Some Statistics and Thoughts Regarding Causality

Consider the incidence of hate crimes directed against Asian-Americans/Pacific-Islanders  as reported to the FBI.


It appears that the sideways trend breaks in roughly 2017. This aligns with the beginning of the Trump administration. This could be a coincidence, causal, or joint determination.

We have something of a natural experiment to consider. When a term “Ch__a Virus” is used by an administration office and/or ally of the then-president, does the incidence of use of that term increase, and relatedly do reported hate crimes increase?


Certainly, the prevalence of usage of terms such as “Ch__a Virus” increase after use of the term by Mr. Trump. Once data becomes available, it would be illuminating to see if hate crime incidents rise as well (that would be Granger causality). Should that be the case, then acceptance or validation of politically loaded terms could be viewed as pernicious.


123 thoughts on “Some Statistics and Thoughts Regarding Causality

  1. Moses Herzog

    I’ve heard rumors to the effect that racism can happen ANYWHERE

    What happened in Bushwick (uuuuuh, New York), by extension, “almost” makes you believe Governors in any state can be corrupt and lie about death counts and ignore public health experts’ advice. That Governor (say for example in a state such as New York) might even show disdain for public health experts’ advice and terminate them for saying “inconvenient” facts. I’d never say such an offensive thing though, for fear I be told I was supporting donald trump by criticizing a deceitful, amoral, and bribable state governor. Maybe even a state Governor who has zero regard towards women.

    I know pgl takes these issues seriously, so I wanted to make sure he had read the most recent news about the Governor of New York. 10 years and 3 months he’s been the Governor of New York, and if Cuomo gets New York Democrats’ support he may go longer than that. Hmmmmm, what will happen?? How will “sophisticated” New Yorkers respond to these charges??

    1. pgl

      WTF? Do you have a clue what I mean by Randy Andy. Yes he has been abusive to attractive white women. And you think this is somehow relevant to some North Georgia punk murdering Asian women? Give it a rest old Uncle Moses.

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ pgl
        How near to Bushwick are you?? You’re not going to support Cuomo in his re-election bid are you?? It’s really not terribly hard. Repeat after me: “I was wrong about Cuomo. He is not ‘our national leader’ on Covid-19, which I had incorrectly stated before”

        How about this one?? “Sexual harassment, even when committed by my Democrat heroes is STILL sexual harassment” I think you can do it with some prodding.

        1. pgl

          I said give it a rest you little pathetic POS. No – I’m not supporting Cuomo for a 3rd time and I do know where Bushwick is. I have noted what part of Brooklyn I live it but from here on out I’m not talking to a serial jerk like you.

        2. pgl

          After the sexist racist little creep murdered those ladies in Georgia, Congress decided to have a hearing calling out this hate. Alas, a few people decide to high jack this week for their own political purposes.

          Bruce Hall went into his usual MAGA denial mode but we know this boy is a racist.

          A couple of Republican Congressmen tried to dismiss the rightful concerns of Asian Americans for whatever sick agenda they wanted to promote.

          And of course Uncle Moses is following suit. Yea we get he does not Cuomo to get a 3rd term as governor of NY. Of course the reality is his political career is already toast. But Uncle Moses cannot drop it so Asian Americans can have their day. Which puts him in the same boat as those MAGA hat wearing racists.

          Sorry some things are too damn important for this partisan sniping.

          1. Moses Herzog

            @ pgl
            You are a “longterm” resident of the state of New York, yes?? I’m afraid to have to inform you, your personal hero is already on his 3rd term as Governor of New York. How often do you read the local papers there near Bushwick?? This may explain how you were the last person in NYC to know Cuomo’s nursing home death counts weren’t “adding up”. It’s real tough to figure out, take 10 (years serving as Governor) and divide it by 4 and see what that gives you. I think we’re going to have to make you an honorary “mathematical economist” in a similar vein to your co-blogger.

            P.S. “Partisan sniping” usually implies people belonging to different political parties. I will give you, as much as you love leaders like Hillary Clinton and Neera Tanden that make efforts to hurt low income groups, you claim to be a Democrat, so I’ll just have to take your word on it. It could be issues you have with lexicon though, I don’t know.

          2. Barkley Rosser

            Oh no! Did Neera Tanden make mean tweets about “low income groups”? Wow. I am sure that those hurt them as badly as all those mean tweets she made about Senate Republicans and Bernie bros that she also made hurt them. Last I heard some of those poor victims of her mean tweets still have not recovered from all their hurt.

            As for Hillary Clinton, I have not heard about her sending out mean tweets. Maybe she sent some mean messages via fax machines that hurt low income groups? Wow. I bet those are hiding somewhere along with all those missing emails of hers.

          3. Bruce Hall

            Hey, pgl. The crime data show it and so do the tweets. We know who really are the anti-Asian racists. It’s just that it doesn’t fit your narrative.

            Personally, I love Gov. Cuomo as a politician. He has been a stellar example of a Democratic Party leader. He abuses power without regard to age, sex, or color.

          4. pgl

            “Barkley Rosser
            March 18, 2021 at 10:18 pm
            Oh no! Did Neera Tanden make mean tweets about “low income groups”?”

            You know it would be nice just for a day if we could give Asian Americans their day to grieve over all that hate and abuse they endure. But NOOO – Uncle Moses can’t do it. In the meantime, Bruce Hall has to parade the usual Trumpian lies that they are not stoking this garbage. Which is worse? I give up trying to understand the petty and irrelevant sniping here.

          5. pgl

            Bruce Hall
            March 19, 2021 at 10:39 am

            Bruce Hall thinks his lying and blatant racism is justified because some of his fellow racists live in /san Francisco and take to the twitter? I guess there is no limit to our host’s patience with this clearly racist nutcase. But twitter rants is his evidence that Trump did not spread racist hate? Brucie Boy is indeed THAT dumb!

          6. Michael

            Now show the chart of African American attacks in Asians vs White on Asian attacks. Thanks.

  2. ltr

    Christine Ahn @christineahn

    Wuhan virus and kungflu wasn’t just Trump’s creation. How many Asian Americans have been called “chinks” or “gooks” or told how well we speak English or where are we really from? While I applaud Biden for condemning Asian violence, how much is US foreign policy perpetuating this?

    4:41 AM · Mar 17, 2021

    How many bombs have the US dropped and tested on Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Marshall Islands, Philippines, strewn napalm and agent orange on human bodies and across forests, built US military bases on rice paddies generations of farmers have cultivated?

    How many Asian women living around US bases have suffered unimaginable violence against their bodies? How many wars have the US waged in Asia which has led to the destruction of economies and massive displacement of people, forcing many to sell their bodies or migrate to survive.

    Only to be a forever foreigner here in the US where Asian women are cast as submissive, passive or hypersexualized. How does this white male gaze differ from the US imperialist gaze of dominating, controlling Asia.

    Let’s take a hard and honest look at what happened in Atlanta today. I can almost guarantee you that those Asian women who were killed came from poor, immigrant families who fled countries impacted by US war or neoliberal policies. We must see the connection with endless US wars.

    1. ltr

      May 12, 2007

      Bombs Over Cambodia: New Light on US Air War
      By Taylor Owen and Ben Kiernan

      Exceeding the World War II Payload

      The data released by Clinton shows the total payload dropped during these years to be nearly five times greater than the generally accepted figure. To put the revised total of 2,756,941 tons into perspective, the Allies dropped just over 2 million tons of bombs during all of World War II, including the bombs that struck Hiroshima and Nagasaki: 15,000 and 20,000 tons, respectively. Cambodia may well be the most heavily bombed country in history….

      Taylor Owen is a doctoral candidate and Trudeau Scholar at the University of Oxford. Ben Kiernan is a professor of history at Yale University.

    2. Moses Herzog

      I wonder why a very pragmatic man like President Duterte would at the last second (when his country’s solo “joy ride” with the Chinese government is about to begin) decide that withdrawing from the “Visiting Forces Agreement” with America was NOT such a good idea for the Philippines??

      Perhaps Duterte figured out some off-base partying by U.S. military men which is apt to “run afoul” of good social etiquette from time to time, was better than having Xi JInping’s foot on his neck. I wonder……. ??? NOT!!!!

      This is not excusing what some U.S. military men have done to women on the outskirts of foreign military bases. However, if anyone employed at a D1 co-ed University would like to guarantee to me no females will be violated on their campus over a 1 year period, and promise to pay out of their own pocket any restitution thereof for that heinous act, I’m listening……. i.e. There are some things in life that are horrid and extremely reprehensible, but most adults have figured out is going to happen a certain percentage, no matter how grotesque and hideous we view that said behavior.

