Adam Millsap on Regional Business Cycles, State Fiscal Health, and Labor Mobility

Regional business cycles make one-size-fits-all monetary policy difficult to implement, and this causes many economic issues at the state level.

Adam Millsap is an assistant director at the L. Charles Hilton Center at Florida State University and a senior affiliated scholar at the Mercatus Center. Adam joins Macro Musings to discuss how different regional economies can lead to business cycles at the regional and state levels, rather than the federal level. This creates difficulty for monetary policy at the federal level as looser monetary policy may be appropriate for states like West Virginia, but may not be appropriate for states like California. He and David also discuss the decline of inter-state labor mobility and how bad regulation deters people from moving to areas with better job prospects.

Read the full episode transcript:

Note: While transcripts are lightly edited, they are not rigorously proofed for accuracy. If you notice an error, please reach out to [email protected].

David Beckworth: Adam, welcome to the show.

Adam Millsap: Thanks for having me, David.

Beckworth: Oh, it's great to have you on. I've had lots of conversations with Adam, when he was at Mercatus kind of the water cooler conversations where ideas are germinated and great things happen. And so it's been great to get you on here and we can maybe continue some of those conversations we've had. I want to begin as I do with all my guests and ask how did you get into economics?

Millsap: Oh, that's a great question. I majored in economics as an undergrad, but I had no intention of pursuing it for graduate school and I think that I actually wanted to be an archeologist. And by archeologist I really mean I wanted to be a treasure hunter, I wanted to be Indiana Jones.

Beckworth: Indiana Jones I see.

Millsap: And then I realized that that wasn't a very good, viable career path in the long run. And so I went and worked for JP Morgan Chase in Columbus, Ohio. Just as an analyst up there doing consumer fraud and things like that. Read a lot of stuff, read about economics commentary from people like Cato and Brookings and things like that. And I'm like, "Well, it seems like a really cool thing. I'd love to do that." So I saw that most of them had PhDs in economics, so I decided that's what I needed to go do. Went and did that at Clemson University and then took a job at Mercatus Center, so was doing exactly what I wanted to do and now I'm done here at Four State.

Beckworth: So very interesting from archeology to economic. That's quite a journey.

Millsap: Maybe someday I can go back and do some like archeological studies like with economics, though and things so we'll see. The economies of ancient civilizations.

Beckworth: Well, you mentioned that but we've actually had a podcast episode on the Macroeconomics of Ancient Rome. So our guests then was Mark Koyama, a colleague of mine here at George Mason University. And one of the things they're doing is they're going through archeological evidence to kind of cooperate what we think we know about ancient Roman economy. So don't give up hope your dream is still… but first off, we've got to settle the problems in front of us, that's the US economy. And we want to begin at the regional level. And again, this is Macro Musings, but a lot of what is macro is also made up of the small parts, the regional economies. And I want to begin by talking about regional business cycles. So do we have regional business cycles or are we really fortunate to have this one national business cycle?

Regional vs. National Business Cycles

Millsap: I definitely think we have regional business cycles, this is something you and I have discussed before and I think when you look at what's happening in Alaska right now, I think it actually is in a recession. We look at GDP growth and stuff like that it's actually shrinking. And none of the other states are doing anything West Virginia is on the edge. And when you dive even deeper, getting to more the local level, there's been several studies that look at metropolitan areas and what their business cycles look at and you see a lot of variation you at the MSA level. One recent study that I came across it wrote about in a Forbes column was about how Oklahoma City has not had a recession since 1990. They even miss the Great Recession it effected 49 out of the 50 MSAs that they looked at Oklahoma City not being one of them. So it's pretty amazing when you see the kind of regional variation that exists out there.

Beckworth: Yeah, and if you go back historically there's been definitely episodes of regional business cycles. So you mention Oklahoma, the oil belt around Texas got hit I believe in the '80s when oil prices went down also in the '90s in Northeast there's Regional Housing Boom-Bust cycle. So there are these historical episodes where regional economies do great, they collapse. And so we don't have just a uniform business cycle across the US.

Millsap: No, I think that is probably not true. Yeah, even and one other thing for that one study too even within a state, so in Ohio in like the '90s, during the 1990 recession after the Savings and Loan bust, Cleveland had a recession but Cincinnati and Columbus did not. Again, that didn't … so even within states that are fairly close, and maybe even share some similar labor markets and things like that, can avoid recession where other cities go through them.

Beckworth: Yeah, it's interesting to go look at these indicators. So preparing for the show I went to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, they have a State Coincident index. And you can actually look at state by state, it's kind of like their real time GDP measure and yes, they have Alaskan contraction. They also have Massachusetts and Connecticut and Vermont. So something's happening up there that's slowing down and unemployment rates are picking up in Alaska and also in Massachusetts. So it's interesting to see this and to know that it actually happens. And this plays into, I guess, stepping back to the macro picture, what macroeconomic policy should be, what the Feds should be doing, fiscal policy if you want to go that path as well. Now, you were at Mercatus and you were part of a project that ties into this, and this was the state fiscal rankings. So tell us about that and what do we learn about the different states?

State Fiscal Rankings and Their Implications

Millsap: Yeah, so the fiscal rankings we took a lot of information from the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report that it is audited financial statements that the states have to release every year. And so we can get a uniform way of reporting data that then we can compare across the states. So we do various measures, service level solvency, which is a measure of like fiscal slack, how much room the state has to raise taxes, whether they run a deficit or a surplus in a given year, how much cash they have on hand, then on their pension liabilities, and then long run liabilities and stuff like that. So we look at all these different metrics. And then we kind of rank the states. But really what matters is the underlying data and you see a lot of variation.

Millsap: Unsurprisingly, states that you hear about in the news, having bad pension systems; Illinois, New Jersey, they tend to rank very poorly. Illinois was about 49, New Jersey was 50th. On the top end the good end, you have Florida was number one this year, the Dakotas were there, Utah and Wyoming. So some of the smaller, less populated western states tend to have relatively good fiscal situations. But you do see a lot of variation the same you see a lot of economic variation, how well our economy is doing? We talked about Alaska being in a recession and stuff like that. You see a lot of variation at the fiscal level as well, the finance level.

Beckworth: So which one does the causality run? Maybe it goes both ways here but if your state has been hit with a recession, you think of the national level. If an economy goes into recession, they tend to run budget deficits. There's automatic stabilizers that kick in. At the state levels it's the same story or is it more of a structural trend like Illinois, they've been a problem for a long time, they've had issues going back decades.

