Day: July 5, 2019

Alpine Madness: Austria Takes The Caretaker Convention to the Extreme

James Bowden's Blog

Chancellor Kurz addresses the Austrian National Council just before losing its confidence.


A series of strange events has recently befallen Austria. It began with political scandal and the collapse of the coalition government between Sebastian Kurz’s People’s Party and Heinz-Christian Strache’s Freedom Party and ended a few weeks later with the President of Austria appointing a “technocratic provisional government” composed of judges and civil servants, who will now steer the ship of state as a caretaker cabinet until early elections in September. The details of what precipitated the coalition government’s collapse would have seemed outlandish prior to, say, 2016, but now seem both depressingly believable and yet still absurd. The final outcome of the political scandal has taken the caretaker convention to its logical extreme because of the peculiarities of Austria’s constitution and its provisions surrounding non-confidence, early dissolution, and government formation.

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Related Reading: “The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy” by David Nasaw

My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

by David Nasaw
Published: November 2012

David Nasaw’s “The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy” was published in 2012 and was a Pulitzer Prize nominee in 2013. Nasaw is an author and a professor of American history at City University of New York. Among his most widely-read books are biographies of William Randolph Hearst and Andrew Carnegie (a 2007 Pulitzer Prize nominee).

Nasaw began this authorized biography after Kennedy’s two youngest children (Jean and Edward) approached him to assess his interest in the project. Once he was assured unrestricted access to Kennedy’s papers and complete editorial control he spent six years researching his subject’s life – documenting his personal and professional lives and investigating a variety of alleged misdeeds.

It is unusual for a biography to captivate me with increasing intensity as…

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A new BIS paper that undermines the Reserve Bank’s case

croaking cassandra

At the end of my long post yesterday on the Reserve Bank’s latest efforts to spin the Governor’s plans to increase very markedly minimum capital ratios for locally-incorporated banks, I noted

PS.  As Martien Lubberink at Victoria has pointed out there is another international agency paper out just recently that really doesn’t help the Bank’s case much if at all. I might touch on that tomorrow.

His post is here (complete with the sly –  if obscure, presumably deliberately so, to readers –  dig at the Governor in the final paragraph).

The paper he was referring was recently published by the Bank for International Settlements as a Working Paper of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, with the title “The costs and benefits of bank capital – a review of the literature”.   The paper was released only a couple of weeks ago, and it should be studied carefully…

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Yikes! Two of My Favorite Economists Go Against Each Other

Upon Closer inspection

One of the classic academic studies of the effects of immigration on low-skilled Americans is that of David Card, concerning the Mariel Boatlift. Card found that the sudden Cuban influx had little or no adverse work impact on native African-Americans. Lately George Borjas, one of my favorite economists, has disputed Card’s findings, only to find my UC Davis colleague Giovanni Peri disagreeing. Needless to say, Borjas has been responding to Peri. And today I was taken aback to find that another of my favorite economists, Jennifer Hunt, also disagrees with Borjas.

I have been quite open in pointing out that Peri, while very sharp and by the way very personable, generally does not cite work by those taking views opposite his — a grievous academic transgression — and is prone to contradicting his own work, as I have explained before and is also seen in the first link…

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Scott Freeman on banks and deposit insurance