Updates / The Knowledge Economy

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By / 8.3.2017

It’s been well-documented that economic dynamism for many years has been concentrated geographically–in a few tech hubs like SF and NY, in the largest urban areas where young people flock, in coastal states. This geographical concentration appears to have been a major force underlying the 2016 election, where areas left behind by economic prosperity were […]

By / 7.31.2017

In an earlier post, I estimated that the expansion of ecommerce since 2007 is saving American households 64 million hours per week in shopping time.  What impact does this have on measured productivity? This is not an easy question. Unpaid shopping hours are part of  “household production,” which is generally excluded from official calculations of […]

By / 7.29.2017

We think of the United States as a low-inflation economy, with an overall price increase of 36% since 2000, or less than 2% a year.  But the fact is, the inflation  performance of different industries has varied greatly since 2000.  For example, the price of construction has gone up more than 100% since 2000, as […]

By / 7.24.2017

Which one is not like the others? Since 2000, American households have been hit by price increases which far exceed their ability to pay. Necessities like housing and food have skyrocketed in prices. Child care is 81% more expensive, passenger fares for foreign travel are up 63%, financial fees are higher by 41%. Even beer, […]

By / 7.10.2017

I have consistently argued that ecommerce is boosting employment by creating jobs at fulfillment centers. For example, over the past year, ecommerce jobs have risen by 61,000, while brick-and-mortar retail has fallen by only 7,000. That sounds like a counter-intuitive result, given that ecommerce is supposedly more productive than brick-and-mortar retail. But the increase in […]

By / 7.10.2017

When I was young, oh so many years ago, my parents would take me shopping at Korvette’s, a chain of discount department stores originally based in New York City. But alas, Korvette’s went bankrupt in 1980, just one of hundreds of names on Wikipedia’s long list of defunct department stores. Then, of course, Wikipedia has an equally […]

By / 6.30.2017

I’ve been writing a lot about ecommerce lately. I would be remiss if I did not address the Amazon offer to buy Whole Foods. I have two thoughts. First, I’m not an antitrust economist. But it strikes me that under ordinary antitrust logic, Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods would ring no alarm bells. Despite the […]

By / 6.28.2017

PPI believes that the tech/telecom space is intensely competitive, not just in the United States but around the world.  We also believe that companies which are innovative and invest in new technologies and capabilities are providing great benefits to consumers and workers, including a fast-growing number of good jobs. From that perspective, we are strongly […]

By / 6.23.2017

Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute, joined Alphachat to talk about his report, “The Coming Productivity Boom”, co-authored by Bret Swanson of Entropy Economics. Mandel argues that the decades-long productivity stagnation will end once companies in the “physical” industries — transportation, construction, manufacturing, healthcare, wholesale and retail trade — start investing […]

By / 6.18.2017

On June 7,  Axios  journalist Chris Matthews wrote a piece “Big Companies, Fewer Workers”  that said: The five most valuable companies in the U.S. are all technology firms that employ far fewer workers than their industrial predecessors. He echoes a common complaint. But is it really true? I decided to  compare employment at today’s most valuable […]