Author Archives: James_Hamilton

Warren B. Hamilton, 1925-2018

From the Denver Post:

Warren Hamilton passed away at his home in Golden, Colorado on October 26, 2018 at age 93. His primary career was as a research scientist with the US Geological Survey in geologic, and later geophysical branches. He was a geologist known for integrating observed geology and geophysics into planetary-scale syntheses describing the evolution of Earth’s crust and mantle. After retirement in 1995, he became a Distinguished Senior Scientist in the Department of Geophysics, Colorado School of Mines where he taught classes through fall of 2017. Warren also taught classes through winter of 2017 with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a holder of the Penrose Medal, the highest honor of the Geological Society of America.

Warren served in the US Navy from 1943 to 1946, completed a bachelor’s degree at UCLA in a Navy training program in 1945, and was a commissioned officer on the aircraft carrier USS Tarawa. After returning to civilian life, he earned an MSc in Geology from USC and a PhD in Geology from UCLA in 1951. Warren was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Alicita. He is survived by three children, Larry (wife Leslie), Kathy (husband Steve Harhai) and Jim (wife Marjorie Flavin), six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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Measuring global economic activity

Measuring the level of global economic activity is of key interest. But the measures we have on variables like industrial production don’t cover all countries and are only available with a significant lag. Michigan Professor Lutz Kilian suggested in an influential paper published in 2009 that we could get a useful timely indicator by looking at average shipping costs. I recently had a chance to look into the details of how that series is constructed and have some suggested improvements.
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A little slower growth

The Bureau of Economic Analysis announced today that U.S. real GDP grew at a 2.3% annual rate in the first quarter. That’s a modest slowdown from the 3.1% average we saw over the previous 3 quarters. 3.1% is also the average growth rate for the U.S. economy over the last 70 years. But the Q1 reading is pretty much on par with the 2.2% average growth since the Great Recession ended in 2009.
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