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Big Questions for Left Opposition Social Scientists: Cedarbrook Notes


Cedarbrook Notes: Occupy had zero impact on austerity budgets. Mont Pelerin was not important because they gathered by a lake, sang “kumbaya”, and felt a sense of solidarity. We should not pretend defeats were victories.

What can we do? I think there are three levels that we ought to be operating on—all, right now, understanding the world rather than trying to change it: understanding policies, understanding mobilizations, and understanding utopia:

  • The first is understanding the effects of policies: the policies adopted between 1980 and 2007 did not have the results that their advocates expected nor the results that their critics expected. We really do need to figure out how to understand what the social world is rather than what the models—both pro and con—in use during the neoliberal era said the social world was.

  • The second is understanding the vicissitude of mobilization. The standard political center-left plans to promote full employment, progressive taxation and social insurance, upward mobility, and infrastructure and public services—equitable growth—all these are things that should meet with near-universal applause. By contrast, con-game kleptocracy in the interest of plutocracy should not get 60 million votes. Fascism—the belief that you need a strong leader who is a bully, because he is your bully, and he will bully your enemies, who may be corporations, foreigners, people who look or think differently, and who are always the rootless cosmopolites—should not be attractive to a 21st-century electorate on any level. Yet, somehow, it, terrifyingly, is. The same social-science models that failed to adequately track the effects of neoliberal policies failed to predict the seductive attractiveness of 21st century neo-fascism. Thus we have two different levels at which we need to understand the societal world: the effects of neoliberal policies, and the possibilities for mobilization.

  • The third is the question of what our Utopia is. How will our different view of the social world change our goals for a good society? Our utopia will almost surely still include full employment, progressive taxation and social insurance, upward mobility, and lots of infrastructure. But it will also include other and deeper objectives—objectives that have not been on the New Deal and social democratic bucket lists.

These three tracks all need to be pushed forward. But they also very much need to be three tracks. And they need to be three different tracks.

On Removing My Tweed Jacket at the Start of Lecture...

Observing Drought in California with Remote Sensing LP DAAC NASA Land Data Products and Services

A word about this peculiar costume—the closest thing you can get to goretex if all you have is a sheep—that I am now taking off...

Because of central heating, these male formal and semi-formal clothes aren't comfortable these days even in Oxford and Cambridge, England, where they were originally developed. They are really only comfortable in Scotland. That is well-and-good if you teach at the University of Edinburgh or in Glasgow—or, perhaps, in Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, or maybe in Washington or Oregon.

It used to be that these clothes were comfortable here in Berkeley. But, because of global warming, the climate here these days is a lot like what I remember Santa Barbara being like half a century ago when I was a child. When I got a job here at Berkeley in the mid-1990s, I looked forward to living in a place in which tweed jackets and such were comfortable both inside and out. The fact that these clothes were actually comfortable here was a factor—a small factor, but a factor. Increasingly, however, that is no longer the case. A problem resulting from global warming, albeit a small problem.

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Comment of the Day: Tracy Lightcap: Jacob Levy: I don’t think there’s anything—anything—on which I’ve gotten so much disbelief-that-becomes-near-anger as when I contradict the post-2014 Fox narrative about campus life...: "This is it, but I think the process is a bit more complicated. People who have made up their minds on a topic and committed themselves to it are still susceptible to arguments that work through repetition to undermine authority figures...

