A Nation of Slugs?

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Have we all gone lazy? Are Americans no longer the restless go-getters they once were? Has our culture changed in ways that impede economic progress instead of naturally promoting it? In his new book, The Complacent Class, Tyler Cowen, one of the most eclectic and inventive of today’s authors on economic issues, says yes to all of these. Not so …

Tyler Cowen and the Fallacy of American Laziness

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Have we all gone lazy? Are Americans no longer the restless go-getters they once were? Has our culture changed in ways that impede economic progress instead of naturally promoting it? In his new book, The Complacent Class, Tyler Cowen, one of the most eclectic and inventive authors on economic issues, says yes to all of these questions. Not so fast, …

Five Mysteries Surrounding Low and Negative Interest Rates

Laurence Articles

Zero and negative nominal interest rates are something new under the sun. In 3,800 years of history, we’ve only observed near-zero rates a few times, and almost never negative ones. Of course, real rates have been negative for extended periods, but this is different. There is much that we do know about the relationship between nominal interest rates, inflation, real …

Middle-Class Wage Stagnation Is a First-World Problem – The World is Getting Richer

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A common lament during the presidential campaign was middle-class income stagnation and the wealth of the top 1%. But are most people getting poorer while the rich get richer? In a sparkling – and delightfully short – new contribution to the econo-optimist genre, Johan Norberg, author of Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, emphatically answers “no.” Consider …

The Bromance that Turned Economics Upside Down

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Who would guess that the modern sciences of behavioral economics and the psychology of decision-making owe their origin to a love affair (no, not sexual) between two men born early in the last century and so different that one could barely imagine them speaking to each other? Yet that is the story chronicled by the extraordinary nonfiction writer Michael Lewis …

Defined Contribution Retirement Plans Should Look and Feel More Like Defined Benefit Plans

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Why have defined contribution (DC) retirement plans delivered such uneven—and, on average, inadequate—results? How can DC sponsors, who are charged with most of the responsibility for retirement security in the United States and elsewhere, do better—much better? Can DC sponsors learn from defined benefit (DB) plans, which did achieve desirable outcomes in many cases? Can they hold on to the …

A Prediction for the Future of Active Management

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What effect will the index fund revolution and the Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule have on active managers? The data shows that active management is still a healthy business model. But industry consolidation is coming and advisors will need to change the way they construct portfolios. Indexing is a very low-fee business, with the standard-setting fund Vanguard Index 500 …