  3. ltr

    February 18, 2021

    Anti-Asian Racism Isn’t New
    A frightening wave of attacks has Asian communities on edge. But I experienced street harassment long before the pandemic.
    By Qian Julie Wang

    One of the first English words I learned was an ethnic slur I heard whenever my parents and I walked around the city. I was 7 years old and had just moved to Brooklyn from China. One day, eager to show off, I turned to my father and declared, “We are chinks now!” in English. My father looked as if I had stabbed him. In a grave, low voice he told me to never utter that word again.

    That slur has haunted me throughout my life, cutting like a knife when I least expect it. A boy on a bike once screamed it so deep into my ear that it rang for hours afterward. The ringing eventually subsided, but the street harassment became a regular fixture in my life.

    Before the pandemic, the simple act of walking to the courthouse where I work demanded exhaustive control of my body. For a while I tried very hard to make myself look less feminine and more white. I’d pretend to be deaf when strangers addressed me with their eyes pulled back into a slant while taunting “Me love you long time” or loudly said they had “yellow fever.”

    As the coronavirus spread, I began to dread my commute to work. People made a show of keeping away from me even in crowded subway train cars. Other times, the harassment was more overt — strangers bumped their shoulders into me; someone jabbed me with the pointy metal end of a long umbrella while shouting, “Go back to China.” My parents wore hats, sunglasses and double masks whenever they left the house….

  4. ltr

    Don’t need no Google.

    I turn to the New York Times and find an article about a sandstorm that has clouded Beijing and extended far beyond. The reporter takes an evident delight in ridiculing President Xi who has only a few days ago expressed concern and love for a green land and blue water China, but there is Beijing enveloped in a sandstorm. I however know Beijing and Chinese land north, and I know that the sandstorm originated not in China but in the country of Mongolia. I know how China has worked to reclaim and green the land of China north of Beijing. Nonetheless, China and the people of China are to be falsely shamed by a saddening sandstorm that arose in Mongolia.

    I know the care that has been taken in vilifying a people, and this needs to stop. Enough.

    1. ltr

      March 15, 2021

      Economy and ecology – the win-win

      How China’s victory over poverty can inspire the fight for nature

      Bordering the Mongolian desert, Saihanba was once a royal hunting ground for the imperial household until years of tree felling brought an end to this royal paradise in the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and it became a wasteland. The expansion of the desert plagued Beijing, with its residents battered by recurrent sandstorms.

      In the 1960s, China decided to turn the desert back into a green paradise. Hundreds of foresters were sent to this desolate place. They endured long cold winters, severe droughts and sandstorms. The toil lasted for 55 years, spanning three generations. It paid off. The restored forest has stimulated green economic growth that has generated an estimated 12 billion yuan ($1.85 billion).

      I visited Saihanba with Li Ganjie, then minister of the environmental protection, in 2017. In December that year, on behalf of the United Nations, I had the honor to award this hard work the highest UN environment prize, bestowing on it a Champions of the Earth award. Saihanba now stands as a great green wall against the southward advances of the Hunshandake Desert. It’s a prime example of how to combine poverty alleviation with environmental restoration and protection.

      President Xi Jinping has announced the country has achieved its goal of eliminating abject poverty, beating the UN’s deadline for ending poverty by 10 years.

      China’s victory over poverty is the most significant development of the 21st century so far, not only for the Chinese people, but also for the world. Extreme poverty is devastating….

      1. baffling

        ltr, you never got back to me about what is happening to the uighurs. or those that disappeared after reporting about the early coronavirus in wuhan. and what happened in tiananmen square in 1989? i thought you were interested in discussing china? why are you ignoring this request? i find that insulting. why do you not post about controversial subjects related to china? but you feel it is ok to smear the usa with your posts?

        1. Moses Herzog

          Let him smear all he wants. Do you remember when American auto manufacturers started doing when American consumers finally figured out America was making some of the crappiest cars in the world and Japan had surpassed America in quality cars (around 1979—’85 basically is when Japanese quality “overtook” American car makers)?? Companies like GM and Chrysler ran ads, falsely claiming “We do X better than Toyota/Honda” “We do Y better than Toyota/Honda” “We do Z better than Toyota/Honda” By then the cat was out of the bag. You think Toyota, Honda, Nissan gave a c**p what the morons at GM were saying?? The best advertising Japanese car manufacturers ever had was the FREE advertising American automakers gave them by continually trying to make comparisons to the Japanese cars that everyone knew was a lie. All you had to do was shut an American car door and hear the “thud!!!” vs shutting a Japanese car door that sounded like a light tap and the inside of the car was vacuum suctioning it in and any idiot knew who was making the superior car. Anyone watching Hong Kong that’s not mentally retarded knows the score on how mainland treats its people. It’s not something we need to argue about, we know who is the party with the inferiority complex. That may change one day though if we keep voting for creatures like donald trump.

          1. Barkley Rosser


            Please, I am getting tired of noting this. Our ltr is almost certainly “anne” of Economists View and Angry Bear. Our ltr is almost certainly a “her” not a “him.” Given that of the 8 people killed in Atlanta 6 were Asian American women, this is an increasingly serious point.

    2. Barkley Rosser


      You may know, but I just checked. According to NASA Earth Observatory this particular sandstorm originated in the Taklamakan Desert in northwestern China, not in Mongolia.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        Quite likely it crossed Mongolia on its way to Beijing (shame on those no good Mongolians for not stopping it), but it seems that is started in the Peoples’ Republic of China.

      2. Moses Herzog

        It’s worthy to note, Han Chinese (basically their version of a “white” “majority”) treat those of Mongolian ethnicity nearly as badly as they do Xinjiang and Tibetan people.

        As a personal Cliff Clavin conversational aside, I taught at one of only three (at the time anyway) universities in all of China specializing in teaching minority groups. When I taught there, if I had a “standout” student who had separated themselves from the average student in terms of academic excellency (in my specific class to be fair) out of personal curiosity I would ask them where they were from. Roughly eight times out of ten, the answer would nearly invariably be “I am from Inner Mongolia.” For me, that was impressive, because aside from some physical traits (which were not universal) I had NO IDEA before I asked them which province they were from. And for that same answer to come back so often on the more outstanding students really/honestly kinda floored me. Even at that school, there were a “fair share” of Han, amongst nearly all the other 55 ethnicities.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          Xiexie,Mose. This is an unfortunate problem affecting both China and Mongolia harshly where they will hopefully cooperate with each other rather than engaging in pointless finger pointing.

    3. ltr

      March 15, 2021

      Yellow sky in Beijing as sandstorm from Mongolia hits China’s capital

      A sandstorm swept across Beijing on Monday morning, turning the sky yellow, limiting visibility to less than 1,000 meters and disrupting traffic.

      Beijing Meteorological Service issued a yellow alert for a sandstorm at 7:25 a.m on Monday, saying that Beijing is seeing increased levels of dust and visibility is expected to be less than 1,000 meters in most areas of the city until noon.

      Data released at 7 a.m. from Beijing Municipal Ecological and Environmental Monitoring Center showed that the main pollutant was PM10, with the air quality reaching the serious pollution level (level 6).

      The sandstorm originated in central and northern Mongolia on Sunday, gradually moving southward with air currents.

      “The temperature of the underlying surface in Mongolia and the northwest region of China in the early stage was significantly 5 to 8 degrees Celsius higher and the precipitation was little, which were very conducive to the dust weather,” said Zhang Bihui, the director of the National Meteorological Center (NMC). “Meanwhile, the combined action of the Mongolian cyclone and the cold high pressure provided a strong impetus for the sandstorm.”

      According to the NMC, 12 provinces and cities are expected to experience sandstorms during the day and at night. Weather satellites estimated that the visible dust zone covered an area of 466,000 square kilometers, marking China’s most intense and extensive sandstorm in the last 10 years.

    4. ltr
      March 15, 2021

      Beijing engulfed in largest sandstorm in decade; 10 dead and 1 missing in Mongolia
      By Liu Caiyu and Lu Yameng

      Beijing was engulfed by the largest sandstorm in a decade on Monday morning, which originated in Mongolia, causing the visibility in most areas to be less than 1,000 meters and bringing the PM10 close to 10,000 micrograms per cubic meter in the city center.

      Beijing issued a yellow warning for sandstorm at 7:25 am, the Beijing Meteorological Observatory said Monday, warning the public to take suitable precautions. With a yellow warning, the public are encouraged to suspend any outdoor activities and to wear protective masks.

      The Central Meteorological Observatory called it the most intense sand-dust weather process in China in the past decade, and the range of sand-dust storm was also the widest in the past 10 years.

      This wave of sandstorm is a result of the combined effects of cold air and cyclones from Mongolia. It gradually moved southward with the airflow and started to affect Beijing from north to south starting from 3 am, according to the Beijing Municipal Ecological and Environmental Monitoring Center.

      On Monday, Mongolia’s National Emergency Management Agency said that the strong sandstorms in the country have resulted in 10 deaths, and 590 reports of missing persons had been filed. As of press time, one person is still missing.

      The wind speeds in various provinces of Mongolia have reached 20 meters per second and there have been gusts of up to 30 to 34 meters per second….

      1. Barkley Rosser


        This looks pretty definitive with its satellite photos, .

        This should not be some issue politicized, and certainly not dragged into a thread about anti-Asian prejudice and actions in the US. I do not see actually whether it matters whether or not the dust storm started in China or Mongolia, except that it makes the Chinese leadership look ridiculous to make apparently false claims that it started in Mongolia as some sort of propaganda campaign about its efforts to improve environmental conditions.

        I happen to be aware that China is making serious efforts to reduce pollution and improve its environment. A decade and a half ago the cities in the world that had the worst air pollution were in China. Now they are in India, a matter both of pollution worsening in India while conditions have improved in China. I am personally aware of these things, having had to wear masks in Beijing and other cities in China due to air pollution, including only a few years ago, so this problem has a long way to be resolved. But serious efforts are underway and the pollution levels are declining. This is to be applauded.

        This is a real and important story that should not be polluted by false propaganda about silly things like where a sandstorm started, much less trying to somehow tie newspaper reporting of this unfortunate sandstorm to an outbreak of extreme bad behavior towards Asian Americans in the US. After all, is the point of this false claim that somehow this storm originated in Mongolia to prove that Mongolians are anti-Asian?

      2. Barkley Rosser


        As a matter of fact, given that the satellite data is definitive and it is clear that this storm started in China and then went across Mongolia and then back into China again, it is Mongolia that has grounds for complaining to China rather than the other way around, if in fact it really matters where it started, which it does not. It should be noted people in Mongolia have also suffered as well as those in China. This is a problem that should involve neighboring nations working together to deal with it rather than pointing fingers and making false claims.

    5. ltr

      March 15, 2021

      Blue sky returns after Beijing hit by largest sandstorm in a decade
      By Huo Wen and Liu Caiyu

      Ulaanbaatar and Beijing

      After being enveloped by sand and dust for a whole day on Monday in the largest sandstorm in a decade, Beijing has cleared up and the yellow warning for sandstorms was lifted on Tuesday morning, with the city a picture of blue skies and sunshine.

      China’s Central Meteorological Observatory continued to issue blue dust storm warnings on Tuesday morning, as cold air and strong winds brought the powerful sandstorm which started from Mongolia southward, and will continue to hit central and southern China as far as Anhui and Jiangsu provinces from Tuesday until Wednesday morning.

      The Air Quality Index (AQI) rose to 500 in most provinces, indicating that they will experience severe sand pollution.

      According to weather monitoring, more dusty weather is likely to hit 17 provinces in China from Friday to Saturday with the return of cold air.

      A powerful sandstorm originally from Mongolia swept across much of northern China on Monday, creating the strongest and most extensive sandstorm in the country in a decade, sparking many to question why China’s “Green Great Wall” did not work and why this wave of sandstorm passing from the neighboring country has such a huge impact on China.

      The sandstorm hit 12 provinces in northern China from west to east as it entered Chinese territory from the southwest part of neighboring Mongolia since late Sunday afternoon with the air flow.

      Chinese analysts said the role of China’s Three-North Shelterbelt Forest Program (TSFP) set up in northwest, north and northeast China, known as “great green wall,” is to block the drifting dust within the forestation zone. It cannot stop the desert and Gobi areas from having sand dusts. The impact of shelterbelt projects is limited if the substances of the sandstorm do not originate from the local area but from far away regions, like this one from Mongolia.

      To fundamentally solve its root cause, global cooperation is needed in dealing with desertification, they said.

      Originating from Mongolia …

  5. Bruce Hall

    Should we expect increased attacks on Brazilians, Brits, and South Africans?

    This appears to be another attempt to find causality between crime and the geographic naming of a disease. I’m thinking that it was a miracle that Spain was able to stay neutral and didn’t suffer massive attacks during WWI after their flu killed so many millions of people.

    As pointed out in a previous post on this subject, most NYC crimes in 2020 against Asian Americans (the focus on southern and eastern Asian ancestry) seem to be economic crimes such as robbery and the perpetrators of most crimes appear to be blacks with Hispanics significantly represented. Perhaps blacks and Hispanics were conducting a lot of Google searches for the phrase “Ch__a Virus” before they became incensed and went on their crime sprees against Asian Americans. As for the more violent crimes, the NYC report seemed to indicate that Asian Americans were much more active as perpetrators of murder than victims and rape seemed to be more bounded by ethnic group. Robbery was the area where Asian Americans were a significant population of the victims, but not of the perpetrators.

    Are some people targeting Asian Americans based on some ethnic hatred? Sure, that’s possible… probable… virtually certain. Nearly every racial/ethnic group has people who have been the targets of attacks that can only seem based on an irrational hatred or antipathy. The little old white woman who was sucker punched by a young black man certainly didn’t provoke the attack.

    But it’s a huge stretch to ascribe the preponderance of crimes against Asian Americans as based on the term “Ch__a Virus”. That would seem irrational or paranoid.

      1. Moses Herzog

        I am hoping that the social stigma attached to this work doesn’t stop the families from speaking out. If the families have the inner strength and fortitude to speak out, and speak about their daughters, they can humanize them (not that they need to be humanized, but as a kind of service to their memory) to the general public. All of these women had dreams and goals in life, they wanted to do good things in life the same as all of us, (and no doubt did do many good works in their lives). If the parents stay quiet due to an unnecessary shame, they will allow the ignorant in our society to go with the often times false stereotype of these women. They ignorant will “fill in the blanks” if the parents/siblings don’t tell us about them. I know that will be so difficult for cultural reasons and otherwise, but I hope they can do that. They should be remembered for the best of their personage, not written off as some caricature from a B-movie. Some women nowadays do this work to pay part of their tuition bills for a university degree, to go someplace in life. Higher aspirations. We don’t know the situation.

        Normally I am strongly against the death penalty, however if it is allowed in Georgia and that is what most of the victims’ parents desire, then I say it is suitable in this case.

      2. Bruce Hall

        Thanks, I appreciate the incredulity. Nevertheless, the point should have been obvious: simply attaching a nation’s name to a disease does not automatically lead to “hate crimes”. Furthermore, conflating such names and supposed political connotations does not automatically lead to a connection to the presumed ethnicity of the perpetrators of these perceived “hate crimes”.

        The data are clear with regard to which groups are attacking Asian Americans the most and those groups are generally not associated with the political right. So, an attempt to infer that Trump’s (or anyone else’s) use of the “Ch__a virus” spurred political conservatives to start attacking Asian Americans is highly tenuous. As I’ve pointed out twice now, the devil’s in the details.

        1. pgl

          “The data are clear with regard to which groups are attacking Asian Americans the most and those groups are generally not associated with the political right.”

          Seriously? Your attempt to manipulate data ranks up there with the empirical work of John Lott. Of course Lott is a fraud and likely a racist too. You are definitely a racist as well as being a serial liar.

        2. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Bruce Hall: I am aware the terminology “joint determination” could be obscure to you, but in econometrics, this term is consistent with a third, possibly unobservable, causal factor not included in the basic specification. I wrote the piece from the perspective of a social scientist, leaving open some hypotheses to be considered.

          Nowhere in the piece do I mention a specific ethnic group being the culprit. Rather, the question I posed rather specifically is whether the permissive environment signaled by Mr. Trump’s language elicited both greater use of pejorative terminology and/or greater violence, by any groups, against AAPI individuals.

          I would venture to say such signaling includes the very fine people “on both sides” comment, but is not tabulated in a compilation of statements specifically targeted at Asians, and hence would obscure the relationship between Trump language/statements and such events. Or would you say that “both sides” is completely innocuous, and is an appropriate description of white nationalists who engaged in the Charlottesville march? I am curious.