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This may, to some degree, be the growing pains of new technology. There were people who strongly objected to printing, on the grounds that the only way to truly grok a book was to copy it out word-for-word by hand. In their view, printing produced a bunch of shallow intellectual poseurs who would have only a surface and inadequate knowledge of the books that they had not really read but only skimmed (cf.: Elizabeth L. Eisenstein (1980): The Printing Press as an Agent of Change https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0521299551; Johannes Trithemius (1492): In Praise of Scribes https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0919026087). And Sokrates's attitude toward writing as a greatly inferior simulacrum and inadequate mimesis that could not create the true knowledge obtained through real dialogue is well known (cf.: Plato (370 BC): Phaedrus). Nevertheless, we believe that we have managed to adapt to printing and indeed to the creation of manuscript rather than just the oldest oral master-and-apprentice intellectual technologies. Perhaps we will find different things to be true once we will have trained our information-technology networks to be our servants as trusted information intermediaries and intellectual force multipliers, rather than (as they know are) the servants of the advertisers that pay them and thus that try to glue our eyeballs and attention to screens whether having our eyeballs and attention so-glued helps us become more like our best selves or not. But as of now the empirical evidence has become overwhelming: Susan Dynarski: For better learning in college lectures, lay down the laptop and pick up a pen: "When college students use computers or tablets during lecture, they learn less and earn worse grades. The evidence consists of a series of randomized trials, in both college classrooms and controlled laboratory settings...

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2018 Fall DEVENG 215 Pre-Class Introduction and Notes

School of Athens

DEVENG 215: Global Poverty Challenges and Hopes: A Perspective for Development Engineers:

Discussion: J. Bradford DeLong: TU 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Mulford 230
Lecture: Fatmir Haskaj: TU, TH 2:00 pm - 3:29 pm Valley Life Sciences 2050

This graduate Development Engineering class has the following goals:

  1. Assist students in orienting themselves to the current global debates about poverty and inequality by exposing them to alternative paradigms of development and welfare situated in their historical context.

  2. Assist students in familiarizing themselves with the institutions and actors—from the World Bank to global social movements, from national and local governments to nonprofits and NGOs, from multinational corporations to philanthropic foundations—attempting to act to diminish global poverty.

  3. Assist students in critically reflecting upon philosophies of global justice, the ethics of global citizenship, their own engagements with poverty action, and their own aspirations for social change.

  4. Prevent students from maintaining or accepting the the comfortable perception that poverty exists elsewhere, can be contained at a distance, does not affect them and their communities every day.

The hope is to accomplish all these tasks at the graduate student level, with a focus on how the social-political-economic context constrains and opens opportunities for successful Development Engineering. The hope is to do this on the cheap, without committing lots of additional resources.

My idea is to do this by building on the lectures and readings of Fatmir Haskaj's undergraduate course GPP 115: Global Poverty: Challenges and Hopes in the New Millennium. We will add additional readings and a graduate-level discussion seminar to attempt to supercharge what Fatmir does. Hence this syllabus incorporates-by-reference the GPP 115 syllabus…

Fatmir's course describes itself as:

seek[ing] to provide a rigorous understanding of 20th century development and thus 21st century poverty alleviation. Students will take a look at popular ideas of poverty alleviation, the institutional framework of poverty ideas and practices, and the social and political mobilizations that seek to transform the structures of poverty...

From the graduate Development Engineering Program perspective, this course—while completely fine for what it is—is not quite what we want. It is too "idealist"—incorporates too much of an implicit belief that once one understands the world, it will immediately become obvious how to change it, which belief is a common disease thought by academics like me. And it is too "macro"—individual development engineers are not going to lead social and political mobilizations and transform structures, but rather work in the context created by existing structures and mobilizations, in the hope of taking small steps in a good direction. Therefore post-lecture discussions will focus on: "OK. Very good. Now how does this affect how we will act when the rubber meets the road?"

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As I often say, academic freedom is not "free speech". Universities are safe spaces for people to learn, for scholars to grow, and for ideas to be propounded and evaluated. You can argue—as Ernst Kantorowicz did, and as I more than half believe—that grownup full members of a university are their own sovereign judges of this propounding-and-evaluating business: that they are under an obligation to think as hard as they can and to argue fairly and fully for what they believe to be the truth, and that the sole sovereign judges of whether they have met this responsibility are their consciences day and their gods. And that makes it very, very important indeed to draw a clear line between those who can and those who cannot fulfill this responsibility: Dani Rodrik: No to Academic Normalization of Trump by Dani Rodrik: "Those who have served the current US president are necessarily tainted by the experience. While they should not be barred from speaking... they should be accorded none of the trappings of institutional esteem such as fellowships, named lectures, and keynote speeches...

