.) 5. How food issues seem to align with Red/Blue politics just a little too much There's enough to offend and ingratiate most everyones preconceived ideas in some small way, but mostly on the mark, I think.

Angus Deaton and Commodity Prices

Angus Deaton just won the Nobel Prize in economics.  He's a brilliant, famous economist who is known for many contributions .  In graduate school I discovered a bunch of his papers and studied them carefully. He is a clear and meticulous writer which made it easy for me to learn a lot of technical machinery, like stochastic dynamic programming.  His care and creativity in statistical matters, and linking data to theory, was especially inspiring. His papers with Christina Paxson inspired me to think long and hard about all the different ways economists might exploit weather as an instrument for identifying important economic phenomena. One important set of contributions about which I've seen little mention concerns a body of work on commodity prices that he did in collaboration with Guy Laroque.  This is really important research, and I think that many of those who do agricultural economics and climate change might have missed some of its implications, if they are aware of it