#noted Feed

Diane Coyle: The Puzzle of Economic Progress: "Do we know how economies develop? Obviously not, it seems, or otherwise every country would be doing better than it currently is in these low-growth times.... Yet when Patrick Collison of software infrastructure company Stripe and Tyler Cowen of George Mason University recently wrote an article in The Atlantic calling for a bold new interdisciplinary 'science of progress', they stirred up a flurry of righteous indignation among academics. Many pointed to the vast amount of academic and applied research that already addresses what Collison and Cowen propose to include in a new discipline.... Gina Neff... remarked... [that] the Industrial Revolution even gave birth to sociology, or what she called 'Progress Studies 1.0'. This is all true, and yet Collison and Cowen are on to something. Academic researchers clearly find it hard to work together across disciplinary boundaries, despite repeated calls for them to do so more often. This is largely the result of incentives that encourage academics to specialize....

Researchers need to distill their findings.... Most academics are poor communicators.... Today, the role of research in changing behavior–whether that of government officials or of businesses and citizens–is part of the broader crisis of legitimacy in Western democracies.... With real incomes stagnating for many, and “deaths of despair” increasing, it is not surprising that expertise has lost its luster for much of the public...

Continue reading "" »


Very Briefly Noted 2019-10-13:

  1. Scott Waldman: POLITICS: Cato Closes Its Climate Shop; Pat Michaels Is Out https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060419123_: "The Cato Institute quietly shut down a program that for years sought to raise uncertainty about climate science, leaving the libertarian think tank co-founded by Charles Koch without an office dedicated to global warming...

  2. Li Yang, Filip Novokmet, and Branko Milanovic: Chinese Urban Elite Transformation between 1988 and 2013 https://voxeu.org/article/chinese-urban-elite-transformation-between-1988-and-2013_: "Compared to the 1980s, the elite today consists mainly of professionals, self-employed, and smaller and larger business people, they are much better educated, and they receive a much greater share of total urban income. This is reflected also in the composition of the Communist Party of China...

  3. Bloomberg: Guohui Shi and his Lesotho Wool Centre were awarded a monopoly over the wool and mohair trade in the Southern African mountain kingdom, meaning Moteane and other small brokers would have to shut down. Since then, thousands of farmers have had to wait a year or more to be paid by Shi’s brokerage; some say they’ve been underpaid, and others not paid at all. Approximately 75% of Lesotho’s population lives in rural areas and relies on wool and mohair for income. Some herders have been forced to eat their flocks to survive...

  4. Colin Marshall: Where Did Human Beings Come From? 7 Million Years of Human Evolution Visualized in Six Minutes http://www.openculture.com/2019/10/7-million-years-of-human-evolution-visualized-in-six-minutes.html...

5.Open Culture: The Best Free Cultural & Educational Media on the Web http://www.openculture.com/...

  1. Thomas J. Sargent, John Stachurski, and Brandon Kaplowit: The Cass-Koopmans Optimal Growth Model https://python.quantecon.org/cass_koopmans.html...

  2. Thomas J. Sargent and John Stachurski: Linear Regression in Python https://python.quantecon.org/ols.html...

Continue reading "" »


One quibble with the sharp Hunter Blair here: the argument that the supply of savings to fund private investment was highly elastic with respect to the after-tax interest rate has never been economically-respectable for anything other than a small open economy with a fixed exchange rate system. It was not respectable back in 2017 when it was made. The solid preponderance of evidence then was that the supply of savings was inelastic. And so it has proved:

Hunter Blair: It’s Not Trickling Down: New Data Provides No Evidence that the TCJA Is Working as Its Proponents Claimed It Would: "The strongest economically-respectable argument from proponents of the Trump administration’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was that... higher dividends incentivize households to save more, or attract more savings from abroad. The increased savings push down interest rates, so that it’s easier for corporations to borrow money to invest in new plants and equipment. And this new capital stock gives workers more and better tools to work with, boosting their productivity, and eventually that increased productivity should boost wages.... We now have 18 months of data on investment since the passage of the TCJA, plenty of time for its increased incentives for private investment to have taken hold. But the data doesn’t come close to supporting the story told by TCJA proponents...

