growth: De Long view

Max Sawicky sawicky at
Fri Mar 17 17:22:45 PST 2000

Dean Baker in Getting Prices Right explains the absurd implications of the Boskin estimate. I got a version of BDL's latest in garbled format so didn't read it closely, but it reminded me of the illustrious Cox and Alm. I'll see what Dean has to say about it. I sense BDL is crawling out on a weak limb. Hope he's got a safety net.


Those of you who subscribe to Brad De Long's distribution list will have gotten today's speculation on economic growth. Here's the nut graf, as they say in the journalism trade:

>So how much has material wealth grown in the past century?
>If you do need a single number, the Boskin Commission's number, that
>inflation has been overstated and real growth understated by between
>1 and 1.5 percent per year, is as good as any. Splitting the
>difference, applying it to the past century, and taking into account
>the decline in the number of hours worked per year all produce an
>estimate that American real GDP and real incomes per work hour have
>grown not sixfold but thirtyfold over the past century.

Brad, does that mean we're thirty times happier than our ancestors?


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