About J. W. Mason

As of fall 2014, I am an assistant professor of economics at John Jay College, City University of New York. In 2013-2014, I taught economics at Roosevelt University in Chicago. I am also a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.

I'm a proud product of the University of Massachusetts economics department. (I finally got around to defending my dissertation in August of 2014.) My politics comes mostly from Marx. My economics comes mostly from Keynes.

For quite a few years, I was the policy guy for the New York Working Families Party. Needless to say, the WFP is in no way complicit in whatever I emit here.

I teach macroeconomics. This might give me more credibility than the next dude with a website. Or not, up to you.

I've also worked for In These Times (the magazine; my firing therefrom for printing stuff that was "too intellectually dense and too far out of the mainstream" was the subject of an Alexander Cockburn column), the AFL-CIO, the UAW, the New York City Independent Budget Office, and, back at the beginning of it all, for Doug Henwood at the Left Business Observer.

I live in Brooklyn. Where else?

I look, arguably, a bit like this:

OK, not exactly. Self-portraits are hard!

Email me at jwmasonnyc@gmail.com.


  1. Not bad. (the self-portrait that is).

  2. J. W., I believe we may have crossed paths at Nick Rowe's website once or twice. Either it had to do with 2x2 matices, or maybe you looked something up in a book for me once by Jurgen Niehas (?), about the definition of UoA, MoA, etc.

    I like this (from the above):

    "I teach macroeconomics. This might give me more credibility than the next dude with a website. Or not, up to you."

    I say yes, it does. However, there is a "next dude with a website" that I'd like your opinion on, if you care to give it. Not about the dude himself, but his economic theory. He has a theory which at its core provides a definition for price (p) in terms of demand (D) and supply (S), and dD/dS and a divisor called kappa. kappa is slowly varying typically (for any one economy), and it in turn is dependent on log(M) and log(NGDP). M here is the currency component of the base (MB). The part about what kappa is is not a core concept, but more of an auxiliary hypothesis.

    The models that result from this theory are fairly simple mathematically. The theory naturally produces a model for the average price level in an economy (P) and one for NGDP as well. For example, the empirical data here in the left hand plots only required a single parameter per country. The cluster of blue theoretical curves in the right hand plots are intended to give a feel for the possible distribution described by the theory for a set of random economies.

    If you look carefully at the left hand plots, you can see the colored clusters of points labeled by country (and decades in some cases). Those countries near or past the knee of the curve on the right side of those plots have kappa close to 1, which means dP/dM is close to 0 (i.e. the QTM does not apply). Countries in the upward sloping linear parts on the left side of the plots have kappy = 1/2, where the theory states the QTM should apply. Just to emphasis again: only a single parameter needed per country.

    He also has a three parameter time series model of P which compares favorably with the Fed's P* model (which has more like 7 or 8 parameters).

    Just from the information I've given you, does such a model (and the associated theory) seem like it might be interesting?

    The theory doesn't use microfoundations (in the usual way anyway), or models of agents or expectations, but it is able to produce supply and demand curves, and regions in which the QTM applies and others where IS/LM does. The author was interested from the get go to see if his theory would reduce to well known economics theory results in special cases, and largely that has been the case. For example, I think he can reproduce the EMH, and his equations can be solved in a way in which hyperinflation results. There's more correspondence than I'm familiar with or could list briefly.

    I'm doing an experiment to see what might catch a real economist's eye... sometimes when I show someone his theory (it's definitely NOT my theory BTW) there's some interest, but I think his approach is so far outside the realm of what economist are used to, they look at it a bit, and say they don't understand, and that's as far as it goes. But believe me, I'm not all that bright or good at math, and I can understand the fundamentals of it (he uses an approach from outside the field of econ, but which has been used in many other unrelatred fields, sometimes with great success). Also, the theory is capable of being falsified, and the author is not interested in adding too many "epicycles" to patch it up: he would prefer to just abandon it if he finds a set of data that is too far outside what the model predicts.

    So let me know if any of that sounds interesting.



    1. Since I put the above up, he added Russia to the mix:


      The pink curve at the top in the lower left.

  3. What happened to "The call is coming from inside the house" entry from 7/31/2014? Did you remove it? It was terrific!

    1. I removed a number of posts where I thought the tone was too harsh and the content was too purely negative criticism. But since you ask, I'll put that one back.