Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, July 20, 2009

Chinn's Econbrowser in Wall Street Journal's top 10

The Wall Street Journal rates professor Menzie Chinn's Econbrowser blog ninth out of the top 25 economics blogs. Chinn and his co-blogger, James D. Hamilton, a professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego, have been analyzing current economic conditions and policy since June 2005.

On a scale of one to five, Chinn and Hamilton earned five light bulbs for originality, five calculators for geekiness and three reading glasses for readability. Per the Journal's judging criteria, that means Chinn "consistently includes original insights" and the judges assume he knows "what the Phillips curve is." The three reading glasses rating suggests that he "should keep [his] day job," which is good news for his students enrolled in the fall 2009 section of PA 974 Policy Responses to the Great Recession.

That Topics in Public Affairs course will examine the hypotheses underlying the origins and propagation of the economic downturn of 2007. Possible causes include lax monetary policy, the "saving glut," deregulation, securitization and the widespread use of derivatives, the activities of government sponsored enterprises ("Fannie Mae" and "Freddie Mac"), among others. Students will discuss policy responses that include the conduct of monetary policy and fiscal policy, the appropriateness of financial regulatory policy, the harmonization of international financial policy and trade policy. Other policies not typically thought to be related to the workings of the macro economy (housing, energy, sectoral/industrial policy, e.g., automobiles) will also be examined.