Continue reading "" »


The "elasticity of substitution" is an emergent property. It has very little to do with "technology" if only because there is not one single technology in the economy. There are lots of different types of machines and lots of ways to use workers and machines to produce things. And "rigid organization" is not quite right either here: Suresh Naidu (2014): Notes from Capital in the 21st Century Panel: "Perhaps a useful analogy is that this is the "Free to Choose" or “Capitalism and Freedom” for our time, from the left. I can’t think of a book that emerged from economics for a mass audience with as much reception since then. And what good news this is for economics! For 50 years Milton Friedman was the public face of partisan economics, and stamped it with a conservative public face that persisted. Maybe now Piketty’s book will give my discipline another public face...

Continue reading "" »


Ever since I stopped being a wee'un, I have heard that one should not use expansionary fiscal policy to rebalance the economy because of the dangers of public debt accumulation. Somehow, there was never an analogous focus on how rebalancing the economy through monetary policy might produce greater dangers of private debt accumulation. Until now: Martin Wolf: How Our Low Inflation World Was Made: "If we are to make sense of where the world economy is today and might be tomorrow, we need a story about how we got here. By 'here', I mean today’s world of ultra-low real and nominal interest rates, populist politics and hostility to the global market economy. The best story is one about the interaction between real demand and the ups and then downs of global credit. Crucially, this story is not over...

Continue reading "" »


This is not a paper where I have ever understood what features of the data are interacting with the model to produce the conclusions. It would be nice if I could crack this: Marjorie A. Flavin: The Joint Consumption/Asset Demand Decision: A Case Study in Robust Estimation: "The Michigan Survey of Consumer Finances... whether... consumption tracks current income more closely than is consistent with the permanent income hypothesis can be attributed solely or partially to borrowing constraints.... The paper uses a robust instrumental variables estimator, and argues that achieving robustness with respect to leverage points is actually simpler, both conceptually and computationally, in an instrumental variables context than in the OLS context.... Households do use asset stocks to smooth their consumption.... There is no evidence that the excess sensitivity of consumption to current income is caused by borrowing constraints.... Robust instrumental variables estimates are more stable across different subsamples, more consistent with the theoretical specification of the model, and indicate that some of the most striking findings in the conventional results were attributable to a single, highly unusual observation...

Continue reading "" »


For the past decade Robert Gordon has written about The Rise and Fall of American Growth, praising the first in our past that was and lamenting the second in our present that is. Now comes Dietz Vollrath with a lively, accurate, and essential corrective to Gordon's pessimism: growth is slow today, he demonstrates, not because our economy is failing but because our economy has succeeded: Dietz Vollrath: Optimal Stagnation: Why Slower Economic Growth Is a Sign of Success: "In 1940 you might have spent your money installing plumbing for running water, or a toilet.... The same went for air conditioning, a TV, or a computer at other points in time during the 20th century. But once we had those goods, then what did we spend our money on?... Goods became cheaper and we filled up our houses with them.... Spending turned towards services... longer and better vacations... classes... medical specialists... physical therapy... data... Netflix and Hulu.... The flow of workers out of producing goods didn’t signal some kind of failure.... In the 21st century... these shifts became a drag on economic growth...[for] most service industries have relatively low productivity growth.... As we shifted our spending from goods to services, this pulled down aggregate productivity growth, which is just a weighted average of productivity growth across different industries.... Baumol.... Labor is necessary to produce goods, but it is not part of the product itself. The person who assembled your fuel injector doesn’t have to be there for you to drive your car. On the other hand, for services labor is part of the product... you need to interact with a doctor, or lawyer, or waiter, or personal trainer, or financial advisor, or teacher.... It isn’t some kind of failure that service productivity growth is low, it is rather an inherent feature of those kinds of activities.... Choices born of success had the unintended consequence of putting a drag on the growth rate in the 21st century...

Continue reading "" »


We have had financial crises for nearly 200 years now. Yet our handling of those of the mid-nineteenth century was certainly no worse, and arguably better, than our handling of 2007-2010. All parts of "lend freely at a penalty rate on collateral that is good in normal times" were understood. Why weren't they understood in 2008?:

Karl Marx: Neue Rheinische Zeitung Revue: "The years 1843-5 were years of industrial and commercial prosperity, a necessary sequel to the almost uninterrupted industrial depression of 1837-42. As is always the case, prosperity very rapidly encouraged speculation. Speculation regularly occurs in periods when overproduction is already in full swing. It provides overproduction with temporary market outlets, while for this very reason precipitating the outbreak of the crisis and increasing its force. The crisis itself first breaks out in the area of speculation; only later does it hit production. What appears to the superficial observer to be the cause of the crisis is not overproduction but excess speculation, but this is itself only a symptom of overproduction. The subsequent disruption of production does not appear as [what it really is,] a consequence of its own previous exuberance, but merely as a setback caused by the collapse of speculation...

