Keynesianism works in Australia

by John Quiggin on June 3, 2009

The economic crisis has, as we’ve been discussing, raised a lot of interest in Keynesian economics, but so far it’s been based more on the obvious bankruptcy of alternatives than on successful examples of Keynesian fiscal stimulus. Although there were some big financial bailouts late last year, few countries engaged in large-scale fiscal stimulus before the first few months of this year (Obama’s package was passed in February, and is only now being implemented, so we can’t expect to see evidence of impacts on GDP until late this year).

Australia went early and hard with a substantial cash handout to households in December 2008, followed by another round of cash stimulus delivered a month or two ago, and then a large-scale infrastructure program. The national accounts for the March quarter (which should include the effects of the first round of stimulus) have just come out, and show growth of 0.4 per cent, compared to a 0.6 per cent contraction in the December 2008 quarter[1]

On the face of it, this is a big success for Keynesian fiscal policy. And, there’s pretty general agreement that, despite some qualifications and plenty of concerns about the future, the prima facie interpretation is the correct one.

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Upcoming guest

by Eszter Hargittai on June 3, 2009

I just wanted to post a quick note about one of our upcoming guest bloggers so readers who’re not familiar with her work can read up on it. Michèle Lamont is most recently author of How Professors Think, a book that’s already inspired discussions here at CT. Other books of hers you may have come across (or if not then should check out) include The Dignity of Working Men and Money, Morals and Manners. Also, her co-edited volume (with Marcel Fournier) on Cultivating Differences: Symbolic Boundaries and the Making of Inequality is standard text on Sociology of Culture syllabi. And then there are her many articles. This is just a heads up.

Via Laura, I see this kitchen table math post on Richard Elmore’s paper on “high performing” schools. Elmore observes that so-called high performing schools in affluent communities that he works in often seem very similar to low-performing schools in low-income communities, and very unlike successful schools in low-income communities. Here’s Elmore on successful high-performing schools:

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Secret Origin of Klarion the Witch Boy?

by John Holbo on June 3, 2009

It’s no secret that I’m a Klarion the Witch Boy fan. Which is why I was so amazed to see this on Flickr today. Kirby’s Klarion dates from 1973. But here is a pilgrim “witch boy” as early as 1965! “Thrills of mystery, Unknown worlds, strange powers – beyond” indeed! This could change everything! I feel like those scientists who dug up the Ida fossil. (Because I’m much less ambitious, obviously.)

witchboy