Millsap: Yeah, I think there's something to be said about their smoothing out there is some automatic stabilizers and I do see states running deficits more during recession and things like that. A lot of states have balanced budget amendments, which is different than what you see at the federal level. But there are ways of getting around that and if they do run a deficit they tend to borrow money from their rainy day fund, or something like that to fill in the gap. Or take out debt, sometimes we'll take out debt too depending on what the rules are at the constitutional level for the different states. But Illinois, like you said they just have all kinds of fiscal issues, and it's starting to affect their economy. And this goes into which way does it work? Is it because their economy is going down they're having fiscal issues?

Millsap: I would argue for Illinois, almost seemed to be the other way around. Because Illinois is not known as having like a particularly weak economy. It has one of America's only global cities, Chicago. They have a huge urban area, which generates a lot of growth, a lot of economic output, innovation and things like that, which other states certainly don't have and yet it is in one of the worst fiscal financial situation of all the states and New Jersey the same way, being in proximity to Philadelphia, New York, again, big urban areas that are producing a lot of output, a lot of innovation and a lot of creative destruction. And yet still, you see that New Jersey fiscal situation is terrible. So yeah, it's not obvious to me that bad economies lead to bad fiscal situations.

Beckworth: So oftentimes, it's more the other way around?

Millsap: I think there could be an argument for that.

Beckworth: Yeah. And some of this is just bad policymaking. Some of this I imagine is demographics as well. Some of these pensions probably are underfunded because of baby boom generations coming.

Millsap: Yeah, I think a lot of it's that, the demographics. And the demographics don't look any better going forward when you look at the net migration numbers. Illinois is losing people, it has lost people the last three years on net, New Jersey is losing people. So when you think about what are they going to do going forward? How are they going to correct these fiscal situation that they find themselves in? Who are they going to tax? Where is this money going to come from? When you have businesses and people leaving it becomes hard to close those gaps. You got to raise taxes even more on the people that are left behind, which again, just creates further out-migration. So they're kind of like stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. I know it's not clear to me what a state like Illinois does to get out of this mess.

Beckworth: It'd be interesting to do kind of a natural experiment type study, where you look at people living right on the state line of Illinois, New Jersey. And the more they become aware of the state's fiscal problems, do they move across the state line, just to avoid any kind of future tax liability that might be incurred upon them to help pay for the mess?

Millsap: Yeah, absolutely. You think they would? Right. I mean, it's right there, they can lower their future tax liability by thousands of dollars just by moving a couple of miles and even just think about Chicago just moving up north to Wisconsin, just crossing over to the Wisconsin border and now you again, you've cut your tax liability by an immense amount going forward. So yeah, it'll be interesting to see how ... and Chicago itself, the city is losing people is losing. It's been losing people for the last like 20 years. So they've been going out to the suburbs and stuff like that. But again, a lot of those suburbs spill over into Indiana and Wisconsin.

Beckworth: Well, let me get back to that, but something that you bring to mind is I had a former colleague named Gemma Sage, he's an econometrician and he was in the regional economics area. And one of the things that he used a lot of with spatial econometrics. So is that something is still big in that field, is it what you have to do in this field is to do spatial econometrics?

Spatial Economics

Millsap: Is definitely a bigger thing. A lot of the studies that I read now in the various regional science papers and regional science journal, journal on urban economics, there's a lot of that spatial kind of stuff. So when you're trying to control where these kind of general equilibrium effects like where do people move and how does one city's economic policies how does that spill over into another city or another MSAs economy? How does this spill over into a neighboring one? So yeah, I would say the spatial stuff is a big part of this kind of regional econometrics.

Beckworth: Jim told me he thought that most studies that use standard kind of metric methods are biased. The coefficients are all biased because they haven't accounted for the spatial spill-over effects. And he gave this example a real simple example, but if you got a class full of students that you've taught, and they're taking an exam, and you were to plot say, the number of hours they study, and against the score on their test, there might be some kind of positive relationship and that relation, that coefficient there, I think it's too technical but that beta term tells you the relationship between our studied and great performance.

Beckworth: Of course, you'd want control for IQ and other things but that kind of rough relationship. He would argue that's bias, that relationship because maybe the student who set between a two A students was cheating, maybe he's looking off of ... he put in hardly any time and he's picking off who's next to him, and therefore it's going to skew what that coefficient is. So he argues you've got to account for the spillover effects when you're doing regional economic analysis. So sound like really fascinating kind of metric area to get into?

Millsap: Yeah, I think it is. And I think there's something to be said for that. I think that's probably true, I think you'd definitely have to when you look at the studies have to take them to on sight push back and this doesn't just discredit their spatial, but I think is important and so the big breakthrough in urban stuff. You know, there's also like, how do you weight? What are the different weights? So this always comes into like, how far should you have to go? Where do we think the effects end? And where do we think they start?

Millsap: You need to go like all the MSAs within like a 300 mile radius or 150 mile radius, 50 mile radius, and you try to like ... Obviously, we think that the effects decrease the further and further you go out, but those weights are somewhat subjective and things like that too. But again, that's not to say that you shouldn't do any of it. But it is just to say that it's not clear that we can always get it 100% right, either. But I definitely think it's an improvement.

Beckworth: Adam, why don't you define what MSA is to our listeners?

Millsap: Yeah, MSA stands from Metropolitan Statistical Area and so that's how economists define a local economy. So it's usually a group of counties that share a common labor market. So usually includes one big central city, so if you think about like the Chicago MSA will include Chicago, then it include all the adjacent counties. Where people migrate to and from Chicago and other similar nearby cities in order to work. So it's a common labor market.

Beckworth: Okay. Yeah, it's just fascinating because I do a lot of time series work. And you think of an autoregressive term, right? Well, you have a spatial aggressive, a term that is ... so you have this kind of decay the farther away you go. So there's kind of a map in between time series and the spatial houses that it's easy for me to understand. One last story on spatial econometrics and I promise we'll move on but when I first got this job in this institution with this fellow Gemma Sage, I was working on a paper where I was looking at the Effect of Monetary Policy Shock on the State Level, there been a few papers that had done this and I was kind of going back and looking at it, and I showed him my results. He goes, "Oh, Beckworth those results are all biased. You got to account for the spillover effects. If you're looking at the effect of Federal Reserve shock has on Texas, there's both the direct effect but there's also the effect that shock has on Oklahoma that then feeds into Texas." So he made me go back and I did this, I finished my paper and it got published but in the paper I had to account for the spillover.