Continue reading "" »


Very good advice for California now—and for future congressional majority leaders and speakers and presidents who might represent the large majorities of American voters who want these problems addressed sensibly and substantially:

Heather Boushey: Equitable Growth CEO's Written Testimony at California Future of Work Commission: "The monopoly power problem... exacerbates inequality, contributes to wage stagnation, limits entrepreneurship, increases the cost of living, and stifles innovation.... Industry concentration and declining economic dynamism reduces wages by limiting workers’ employment options and opportunities for advancement, and allows firms to use their increasing power to squeeze worker compensation in favor of greater profits. Workplace fissuring, through the rise of independent contractors, franchisors, and contingent hiring, prevents workers from accessing career ladders, matching into the jobs they are best suited for, and gaining sufficient bargaining power to unlock wage increases. Persistent historical disparities such as wage discrimination and social norms reinforce occupational segregation into jobs that don’t pay well enough and offer little room for advancement. Yet policymaking over the past several decades has been moving in the wrong direction. Specifically: Antitrust law now allows firms to accrue and abuse monopoly power, not just over consumers but also in many cases over workers. Successive rounds of tax cuts, including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and several tax cuts under the George W. Bush administration, have lowered the progressivity of the tax code and greatly decreased taxes on wealth, capital, inheritances, and corporate profits. Outdated labor law provides insufficient protection of workers and has facilitated the long decline of unions, traditionally the most vocal and ardent advocates for the middle class. We have an opportunity right now to take a step back to look at the scale and scope of the problems and develop real solutions...

Continue reading "" »


Always worth reading as a window into sane thinking about national security and related international non-economic plus political-economy thinking and circumstances:

Daniel W. Drezner: Your Interesting Late-Summer Foreign Policy Reads: "Normally when I do this, I recommend books. For a change of pace, however, this time I thought I would recommend some recent articles.... Kurt Campbell and Jake Sullivan, “Competition Without Catastrophe: How America Can Both Challenge and Coexist With China”.... Henry Farrell and Abraham L. Newman, “Weaponized Interdependence: How Global Economic Networks Shape State Coercion”.... Mary Sarotte, “How to Enlarge NATO: The Debate inside the Clinton Administration, 1993—95”.... Isaac Chotiner, “A Penn Law Professor Wants to Make America White Again”.... Penn law professor Amy Wax, ostensibly one of the intellectual leaders of 'national conservatism', beclowned herself repeatedly in her conversation with Chotiner. This claim was particularly ludicrous...

Continue reading "" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (October 11, 2019)

6a00e551f080038834022ad3b05124200d

  • An Outtake from "Slouching Toward Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century": The Shadow https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/the-shadow-an-outtake.html_: German academic Max Weber... was a German liberal... believer in one-man, one-vote rather than gerrymandered electorates and noble estates, a believer in responsible government by ministers responsible to elected legislatures rather than the whim of hereditary princes, a believer in progress and peace. Yet Max Weber was terrified of the threat to the German nation posed by barefoot hungry Poles. He said, completely seriously: "The German character of the East[ern provinces of Prussia]... should be protected... [by] the economic policy of the state…. Under the semblance of ‘peace’… German peasants and day-labourers… are getting the worst of it in the silent and dreary struggle of everyday economic existence... abandoning their homeland to a race... on a lower level... a dark future in which they will sink without trace." To Weber, the real name for “peace” was “race war”--and there could be no true peace, not ever...

  • How Damaging Is Plutocracy for Economic Policy? https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/economic-policy-response.html_: Big money does not always find a way, nor does its influence necessarily increase as the top 0.01% captures a larger share of total income.... The larger issue...is an absence of alternative voices. If the 2010s had been anything like the 1930s, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Conference Board would have been aggressively calling for more investment in America, and these arguments would have commanded the attention of the press. Labor unions would have had a prominent voice as advocates for a high-pressure economy. Both would have had very powerful voices inside the political process through their support of candidates. Did the top 0.01% put something in the water to make the media freeze out such voices after 2008?...