      1. pgl

        I went back and read Bruce Hall’s link to HIS OWN comment. Like if he writes something – we must take it as gospel? So much disinformation so little time and given how you and 2slug called him out at the time – I passed even if this lying troll attributed something to me. Would I say a racial slur is not the same thing as murdering a young Asian woman? Well yea but a racial slur is still very wrong even if no one died. But Bruce Hall wants to suggest I excused racial slurs? Sorry Bruce but that was a flat out lie and you know it.

        Then again the way Bruce Hall serially dismissing this behavior has me thinking he must be as racist as Donald Trump.

        1. Bruce Hall

          The link to “HIS OWN comment” was simply a short-cut to the NYC data. Now you’re objecting to the NYC official data? Ooooo.

      2. Bruce Hall

        Yes, I’m sure there is a certain felt stigma when Spanish or Chinese or Brazilian “variant” or whatever are used as colloquial identifiers of official alpha-numeric designations. But such colloquial identifiers are commonplace for many other subjects with esoteric nomenclature.

        The point is, even if the Spanish didn’t especially like the flu being named after their country, it was hardly a harmful designation.
        Spaniards called the highly contagious disease “The Soldier of Naples” after a catchy song popular at the time. But when the deadly virus exploded across the world and became known as “Spanish influenza,” Spain protested that its people were being falsely stigmatized.

        How many Spaniards were attacked or killed because of that name?

        I understand in the hypersensitive political world that people now get twisted out of shape at the slightest perceived slight or insult. Still, to take the giant leap that “Wuhan virus” or “Ch__a virus” caused attacks on Asian Americans is almost religious in nature.

        1. noneconomist

          Poor comparisons, Bruce. But for clarity, who’s easier to “identify “ by sight: a Brazilian, a Brit, a South African, or an Asian?
          Similar identity problems, as I’ve mentioned, have plagued Sikh communities in connection with terrorism. Morons—largely of the right wing variety— have had a difficult time separating Sikhs from Muslims. Consequently, Sikh men, often the elderly, have been targets because of, oh, their headwear and…wait for it…their skin color.
          My son relates stories told to him by the liquor store owner where he buys lottery tickets. The classic involves the nitwit who told the owner, a Sikh, “We got your Bin Laden. Got him! Whadda ya think about that?”
          So no, equating virus blame for “sighting” a Brazilian—or, for God’s sake, a Brit—with anti-Asian violence should be a non starter, even for you.
          No surprise, of course, it wasn’t.

      3. 2slugbaits

        The WaPo article did miss one important reason why the French and British were eager to tag the 1918 pandemic the “Spanish flu.” As the WaPo article noted, Spain was a neutral country. But what the article didn’t mention is that throughout 1917 almost half of the French army mutinied, with many soldiers heading south to neutral Spain. Can’t say that I blame those soldiers. Referring to the pandemic as the “Spanish flu” was taken as an opportunity to convince French and British soldiers that they were better off staying in France than going to Spain. Fear of mutiny in 1918 is one reason why the massive Meuse-Argonne offensive was a largely American operation with the French operating in the rear.

    1. pgl

      And I thought Uncle Moses diversion into attacking Randy Andy was disgusting. No Bruce Hall is never to be outdone for the most pathetic comment of the day.

    2. pgl

      “As pointed out in a previous post on this subject, most NYC crimes in 2020 against Asian Americans (the focus on southern and eastern Asian ancestry) seem to be economic crimes such as robbery and the perpetrators of most crimes appear to be blacks with Hispanics significantly represented.”

      Point out by who? A racist liar like you perhaps. I live in NYC so I get that this claim is utter BS. You live in your mom’s basement hiding from this virus. BTW there is a NY variant now so MAGA hat wearing members of the KKK like you can now blame us.

      1. Bruce Hall


        As RR would say, “There you go again.” You’re ability to parse is only exceeded by your ability to slur. You love to try to discredit the messenger when you can’t discredit the message. That’s not a good look.

        1. pgl

          The message? Your only message seems to be that Trump was right to smear Asians, Hispanics, Blacks, etc. My apologies for interrupting your racist tirades.

    3. Willie

      Context is everything. And, considering the context Trump’s words came from, the result is predictable.

  6. ltr

    We have had a President for whom prejudice was policy, a President who racially attacked a people even in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. *  We have had a Secretary of State who travelled the world to racially attack this same people.  How then could many Americans fail to be influenced and effected by the studied racism of such a President and Secretary of State?

    That the prejudice of a President and Secretary of State carefully drew on historic American roots and fostered revival and growth made it all the more “effective.”  At least try to understand what was done to Americans by a President and Secretary of State like no others, though understanding a newly formed or revived feeling can be very difficult.

    Even as the killing of Black girls in a church in Birmingham in 1963 was profoundly racist, so was the killing of Asian women at work in Atlanta.


  7. pgl

    Before anyone dismisses what the punk was about as some self loathing sex addict and nothing more please read this discussion by Nancy Wang Yuen, author of “Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism”:

    I just watched her being interviewed and she mentioned something called the Page Act of 1875. If anyone knows what this legislation was about – please tell us.

      1. Willie

        Those who haven’t seen or experienced it first hand can’t know what it is like, nor can they understand the impact even if it’s not fatal. My wife is a beautiful combination of ancestries, including Nigerian. Not everyone sees her as the person she is, but only see her as the superficial color of her face and the way her hair is. It was a shock to me, as a generic white person, to see how pervasive racist behavior still is.

  8. Bruce Hall

    If use of the phrase “Ch__a virus” has led to increased “hate crimes” against Asian Americans, one can only imagine the consequences of Biden pursuing a hard line against China.

    Will Americans with Chinese ancestry now be seen as threats to the U.S. security and economy? Will they be seen as violators of human rights because Biden will now speak up about the treatment of Uighurs? Shouldn’t Biden refrain from using any mention of “China” or ” Chinese” knowing that it will result in significant harm to Americans with Chinese ancestry or who have immigrated from China? After all, we are jumping into the deep end of the Kool-Aid pool.

    Still, even current senior administration officials who served in the Obama administration concede that the problems in the U.S. relationship with China stretch back farther than Trump.

    “We inherited a very challenging situation from not just the previous administration, but going back a long way,” one of them said.

    Still, Trump was less restrained in his narratives about the CCP, so “it’s Trump’s fault”.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Bruce Hall: Really, this is your argument? As I recall the Obama administration had its share of policy conflicts with China, and pursued *rational* approaches to constraining Chinese influence in East Asia (as opposed to the go-it-alone Trumpian tax it if it’s an import approach). I do not detect a particularly soft line on security challenges posed by China (on software/hardware, or the military end). Do remember that Obama administration was early on arguing on pivoting US military assets to confronting China.

      The question is whether a similarly unproductive campaign of verbal invective will be pursued by Biden (remember how Trump was going to slam ZTE until a Chinese firm provided a loan to a Trump property in East Asia?). In other words, Trump was all talk and little effective action (save the tariffs that likely wiped out thousands of US jobs, on net).

      1. pgl

        As much as I loathe giving any praise to Princeton Steve, we should note that he can distinguish between the government of China and Chinese citizens or Asian Americans. But I guess this distinction totally escapes Bruce Hall.

    2. pgl

      One can oppose the policies of a government without having disdain for people whose ancestors grew up in that nation. Unless you are dumber than a rock – you know this which means you know how repugnant your latest is.

      Then again – you have proven yourself to be incredible stupid so let me draw an analogy to something most people would get if they ever visit south Brooklyn where a lot of Russian Americans live. Most of these people truly hate the Putin government. Now there may be a few exceptions where the Russian American supports Putin. You can detect these people by seeing who is having lunch with Rudy Giuliani.

  9. ltr

    The Page Act of 1875 was the first restrictive federal immigration law in the United States, which effectively prohibited the entry of Chinese women, marking the end of open borders. The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act would go on to ban immigration by Chinese men as well.

    The law was named after its sponsor, Representative Horace F. Page, a Republican who introduced it to “end the danger of cheap Chinese labor and immoral Chinese women”.

    1. pgl

      Thank you. I later finished reading her oped and she too explained what the offensive law was about.

  10. ltr

    The New York Times @nytimes

    China has approved its fifth Covid-19 vaccine, and it’s made from the ovary cells of hamsters.