Beckworth: And speaking of the way it's basically he argued, he said, "Look, just take the average of the neighboring states, and that's probably good enough." And implicitly, I guess there's some kind of special process within those states because they're also influenced by neighboring states. So anyway, interesting stuff for those who like econometrics. Well, let's get back to our discussion here. We're talking about state business cycles, there's definitely regional variation among them. And that has a bearing on macroeconomic policies, how to respond, it has a bearing on a lot of things. I think one of the hot topics now, literature is business dynamism that the decline of it in the US and we see it in many different forms. We see it in the business startups. We see it in concentration, but we also see it in interstate mobility and the lack of migration across states.

Beckworth: I had a previous guest on a David Schleicher, I think we've talked about that in the podcast, because you listen to it as well. And he has a paper called *Stuck! The Law and Economics of Residential Stability.* And he goes in and kind of looks at all the other literature and shows how America's internal labor markets has become more sticky since the '80s. Migration has gone down and I think you have some pushback against our discussion we had in that. So I just want to briefly summarize, now you agree with some of it but I know some of it you want to pushback against, is that right?

The Debate Surrounding Interstate Migration

Millsap: Well, I mean, I definitely agree that we've had less migration, so I don't know which part you're exactly referring to. I wouldn't pushback against it too much, I guess I would pushback a little bit on whether I think that if we decrease the price of housing in like cities, we'd see this big influx of people. I think there's some people that live in rural areas because they just really like the lifestyle that's associated with rural areas. So, when you look at the numbers 80% of the population a little bit more is already in an urbanized area. So and that includes small towns, so it's not a perfect number and only 20% live within what Census Bureau refers to as a rural area. It's not clear to me that that 20% hold out is anxious, is only going, "Man, if San Francisco housing was just a little cheaper, I would be there." I don't think they're like on that kind of margin.

Millsap: And so I just wonder ... I think cheaper housing and some of the stuff that Schleicher talks about when expanding building in places like San Francisco and the most thriving economies, New York City, Washington DC, and places like that. That would definitely help people move between cities, from less productive cities to more productive cities. So Sacramento to San Francisco, Baltimore to DC, or something like that. Albany to New York City or Syracuse to New York City. I think there'd be that kind of movement, which I think would be important. Are you going to get the person who's living up in mountain somewhere in rural West Virginia to say, "Well, hey, the price of housing in DC dropped 20%. That's what I've been waiting for, here I go." I just don't think that kind of person is going to go.

Beckworth: The numbers you're throwing around too, suggest even if they didn't want to go, it's 20%.

Millsap: I'm just throwing out a number.

Beckworth: Okay, but-

Millsap: And that's a pretty big drop if you think about it, why is the housing in San Francisco dropping by 20%?

Beckworth: Well, I meant I'm sorry the 20% that lives in the rural area. Now, I guess David I was standing for the other day, David Schleicher, I'm sure he would say, "Well, yeah, but maybe the big part of the story isn't those 20%, not all the story is those 20% who live out in the country. It's a large chunk of the 80% are stuck in Dayton, Ohio. They're stuck in Baltimore, and they would love to go down to DC, they would love to move over to San Francisco."

Millsap: Yeah, and I think that's probably true. I think you'd see a lot of shifting between cities, between metropolitan areas that would still benefit the macroeconomy as a whole with contributing to economic growth, getting people out of some of the less productive cities and moving them into more productive places. Flint, Michigan, why are there people? I mean, I understand people were born in Flint, Michigan, they probably like it there but a lot of non financial reasons for staying in Flint, Michigan. Because if you're thinking about building a life for yourself and getting a job and being a robust labor market, why won't you leave Flint and head down to place like Columbus, Ohio, which is like booming right now or Indianapolis, Indiana, or something? So I think that kind of movement is really important and I wish there was more of it out there.

Beckworth: Yeah. So just to recap some of the points that we made on this previous podcast with David Schleicher and it's what we're alluding to so our listeners are clear. The data indicates interstate migration has fallen since the 1980s. It's also come up in my discussion of Tyler Cowen in his book, The Complacent Class. Also even though that number has gone down if you look at specific groups, so those that are hit the hardest by certain shocks, the people who should be moving, it's not just that there's an interstate migration decline. Is that certain types of individuals those lower socio economic, and maybe they don't want to get them. There's some part of them that's happy where they are even if they're worse off. But a good example this would be the David Autor study and his colleagues on China's shock.

Beckworth: And we've discussed this several times in the show, but the headline binding is that, hey, this China shock lasted much longer, much bigger than we thought initially. So free trade is costly. There all these transition costs. The kind of the deeper insight is that these people didn't pack up and move. Yeah. And if they're in the manufacturing belt, the rust belt, I mean it's in urban areas they should be the folks picking up and moving down to Texas to California wherever the jobs are and they're not doing it.

Millsap: Yeah, I think you're absolutely right. And you do see that and there was another study other than the Autor study that also found that people aren't moving. I actually found this in the Journal of Urban economics, they actually found that when there's a local downturn, it's actually job creation within the place with the downturn occurred that actually brings the area out of recession, but that it can take rather than people moving out and going to other areas. It's actually job creation that happens internally, but it can take 20 years and you're talking a generation. It can take a generation for a local area to recover, but people don't leave. They just hang around and kind of wait for the jobs to come back.

Millsap: So yeah, it doesn't make any ... Why are these people doing this? What's going on? I know Schleicher had a lot of reasons the fact that maybe government benefits aren't transferable across states, it's very hard to take unemployment insurance from one state to another, if you want to move to an area that has a better job. Some states let you do it, but it's still a cumbersome process, even just going through the paperwork.

Millsap: Occupational licensing, I was doing something I was a hair braider or doing a stylist or interior decorator in one state. The economy takes a downturn, I'd love to move across state lines, but now I got to get a whole another license. Spend money again all that time. So I think there's a lot of reasons why people are staying in place, policy reasons that could be changed to help facilitate some more this interstate migration. But yeah, it definitely does seem like people are just kind of hanging out waiting for things to get better.

Beckworth: Now are the bad policies that you mentioned? You gave some examples there? Occupational licensing, maybe land use regulation, things like that. Are most of the policies that are contributing to this decline in migration, are they done at the state and local level? Are there any serious ones that we can think of at the federal level?