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(Early) Monday Smackdown: Bard College Has a Quality Control Problem Here: Roger Berkowitz Needs to Learn to Quote Fairly and Accurately

I think that almost every discussion about "cultural appropriation" should be, instead, a discussion about: "don't be a d-ck". Clarifies matters immeasurably.

The brilliant national treasure Roxane Gay is, in my opinion, 100% correct when she writes: "stay in your lane.... The great thing about writing is that you can develop new lanes through research, immersion and effort..." That is not "being a d-ck". But When I read these exchanges (and Jennifer Schuessler's piece), I think Jennifer, Nina, and Burleigh are all being d-cks—especially Roger Berkowitz, who I think is being a major a--hole here, and doing so while claiming to be the heir and channeler of Hannah Arendt:

Jennifer Schuessler: "I wrote about the controversy over @thenation ’s publication of a poem by a white poet using black vernacular, with a little bit on the long debate over what counts as literary 'blackface' (looking at you, Vachel Lindsay & John Berryman)..."

Nina Burleigh: "Probably shouldn't wade into this but, by @rgay 'stay in your lane' logic, every entitled male screenwriter-white or black-should be banned from writing female characters of any race. I'm actually all for that, but piling on to crush the career of a young poet? geez..."

Roxane Gay: "Well, Nina, this is the problem with journalists taking tweets out of context and using them in their articles, instead of asking people for a more fully fleshed out statement. My tweets are my opinions...

Continue reading "(Early) Monday Smackdown: Bard College Has a Quality Control Problem Here: Roger Berkowitz Needs to Learn to Quote Fairly and Accurately" »

Monday Smackdown: Who Wants Charles Murray to Speak on Their Campus, and Why?

I have a question for Stanford's Michael @McFaul ...

We know that "If the heritability of IQ were 0.5 and the degree of assortation in mating, m, were 0.2 (both reasonable, if only ballpark estimates), and if the genetic inheritance of IQ were the only mechanism accounting for intergenerational income transmission, then the intergenerational correlation of lifetime incomes would be 0.01..." (see Bowles and Giants (2002)). That is only two percent the observed intergenerational correlation—49/50 of the intergenerational transmission of status in America comes from other causes.

Why, then, is it important to invite to your campus to speak someone whose big thing is the intergenerational transmission of intelligence through genes, and racial differences thereof? And if one were going to invite to your campus to speak someone, etc., why would you pick somebody who likes to burn crosses? Wouldn't a healthier approach be to regard such a person—who focuses on the intergenerational transmission of intelligence through genes, harps on genetic roots of differences between "races", and likes to burn crosses—as we regard those who know a little too much about the muzzle velocities of the main cannon of the various models of the Nazi Armored Battlewagon Version 4?: Jonathan Marks: Who wants Charles Murray to speak, and why?: "The Bell Curve cited literature from Mankind Quarterly, which no mainstream scholar cites, because it is an unscholarly racist journal... http://anthropomics2.blogspot.com/2017/04/who-wants-charles-murray-to-speak-and.html

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What Is the Best Way to Introduce Myself to Audiences These Days?

image from www.evernote.com

J. Bradford Delong is Professor of Economics and Chief Economist of the Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California at Berkeley. He is also a weblogger for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. From 1993 to 1995 he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the United States Department of the Treasury. Right now he is best known for:

Is this ⬆︎⬆︎⬆︎⬆︎ it? What would be better?

Well, Our Three Bridge View from the Graduate Student Lounge Is Not at Its Best This Morning, Is It?

No subject brad delong gmail com Gmail

Well, our three bridge view from the Peixotto Graduate Student Lounge is not at its best this morning, is it?

That is a pity because the new first-year graduate students are arriving this morning...

