Paul Krugman on the Arc of Post-WWII Social Democracy in the North Altantic
Winston Churchill Liveblogs World War II: May 23, 1940:

links for 2010-05-22

  • MB&BM: "Some of the items that make up the Consumer Price Index change prices frequently, while others are slow to change. We explore whether these two sets of prices—sticky and flexible—provide insight on different aspects of the inflation process. We find that sticky prices appear to incorporate expectations about future inflation to a greater degree than prices that change on a frequent basis, while flexible prices respond more powerfully to economic conditions—economic slack. Importantly, our sticky-price measure seems to contain a component of inflation expectations, and that component may be useful when trying to gauge where inflation is heading."
  • JG: "Post-Google I/O, there’s not much room left to see iPhone-vs.-Android as anything other than an all-out war. What we’ve got here is a good old-fashioned epic rivalry. It’s exciting, vicious, fun to watch, and ultimately should prove to be excellent news for consumers. Competition drives innovation and innovation raises the bar for everyone. And the bar, for smartphones, is rising quickly. Like any great rivalry, there are striking differences between the two competitors. Apple and Google are jostling to shift the comparison between the two platforms to their very different strengths. Apple’s strengths: user experience, design, consistency. Google’s strengths: the cloud, variety, permissiveness."
  • ES: "[I]t is crucial for the country to recognize that there is one crime with a legal profile so singular that it can — even standing alone — convey the wholesale contempt for the rule of law displayed by the Bush administration. That crime is the act of torture. The absolute prohibition of torture in national and international law, as [legal philosopher] Jeremy Waldron argued… "epitomizes" the "spirit and genius of our law," the "prohibition draw[s] a line between law and savagery," it requires a "respect for human dignity" even when "law is at its most forceful and its subjects at their most vulnerable." The absolute rule against torture is foundational and minimal; it is the bedrock on which the whole structure of law is erected. (p. 133)"
  • PK: "I pointed out that... tort law to make people pay for the damage... doesn’t work in practice, because when push comes to shove politicians will shield the rich and powerful from paying the real cost. Commenters say, but isn’t that an equally strong reason to believe that regulation won’t work either?... [R]egulation demonstrably does work where tort law doesn’t. Consider the environmental issue: in reality, the perpetrators of oil spills never pay most of the cost; but in reality, environmental regulation has led to much cleaner air and water.... So why.... If polluters can buy off the system ex post, after a disaster, why don’t they manage to totally corrupt regulation ex ante? There’s a lot to say about that... one thing we tend to forget in this age of Reagan is the importance and virtues of... bureaucracy: when you have professional government agencies with a job to do, and treat them with respect, that job often gets done.
  • SN: "This paper estimates the political and economic effects of the 19th century disenfranchisement of black citizens in the U.S. South.... I find that poll taxes and literacy tests each lowered overall electoral turnout by 10-23% and increased the Democratic vote share in national elections by 5%-10%.... I show that disenfranchisement reduced the teacher-child and teacher-student ratio in black schools. Finally, I develop a model of suffrage restriction and redistribution in a 2-factor economy with occupational choice to generate sufficient statistics for welfare analysis of the incidence of black disenfranchisement. Consistent with the model, disenfranchised counties experienced a 7% increase in land and farm values per decade, despite a 4% fall in the black population share. The estimated factor market responses suggest that black labor bore a collective loss from disenfranchisement equivalent to at least 13% of annual income, much of which was transferred to landowners."
  • GS: "Politico reports that The New York Times did, in fact, possess the full video of Richard Blumenthal's incriminating speech -- but still posted a truncated one.... Times top editor Bill Keller defends the decision by saying Blumenthal's claim that he served "during Vietnam" doesn't contradict his later false assertion that he served "in Vietnam." That's true, and there's no quibbling with the fact that Blumenthal did repeatedly mislead. But Blumenthal's earlier description does raise at least the possibility that the false description the paper presented as its most important piece of evidence was inadvertent, even if it doesn't prove this one way or the other. Reasonable people can disagree over whether his earlier description was relevant or exculpatory in any way. But it seems to me that it's precisely because this point is debatable that it would have been better to err on the side of more context, not less, particularly on a story as explosive as this one"
  • DS: "A dramatic deterioration in investor confidence triggered across-the-board risk reduction and a flight to safety this week, as fears rose that policy responses to Europe’s sovereign debt crisis could undermine the global recovery. “Sovereign risk has polluted the government bond market, the corporate debt market, the equity market and, finally, the currency markets,” said Philip Isherwood at Evolution Securities. “The result has been a collapse in risk appetite and a collapse in risk assets.”"