Christopher Thornberg, PhD


It’s Time To Relearn Objectivity In 2021

When I left the academic world to found Beacon Economics 15 years ago, it was partly in response to a gap in the quality of research I saw being performed on campus and off. While academics too often focus their efforts on arcane topics that seem out of touch with important public debates, those public debates are, in turn, too

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Prop 15 Analysis: Clarification

Beacon Economics takes great pride in both the quality and objectivity of its work and stands firmly behind the conclusions of its recent analysis of Proposition 15 ( The study looks at one portion of the overall debate on the Proposition, specifically, whether the passage of Prop 15 and the removal of Prop 13 protections on commercial real estate would

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The Job-pocalypse?

The April employment report was released this morning and the grim tidings it delivered, while anticipated, were still quite startling. The U.S. unemployment rate shot to 14.7%, over 11 percentage points higher than in February, even as the number of payroll jobs in the nation fell by over 20 million. Never has the United States experienced such a dramatic decline

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The Expansion is Dead, Long Live the Expansion

As Beacon Economics has written in our published outlooks over the past six weeks, a true understanding of what is currently happening in the economy is limited given the delay in receiving relevant data, as well as the total lack of recent historical examples illustrating how pandemics impact economies. As such, any prediction of how the COVID-19 crisis will affect

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A GDP Reality Check

The 4.1% growth rate in U.S. Gross Domestic Product in the 2nd quarter (announced today) was not a surprise to anyone looking at the monthly numbers. In fact, it came in a bit below the consensus prediction of 4.5%. But that won’t stop the accolades the current administration will be handing itself over the coming months. This number will surely

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We Have Nothing To Fear But the Fear of Inflation Itself

‘Inflation expectation disorder’ seems to have become a full pandemic lately. News story after news story is discussing accelerating price growth not as a possible new trend, but as a current reality. “Consumer Inflation Hits 6 Year High” read one headline after the June CPI release. Inflation expectations are also on the rise according to the New York branch of the Federal Reserve,

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Is California’s Economy Really All About the Bay Area?

This era of regular and ongoing political “whoppers” coming out of Washington DC, seems to have ushered in an increased willingness outside the beltway to declare pretty much anything, regardless of having evidence to support said claim, or even worse, saying it in the face of contrary evidence. Deeply misleading comments about the economy can be particularly dangerous in my

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California Growth and the Construction Paradox

It is often said that generals always fight the last war—and this applies to that still highly overused and abused political catch phrase “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Such rhetoric about creating new jobs continues to be attached to the rollout of almost any new government policy, regardless of the veracity or relevance of the claim. Times change, as do economic realities

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Stop Dissin’ the Housing Market—Set it Free!

Editors Note: This posting was originally published on the Opinion Page of the Los Angeles Daily News. High housing costs continue to be at the center of policy debates in Los Angeles—and across much of the state. This intensifying focus is warranted now more than ever given how the crisis has moved from simply eating up the disposable income of residents

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Economic Development: Is The Doctor In?

Here it is, 2018, and the Inland Empire is yet again an economy on the move. In fact, it is currently the fastest growing major economy in the state in terms of employment. The 3.2% annual job growth rate as of December is higher than San Francisco (2%), San Jose (1.7%), and Orange County (.8%). Yet despite all this growth,

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