Millsap: I think most of them the ones, the big ones that I see where there's some agreement seem to be state and local type. So occupational licensing is a state thing for the most part, some local, some localities do some kind of licensing and stuff, land use regulations are completely controlled by local governments and there's a lot of pushback on that. One of our Mercatus Center colleagues, Emily Hamilton has spent a lot of time writing about this and other people as well talking about whether states should start preempting local governments when it comes to land use regulations and saying and David Schleicher talked about this too saying, "Hey, you know, if you're not allowing enough building we're going to step in and kind of you know, force it."

Millsap: Some of the solutions are pretty creative stuff like waiving the mortgage interest deduction by zip code if we're not allowing enough building. So one of the reasons William Fischel who does a lot of Zoning Studies at Dartmouth, he argues that zoning is primarily a bottom up thing, local demand is what causes zoning to occur because people are worried about how more congestion is going to impact their quality of life and stuff like that. And they want to protect the house as their biggest asset. So in order to incentivize them to allow more building we say, "Okay, well meanwhile, and that big mortgage that you have in San Francisco that you're trying to protect that big asset. Well, if you live in this zip code, you're no longer going to get the mortgage interest deduction if you don't start allowing more building."

Millsap: So kind of a financial incentive to then they say, "Well, I guess I can't protect it as much as I want, because I'm not getting the same benefits anymore. So now I'll allow a little more building." And that would be a federal policy, though, that would have to be stepping in and to waive that deduction by zip code or something like that. And I think that's a pretty creative solution actually I like that one I don't know how possible it is to actually get it through because again, homeowners are pretty big constituency and a powerful special interests. So it's not clear to me what politician would be willing to do that, but I think it's a pretty interesting idea.

Beckworth: No, it is but like you said that all of us, so many of us are homeowners and when it gets personal we want to pushback against. I like that industry deduction. Now, you've done some work on a city, Dayton, which would be one of these cities that suffered this decline, long term decline? And kind of a case study let's look closely at what's going. So tell us about this paper, what have you learned? How has it shed light on the discussion we're having right now?

The Dayton Case Study and Its Implications

Millsap: Yeah, so I'm from Dayton, Ohio, right outside Dayton, Ohio. And so it's always been very interesting to me that area, especially because it's like the quintessential Rust Belt manufacturing city. So started out with a big GM town. Actually, this is like a cool little story. When the Ford Mustang was coming out in the '60s, Lee Iacocca, who was the CEO of Ford, was trying to figure out what the demand was going to be for the car. And so he thought Dayton would be a great test town because he knew how much of a GM town it was. So he was told the Ford dealers in Dayton that he would send them as many Mustangs as they needed. And he was going to use that as a way to gauge demand because he's like, "Well, if I could sell Mustangs in Dayton, Ohio, I know I can extrapolate this out to the rest of the country." And so that was kind of his case study and so he ended up selling a bunch of Mustangs in Dayton, Ohio and that's how we knew it was going to be a hit.

Beckworth: They were a hit. Yeah.

Millsap: So yeah and sure enough, it was. So yeah, Dayton was a really big GM town for a long time and then when the manufacturing started declining in the late 20th century, when the car companies started dealing with overseas competition in the '70s and '80s. A lot of these plants started shutting down and out finds itself as this kind of, like I said, the archetype of the declining Rust Belt city and the opioid problem and things like that. So and just from studying this, the more I study cities the more you're looking for that like, "Oh, here's the smoking gun. Here's the cause. Now this is the only thing we needed you to fix it. And then these cities can start thriving again."

Millsap: The more you realize that there isn't really a smoking gun, and that it's not clear what policies can really save, if that's even an appropriate term. What places can really help Dayton again in order to grow and become this like thriving city that it once was back in the 1930s and '40s and '50s. So yeah, I think that's probably the biggest thing I've learned is just that if Mayor brought me in and asked me what I could do to help save their city, I'm not sure I can give him very good advice sometimes.

Beckworth: Well, that is a good example of this. I guess the question I have and there's been some research done that has looked at this question, but if we really wanted to get growth growing, get robust economic growth. One of the arguments is to find a way to move people to those productive cities. So do you buy that I guess this at it's very basic level that if we could get more people to move to San Francisco, more people to move to Boston, DC areas that are thriving. I mentioned Indianapolis other places would we see an increase in GDP?

Millsap: Yeah, absolutely. And I think this goes back to the same looking at Dayton and what I found is like why did Dayton ... Dayton collapsed for a reason, there's legitimate economic reasons for Dayton not being a big thriving city anymore. It was a big distribution hub because where it was located at the time. So you look back in like the early 20th century, it was like the center of manufacturing almost like geographically, the markets it was near, the consumers that were nearby, Pittsburgh was doing well, Buffalo was doing well, all those goods were being shipped out of Dayton, that's where was the big manufacturing place.

Millsap: Now the population moved south and moved to the west. So Dayton as a distribution center doesn't make much sense anymore and needing to be on water and stuff like that. That was also a big issue for a lot of these manufacturing cities. Now, they were located near water, located on railroad lines. Again, neither one of those things are very important anymore for manufacturing and for shipping goods we use trucks in the highways and stuff like that.

Millsap: So I think there's strong economic reasons for just believing that trying to bring Dayton back to what it was in the 1950s just doesn't really make any sense. Now, again, we would like to see maybe stabilize and quit losing population, maybe quit having some of the other socio economic issues that it's having. But I think ultimately the solution is get some of these people that aren't doing well in some of these cities and try to get them in better areas where there's more opportunity, and you can contribute to the macroeconomic growth in a bigger way.

Beckworth: Yeah, so another point that David Schleicher makes in this paper that we talked about, is the places where there are the booms, places where we do want to move these people, people from Dayton for example, to places like Silicon Valley, San Francisco, New York, they're boom towns, they're growing rapidly, but their population is not growing rapidly. So they're growing much faster than the population, so I guess another basic question is-

Millsap: Like their GDP is growing faster than population?

Beckworth: Yeah, GDP is the boom towns aren't also population boom towns it. They're just purely economic and so what are they doing I guess? Let's make this very concrete for our listeners, why aren't their populations growing given that their economies are growing?