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Matt O'Brien: "The funniest thing is Niall Ferguson now says he's 'going back to what I do best'. What's that, writing conspiracy theories about how inflation is 'really' 10%? Or attacking the Fed for doing its job? Or falsely saying Keynes didn't care about the long run because he was gay?..."

Paul says: "hyperinflation is coming any day now" and "minimum wages at their current levels are killing millions of jobs" are joining "there is no such thing as global warming" and "evolution is false" as destroyers of "conservatives" in academia: *Paul Krugman: "Today's column has nothing directly to do with... the puzzling failure of wages to grow faster despite what look like tight labor markets https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/opinion/conservative-free-speech.html...

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The wise and thoughtful Dan Nexon gets this, I think, exactly right. The question is: Why is conservatism intellectually irrelevant in many academic departments and disciplines? The propensity of prominent conservatives to try to ratf--- 20 year olds is certainly part of the problem: Dan Nexon: "This reads like an excuse for publishing an intemperate opinion-editorial in the student newspaper, not an attempt by a world-famous academic to rationalize conspiring to ratf--- an undergrad at an institution with which he is affiliated:"

Niall Ferguson: "I need to grow up and keep out of student politics, no question. But the context is important. Conservatism is on the brink of extinction in much of academia, especially in history. This isn't healthy."

A Few Notes on Higher Education in the Age of Trump: Hoisted from June 10, 2017

Hoisted: A Few Notes on Higher Education in the Age of Trump... (June 10, 2017):

I wrote http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/06/must-read-two-points-diversity-and-finding-truth-in-the-sense-of-rough-consensus-and-running-code-where-i-think-larry.html: Two points (diversity and finding truth in the sense of rough consensus and running code) where I think Larry Summers is 100% correct. One point (Charles Murray) where I think Larry is broadly right but that things are more complicated. And one point (sensitivity training) where I think Larry Summers is more wrong than right. But more on that anon. Definitely worth reading.

This is the "anon":

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Three Conservatives on Why Charles Murray's Ideas Are Bankupt in the Academic Intellectual Marketplace

Inferno Dante and Virgil among the evil counsellors and Flickr

I have never understood why "conservatives" like Niall Ferguson think that cross-burner Charles Murray is a good standard bearer for their ideas in a university setting. Is it their explicit and deliberate aim to generate counterdemonstrations and further reinforce the link between conservative ideas and white ethnicism in America today? Do they really think that yoking appeals to racial animosity, immutable "racial" differences in intelligence, and white ethnicism to their cause is a winner?

Niall Ferguson won't claim that the immutable-racial-differences arguments in Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve get it right. He will only claim that: "the sheer scale of the discussion that Murray’s work has generated would seem to argue for its importance, regardless of whether one ends up agreeing with him..." In academic speech ideas are not merely presented but evaluated. Cross-burner Murray's ideas have been evaluated by, among others, the impeccably conservative Thomas Sowell, James Heckman, and Glenn Loury. Wouldn't a proper Cardinal Conversation aimed at elevating the debate have featured one of these non-cross-burning conservatives? They would have said something like:

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Niall Ferguson and the Avoidance of Personal Responsibility: Every Accusation a Confession Department: (Early) Monday Smackdown

Inferno Dante and Virgil among the evil counsellors and Flickr

As Mitt Romney said of Niall Ferguson and company, they are: "people who... are dependent... who believe that they are victims, who believe that... they are entitled.... I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives...":

Niall Ferguson descends far into self-parody with this self-smackdown. Jonathan Healey comments:

Jonathan Healey: "Worth pointing out that it also 'might have been avoided' if you'd thought to yourself 'Hang on, a professor with a massive profile trying to find kompromat on a student is a bit off, isn't it?':

Niall Ferguson: From all of this I draw two conclusions. First, it might have been avoided if conservatives at universities did not feel so beleaguered. There is a debate about whether free speech has been restricted on American campuses in recent years. I have no doubt it has. Middle-of-the-road students live in fear that a casual remark will be deemed "offensive" or "triggering" and that social media will be unleashed to shame them. Conservative students have to keep quiet or fight a culture war in which they are hopelessly outnumbered.