  • Listening to Arsonists https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/listening-to-arsonists-by-j-bradford-delong-project-syndicate.html_: Alan Simpson... was a noted budget arsonist when he was in the Senate.... He never met a budget-busting, deficit-increasing initiative from a Republican president that he would not lead the charge to pass. Nor did he ever meet a sober deficit-reducing initiative from a Democratic president that he did not oppose with every fiber of his being. You don’t pick an arsonist to head the fire department, I thought when Obama named him co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform...

  • My Job as the Economist Here Is to Do the Numbers... https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/council-on-foreign-relations-_the-future-of-democracy-symposiumhttpswwwcfrorgeventfuture-democracy-symposium_-1-1.html_: That the American economy over the past forty years has not been delivering substantially rising living standards for everybody—that means that the market’s failure to deliver these other forms of nonproperty rights becomes the source of—call it economic anxiety—a big potential problem...

  • Hoisted from the Archives: Income and Wealth Distribution, or, Watching Professional Republicans Sell Their Souls Back in 1992 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/income-and-wealth-distribution-or-watching-professional-republicans-sell-their-souls-back-in-1992-hoisted-from-the-archive.html: The income distribution came on to the stage that is America's public sphere between February 14 and December 12, 1992. And the rhetoric of "X% of gains in per capita income over years Y-Z went to the top W%-iles of the income distribution" became a one in American political-economic discourse over that time period as well...

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (October 11, 2019)" »


Santiago Pérez: Southern (American) Hospitality: Italians in Argentina and the US during the Age of Mass Migration: "I study the selection and economic outcomes of Italians in Argentina and the US, the two largest destinations during the age of mass migration. Prior cross-sectional work finds that Italians had faster assimilation in Argentina, but it is inconclusive on whether this was due to differences in selection or host-country conditions. I assemble data following Italians from passenger lists to censuses, enabling me to compare migrants with similar pre-migration characteristics. Italians had better economic outcomes in Argentina, and this advantage was unlikely to be due to selection. Migration path dependence can rationalize these differences in an era of open borders...

Continue reading "" »


Sandra Batie, Susan B. Carter, Roger Ransom: Richard Charles Sutch, 1942-2019 https://delong.typepad.com/files/sutch-obituary.pdf: "Richard Charles Sutch, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Economics, University of California Riverside and Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, died peacefully on September 19, 2019 at his home in Kensington, California. The cause of death was merkel cell carcinoma. He was 76 years old. Sutch will be remembered as a gregarious, exuberant, creative, hardworking, and witty person filled with love for family, colleagues, and friends...

Continue reading "" »


Leonardo Pisano (1202): Book of Calculation https://delong.typepad.com/files/leonardo-pisano.pdf: "You, my Master Michael Scott, most great philosopher, wrote to my Lord [Friedrich II Hohenstaufen] about the book on numbers which some time ago I composed and transcribed to you; whence complying with your criticism, your more subtle examining circumspection, to the honor of you and many others I with advantage corrected this work. In this rectification I added certain necessities, and I deleted certain superfluities. In it I presented a full instruction on numbers close to the method of the Indians, whose outstanding method I chose for this science. And because arithmetic science and geometric science are connected, and support one another, the full knowledge of numbers cannot be presented without encountering some geometry, or without seeing that operating in this way on numbers is close to geometry; the method is full of many proofs and demonstrations which are made with geometric figures. And truly in another book that I composed on the practice of geometry I explained this and many other things pertinent to geometry, each subject to appropriate proof. To be sure, this book looks more to theory than to practice. Hence, whoever would wish to know well the practice of this science ought eagerly to busy himself with continuous use and enduring exercise in practice, for science by practice turns into habit; memory and even perception correlate with the hands and figures, which as an impulse and breath in one and the same instant, almost the same, go naturally together for all; and thus will be made a student of habit; following by degrees he will be able easily to attain this to perfection. And to reveal more easily the theory I separated this book into xv chapters, as whoever will wish to read this book can easily discover. Further, if in this work is found insufficiency or defect, I submit it to your correction...