Millsap: I think a lot of is just a restriction on housing. I mean, you look at how expensive housing is, in a place like San Francisco now with the median home value over a million dollars, people just can't buy into the market. Look here in DC, I talked to people that we know we work with at Mercatus, they're talking about when they bought their home 15 or 20 years ago, got a pretty good deal maybe 300 $350,000. Now their home is worth $800-900,000, the average person can't just come into Arlington and say, "I'm going to have a family and all this kind of stuff." Because the housing is just too expensive and Arlington is actually one of the better places around DC, it's kind of stabilized recently. So like rents in DC have kind of stabilized and even in San Francisco now they're starting to come down a little bit it was my understanding as I do some more building and stuff.

Millsap: So it's never going to get really cheap we're always talking when you think about a supply and demand graph, right? So even a supply shifts out into the right, the demands shifting out as well. So you kind of got these simultaneously shifts that are like constantly occurring which kind of leads to like a flat price. So I don't see San Francisco ever becoming this place where you can go buy a house for 250 grand, that's just not going to happen. But maybe you can get it down to $400- 500,000, which would help some people so I think really, the price of housing and stuff is really the big and the congestion costs too.

Millsap: When you talk about the traffic in those kind of areas. I think that's a problem as well, they've never really figured out exactly how to nail down the right balance between public infrastructure and public transportation versus like roads and things like that. So I know that's a big issue out there as well. So I think those two things congestion costs and the price of housing and stuff are just preventing a lot of people from wanting to make that leap from a place that's yeah, maybe not as financially well off in a place like Dayton, Ohio, but they're also not as stressed out potentially with dealing with the traffic and dealing with the expenses and things like that. I don't know so Dayton has a little bit of that going on too.

Beckworth: So maybe the Hyperloop will solve these problems?

Millsap: Maybe the Hyperloop and you also have to think about not going out to San Francisco either. I think sometimes we highlight those, San Francisco and DC and New York City. Rather I mentioned before a place like Columbus, Ohio is doing really well right now and it's much, much cheaper than a place like San Francisco. Indianapolis is growing the city, the MSA, there's jobs there. So there's a lot of Midwestern areas that are doing fairly well, Minneapolis, you don't need to go and completely like change your lifestyle and move from a place like Dayton out to San Francisco, you can go from Dayton to Columbus, even down to Cincinnati that MSA is doing pretty well too Louisville. There's other better areas that are nearby so I don't think we need to think about everyone rushing out to Silicon Valley.

Beckworth: Houston is often given as an example of a city where people are migrating to because they don't have all the land use regulations is that right? They're just you build whatever you want to build-

Millsap: It's a little looser down there than in a lot of places.

Beckworth: Explore so is that ... that'd be kind of like anecdotal evidence that you would see more population growth if the land use regulations were less strict?

Millsap: Yeah, I think so. And also to say like Houston is great too, because there's just a lot of land out there. There isn't to be said it is somewhat congested on the east coast and on the west coast. We'd love to see them build taller, but they can't necessarily build out that much.

Beckworth: Like Houston, yeah.

Millsap: So you got to think about the land elasticity too and I think in Texas is just one of those areas where it's very easy to build out not only up but just easy to build out. And so those places are probably going to keep on growing and they'll always be cheaper and grow faster, probably than a place like California. But right now a lot of cities in California aren't even making an effort to let people in they just don't even seem interested.

Beckworth: That's a nice segue into another observation I got out of this discussion earlier and this one comes from reading Tyler Cowen book, The Complacent Class and if I could summarize it in just a few words, it would be that as a nation, we're becoming more risk averse. And everything we do from raising our kids to how we live to where we move to what we do for work. And I think you can take this and maybe shed some light and if this is the case, it's a little bit maybe depressing for the outlook but San Francisco is not my backyard the NIMBYism. It's a risk averse reaction you don't want the riffraff coming into your neighborhood, you want your neighborhood to look the same, be nice, be clean sterile, but maybe it helps you individually but collectively it has a social cost right? Where you take the person in Dayton, now the person in Dayton they need to move but man I like it here, my family is here. I'm not doing great but I'm not doing horrible.

Beckworth: They're being risk averse to and they're not willing to take that risk. They're not willing to be like the, “go west, young man.” They're not willing to take that leap of faith, be entrepreneurial, get out and go like Tyler mentioned a counterexample to this culture is what we see in China. It's just rapid, they build up, they move. There's lots of transition pain people suffer but man, they embrace change. They embrace risk taking. So I wonder, too, if there's to some extent this risk averse culture that may be an impediment to moving people both receiving them and to getting up and going in the first place?

Migration and Dynamism: The Risk Taking Story

Millsap: Yeah, I think that is and another thing I would say is, this is not that new, either. So you did see more migration and stuff but in my research on Dayton, and I was reading this old book and they had some surveys in there from the people of Dayton at the time, about how they felt this from the '50s. About how they felt about future growth and even in the 1950s, when Dayton was still growing, the people were pushing back. When they did the survey, less than 20% of the people thought that Dayton shouldn't grow any larger. So this is not a new phenomenon. This is something that people in cities have always been nervous about. Growth sounds great at the macro level and the abstract but you're never certain exactly how it's going to affect you. And so a lot of people get nervous about it when it comes down to actually like supporting it. So I don't think this is a new thing that we've just experienced over the last 20 years. Where all the sudden people in cities are worried about what's going to happen if they keep growing. So I think this is a very old thing. But I definitely think you're right, that there is some risk aversion there.

Millsap: I think it has to do with us becoming richer, I would argue that potentially safety and security are normal goods. And so as we get richer and richer, we start valuing stability and security and we just don't really care so much about risk and uncertainty and trying new things. So I think it's just part of the natural process of growing wealthy that we kind of just appreciate the status quo, and in some ways we pay for it. So if you're the person who's in Dayton, Ohio or Flint, Michigan and yeah, your incomes a little lower, but you're paying for that certainty. And I think when you have more income, you're more willing to pay for that kind of thing. So I think there's something to be said about that too, that a lot of people just would rather pay in lost wages or lower income for what they know and they're comfortable with doing that. It's not like it was during the Dust Bowl where there was almost no social safety net. And if you didn't get out, you might starve to death. No one in Dayton, Ohio is going to starve to death. And so I think that can be part of it as well.

Beckworth: All right, so we've got a generous enough social safety net, that combined with our risk aversion is leading to this kind of like a dynamism in the US economy?

Millsap: Yeah. I think that's probably a big part of it. I think Tyler kind of hints at that too in his book.