The other lesson I have learn[ is that Uncle Jan was right: I do need to grow up. Student politics is best left to students. So I am putting my tweed jacket back on and retreating to my beloved study. It is time to write another book.

Continue reading "Niall Ferguson and the Avoidance of Personal Responsibility: Every Accusation a Confession Department: (Early) Monday Smackdown" »

David Watkins, I think, nails it: a lot of right-wingers project either what they are doing or what they wish they could do onto the left. They do not understand that we are, in fact, different from them: David Watkins: "Today in: 'every accusation a confession'... Scott Lemieux: "Did Niall 'try to ratfuck students with the temerity to disagree with me' Ferguson churn out a rote 'campus PC is the biggest threat to free speech in America' column? I think you know the answer!... https://t.co/mP1OFXkm1G

Yes, Stanford Has a Serious Intellectual Quality Problem Here: Why Do You Ask?

Yes, Stanford has a very serious quality control problem with its Hoover Institution: Brian Contreras, Ada Statler, and Courtney Douglas: Leaked emails show Hoover academic conspiring with College Republicans to conduct ‘opposition research’ on student: "Emails between the Hoover Institution’s Niall Ferguson and well-known Republican student activists John Rice-Cameron ’20 and Max Minshull ’20 reveal coordination on 'opposition research' against progressive activist Michael Ocon ’20...

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Not all conservatives are Milo. Very few conservatives are Milo, in fact: Rakesh Bhandari: "Some conservative Cal students have falsely complained that they are penalized by GSI's or Profs for their political views. One student falsely said an econ prof forced him to write in favor of open borders; another complained that he was penalized for a realism paper in IR..."

To be overly fair, it is very difficult to make an anti-open borders argument within the framework of rootless cosmopolite neoclassical economics.

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Possible Fall 2018 Schedule...

J. Bradford DeLongScheduleFall 2018   
8 AM Econ 101b Lecture Cory 277 Econ 101b Lecture Cory 277 
9 AM Econ 101b Lecture Cory 277 Econ 101b Lecture Cory 277 
10 AM Econ 101b Staff Meeting Blum 200G Open Office Hours Blum 200GHistory Thesis Writers Evans 506
11 AM   Open Office Hours Blum 200G 
NoonEconomic History 211 Lunch WFC Economics Faculty Lunch Peixotto Room History Lunch Evans 598
1 PMEconomic History 211 Lunch WFC Economics Faculty Lunch Peixotto RoomLunch: Rice and BonesHistory Lunch Evans 598
2 PMEconomic History 211 Seminar Evans 639Macro Evans 589/GPP 115/VLSB 2050Office Hours Evans 691AGPP 115/VLSB 2050 
3 PMEconomic History 211 Seminar Evans 639GPP 115/VLSB 2050 Economics Afternoon TeaGPP 115/VLSB 2050 
4 PMEconomic History 211 Coffee Yali's EastDevEng 215Departmental Seminar or  
5 PM  Departmental Faculty Meeting 

From Miles Kimball's Intermediate Macroeconomics

School of Athens

Miles Kimball: Link to Basic Resources for Intermediate Macro:

Anyone who wants to be a B student, an A student or learn even more than that should read the book Make It Stick. I can summarize the main point this way. If you want to get knowledge into long-term memory, reading and rereading won't do the trick. Your brain only puts something into long-term memory if you prove to your brain that it is worth remembering that thing by trying to remember it. So the activity of trying to remember things is the key to learning something not just for the exam tomorrow but learning it for good.

Besides telling my students what I just said in the last paragraph, the way I use this principle in my class is by treating exams primarily as learning opportunities and only secondarily as evaluation devices. Exams cause students to try to remember things. Before each of the three exams, I ask students to do over the weekend the exam from the previous year as a practice exam—under time pressure. Then I go over that practice exam carefully in the class right before the exam. After the exam, I consider the class where I go over the answers one of the most important class periods for learning.