Continue reading "" »


From Noah Smith, an index of how the Republican Party has changed from "Massachusetts" to "Kentucky" nationalism over the past generation: from saying that the real Americans are those who have come here hoping to make a better life and join our community to saying that the real Americans are rural white people who fear others, and fear the future:

Noah Smith: Ronald Reagan, the Diversity President https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-09-05/ronald-reagan-the-diversity-president: "In a 1980 debate with primary election rival George H.W. Bush, Reagan advocated expanded legal immigration from Mexico, declaring: 'Rather than…talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we…make it possible for [Mexicans] to come here legally with a work permit.' Reagan made good on his word. In 1986 he signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which granted amnesty to more than 3 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. It was an epochal event.... Reagan also had a chance to stop the mostly nonwhite legal immigration that was bringing people from all corners of the globe. He never tried. In fact, despite holding some bigoted attitudes in private, Reagan remained passionately committed to the ideal of global immigration throughout his presidency. In his farewell address, he told a story of a U.S. Navy ship accepting a boat full of Southeast Asian refugees hoping to become Americans. And in his final speech from the Oval Office, Reagan articulated a vision of the nation that put immigration at the center of American exceptionalism: 'We lead the world because unique among nations, we draw our people, our strength, from every country and every corner of the world'.... Ronald Reagan, despite his flaws, believed in a country that was defined by ideals and institutions. Today’s Republicans should reject demographic fear and return to that powerful vision...

Continue reading "" »


I am not sure I get the very smart Wolfgang's point here. Yes, if you mortgage your intellectual integrity for insider influence, you no longer have your intellectual integrity to pledge. Where things go wrong is when others are willing to pretend that committed "experts" are independent in return for insider gossip:

Wolfgang Munchau: Age of the Expert as Policymaker Is Coming To an End: "Where the conflation of the expert and the policymaker did real damage was not to policy but to expertdom itself. It compromised the experts’ most prized asset—their independence. When economics blogging started to become fashionable, I sat on a podium with an academic blogger who predicted that people like him would usurp the role of the economics newspaper columnist within a period of 10 years. That was a decade ago. His argument was that trained economists were just smarter. What he did not reckon with is that it is hard to speak truth to power when you have to beg that power to fund your think-tank or institute. Even less so once you are politically attached or appointed. Independence matters...

Continue reading "" »


Extremely sharp thoughts on how we are wired at a very deep level to relate correlation and causation. This kind of identification of our heuristics and biases is essential to figuring out how to design societies in which people have a chance of making good judgments: Judea Pearl and Dana Mackenzie: Simpson's Paradox: "Any claim to resolve a paradox... should explain why people find the paradox surprising or unbelievable....When the paradox does occur, and we have to make a choice between two plausible yet contradictory statements, it should tell us which statement is correct.... A paradox... should entail a conflict between two deeply held convictions...

...Suppose that the choice is... between two properties, A and B. If the Democrat wins, the businessman has a 5 percent chance of making $ 1 on Property A and an 8 percent chance of making $ 1 on Property B. So B is preferred to A. If the Republican wins, he has a 30 percent chance of making $ 1 on Property A and a 40 percent chance of making $ 1 on Property B.... If the businessman’s decision to buy can change the election’s outcome... then buying Property A may be in his best interest. The harm of electing the wrong president may outweigh whatever financial gain he might extract from the deal....

Continue reading "" »


Note to Self: Council on Foreign Relations: Economics, Identity, and the Democratic Recession: Session Two: It’s not clear to me thatanyone who thought they had a lot of political influence twenty years ago now thinks they have more save, possibly, for Sheldon Adelson and our strange modern analog of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick: Rupert the Kingmaker. But even Rupert...

Look: the basic business model of Fox News is there are many people in America whose view of the world was not being validated by any of the major news networks. This was a market opportunity. Rupert Murdoch pursued this market opportunity. The form in which Roger Ailes and his successors pursued it took the form of scaring the piss out of old people, so their eyeballs would stay glued to the screen so they could be sold fake diabetes cures and overpriced gold funds.

But it is not at all clear to me that Rupert the Kingmaker thinks he’s in control now. There are other people willing to play the same game. Fox News tried to go in against Trump a little bit in 2016, and yet very quickly reversed course. I would like someone to tell me why: what did they see that made them not just get in bed with Trump but tie themselves spread-eagled to the mattress? David From once said: "We thought Fox News worked for us, but then we learned we worked for Fox News." Who, now, does Fox News think it must work for—or lose its audience and its profits?

Continue reading "" »


Will McGrew: Investments in Early Childhood Education Improve Outcomes for Program Participants—and Perhaps Other Children too: "Governments that spend money on early childhood education get a lot of bang for their buck—an estimated 7 percent to 10 percent annual return for programs targeted at disadvantaged children... [plus] also long-term improvements in human capital and earnings. But do those test-score gains last?... Mariana Zerpa... finds that children in states with early childhood education programs are 30 percent less likely to repeat a grade between ages 6 and 8—and that this effect lasts at least until age 12...

