Recommended reading

Here are some links to interesting posts and articles I’ve come across on the interwebs today:

— Political scientists Henry Farrell and economist John Quiggin, both of whom blog at the Crooked Timber site, have written a about the rise and fall of Keynesianism during the economic crisis, which Paul Krugman calls fascinating. What I find most interesting about it is that it examines a vitally important yet often neglected and undertheorized aspect of public policy: how expert consensus is forged and becomes influential. They situate the debate over Keynesianism within the context of recent literature on diffusion and social networks, viewing the spread of Keynesian, and then anti-Keynesian, ideas as a contagion process, followed by “dissensus” (the breakdown of consensus). Cool stuff, especially for social network theory nerds!

— Economists Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson look at the question of whether the “top 1%” is surging everywhere around the globe. Their answer, unsurprisingly, is “no.” Btw, I am heartened to see that more and more mainstream neoclassical economists like Acemoglu and Robinson are willing to attributeat least part of the rise in economic inequality to “domestic and political” factors. This was not true as recently as a few years ago, when practically every neoclassicist I knew was attributing it largely to skill-biased technological change, and was extremely reluctant to look at other causal mechanisms.

— Finally, Art Goldhammer on a shockingly racist TV ad promoting the European Union, which the commission was forced to pull and apologize for. I’d love to know how it ever got made and released in the first place, but whatevs.

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Kathleen Geier

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee