Monthly Archives: February 2010

Boyce in Video Primer on Carbon Policy

James Boyce, UMass Amherst Economist

Any policy that limits supply of fossil fuels must raise their price. An inexorable economic logic binds price to scarcity, regardless of whether scarcity arises from OPEC-engineered production limits, climate policies to cap carbon emissions, or other initiatives that keep fossil fuels in the ground.

The key question is who gets the money? As governments move to cap carbon emissions, attention is turning to this hundred-billion-dollar question. In video interviews on The Real News Network, UMass Amherst economist James K. Boyce outlines three possibilities: 

1.  Windfall profits to corporations: a “cap-and-giveaway” policy.
2.  Revenues to government: a “cap-and-spend” policy.
3.  Dividends to the people:  a “cap-and-dividend” policy.

In Washington, the introduction of the Cantwell-Collins bill in the Senate in December has put this issue squarely on the political agenda. The bill proposes to auction 100% of carbon permits, return 75% of the revenue to the public in equal dividends per person, and devote the remaining 25% to investments in clean energy and assistance to communities adversely impacted by the transition away from a fossil-fueled economy. Boyce discusses the stakes, not only for family incomes but also the possible fate of climate legislation in the United States.

Basu presented at the 2010 Historical Materialism Conference in NYC

Deepankar Basu, UMass Amherst Economics Professsor

UMass Amherst economics professor Deepankar Basu presented his on-going research (with Amit Basole) on the relations of production, modes of surplus extraction and the evolving class structure in India at the 2010 Historical Materialism Conference in NYC which was held in January.

Learn more about Basu and Basole’s research

Folbre suggests developing a Dependent Price Index in Economix Blog

Nancy Folbre, UMass Amherst Economics Professor

In her recent New York Times Economix blog, UMass Amherst economics professor Nancy Folbre explains that we don’t really have an accurate calculation of the cost of caring for family (which includes elder care, child care, college education and so on) because we  have not developed a Dependent Price Index.

Economix
February 1, 2010
How Much Do We Spend Caring for Family?
By:  NANCY FOLBRE

Many social scientists, myself included, are struggling to quantify and analyze these trends. We need to develop a more systematic and unified approach.

Trends in real wages are typically adjusted for changes in the cost of living, as measured by the consumer price index. While this index needs improvement, no economist I know would ignore the need for it.

Trends in family income, however, are never adjusted for changes in the cost of caring for dependents, because we have not developed a comprehensive Dependent Price Index. The Department of Agriculture regularly estimates family expenditures on children, but ignores both the costs of college and the value of parental time.

Econ Blogosphere picks up on Bowles and Jayadev’s “Guard Labor”

Samuel Bowles, UMass Amherst Economics Professor Emeritus

After the Santa Fe Reporter profile piece on Samuel Bowles was published, many economics bloggers have linked to the article which focuses on the work of Samuel Bowles, UMass Amherst professor emeritus and Arjun Jayadev ’01 MA and ’05 Ph.D.

To read more:
Marginal Revolution
Crooked Timber
Economists View
Education Policy Blog

Santa Fe Reporter profiles Samuel Bowles

Samuel Bowles, UMass Amherst Economics Professor Emeritus

A recent Santa Fe Reporter article, Born Poor? Santa Fe economist Samuel Bowles says you better get used to it, profiles UMass Amherst economics professor emeritus, Samuel Bowles. His ideas, sometimes described as radical, are gaining momentum in light of the current state of the economy.  The implication of Bowles’ basic ideas is that New Mexico and the United States will continue to fall behind until they learn to share the wealth.

Born Poor?
Santa Fe economist Samuel Bowles says you
better get used to it
Corey Pein 02/03/2010

“Sam Bowles is somebody who straddles the boundary. He maintains the idea that there should be radical redistribution—that the current system is a terrible system in a variety of ways—but he’s also somebody who believes the methodological tools of economics have some real value,” GWU’s Farrell says. “I think what he’s doing is very smart. And it actually has some promise for a future, coherent research agenda.”

Friedman: 4% economic increase needed for more jobs

Gerald Friedman, UMass Amherst Economics Prof.

Gerald Friedman, UMass Amherst economics professor, was quoted in a story by the Daily Hampshire Gazette.  According to Friedman, the nation will need a four percent economic increase to support a significant addition of jobs.

Daily Hampshire Gazette
Experts say ‘vicious cycles’ near end, on the way
By Kristin Palpini

Estimates for how much the economy may grow in 2010 range from about 2 percent to 3 percent, which signifies a slight improvement in gross domestic product over last year.

It isn’t quite enough to prompt a large wave of hiring. Gerald C. Friedman, a UMass economics professor, said the nation needs about a 4 percent economic increase to support a significant addition of jobs.

“There will be acceleration in 2011, but you need to bring down unemployment and you need about 2 million jobs to do that,” he said.