The University of Chicago macroeconomist Erik Hurst is spending his summer in London (thanks to The London School of Economics). He’s not on holiday, he’s been working, giving a series of talks at universities in the UK. He recently presented his paper “The Allocation of Talent and U.S. Economic Growth” at LSE. It details “large gains, in terms of GDP growth in the US, that occurred because of declining labor market barriers to women and African Americans during the last five decades.”
Hurst is also working on new research ideas this summer. One involves gathering unemployment data regarding young men with less than a four-year college degree. How do they spend their leisure time? Seventy-five percent lands in one category: video games. Hurst says: “These individuals are living with parents or relatives, and happiness surveys actually indicate that they quite content compared to their peers, making it hard to argue that some sort of constraint, like they are miserable because they can’t find a job, is causing them to play video games.” Hurst points out: "The obvious problem with this lifestyle occurs as they age and haven’t accumulated any skills or experience."
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