From Faster Than 20


wikipedia:Poverty in the United States offers a good overview of how we measure poverty in the U.S. The Census Bureau tracks two measures: the official measure (developed in the early 1960s when Lyndon B. Johnson declared War on Poverty) and the Supplemental Poverty Measure.

Sites with clean interfaces that track various stats:

Rural flight

Middle-Class Jobs

Truck Driving


Ronald Coase's 1937 paper, "The Nature of the Firm," found that companies were more efficient than trading bilaterally through contracts. Yochai Benkler's 2002 paper, "Coase's Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm," suggested that — like transaction costs — information opportunity costs explained the seemingly paradoxical efficiencies of commons-based peer production (e.g. Wikipedia, open source software).

John Hagel and John Seely Brown have suggested that the efficiencies of scale in the early to mid-20th century were about rote and rigid production, which could easily be automated away by technology. At the same time, digital technology has placed a premium on scaling our ability to learn together, which suggests an opportunity to discover new efficiencies that are not so easily automatable.


N. Gregory Mankiw on the surprising truths about trade deficits.


The Big Mac Index. Started as a joke by The Economistin 1986, it's become a useful way to test whether exchange rates are at the "right" level. They publish their data on Github.


Immigrants contribute an outsized portion of innovation in the U.S.[1]

  • Since 1901, 33% of U.S. Nobel Laureates have been immigrants
  • In 2014, 40% of doctoral degrees awarded to non-citizens
  • More than a quarter of U.S. entrepreneurs were born overseas. The number has been rising steadily since 1995.
  • William Kerr estimates that immigrants accounted for 29% of patents in 2017, up from 9% in 1975
  • Native-born residents display more creativity where many immigrants work in innovation

See Also


  1. John A. Griffin. "The Innovation Engine." Harvard Magazine. January-February 2019.