    China’s latest vaccine is made from hamster ovary cells.
    The vaccine has several drawbacks. One is that it does not produce many T-cells, which help clear infected cells and prevent them from spreading.

    3:30 AM · Mar 17, 2021

    [ Calculated falseness, on and on.

    1. ltr

      Dr. Sandra Steingraber @ssteingraber1

      This is such an irresponsible soft-racist headline. 

      Hamster ovary cell lines are how labs all over the world make proteins. I repeat: they are universally used. They were developed in a Boston lab in 1957. 

      Please STOP implying that the Chinese do weird things with animals.

      12:32 PM · Mar 17, 2021

    2. ltr

      Dr. Sandra Steingraber, the biologist who immediately understood the falseness and prejudice of the New York Times report on the newly approved Chinese coronavirus vaccine, went on to explain that she attended a high school with a football team and mascot named as slurs against the people of China.  When a Chinese-American group came to the school to ask for a team name change, officials of the school refused.

      Dr. Steingraber explained that she knew from then on she was obliged to protect others against prejudice when she could do so.  She has done so now, to the gratitude of many.

  11. Moses Herzog

    I was thinking we wouldn’t necessarily use nomenclature from 102 years ago as a justification for using very foolish language now. Can’t it e assumed we have better education levels and a more literate public than we did 100 years ago and therefor we wouldn’t want to express things the same way?? The real issue here is the tones and attached language. When people said “Spanish flu” 100 years ago, are we assuming they used the same intonations as donald trump?? Think about when you talk to your dog/pet. Are they paying attention to the language you use or the tones the words are said in?? I really don’t think in this specific facet humans are all that different from most people’s family dog.

  12. Bruce Hall

    Is this another “hate crime” against an Asian American or a crime?

    Three people have been arrested for robbing and attacking a 67-year-old Asian American man in a San Francisco laundromat in February.
    Calvin Berschell, Jason Orozco and Nolowde Beshears, all 19 year olds, were arrested in the attack, police announced Wednesday.

    Berschell and Beshears are African Americans; Orozco is Hispanic.

    And therein lies the problem: prove it was a hate crime and that it was motivated by political speech. Just as most crimes against Asian Americans in NYC are economic crimes; so too in SF area. Older Asian Americans who own a small business are prime targets because most do not have some form of protection against assaults and robberies.

    Crime in general has increased during the epidemic. Robbers seem embolden because wearing a mask is the “new normal”.

    1. pgl

      Oh gee Brucie – someone robbed a SF laundromat is a rough area and they were not wearing MAGA hats. We went through this canard of yours before. Just because you found one crime for money in a rough area that in no way excuses the murder of 8 young women mostly Asian yesterday.

      Of course we know a racist like you will keep writing this intellectual garbage in defense of the former Racist in Chief. MAGA!

    2. pgl

      “There were nearly 3,000 hate incidents against Asian Americans in 2020 alone, according to data from theStop AAPI Hatecoalition, which set up a website to help track the cases, some of which were not reported to police.”

      Another paragraph in a Bruce Hall provided link that this racist forgot to read!

      ‘Crime in general has increased during the epidemic. Robbers seem embolden because wearing a mask is the “new normal”.’

      Ah yes – Bruce Hall thinks he has a way to reduce crime. Don’t wear your mask. Yes – his is THAT stupid.

    1. baffling

      rand paul was a physician who knowingly walked the halls of congress while suspected of being infected with the coronavirus, which was later confirmed. that pretty much sums up the lack of integrity found in the paul family.

      1. pgl

        He did that with no mask. And he decided to go work out in the Senate gym with no mask. Yes a completely self centered irresponsible clown.

    2. noneconomist

      Republicans are building a deep bench. They’ve also got Coach Tommy Tuberville and Marcia Blackburn ready to assist.

  13. ltr

    September 22, 2020

    Remarks by President Trump to the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

    The White House

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: It is my profound honor to address the United Nations General Assembly.

    Seventy-five years after the end of World War II and the founding of the United Nations, we are once again engaged in a great global struggle. We have waged a fierce battle against the invisible enemy — the China virus — which has claimed countless lives in 188 countries.

    In the United States, we launched the most aggressive mobilization since the Second World War. We rapidly produced a record supply of ventilators, creating a surplus that allowed us to share them with friends and partners all around the globe. We pioneered life-saving treatments, reducing our fatality rate 85 percent since April.

    Thanks to our efforts, three vaccines are in the final stage of clinical trials. We are mass-producing them in advance so they can be delivered immediately upon arrival.

    We will distribute a vaccine, we will defeat the virus, we will end the pandemic, and we will enter a new era of unprecedented prosperity, cooperation, and peace.

    As we pursue this bright future, we must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world: China.

    In the earliest days of the virus, China locked down travel domestically while allowing flights to leave China and infect the world. China condemned my travel ban on their country, even as they cancelled domestic flights and locked citizens in their homes.

    The Chinese government and the World Health Organization — which is virtually controlled by China — falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. Later, they falsely said people without symptoms would not spread the disease….

    1. ltr

      Jewish communities in Europe were historically subject to such language and endangered in the wake of illnesses.  The assertions are false, the calculated language though echoing the distant past is frightening and intolerably prejudiced to me.

    2. ltr

      Prejudice, racism was policy for Donald Trump all through the presidency. Racism was foreign policy under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This was a morally singular presidency. Being subject to such an administration has shaped general racial attitudes in fearful ways, ways that continue to be selectively reinforced and that are going to be difficult to change but morally have to be changed.

    3. baffling

      of course ltr could also explain the human rights violations in xinjiang

      Xinjiang, China (CNN)It was supposed to be a routine trip home to Xinjiang for Mamutjan Abdurehim’s wife and two children.

      That was five years ago. He says he hasn’t seen them since.

      Mamutjan’s wife Muherrem took their daughter and son from Malaysia back to the region in western China to get a new passport in December 2015. They remain trapped there, he said, caught up in the sweeping government crackdown against Muslim minorities that has reportedly seen up to 2 million people arbitrarily detained in vast camps across Xinjiang…

  14. SecondLook

    It is a bit orthogonal, but I was struck between the focus on hate crimes and the sheer lunacy of a society that sells guns like candy, there hasn’t any discussion about the social nature – class, and race – and the economics, of sex work in the United States.
    Of course, besides our inherently being uncomfortable with the topic, it is part of the informal economy, and as such neither government nor academia really wishes to factor in that 5% or so of the American GDP into consideration. (25% in Italy is the best guesstimate – why Italians are much better off than their official per capita income suggests.)
    Then as an old friend who served on the bench enjoyed saying: a law that isn’t enforced is de facto not a law.
    Economic activity that isn’t taxed, or reported, de facto simply does not happen…

    1. Steven Kopits

      Well, sex work is another of the black markets to be solved like other black markets — including illegal immigration — with a legalize and tax approach.

      I think saying “a law that isn’t enforced is de facto not a law” is not quite correct. A law that isn’t enforced is a tool for blackmail and extortion. Thus, an employer hiring an illegal can treat them much worse than law or custom allows, because the employee cannot complain to the authorities. Similarly, in Hungary back in the early 1990s, the legal alcohol limit for driving was 0.00%. Now, foreigners were not sent to jail for drinking a couple of glasses of wine at a restaurant, but it was a major extortion racket for the local police, who sat outside restaurants favored by expats to shake them down on their way home. So strictly speaking, the law was not enforced. Rather it represented a privatized opportunity for extracurricular income.

      As for measuring GDP, I believe the work of homemakers in the US is not included in GDP, although Menzie may correct me here.

      In some countries, black and gray market activity is estimated even if not reported in GDP accounts, if I recall correctly.

      1. pgl

        “sex work is another of the black markets to be solved like other black markets — including illegal immigration — with a legalize and tax approach.”

        My effing God. The deaths of these Korean American ladies is not more than the prostitution industry to you? Yes to Princeton Steve all Asian ladies are nothing more than submissive sex objects. And blatant racial and sexist hate is no more than getting the economics in line with your free market pricing system?

        You are a pig.

        1. Steven Kopits

          The deaths of the massage parlour staff was not related to the legality of their activity, as I understand it.

      2. SecondLook

        Small note: the more appropriate term that is used by those who study that aspect of economic activity is informal. It is both accurate and not judgemental.
        Just as we chose not to reference the tobacco and alcohol industries as drug companies.
        Sex work is perhaps one of the smallest components of the informal economy, reasonable estimates suggest about $20 billion a year – twice the revenue of the American film industry.
        The largest part may be what most would consider very innocuous – bartering for goods and services. One classic example is the orthodontist who does the teeth of the carpenter’s daughter in exchange for a back deck being built. Easily a five-figure transaction that is never reported.