Continue reading " " »


Hilzoy: "I'm baffled by people who say this, and not just bc I wonder whether they took the same view when Obama was President:

In His Hands: David it is God who chose and anointed President Trump for such a time as this. To judge God and His choice is a critical error. Your hatred for anyone is not God's fault. Remember hatred comes from satan and it is he whom you are joining forces with in hatred...

Suppose God does choose political leaders, at least in the sense of knowing that this particular creation would involve this leader, and creating it anyways. If I believed in an omniscient, omnipotent creator of the universe, I think I'd have to believe that this was true: if God is omniscient, s/he foresees everything, including all political leaders; given that knowledge, s/he created this world anyways. This is true for all actions. So, for instance, an omniscient creator had to foresee each and every crime ever committed, and for some reason s/he decided to create the world anyways. Thus, in just the same sense in which God "chose and anointed" Trump, God chose each crime.

Also, obviously, if the fact that Trump is President means that God chose and anointed him, then the fact that Hitler was Chancellor of Germany means that God chose and anointed him. Ditto for every horrible ruler ever. If you believe this (as I said, I think that someone who believes in an omnipotent, omniscient creator should think that God foresaw e.g. the Holocaust and chose, for reasons best known to him- or herself, to create this world anyways), and if you know ANYTHING about history, then I think you must conclude that God's ways are, indeed, unknowable to the human mind.

But also: that the fact that God chose to create a world in which Trump becomes President does not mean that s/he intended us to like Trump. It's standard Christian theology that God created this world knowing that Adam and Eve would sin, leading to immeasurable grief, but that this is still the best possible world, since only their sin could call for Christ's redemption of humanity. ("O felix culpa" and all that.) But it doesn't follow from that that our response to sin should be to accept it. On the contrary: we should fight it in our own hearts, and work to mitigate its effects on others. That's the point! If sin is in any way worth it, it's because of the good responses it enables. And those good responses do not include saying "yippee, I guess God must have chosen and anointed SIN!"

Similarly, if God created this world even knowing that it would include the Holocaust, it does not follow that THAT is OK. His creation leaves our response completely open. For many people, the idea that anything might make it OK to create a world including the Holocaust is too much to bear. I think that any Christian who is not deeply troubled by this needs to think harder. But NO Christian should say: it happened, so it must be part of God's plan, so let's just celebrate it.

That would be sociopathic.

But so is its close relative, "to pass judgment on any of the things that are part of human history, and thus things God must have foreseen." @inhissilence wrote: "To judge God and His choice is a critical error." This is true if taken VERY literally: we do not know the considerations that led God to create this particular world, the one in which Trump is President. But @inhissilence seems to mean something different: that since God created a world in which Trump is President, we do not get to judge TRUMP. You don't get to say that unless you're willing to extend it to all leaders in history (including Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, etc.), and also all actions (which God also foresaw and allowed.) (Think of your own Most Awful Action Of All Time.) If we don't get to judge these, at least to the degree necessary to think: I should oppose this—then I honestly don't see what remains of Christian works.

@hilzoy: You are wise., @hilzoy, yet you seem to think that Evangelical Christianity is a system of thought, rather than a collection of verse-sized weaponize texts to be deployed to induce obedience to the wills of those who, in Max Weber's term, "live off religion"...

Continue reading "" »


Winston Churchill (1940): Eulogy for Neville Chamberlain https://www.bradford-delong.com/2011/09/quote-of-the-day-winston-churchills-eulogy-for-neville-chamberlain.html_: "Since we last met, the House has suffered a very grievous loss.... In paying a tribute of respect and of regard to an eminent man who has been taken from us, no one is obliged to alter the opinions which he has formed or expressed upon issues which have become a part of history; but at the lychgate we may all pass our own conduct and our own judgments under a searching review.... What is the worth of all this? The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the Fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour.... Whatever else history may or may not say about these terrible, tremendous years, we can be sure that Neville Chamberlain acted with perfect sincerity according to his lights and strove to the utmost of his capacity and authority, which were powerful, to save the world from the awful, devastating struggle in which we are now engaged…

Continue reading "" »