When I write each exam, I am thinking about what I most want students to remember down the road, since I know they will remember what ended up on the exams much more than any other specific things from the class. The answers to the exam questions represent the bulk of the key ideas and some of the key skills I want the students to take away from the class...

Peter C. Brown et al. (2014): Make It Stick: "Drawing on cognitive psychology and other fields, Make It Stick offers techniques for becoming more productive learners, and cautions against study habits and practice routines that turn out to be counterproductive. The book speaks to students, teachers, trainers, athletes, and all those interested in lifelong learning and self-improvement..."

This File: http://delong.typepad.com/teaching_economics/miles-kimball-intermediate-macro.html
Edit This File: http://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a00e551f08003883401b8d2c935d5970c/page/6a00e551f0800388340224df3527d6200b/edit?saved_added=n
Teaching Economics: http://delong.typepad.com/teaching_economics/contents.html

An enormous amount that I think is right here. And I bunch I think is wrong. And now I have laid down a marker that I have to write down what I think is wrong here, which I will... someday... in my copious spare time But what is right: Miles Kimball: On Teaching and Learning Macroeconomics: "Many... important ideas are missing from most macroeconomic textbooks.... Here are some... I consider so important that I teach them in class:

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Note to Self: Working on Today...:

Alma Mater Blogging...: Hoisted from the Archives from Ten Years Ago...


"How is Harvard like socialist Yugoslavia, comrade?" "I do not know: how is Harvard like socialist Yugoslavia, comrade?" "Like socialist Yugoslavia, the value of the outputs is less than the value of the input, comrade."

: Alma Mater Blogging...: Greg Mankiw's desire to move Harvard to someplace better adapted to human life than Massachusetts was triggered by:

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My real problem is that my normal daily cycle is about 23 hours. So the last hour or two before going to sleep is a zero for any purpose. So I’m always tempted to just go to bed, and hope I will have extra energy to recoup the following morning. And so I wake up too early and find myself suffering from bio rhythm upset.

I do not know what to do to get out of this—except for drinking lots of coffee in the evening. But I want to preserve the effect of coffee on my attention span for serious emergencies.

I am stuck...

Remembering Suzanne Scotchmer: Delong Morning Coffee Podcast

Photo Booth

Those of us who do digital economics owe Suzanne Scotchman a lot as we stand on her gigantic shoulders. Those of us who seek a free and equal society are deeply indebted to Suzanne along other dimensions as well...

Remembering Suzanne Scotchmer

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Notes on a Framework for Understanding Walter Benjamin: Theses on the Philosophy of History

Three approaches to history:

  1. As an image of what we should become—The study of history as a way of motivating us to recover what has been lost and return to a golden age

  2. As a linear story of human progress, leading up to us, who are either perfect as we are or are going to continue to progress into the future because the arrow of time is also the arrow of history and the arrow of progress

  3. Benjamin’s: we are the hunchback dwarf concealed out of sight inside the Mechanical Turk: we seek messianic redemption and we pull the strings of science and historical knowledge to strive for utopia. History provides us with flashes of illumination insight as we seek to carry out our messianic task.

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Intermediate Macroeconomics Review

J. Bradford DeLong
Economics and Blum Center of U.C. Berkeley, WCEG, and NBER
Revised 2018-05-01




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American Economic History: Slides for Wrap-Up Lecture...

Each time I do this I think there must be a way to do it better. But each time I fail to think of one...

Good ideas very welcome...

Here we are https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0AuVq4veo1M_lK-EXXK3kQUwg:


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Intermediate Macroeconomics: Econ 101b: Spring 2018: U.C. Berkeley: Sample Final (DRAFT)

In a sense, closed book exams have been obsolete since 1500. You could argue before 1500 that people would often find themselves in situations in which they had to produce documents and write answer is calling on nothing but what they had currently running on their own wetware. Books, after all, were very expensive. At five pages an hour, figure it would take a month to produce one copy of a book, and that is only the direct, skilled labor required.

