Context Is Important: More on MN vs. WI

Reader Jesse Livermore thinks he’s discovered Wisconsin is in actuality doing really well vis a vis Minnesota. He writes:

Wisconsin personal income growth dramatically outperformed Minnesota in Q1.

Well, I’ll just say the level is sometimes just as important as the first derivative. That’s why I plot time series, rather than just quoting a quarter’s worth of growth. Here is a comparison of personal income over the past few years.

Figure 1: Log nominal personal income for Minnesota (blue), Wisconsin (red), and US (black), all normalized to 2011Q1=0. Source: BEA, June 27, 2017, and author’s calculations.

On a per capita basis, cumulative Minnesota personal income growth remains 0.7 percent higher (log terms) than Wisconsin’s. It has been higher since 2011Q1.

My advice to anyone trying to assess relative economic performance: plot the time series.

(Transitory) Revealed Preferences

Here’s the health coverage implications of President Trump’s proposal to repeal Obamacare, as assessed by the CBO:

Figure 1: Effects of H.R. 1628, THE Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017, on health insurance coverage of people under age 65, in millions, by calendar year. Source: CBO, Table 4.

So, at least for part of one day, the President was content to let an additional 32 million be uncovered by 2026.

A New Puzzle à la Fama

In a forthcoming paper (“The New Fama Puzzle”), coauthored with Matthieu Bussière (Banque de France), Laurent Ferrara (Banque de France), Jonas Heipertz (Paris School of Economics), we re-examine uncovered interest parity – the proposition that anticipated exchange rate changes should offset interest rate differentials. This is one of the most central concepts in international finance. At the same time, empirical validation of this concept has proven elusive. In fact, the failure of the joint hypothesis of uncovered interest rate parity (UIP) and rational expectations – sometimes termed the unbiasedness hypothesis – is one of the most robust empirical regularities in the literature. The most commonplace explanations – such as the existence of an exchange risk premium, which drives a wedge between forward rates and expected future spot rates – have little empirical verification.

Continue reading