        As for homemakers:

        “GDP measures the market value of the goods and services a nation produces. Unpaid work that people do for themselves and their families isn’t traded in the marketplace, so there are no transactions to track. Surveys asking people how they spend their time can be used to estimate household production. But the United States only began collecting these data annually in 2003, and many countries have never done a nationally representative survey. The lack of reliable data influenced the decision to leave household production out of GDP in the internationally accepted guidelines for national accounting.”

        Perhaps it is splitting hairs, but I do see a clear difference between working for yourself and family members and working outside that economic unit.

        1. Steven Kopits

          So you’re saying that, say, dealing in crack and fentanyl should be considered an ‘informal economic activity’? I think ‘informal’ is a bit euphemistic for my taste.

        2. Steven Kopits

          It is splitting hairs. Complete bullshit reasoning. Half of GDP growth comes from population growth, and that is linked to homemakers, typically women who devote a substantial amount or all of their efforts to bearing and raising children and managing a household. But the guys keeping the GDP score say that has no measurable value. That’s complete, total and utter nonsense.

          1. Steven Kopits

            And let me add this. If a woman leaves home and takes a job, then her effort is measured in GDP. But is that really a one-for-one addition to GDP? Not unless 1) she has no children, 2) never took care of her children, or 3) is prepared to allow the children to raise themselves and keep their own house. To suggest that raising children and keeping house has no value is utterly insulting to mothers and wives, as well as to we husbands who value their effort.

        3. Steven Kopits

          I would note that the cartels in Mexico are part of the ‘informal economy’. These informal guys — or more precisely the US war in these informal guys — is costing 20,000+ lives every year. The notion that this is somehow ‘informal’ really does not capture the sense of it for me.

          I prefer black markets because these are well-known economic phenomena you — but not Barkley! — can easily put on a standard S/D graph. In one case you put the price below market. That’s the rent control example familiar in intro macro textbooks. That really defines gray markets, where the transaction is not illegal per se, but rather is only illegal at the price at which it occurred. A binding minimum wage will create the same phenomena from the above the equilibrium level. In any event, I am willing to call that ‘gray market’ activity.

          In the other case, you put the volume below market. That’s the case with activities that are generally deemed to be intrinsically bad, like dealing drugs or crossing borders without papers. I might refer to these as black market activities, albeit we could contemplate a ‘fifty shades of gray’ type scale.

          In any event, the use of the term black market to me has a specific meaning in economics, with a specific analytical framework and specific policy recommendation. The use of the word ‘informal’ suggests that we should look the other way or that we do not know how to manage the issue. Neither of these are true, certainly with illegal immigration.

          1. Barkley Rosser


            There are broadly three parts of the non-reported economy, to use a general and neutral term. One is the more properly defined “informal” economy, which does not count as part of the GDP by any measure because it it not marketed, but it is fully legal. This would be all that household activity you go on about above, with this much more important in poorer nations in terms of peoples’ quality of life. Another part is the outright illegal economy, in which the actual things people are doing are against the law, whether it is drugs or gambling or illegally transporting people across borders, etc. There are many nations where this is a substantial amount of marketed economic activity, if not counted in the official GDP. The final one, or perhaps it should be the intermediate one, and it has a less definite name, is the sector in which what people are doing is marketed and the activities are themselves legal, but people are not reporting them to the government so as to avoid paying taxes. The size of this also varies considerably across nations, and these non-reported activities also do not get counted in official GDP.

      3. Barkley Rosser


        A crucial element of how black markets operate is the level of transactions costs involved, a point made pointedly by my late friend, Nobel Prize winner Ollie Williamson. That these vary across black markets means that some are more easily solved by your legalize and tax proposal, which I support for many markets. But even for many where it has mostly worked out, the existence of that tax means black markets persist, even if much smaller. Heck, I have had quite a bit of fine illegal moonshine coming out of Franklin County, VA, Moonshine Capital of the World, where the old revenooers vs future NASCAR champs game still gets played out, if on a much lower scale than previously. As it is, for migration the transactions costs look to be a lot higher than in some other markets, so a “legalize and tax” proposal might lower the rate of illegal migration, but it is definitely not going to end it.

        I cannot resist noting that when you appeared on OAN last June to speak on the immigration issue, what you posed as the biggest cost of illegal immigration was higher school expenditures in receiving municipalities. That may be, although somehow most of the border towns with Mexico where these costs have been probably the highest have not been at all remotely enthusiastic about the recent policies to sharply restrict immigration on the southern border, illegal or otherwise.

        BTW, in 2000 I published a paper in the Journal of Comparative Economics with my wife and Ehsan Ahmed on how a larger informal economy came to be associated with a higher degree of income inequality in the transition economies, with this a two-way causal relationship, such in as the one where you claim to have obtained your expertise on black markets. This paper has been cited 266 times and played a serious role in changing the views of those advocating the “Washington Consensus” to accept that they should stop pushing for sharp reductions of social safety nets in Eastern European transition economies. Our point that increasing income inequality by shutting down social safety nets will lead to a larger black market underground economy is now a cliche, although prior to out article established views went completely in the opposite direction: a bigger wlefare state supposedly led to a bigger underground economy for both tax and shirking reasons. What was involved in the model was a multiple equilibria nonlinear dynamics model, but that is not worth getting into here, although it is consistent with the sort of thing Robert Putnam has argued about the differences between North and South Italy.

        Has anything you have done on this matter of black markets had anywhere near that level of impact on actual policy in the real world at a global level, Steven?

        1. pgl

          You watch OAN? Now I tried to Google to see if I could find Princeton Steve’s appearance and found nothing but it does CNBC has decided to run some of his past classics like the prediction 5 years ago that China’s growth was about to end. His logic? Well oil prices had declined (for a while) and the only reason that might occur is a Chinese recession. How did this forecast turn out (any better than DOW 36000). Of course Stevie is now confident that oil prices will top $100 (he once suggested it would top $200). I guess he has revised his 5 year old forecast of a Chinese recession!

          1. Barkley Rosser


            I do not watch OAN, never have.

            However, if you google “Steven Kopits princeton policy advisors” the seventh hit is labeled “haystack news,” which turns out to be something coming off OAN. There it is.

          2. Steven Kopits

            I have been on OAN two or three times. On Fox & Friends twice. On CBS Evening News once. On NPR’s Marketplace, about six times. I have been on CNBC maybe twice, and wrote for them regularly. (Actually, my editor at CNBC got me into the illegal immigration business.) And I may have been on Al Jazeera once. If I recall, OAN has their old facilities near Penn Station. I made Drudge I think about 14 times in 2019 and the headline once. And of course the President quoted me on the murder rate in Baltimore v the Northern Triangle countries.

            Not much in 2020, though. I have an interview with Primary Vision on YouTube, which I think is quite good if you’re interested in recent oil market dynamics. I have not changed my view.

        2. Barkley Rosser

          This is more diversion, but since I have brought it up I thought I would provide a clearer explanation that does not just wave hands at some fancy math but is more intuitive about our discovery regarding the apparently quite robust correlation between income inequality and the size of underbround/black/informa//non-formal (or whichever term one prefers) economies, noting that in later papers we found that this holds across the world more widely, not just in the transition economies where we first saw it holding.

          On the latter it really stuck out as something that happened during the transition rather than simply being something in place. There was considerable divergence across transition economies regarding whether they kept their social safety nets in place or not. Some did, such as Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Slovenia, which now have the most equal income distributions in the word, even lower Gini coefficients than one finds in the highly egalitarian Nordic nations or Taiwan. Those have all exhibited both much less development of underground economies, and also fairly reasonable amojnts of social and political stability . IN contrast we have Russia and some others that sharply cut back their social safety nets and also allowed income inequality to increase, quite substantially in some of them, with Russia’s Gini soaring aboe 40 from the mied-20s, although back down a bit again more recently (looking like PRC in this regard as well). Size of underground economy and amount of corruption has soared in Russia. Indeed, the idea for this came when my wife Marina was visiting her mother in Moscow in the late 90s and a bank across the street was shot up by a gang because it has refused to pay protection money.

