Author Archives: James_Hamilton

Comment policy

Econbrowser has always welcomed a wide range of opinions and spirited discussion from commenters, and will continue to do so. To preserve civility of the discussion, we have two rules. First, comments referring to someone’s racial or ethnic characteristics will not be published. Second, we will block comments that are pure insults with no intellectual arguments.

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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2018 Econbrowser NCAA tournament challenge

It’s that time of year again! By which I mean, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enter the eleventh annual Econbrowser NCAA tournament challenge! All right, so last year you had a chance to enter the tenth annual challenge, which was kind of similar. But whether or not you tried it last year, here’s an all new roll of the dice to see how well you can predict the outcome of this year’s U.S. college men’s basketball tournament. If you want to participate, go to the Econbrowser group at ESPN, do some minor registering to create a free ESPN account if you haven’t used that site before, and fill in your bracket before Thursday at noon!