Beckworth: Very interesting. The thing is, we also see it like a movie, but we also see it just in parenting. I'm a parent, right. There's things that I don't like kids to do that I did growing up. My parents allowed me to do, I don't want to say I'm a helicopter parent, but I'm definitely more cautious in some areas. And I think previous generations where you hear stories about back in the day kids go out and they play all day just get back in time for supper right? Where now man, child's day is structured, parents know where they are. You check everyone who is with your kid and it's another manifestation of this kind of risk aversion, control that I think also evident in lack of dynamism in the economy.

Millsap: I agree with you and just kind of building on the same idea when you think about what it takes to move what you're giving up. All that social capital and stuff like that, so there's a good book written by a sociologist at Columbia, Off The Books, and it talks about the underground economy in this urban Chicago neighborhood. And one of the some of the stories he's telling about why don't people leave this neighborhood and move out to a place where there might be more opportunity and stuff like that. And one of the things that as he's talking to these people, one of the things they keep coming back and saying is that, well, yeah, I might get this better job in this other neighborhood for a little while and I move out there, but what if it goes wrong? What if I lose that job? I might not be able to come back.

Millsap: People might won't welcome me back with open arms. They'll be like, "Hey, look at you, you thought you were too good for us. You tried to escape, you tried to run off and go better your life. Oh, it didn't work out, don't come back here when things don't go well and try to re-assimilate back into this community. You left it." And I think there's some fear of that too when you think about these rural kind of small towns and stuff, too. When you think about places like Appalachian things like that. The sense that if you leave and you go off and try to better yourself, and things don't work out, you come back and it's like, "Oh, you were too big for your britches" Kind of mentality. And so I think people really think about that kind of stuff, when they're trying to make this decision about whether they should go off somewhere else what's going to happen if it doesn't work out? I'm not going to be welcomed back.

Beckworth: Yeah, very interesting.

Millsap: And I think it's a real fear.

Regional and State Differences in Monetary Policy

Beckworth: So with all this talk of lack of dynamism, lack of mobility in different regional business cycles and stuff, because as American economists have to bring up this point that I brought up before in a previous podcast. This implies at some level that we're incrementally moving away from being an optimal currency area that in the Federal Reserve applies a one size fits all monetary policy. We've taken it for granted, in fact, there's this paper it's a famous paper by Blanchard and Katz in 1992. It was a Brookings Paper where they showed great mobility and people did move between regions pretty rapidly. And I guess we're giving the update to that which is well it's declined, it's not quite as robust because they were looking at data from the 1950s to I think the late '80s.

Beckworth: And what we see is from the '80s to the present, this is declining. If that's true then it makes it more challenging for the Federal Reserve to apply a monetary policy in a way that makes sense for everyone. So you mentioned Alaska is in a recession right now. What's the Fed doing right now? It's raising the interest rates. So the folks in Alaska like what the heck are you doing Jenny? That one right?

Millsap: No. Absolutely.

Beckworth: Now the difference between someone in Alaska and someone in maybe Portugal or in Greece. Now, Mario Draghi has talked about maybe they need to wind things down, the QE needs to end at some point. They've signaled they might start tightening and people in Greece might be saying, "Hey, hi you know, wait a minute, we're still stuck down here with massive unemployment." Alaska, at least they get fiscal transfers, there's unemployment insurance, so we're thriving in DC some of our income taxes is going over to them. Also of course, I Alaska there's that oil state-

Millsap: They're the permanent find yeah so they get a big dispersion out of that every year $2000 or so.

Beckworth: Yeah. So they have that buffer that is one big difference but the other historically important buffer to the situation that Alaska now faces and that is the Feds raising rates when it should be lowering it for Alaska probably. The big buffer has historically been labor mobility. And fiscal transfers is a nice backup, but it's been labor mobility, so it's suffering. So, on the margin, I dare say we are slowly inching away from being an optimal currency area.

Millsap: I would agree with that, you look at the diversity of our economy you've got places like Alaska that rely a lot on oil revenues and timber and whatever land use, like resources up there natural resources and things like that commodities. And then you got a place like New York City, which is all financing and you got Silicon Valley, which is computers and technology. And then even in Texas, sometimes we got a big State like Texas, which have a lot of that kind of stuff. It's got Austin, the tech capital, then you got Houston, which is about the energy industry, you got some finance in Dallas, the feds there, and some other banks and everything. So there's so much geographic diversity when it comes to what these areas are doing and all of these industries that we talked about before with these different MSAs they don't all into recession at the same time.

Millsap: So, when Oklahoma City wasn't having a recession at all, and then you know, here they had the feds dropping rates and everything, there's a change that Oklahoma City overheats, right? What was inflation like? I don't have the numbers in front of me, maybe there was like, "What was going on in Oklahoma City while they are cutting rates and stuff like that." So, yeah, it's not clear to me that the Fed when they do monetary policy, they're really usually helping when the coast go into a recession, and that could have been some of the ideas of the political backlash we had in the recent election as well, right? No one's been helping the Fed hasn't been helping middle America when it comes to like their economic struggles. Because usually, the GDP declines in a place like Alaska or Kansas or North Dakota, aren't going to be large enough to have any effect on the country's numbers. But if California went into recession that alone might spur expansionary monetary policy.

Beckworth: It definitely would be noticed in the obvious bigger states. I'll plug the paper I did I think in 2010 Journal Macroeconomics, where I looked at the effect of monetary policy shocks in the state levels the one I was mentioning earlier. And what I found that there's a kind of a pattern that there were a set of states that tended to follow a National Cycle. And then there were two other regions that did not but they went in different directions. So the rust belt states so whenever the Fed would like tighten monetary policy, it would be appropriate for a core set of states. But it would be incredibly damaging on the rust belt. So the rust belt will be much more sensitive to monetary policy shocks. And then there is another set of states I just called them the energy belt, but Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, all these extractive states that get minerals out of the ground. They didn't tend to respond much at all to what the Fed was doing, they were less sensitive.

Beckworth: So it's interesting you mentioned Oklahoma, because it kind of matches up with that in my state level, my research, they were more resilient, they didn't respond as much, and there's everybody else in the middle. And then there's poor rust belt manufacturing states they get hammered. The flip side is of course, it's a linear model they also do better when the Fed eases but it speaks to this divergence that we're seeing across the US making it harder to do things like monetary policy, fiscal policy, even reforms at the national level terms of social safety net, housing policy, all these things get more complicated when you get these vast differences in regional economic activity.