          The view before we came along reflected textbook orthodox neoclassical textbook labor economics, although Steven prefers to cite principles textbooks, the same ones that say raising the min wage raises unemployment. Anyway, the standatd story was that if a nation tries to increase income equality by raising tax rates to fund a large social safety net as in the Nordic nations, one should expect people to drop out of the formal economy and go underground. They want to avoid paying the high taxes and if they remain officially unemployed they will also enjoy the larger social safety net benefits. Pretty obvious, and a large literature supported this view, including an article in the 80s by a former colleague of Menzie’s, Ed Feige (now emeritus) who wrote an article entitled “Sweden Shoots Itself in the Foot,” forecasting a massive expansion of underground ecomomy in foolish Sweden.

          Well, turns out not to be so. While the underground economies of the Nordic nartions are not zero, they are much lower than in most nations. People are willing to pay the taxes because they appreciate that the government provides a quality social safety net and out of broader social capital and solidarity as they are not alienated by high levels of income inequality. This is a more complex story of social interactions than was accounted for in the misleading textbook stories. (I have a chapter on this stuff in my new book on complexity economics, now in press at Springer), the math model involving a Polya urn model).

          Oh, for Steven, Hungary has been kind of in the middle of all that for the transition economies, not maintaining its social safety net or equality as much as the three I mentioned, but much more so than Russia, with its black economy being intermediate in size between those found in those two extremes of nations. If one wants the full story on this much of it is not in that J of Comp Ec article, which got the citations because it was the first out the door with tha argument and initial data and got the attention.

        3. Steven Kopits

          In Hungary in the early 1990s, the social safety net was the principal driver of the black market, that is, social contributions from wages. As I recall at the time, it social costs were was 42% of wages plus a 50% income tax rate on wages above $3,000. Working off the books was ubiquitous. Or more precisely, employees were on the books at much below their actual wages, thereby being eligible for welfare benefits but paying at a rate far below that dictated by law.

        4. Steven Kopits

          Undocumented gray or black markets will always exist in some form. For example, if you pay a kid $20 to mow your lawn and he doesn’t report the income to the IRS, then technically it is a gray market activity. (The difference between gray and black to me is that the activity is gray when the activity is legal, but not reported. Thus the actual transaction is not illegal; the illegality is associated with tax evasion.)

          If you read my work, you’ll see that I treat the US southwest border as ‘closed’ at a rate of 150 apprehensions per day, about 40,000 per year. You’re always going to have some illegal entry for a variety of reasons. The issue is rather the magnitude. A rate of 40,000 / year in the US is effectively nothing. A rate of 170,000 / month — Mayorkas’ forecast — is totally out of control.

          1. Steven Kopits

            In Europe, lawyers and dentists were notorious for depositing unreported cash income in places and Luxembourg and Switzerland.

            To wit:

            The results show that offshore tax evasion is highly concentrated among the rich. The top 0.01% of households in Scandinavia by wealth evade about a quarter of the taxes they owe, largely by concealing assets and investment income abroad. Top wealth shares in the three countries increase substantially when adding back these unreported assets, highlighting the need to take account of tax evasion to measure inequality accurately.


            It is quite hard to evade taxes if one is on salary unless a culture has already developed or a given situation is conducive to such practices (eg, tipping at restaurants). However, for business owners, tax evasion becomes much more plausible under certain circumstances (lawyers, doctors, dentists, hot dog stands, etc.)

            Here is the US version.

          2. Barkley Rosser


            You may think that you are such a big authority on this that you can decide that “black” markets are ones constituting outright illegal activity while the “grey” ones are those activities that are legal but not being reported for tax purposes. But there is a very large literature on this with lots of other people using these terms long before you ever got in this business.

            So the origin of the literature unsurprisingly comes out of Italy in the 1970s, and the first term to be used by those people in Italian for these unreported but legal activities was “nero lavoro.” That translates into English as “black work.” I am afraid you are too late to insist that the word “black” be confined strictly to illegal activities per se.

          3. Barkley Rosser

            The originator of this literature in Italian was Vito Tanzi, who used “nero lavoro” but has also published in English.

          4. Steven Kopits

            Barkley –

            I don’t know that I much care what color we want to call an illegal market. I am aware of Italy’s situation. Taxes are a large part of why Italy has so many family firms. In a family firm, you can work off the books or semi off the books. If you’re working for say, Suzuki — as was the case in Hungary — the the system did not really allow off the books work. Japan HQ couldn’t just hand the shift foreman large wads of cash to hand to line workers at the end of the week. So large firms, those with centralized systems and managerial layers, are typically disadvantaged when tax rates are punishingly high and tax evasion is rife. The downside, of course, is that family-owned companies will usually lack economies of scale, professionalization and specialization. When I worked on projects with Italians — now some decades ago — they were really wonderful people but strikingly provincial and backward in terms of professional standards and managerial expertise.

      1. SecondLook

        I was careful to use the term orthogonal in my remark – which is one way of saying extraneous; no correlation implied or intended in regards to the crime. Used to be employed by rhetoricians…
        And, as a sidebar, killing women per se, singularly, serially, or in multiples hasn’t typically considered a hate crime. Although it often should be. To quote the FBI:
        “a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”
        I believe that Georgia lately adopted that language for their hate crimes law. But as in most states, very sporadically employed by prosecutors.

    1. pgl

      “Hyson angrily rejected speculation that Tan’s spa was providing sex services. The suspect in the shootings told authorities he blamed the massage businesses for providing an outlet for his addiction to sex.”

      Your story goes on to note that this little 21 year old racist POS wanted to own a spa. I guess he just did not like competition from Asian business owners. Blaming this on sex addiction? The punk was lying.

      Of course Bruce Hall’s latest excuse for this hate comes down to some SF school board leader who is not following the Trump reopen too soon playbook tweeted out something in 2016 over anger than his black daughter was being harassed by Asian Americans. After all – Bruce Hall applauds all forms of racism if it serves the interest of MAGA.

  15. ltr

    March 17, 2021

    Asian-Americans were targeted in nearly 3,800 hate incidents in the past year.
    By Christine Hauser

    March 18, 2021

    How Racism and Sexism Intertwine to Torment Asian-American Women
    Many viewed the shooting rampage in Atlanta that left eight people dead as the culmination of a racialized misogyny that they say has long been directed at them.
    By Shaila Dewan

    March 18, 2021

    Asian-Americans Are Being Attacked. Why Are Hate Crime Charges So Rare?
    Several recent attacks have not been charged as hate crimes, fueling protests and outrage among many Asian-Americans.
    By Nicole Hong and Jonah E. Bromwich

    March 18, 2021

    Asian-Americans Are Scared for a Reason
    Bigotry and demagoguing have pushed communities to a “crisis point.”

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Steven Kopits: So while tensions mount, it would be counterproductive to use inflammatory language in domestic discourse, don’t you think?

      1. Moses Herzog

        You keep responding to “Princeton”Kopits like you expect a rational answer, You haven’t noticed Kopits likes throwing extra logs and gasoline on the FOX/QAnon fire?? That’s the ONLY way Kopits is going to get on TV~~~because if they wanted oil market analysis they could randomly grab a guy off the street or a broadcast intern who could tell their viewers more than Kopits can.

        Intelligent people will “catch on” Asian Americans 98%+ have nothing to do with the government policies of the countries they or their ancestors hail from. Non-intelligent people will not. I’ll tell you something else though. If Hispanic Americans go out in droves and vote for a man who labels their own ethnicity rapists and murderers it’s not going to help, anymore than the Israeli government playing footsie with Hitler types because it’s convenient inside of the moment. It doesn’t help either when two men of Jewish ethnicity stand 5 feet to the left of donald trump as he tells Americans Charlottesville Nazis are “very fine people”. I’m not sure what the ethnicity of the girl is on trump’s left, literally grinning as he was defending racism. Someone can tell me?? Or maybe they can tell me what her “penance” will be to the Chinese community?? Or does it just “not count” because when we’re climbing career ladders “well, this stuff just happens”?? Would she be just as much of a pariah as donald trump if she walked into a Chinese restaurant?? If not, why not??

      2. pgl

        ‘Yang Jiechi, replied that the U.S. wasn’t “qualified to speak to China from a position of strength.” The barbs on both sides appeared intended for domestic consumption, with Biden seeking to show his supporters that he’s tough on China and President Xi Jinping needing to satisfy his own increasingly nationalistic population. Still, the unusually acrimonious exchange showed the world just how hard it will be to repair a relationship that deteriorated rapidly under Donald Trump.’

        As I heard, Jiechi called out US racism. Well yea – there sure was a lot of racism under the “leadership” of Donald Trump. Some of it unfortunately excused by our Usual Suspects.

