Luck, soft skills, and human capital

Source: Flikr Creative Commons Imagine growing up in the 1960s with two college-educated parents, surrounded by other kids whose parents also went to college and whose family incomes were above the national average. That was me: I grew up in Deephaven, Minnesota, in the 1960s and 1970s. I went to good schools and had excellent health care. I learned manners, patience, and a variety of … [Read more...]

Homeownership rates in historical perspective

Here is a Wall Street Journal headline from April 28: “The U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls Again, Nearing a 48-Year Low.”  “The homeownership rate fell slightly in the first quarter of 2016, dashing hopes that it had finally hit a bottom,” read the lead paragraph. This sounds pretty ominous. Let’s take a closer look; first, here are the data to which the article refers: Now, let's pull … [Read more...]

The transcontinental railroad, the Pill, and May 10

The transcontinental railroad.  The birth control pill.  Two technological innovations that we usually don’t think about together are linked by a day in history: May 10. The rails of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads met on May 10, 1869.  The news of this event appeared on p. 1 of the New York Times: The long-looked-for moment has arrived. The construction of the Pacific Railroad … [Read more...]