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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Behind the 2014 Summer Movie Flops: It’s the Narrative, Stupid

With box-office revenue in the U.S. and Canada expected to come in at only $3.9 billion for the summer of 2014, or 15% lower than the year before, and no film hitting $300 million domestically,[1] the question is whether the dip could be explained by a cycle or some larger, irreversible trend. I contend that two factors push the answer past the typical response that most of the movie franchises would be out in force in the summer of 2015.

 The complete essay is at “Behind the 2014 Summer Movie Flops



[1] Andrew Hart, “Film Industry Has Worst Summer Since 1997,” The Huffington Post, August 29, 2014.

Budget Austerity in the E.U.: Turning the Russian Invasion of Ukraine into an Advantage

With economic growth in the E.U. flat-lining in mid-2014 after a modest recovery, pressure mounted to relax the federal "austerity" constraints on the state budgets. According to The New York Times at the time, "(p)olitical and financial instability related to Russia's confrontation with Ukraine and the effects of escalating economic sanctions between [the E.U.] and Russia have further clouded the economic outlook."[1] Mired in the austerity vs. fiscal stimulus dichotomy, E.U. leaders may have been missing an opportunity here.

The entire essay is at “Budget Austerity in the E.U.



[1] Liz Alderman and Alison Smale, "Divisions Grow as a Downturn Rocks Europe," August 29, 2014.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Should the ECB Buy State Bonds and Encourage State Deficits?

In remarks at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi urged greater fiscal and monetary coordination to boost the E.U.’s economy. A ship cannot move along at full speed if all the sails are not coordinated so that each is poised at its optimal angle to the prevailing winds. So too, various policies in a political economy must all sail in the same direction for a full-sail recovery to really take off. Just as a sailing ship must avoid jagged pitfalls lurking in rocky waters, so too must policy makers; for it is all too easy in focusing on one point on the horizon to ignore or dismiss baleful downsides to the dominant policies.