Bob Cropf

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The Happiness Index defined– move from Callifornia to Nebraska

In 1 on May 3, 2009 at 11:24 AM

If it’s financial happiness you’re seeking for your next move, then the Midwest may be your best bet because according to a new study Nebraska tops the list of happiest states, fiscally.

Which state has the sunniest disposition in this gloomy economy?

The home of the Cornhuskers, Kool-Aid and the world’s largest porch swing ranked No. 1 on’s Happiness Index, which used unemployment figures, foreclosures and nonmortgage debt to determine a state’s overall financial well being.

“We don’t go clear out on the edge with projects. We kind of go pay as you go. That’s more what we like to do in Nebraska. We don’t get the huge good time, but we don’t get the huge bad time either,” said Hastings Mayor Vern Powers. “We kind of stay in a little flatter area. In the long term, we think that’s what’s best.”

Financial experts said other states can learn from Nebraska’s conservative attitude toward money, as well as its efforts to grow a diversity of industries.

Its ethanol plants, in particular, have flourished and the ongoing effort to grow industry has enabled people who lose jobs to find new ones relatively easily.

In fact Nebraska’s unemployment rate in February was a 4.2 percent. It also had one foreclosure per 25,187 households.

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy for These States
The first-of-its-kind index also included Iowa, Kansas, Hawaii and Louisiana, which followed Nebraska on the list respectively.

And according to, it’s no coincidence that the nation’s three happiest states all are in the Midwest.

“I think that on the coasts — In New York and California — we have a lot of people living beyond their means. But in the Midwest that’s often not the case,” said general manager Harleen Kahlon. “Maybe the take-away is that living large is not the answer.”

Take the financially savvy billionaire Warren Buffet. The frugal Nebraskan still lives in the same modest home he bought in 1958 for $31,000.

The Least Happy States: Unemployment and Foreclosures
High unemployment and foreclosure rates elevated Oregon to the moniker of the least happy state financially. The Pacific Northwest state was preceded by Florida, California, Nevada and Rhode Island with the Sunshine State fairing the best among the quintet.

The nation’s unemployment rate rose to 8.5 percent, the highest in nearly 26 years, but these states’ statistics were even dimmer.

Both Rhode Island and California’s unemployment rate was 10.5 percent in February, while Nevada had 10.1 percent. Oregon had 10.8 percent and Florida had 9.4 percent.

But said it expects movement in the happiness index. Oregon is expected to climb thanks in part to its investment in the green sector, which predicts will experience a great deal of growth in months and years to come.


Globalization Powerpoint

In 1 on April 25, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Please find the powerpoint from last Wednesday’s Globalization lecture here : globalization1

Warren on the Daily Show

In 1 on April 16, 2009 at 12:43 PM

Elizabeth Warren, chair of the Congressional Oversight panel for TARP, was on the Daily Show explaining the oversight of TARP.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
Elizabeth Warren Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic Crisis Political Humor
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
Elizabeth Warren Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic Crisis Political Humor

This Week’s Powerpoint

In 1 on April 13, 2009 at 8:03 PM

Please find this week’s power point slides  here

European Banks & Bailouts

In 1 on April 8, 2009 at 7:39 AM

As unpopular as bailing banks out is in the US, at least we can bail them out. Europe may be pushing for tighter regulation of the financial markets, but they have bank issues that are much more problematic than ours if you make the assumption that regulation might prevent or mitigate most crises, but it is never 100% insurance against any crisis.

We have banks that have a balance sheet of 10-15% of GDP. The biggest banks total somewhere near 50% of GDP if I have my figure straight. There are individual European banks with balance sheets 200-600% GDP of their respective country. Iceland’s banks had balance sheets totaling over 1000% of GDP – it is no wonder the country went bankrupt.

The Financial Times has very interesting graphic.


Readings for This Week

In 1 on April 7, 2009 at 9:45 AM

The Readings for this week:

Buchanan: “Analysis of Closed Behavioral Systems”
Buchanan and Wagner

Next week

Unemployment Numbers

In 1 on April 6, 2009 at 6:47 PM

I’ve been told as recently as this weekend that, despite what I’ve heard, this is still not as bad as the 1981 recession (I am not old enough to remember it), but the March unemployment numbers beg to differ…

Change in Payroll for Recent Recessions

Change in Payroll for Recent Recessions

Yes, there were other negatives in the early ’80s, inflation, super-high interest rates, etc. but it wasn’t a financial crisis and it wasn’t global. And that is what Eichengreen (UC-Berkley) & O’Rourke (Trinity College) assert when they call this a depression in their article on VOX… when you look at the global picture, this is as bad as 1929. They hope the difference in the policy response will mean we don’t re-live the 1930s in their entirety.

One final thought:

Compulsive optimism, otherwise known as grasping at straws, is habitual for some economists, especially if they are selling public policy or common stock. But it is also dangerous, destroying credibility and to discouraging action. Repress it. – James K. Galbraith

And I though that economics was called the dismal science…

Chart from Justin Fox at Time


Orszag & Behavior Economics

In 1 on April 6, 2009 at 5:26 PM

There is a brief interview with Peter Orszag, director of OMB, on NPR. Just a brief take on his view of behavioral economics in the Obama Administration.

He was also on the Daily Show last week where he discussed deficit and debt:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
Peter Orszag Pt. 1
Daily Show Full Episodes Economic Crisis Political Humor
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
Peter Orszag Pt. 1
Daily Show Full Episodes Economic Crisis Political Humor


Tonight’s PowerPoints

In 1 on April 1, 2009 at 7:01 AM

The PowerPoint slides for tonight’s class are up.

We will be finishing Sen”s book tonight. Our discussion will focus on the last three chapters.

Paul Krugman Song

In 1 on March 30, 2009 at 6:10 AM

For your enjoyment: