Do banks cause economic growth or are they a result of economic growth? The multitude of banking experiments in U.S. banking history make it a suitable laboratory to test conjectures about the relationship between growth and banking development. Matthew Jaremski and Peter Rousseau in "Banks, Free Banks, and U.S. Economic Growth" look at this relationship in the era prior to the Civil War, and they find that the free banking system had little effect on economic growth. Click here to read Chris Colvin's NEP-HIS review of this paper.
The Berkeley Earth Project , an independent study of global warming, has found that the earth has become a degree warmer over the past half century. However, the statistical uncertainty surrounding pre-1920 estimates makes it very hard to say much about long-term trends - click here for graph . This is one of my concerns with the global warming debate - we simply don't have trustworthy long-run data which looks at temperature changes over the last millennium (or two). My second concern with the global warming debate is that it is very hard to prove any sort of casual link between global warming and human activity. The scientists may be able to show correlation between global warming and our production of carbon dioxides etc., but correlation is not causation. My third concern with the debate is that those who are sceptical or agnostic are stereotyped as flat-earthers or intellectually-challenged crackpots. This only stifles debate and the progress of science itself.