After 1500, however closed book exams made no sense—at least not without a theory of why acting like a medieval monk would in fact teach habits of mind and thought that would help us think and write in a world where people were surrounded almost always by their notes and their libraries.

And now, of course, the young ones are never without their smartphones.

So it is time for us professors to start writing exams that test and teach habits of thought relevant for a world in which you have rapid broadband access to the entire online library of humanity at nearly every instant.

Therefore this exam is open note, open book, and open smartphone—or whatever other device you wish to bring...

Only one form of information access is prohibited: direct two-way interaction with other Turing class entities). In case you are uncertain, here are examples of five examples of Turing class entities:

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Sample In-Class Exam: American Economic History: Spring 2018


Two-sentence IDs: what is it, and why does it feature in American economic history? (exam will offer you a choice to do 10 out of 15):

  1. Caravel
  2. Cuzco
  3. DARPA
  4. Free Silver
  5. Woodrow Wilson
  6. Lowell, MA
  7. Potosi
  8. Sherman Act
  9. Smallpox
  10. Triangle trade

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Weekend Reading: Some Underrepresented Minority Perspectives on U.C. Berkeley Graduate Econ

Cursor and bradford delong com Grasping Reality with Both Hands

Weekend Reading: Trevon D Logan: On Twitter: "Great advice here. (I admit I’m biased though...)"

@DaniaFrancis: Another example of the excellence coming out of Berkeley Econ. I kick myself again.

@TrevonDLogan: I remember your visit. Andrea and I were so hoping you’d come. In the end, there are not good or bad choices but just paths. I knew you’d reach your destination no matter what!

@DaniaFrancis: Thank you! I wasn’t so sure myself, but I’m glad I did!

@KimberlyNFoster: Does anyone love their PhD program? Why is it that we only hear struggle stories from PhD students?

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Misapplied History...


I confess that I am a great fan of Applied History. Theoretical arguments and conceptual frameworks are, ultimately, nothing but distilled, crystalized, and chemically cooked history. After all, what else could they possibly be? And it is very important to know whether the distillation, crystallization, and chemical cooking processes that underpin the theory and made the conceptual frameworks were honest ones. And that can be done only by getting good historians into the mix—in a prominent and substantial way.

But if this is what "Applied History" is to be, AY-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI!!!!

Niall Ferguson: Fetch the purple toga: Emperor Trump is here: "Think of Harvey Weinstein, the predator whose behaviour was for years an 'open secret' among precisely the Hollywood types who were so shrill last year in their condemnation of Donald Trump for his boasts about 'grabbing' women by the genitals...

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Econ 113: Spring 2018: Problem Set 2: Who Benefitted from Slavery? DRAFT

  1. Read this webpage: http://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/03/econ-113-spring-2018-problem-set-2-who-benefitted-from-slavery-draft.html
  2. Chase the link to the handout and read it: http://delong.typepad.com/slavery_cui_bono.pdf
  3. Print out and to the problem set at: http://delong.typepad.com/2018-03-05-econ-113-s-2018-ps-2-aeh.pdf

Who profited from North American slavery before the Civil War?

Ask a historian, or a political scientist, or a politician the question, “Who benefited from North American slavery?” and the answer you will probably get is, “The slaveholders, of course. The slaveholders got to work their slaves hard, pay them little, sell what they made for healthy prices, and get rich."

We economists have a different view...

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Should-Read: An oldy now, but a very goody: The treatment of human capital in this paper is inadequate: the benefits of human capital are private to the learner, which I think is wrong, and teachers in rich countries are 50 times as good at getting human capital into the brains of learners as are teachers in poor countries, which I think is wrong. Human capital largely acts as a force multiplier for physical capital. But the underlying lesson is very good: the Solow model can fit quite well if you assume capital production function parameters of a half or more: N. Gregory Mankiw, David Romer, and David Weil (1992): A CONTRIBUTION TO THE EMPIRICS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH: "This paper examines whether the Solow growth model is consistent with the international variation in the standard of living...

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