Millsap: Yeah, absolutely. And it goes back to like talking about the labor migration and stuff. And when I guess when you see the different fiscal situations we talked about earlier with the states. So a lot of the states when they get into these kind of situations, think about like Illinois, if it went into a recession they didn't have the fiscal capacity to do any kind of smoothing at the state level. It almost has to rely on federal transfers and stuff like that because at the state level they don't have enough money to even do any fiscal smoothing and same with Alaska. Alaska, get some federal transfers and that's what they need, because the states themselves ... a lot of these states, when they go into a recession, they're kind of bound by how much they can actually do to smooth things.

Beckworth: Yeah, during the Great Recession, we had the federal fiscal stimulus and I wasn't a big champion of it but I was more fiscal monetary policy. But for those folks who were like I had Jason Furman on the show, they will point out that even though they had this federal fiscal stimulus at the state level, it was massive fiscal contracts.

Millsap: Yeah. And so the net effect-

Beckworth: Yeah, they would argue that maybe there wasn't much fiscal stimulus at all, because the federal level just maybe kept this going a little bit. But yeah, the local and state budgets were cut dramatically, because of the Great Recession, for obvious reasons, less income coming into them. Well, let's move onto another area that you've written about, let's tie into this, and this is the labor force participation rates. And I'm sure these also vary by region but let's kind of switch gears and talk about just labor force participation rates. It's been down, particularly for males and you've written about this before. So tell us what do you think is going on there? What about labor force participation rates? And you've also written about the opioid crisis so I imagine it's probably interact to some extent, so what light can you shed for us on the decline and male's labor force participation rates?

Labor Force Participation and the Male Decline

Millsap: Yeah. So there's been a long term decline, as many people pointed out now with the male labor force participation rate since like going back to even like the '40s and '50s and '60s, we started seeing a decline. There's been a long term decline, but it seems like after every recession it declines pretty quickly and then never quite gets back up. So it's kind of like this downward ratchet effect was led to a long overall decline. And in certain states, you see that's really bad so places like West Virginia and Mississippi right now, those are two states that I know of that are like one in five males are in the labor force, that are between the ages of 25 and 54. So working age meant 25-54 prime age men aren't in the labor force so neither looking for work or have a job and so you start wondering. What are these 20% of ... one in every five guys when you're walking through a state like West Virginia, what are they doing? It kind of just like blows the mind when you start thinking about how big of a number that is, like what are these people actually doing? And there's been various studies got Eric Hurst I believe from Chicago says a lot of them are playing video games in their parents basements and there's probably something to that. They're like living with their parents for extended periods of time and stuff.

Millsap: And then you see the opioid crisis and this is something that a lot of researchers have tied to with the despair that comes from joblessness. So people aren't working, they don't see any hopes for future work, maybe they enter into the Social Security Disability Insurance Program. Usually, once you enter into that program, you don't come out of it. It's people just kind of stay in it forever and so now you're in there, you start feeling down, you might actually have something wrong with you that gave you access to opioids in the first place. That's how you became addicted.

Millsap: So yeah, I think there's definitely a tie in a pretty strong tie in between this decline in labor force participation. And in this current opioid epidemic that we're seeing in a lot of places, including my hometown Dayton where it has like the worst rate of opioid overdose deaths in the entire country, according to some studies that I've seen. So yeah, it's pretty dire and I think coming up and trying to figure out what's going on implementing some pro labor policies is something important that that I think both state governments and the federal government really need to start thinking about.

Beckworth: Well this kind of goes back into what we were talking about earlier about mobility across states right. These one in five guys that you said a Mississippi is one of the states?

Millsap: Yeah. Mississippi and West Virginia the two.

Beckworth: I mean get up and move out of Mississippi, move across couple state lines you're in Texas, go somewhere where the economy is robust you don't need to stay put. But so they're staying put me they're playing video games. I had recently on the show, Betsy Stephenson and she had a Bloomberg post about these men are reluctant to take on some of the jobs that are available, because they're not masculine enough. There's a lot of the service sector growth job. David Otters other work job polarization, about high end jobs, low end jobs, not much in the middle that men used to do. And men are reluctant to take on because it's not very masculine.

Millsap: Absolutely. It's like the typical jobs you're talking about when you're talking about the manufacturing sector. You're talking about coal mining in West Virginia. You're about jobs that work with your hands, you're dirty at the end of the day, or you're sore. You know something you felt like you did something that kind of manual labor. That's very different than going to sitting in a call center somewhere and answering the phone. And they take very different skills. It's not obvious to me and this is just coming from my experience. I know a lot of these kind of people within my own family or people that I was raised up with and knew in Dayton, Ohio that did do those kind of jobs. And it's not clear to me that they can necessarily to slide in to being the phone operator or going to work in some other service sector occupation that relies on the soft skills, interacting with customers and stuff.

Millsap: Because that's not what they've done for 25 or 30 years. And those skills take time to develop like anything else. And when you neglect them they decay and erode and the skills that you've been building up the whole time that you've been working with, those are the ones that are enhanced. And so I think there is something to be said about this idea that these easy jobs they're not perfect substitutes for each other. And it's going to take some I don't want to say you have to encourage them and some retraining, something has to happen. Yeah generational change. Yeah they beat us like a lost generation here in some sense. Maybe you're talking about people between the ages of 45 and 54, that once they lose that manufacturing job, what do we do with them? What kind of other jobs can they take? And what other kinds of jobs are they willing to take? Or can we encourage them to take? Instead of "Hey, it's okay. And this is a fine job don't like feel bad about switching over to something new."

Beckworth: That's interesting that the image you just created for me least in my mind was let's take some guys a construction worker and the personal skills not important, probably uses colorful language, can be grumpy on the job. Doesn't matter as long as he gets his work done building things. And all of a sudden, he's put into a call center or he's doing sales. Some service job where people skills are number one, that's what you have and you've done 20, 30 years of no people skills, it would be hard. It wouldn't be just a question of letting your pride go, the equation of how do I act in this?

Millsap: How do I do it?

Beckworth: It's like a foreign land.

Millsap: Yeah, so I worked in a factory when I was in college, I did a GM factory actually putting together SUVs. And I just remember the kind of people I worked with on that line, there was no talking, it's loud in there. And the machinery is loud everyone had their own radio next to them kind of listened to their own music. You're almost in your complete own world for 10 hours a day building cars. And so you do that for 20, 25 years and now all of a sudden, someone says, "You should go work the front desk at a hotel." It's very strange those kind of skills just don't shift right over.