      3. Steven Kopits

        I am happy to give Menzie an answer. And I have spent a good bit of the weekend thinking about it. But it’s a longer topic.

  16. ltr

    I do not think this bodes well for sentiment towards Brazilian or Brazilian-Americans in the US.
    I do not think this bodes well for sentiment towards French or French-Americans in the US.
    I do not think this bodes well for sentiment towards Nigerian or Nigerian-Americans in the US.

    Did the French in America fare poorly through the contentious years of Charles de Gaulle? I would surely hope not.

    1. Moses Herzog

      I actually do not think this is Anne, and until “ltr” enlightens us, I think “ltr” is actually male. Be that as it may, I have to say the nonsensical nature of this comment does remind me of Anne. That is not back-pedaling on my part, I still hold strong that “ltr” is neither Anne, nor a female. Still, humorous. I remember Anne, from a different sight than Thoma’s. You always got the idea she was either bi-polar, on some kind of prescription addiction, or both. But another reason this is most likely not Anne, is because Anne was never that pro-Chinese government that I recall. And frankly I think I would remember such a thing had Anne been such. I just remember almost feeling sorry for her~~that whatever had made Anne the way she was, was not all “her own doing”.

      1. Moses Herzog

        Does anyone remember “bond lassie”?? She claimed she worked doing credit ratings if I recall correctly, Whatever she said her job was I remember thinking it was a load of c**p. She had a Cheetah on her twitter avatar. Oh my God that woman annoyed the hell out of me. She may be the only person on a blog who has ever annoyed me more than Barkley Rosser. Man that woman got on my nerves. The violent crimes I fantasized doing to her…… (joking) But seriously, wow. She wasn’t nails on a chalkboard, more like if someone took sandpaper and rubbed it on your forehead for 3 hours straight.

      2. Baffling

        Part troll, part bot. The constant links to ccp propaganda are really the giveaway, in addition to a refusal to comment on anything controversial regarding china. The commenter is not here in good faith, simply using the generosity of the blog hosts to promote propaganda. My guess is if somebody did a search, you will find multiple blogs/sites with a consistly named poster and nearly identical material. I doubt the posts are unique to this sight.

      3. Barkley Rosser


        As long as ltr does not say so it cannot be determined for sure. However there is very strong reason to believe that indeed “ltr” here is identical to the person who has posted as “anne” on EV and more recently on Angry Bear, as well as on Econospeak as “Anonymous.” The most important reason for believing the latter two is that although it has not happened recently in the not too distant past when ltr was posting repeatedly some of these very pro-CCP comments here identical posts were sometimes appearing on both of those other two blogs under those monikers. Of course it is possible that the “anne’ of AB is not the same as the “anne” of Economists View.

        However, you remember inaccurately about the views of anne of EV. She was always very pro-PRC. I am aware of this as I had several debates back then with her about Chinese policies, with her on several occasions taking great offense at what I said in much the same way she does now here, with that getting settled down somewhat after further discussion. Just as now she was then always generally open to factual points made, at least on some issues. We had some vigorous debates on some other issues in which she also took offense at things I wrote, one of them being an old bugaboo of yours, Moses, that you have brought up on numerous occasions here, namely certain criticisms I made of Paul Krugman. It is kind of funny that she made similar arguments then to what you have made here, namely along the lines of how dare I and who did I think I was criticizing him, a Nobel Prize-winning NY Times columnist, shame on me.

        There is a difference in tone and presentation now.. I have noted this previously with one explanation being that her views on China are now more noticeable because there has been an increasing divergence of views between the US and China, which has coincided with China both becoming more powerful (and economically strong) but also engaging in actions that many in the US more strongly oppose. So her defenses of these actions and policies sticks out more. I would also grant that there seems to have been more of this, although she has stopped the repetitions after Menzie repeatedly complained about her doing so (and I noted she was only hurting her case doing so). But the sticking with the official line seems more noticeable, including the practice of simply ignoring inconvenient facts that are hard to dispute, some of which get brought up repeatedly by people here.

        So, Moses, nobody can prove anything. Perhaps the “anne” of Economists View was always a man. If you insist on claiming that the “ltr” of Econbrowser is not that person and is probably a man, well, nobody can stop you. But most of us, or art least several of us, are pretty convinced that they are one and the same person, which none of these personages has ever denied anywhere, even if it has also never been confirmed by any of those personages. But I really think you should keep in mind that there is certainly a very high probability that ltr is indeed that anne of EV and is in fact a woman. I would also note that not only is the matter of the mistreatment of Asian American women now a serious matter of public concern due to recent events, with it highly likely that ltr has that identity, but that you yourself have an unpleasant and notorious history of going on in highly unacceptable ways about many women here on this blog. You really need to be more careful regarding this matter, and reminding everybody about hos much I annoy you is not going to get you off the hook on this matter.

  17. pgl

    Time to call out our resident lying racist Bruce Hall again (yea I get it – very old news) but he has turned to right wing media for smearing one Alison Collins over his decision to proceed with caution reopening San Fran schools. Oh Bruce forgot to tell us that. He also forgot to tell us this was over a 2016 tweet where Collins was angry that his black daughter was facing racism:

    Of course Bruce Hall has no problem treating a black child like a piece of garbage. Racial slurs directed at any child is wrong.
    But the idea that a racial slur directed at Asian kids would both a MAGA hat wearing lying piece of garbage like Bruce Hall – give me a break.

  18. ltr

    March 19, 2021

    China reiterates ‘mutual respect’ as foundation for Alaska talks

    Senior Chinese diplomats reiterated mutual respect, sincerity and frankness in addressing relations with the U.S. as the two-day high-level strategic dialogue started in Anchorage, Alaska on Thursday.

    China’s stance, “opposition to interference in internal affairs,” was also stressed by Chinese diplomats Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi during talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

    The sit-down marks the first face-to-face meeting between high-level officials of the two sides after the new U.S. administration took office. It also follows the first telephone conversation between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, after the American leader assumed office in January.

    Unreasonable accusations from U.S. rejected

    China firmly opposes the U.S. interference in China’s internal affairs and will continue to respond firmly, said Yang Jiechi, referring to issues related with China’s Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. side should mind its own business as the human rights situation in the U.S. has many problems, he criticized.

    He urged the U.S. to change its zero-sum mentality, abandon such wrong practices as “long-arm jurisdiction,” and stop abusing the concept of national security to interfere with normal trade between the two countries.

    “Let me be clear that in front of the Chinese side, the United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength,” Yang emphasized.

    Wang Yi echoed that China will not accept unreasonable accusations from Washington, urging the U.S. side to completely abandon its tyrannical acts of interference.

    He also noted the U.S.’s so-called sanctions against China over Hong Kong on March 17, stressing that the move aroused strong indignation among the Chinese people and will in no way shake the firm will of the Chinese people to safeguard sovereignty and dignity.

    On the same day, the Chinese delegation also made a stern response to the U.S.’s “unreasonable accusations,” saying that the U.S. side’s opening speeches overran their scheduled time which was not in line with diplomatic protocol.

    Commenting on the American officials’ unwarranted accusations against China, Victor Gao, chair professor at Soochow University, said they had “probably miscalculated.”

    “They wanted to walk into the meeting with China from a position of so-called strength,” Gao told CGTN, noting that Yang “categorically rejected” the accusations.

    “There are a lot of issues to be ironed out between China and the United States,” Gao added. “And I think the fact that they are talking with each other is a good sign.” …

    [ Victor Gao holds Yale political science and Law degrees. Gao was translator for Deng Xiaoping, when Deng was in the United States. ]

  19. ltr

    The original comment was obviously meant to be ethnically threatening, in line with other such ethnically explicit threatening comments:

    I do not think this bodes well for sentiment towards Brazilians or Brazilian-Americans in the US.
    I do not think this bodes well for sentiment towards French or French-Americans in the US.
    I do not think this bodes well for sentiment towards Nigerians or Nigerian-Americans in the US.

    Did the French in America fare poorly through the contentious years of Charles de Gaulle? I would surely hope not.

  20. ltr

    Intense prejudice is expressed in a several ways, a particular way would be a personal assault in which the object is to force, say, a despised Catholic to turn against all Catholics. This was an intense prejudice that characterized the Inquisition. Reading the Grand Inquisitor in the Brothers Karamazov is especially important in this regard, as I learned. I read this story told by Ivan more than once in the beginning, and must now do so again.

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