Beckworth: Right. And it's not easy, man. One of the challenges as economists we teach, we preach probably is more accurate, gain some trade, gain some trade, but these transition costs not always easy to retrain someone who go back ... and you mentioned service jobs that aren't so maybe promising, but even like retraining someone to go back and work on computers that might be hard to do at an older age.

Beckworth: Maybe it's not even a masculinity thing or necessarily a people skill thing. It's just the plasticity of their minds. How can they readily pick up and learn? So here's a question I have for you. If you don't mind me I may be a little bit personal here. You have friends at sound like that you knew in school, you work in the factory, but you made it in terms of the job polarization, you're on the high end you've been very fortunate. What makes you different than your friends who got stuck in Dayton and probably are part of this situation?

Millsap: Yeah, that's a good question. Because again when I look back on this, I kind of thought about this myself before it's not obvious where the differences lie. My family was always pretty pro education but I was also very self-motivated too. So I think a lot of it sometimes just like the kind of genetics you have, what you're into? What you want to do? Like I said, my parents encouraged me to go to school, I was expected that I would go to college.

Millsap: For some other friends that wasn't necessarily the expectation even when I was graduate from High School in Dayton, you could still get a job at GM. There were still some plants out there, wasn't nearly what it was in like the '80s or the early '90s. But this is in like the late '90s, early 2000s. It was still possible and I had some friends that went right from high school and went started working at GM making 15 bucks an hour. But hey, when you're 18, 19 years old, 15 bucks an hour you know rents is pretty cheap in a place like Dayton. You can have a decent, you got benefits and stuff like that.

Beckworth: You're not thinking long term?

Millsap: Yeah, you're not thinking a long term so a lot of people took those kind of jobs even then. Yeah, again I don't know what the magic thing is why some people don't and some people do. I think it would help if we encouraged people to just kind of goes into what's higher education look like? What other options are there out there for people who don't want to go to school, who that's not maybe ... they don't want to go to college? Maybe that's not the right path for them. Where can they go to like learn a particular skill and a lot of people who are kind of stepping up on that as a big thing Mike Rowe the Dirty Jobs guy he's says he's going around talking about people need to learn how to be plumbers and welders and you know, electricians and stuff like that.

Millsap: And there's probably going to be a lot of jobs for those kind of skills in the future I mean it's true. But I've also become very sympathetic to the people who say that we need a nice general education, we need to be able to learn, we need to learn how to learn, so that when the economy changes, if it does keep advancing that we're not stuck on some career path like, "Oh, I spent all my time learning how to be an electrician, but then someone came up with this great robot that can do house calls and fixed wires. Now, what do I do?"

Millsap: So that's probably a long ways away from the electrician and the plumber from the robots being able to do that. But I think there is something to be said about maybe encouraging some people to use the trades. I think that's important but I don't think it's the solution that everyone's painting it out to be. That there's no room for this kind of like general education, this ability to learn how to learn and learn how to do new things. I think that's very important as well and I think we need to think hard about what we can do to train kids to do that.

Beckworth: So we need to make people able to be flexible to be adaptable, because you never know what the next innovation. You mentioned plumbers and electricians but taxi drivers, they're already facing the gun from Uber from driverless car drivers-

Millsap: Truck driver too, soon

Beckworth: Yeah, I mean, that's a nice paying job and that's under threat as well.

Millsap: Yeah, for someone with high school education or something like that and want to be a truck driver can earn you a decent salary. And especially we get to the point where you own truck, you become a small entrepreneur, a small business owner. You can do pretty well for yourself but with the autonomous vehicles, how much longer is that can even be a viable career option? Now maybe in 15, 20 years this isn't an option anymore?

Beckworth: Yeah, so the key is to being adaptable, when I was teaching I'd tell my students I think that's a key thing is, you want to stay marketable, you want to stay adaptable, you want to stay in the latest skill set. You can never be complacent and I would say, look-

Millsap: Who were the complacent class though?

Beckworth: I know. But I would say look, even I, this applies to me, David Beckworth as your professor I was like, "You may come to class one day I'm gone and there's artificial intelligence instructor here teaching you economics and he might be more entertaining than me better looking than me, better teaching than me, better command of economics than me. I have to accept that possibility, I need to be adaptable too in case that point arrives."

Millsap: And this kind of goes back to I think one of the ways we start helping the future generations, this is not going to help anybody who's in their 40s or 50s, or lost their job. But I think one of the important things to do, especially for the high school kids out there is just to ... the teachers at all levels, whether it starts in elementary school this kind of constant reinforcement of this idea that you need to be flexible, you need to be adaptable, you need to be a lifelong learner that never ends. We need to start hammering that in to the children, the youth as we go on. Because, again, I think the economy is going to keep changing, we see how fast things change. We see how quickly jobs are destroyed, different jobs and new industries are created and that's always been the case. But we're a global economy now.

Millsap: The unions of the '60s and '70s, who could go a long way in protecting people's jobs, that just kind of world doesn't exist anymore. There was a short period of time after World War 2 when the rest of the world was decimated by war that America had a monopoly on manufacturing, a lot of pent-up demand from the war, unions and their companies could've try to split the rent, split the profits that were occurring, but that era is gone. They can't protect your job for 20 or 25 years like they could for that very short period of time. But for some reason we think of that short period of time from post-World War Two to like up to the 1980s as being the normal, but that was not the normal. That was like a 20 or 30 year period, that was an anomaly throughout history. So I think we need to go back to this idea that listen, you always have to be changing, you always have to be adapting, you always have to be looking out for different ways to earn $1, different ways to contribute productively to society.

Beckworth: Otherwise, you face the possibility of falling behind and becoming a Dayton.

Millsap: Yeah, and just becoming like somebody who gets stuck behind and then sometimes like you said Dayton you see for a whole city where they just lost that dynamism. They got somewhat complacent, relied on the manufacturing, relied on GM. Almost were a company town in some ways and then when GM went the city kind of went along with it.

Beckworth: Very fascinating. Our time is up, our guest today has been Adam Millsap. Adam, thank you so much for being on the show.

Millsap: Thanks for having me, David. I enjoyed it.

About Macro Musings

Hosted by Senior Research Fellow David Beckworth, the Macro Musings podcast pulls back the curtain on the important macroeconomic issues of the past, present, and future.