ALAS! Parents appear to value not schools that teach their children but rather schools in which their children can rub elbows with the right kind of people. This could help make school choice into a recipe for disaster: Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Parag A. Pathak, Jonathan Schellenberg, and Christopher R. Walters: Do Parents Value School Effectiveness?: "School choice may lead to improvements in school productivity if parents' choices reward effective schools and punish ineffective ones. This mechanism requires parents to choose schools based on causal effectiveness rather than peer characteristics. We study relationships among parent preferences, peer quality, and causal effects on outcomes for applicants to New York City's centralized high school assignment mechanism. We use applicants' rank-ordered choice lists to measure preferences and to construct selection-corrected estimates of treatment effects on test scores and high school graduation. We also estimate impacts on college attendance and college quality. Parents prefer schools that enroll high-achieving peers, and these schools generate larger improvements in short- and long-run student outcomes. We find no relationship between preferences and school effectiveness after controlling for peer quality...

Continue reading "" »


From October 11, 2018: Worthy Reads

stacks and stacks of books

Worthy Reads from Equitable Growth:

  1. I remember debating Columbia is Glenn Hubbard in Houston about the inheritance tax a few years ago. He claimed that the cultural and educational transmission of wealth from him to his children was more important then inheritance, hence there should be no inheritance taxes. That argument did not seem to make sense to me. And it now looks as though his initial claim that inheritance was less important was wrong: Elisabeth Jacobs and Liz Hipple: Are Today’s Inequalities Limiting Tomorrow’s Opportunities?: “An individual’s place on the economic distribution is supposed to reflect individual effort and talent, not parental resources and privilege. Yet this perspective ignores the mounting evidence of the myriad ways that poverty and economic inequality foreclose equality of opportunity...

  2. I have never understood why the other justices on the Supreme Court do not differ to Justice Breyer on antitrust issues. They really ought to. They do not: Howard Shelanski and Michael Kades: Competitive Edge: Judge Kavanaugh-Would he increase the divide between the public and judicial debate over antitrust enforcement?: "Over the past decade, the Supreme Court has, with one exception that we discuss below, followed a path of reduced enforcement, reflected in decisions weakening prohibitions against vertical restraints...

  3. Our Gabriel Zucman Is getting a very welcome increasing share of global attention for his very important tax haven work. His is a research team very much worth supporting an expanding: Matt O’Brien: Inequality is worse than we know. The super-rich really do avoid a lot of taxes: "On the legal end of the spectrum... companies shift their profits to show up in low-tax jurisdictions.... According to Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman and his co-researchers... as much as 40 percent of all multinational profits and 50 percent of U.S. ones...

  4. As Hal Varian of Google and Berkeley said a decade ago, the right solution to the housing finance crisis was for everybody in the United States to default on their mortgage and move one house to the right. The policies pursued by the Obama administration wound up being very effective at rescuing banks and their shareholders, option holders, and executives, keeping them from experiencing financial harm. They proved totally ineffective at helping homeowners in distress: Corey Husak: How Not To Help Distressed Mortgage Borrowers: Evidence From The Great Recession In The United States: "The federal government has been criticized by many for failing to provide adequate assistance to U.S. homeowners who were financially devastated by the housing crisis and subsequent Great Recession and its aftermath in the late 2000s. New evidence suggests that even when assistance was given, it was poorly designed...

  5. We do not have to have a society in which the most important economic decision you make in your life is your choice of parents: Lily Batchelder: The “Silver Spoon” Tax: How to Strengthen Wealth Transfer Taxation: "30 percent of the correlation between parent and child incomes—and more than 50 percent of the correlation between the wealth of parents and the wealth of their children— is attributable to financial inheritances. This is more than the impact of IQ, personality, and schooling combined...

Continue reading "From October 11, 2018: Worthy Reads" »


Very Briefly Noted 2019-10-10:

  1. Wikipedia: The Imitation Game https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Imitation_Game_...

  2. J.K. Slingerland: Quantum vs Classical Computation http://www.thphys.nuim.ie/staff/joost/TQM/QvC.html_...

  3. Richard Kogan, Chad Stone, Bryann Dasilva, and Jan Rejeski (2015): Difference Between Economic Growth Rates and Treasury Interest Rates Significantly Affects Long-Term Budget Outlook https://www.cbpp.org/research/difference-between-economic-growth-rates-and-treasury-interest-rates-significantly-affects?fa=view&id=5277_...

Continue reading "" »


Wikipedia: Amphidromic Point https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphidromic_point_: "An amphidromic point, also called a tidal node, is a geographical location which has zero tidal amplitude for one harmonic constituent of the tide.... The term amphidromic point derives from the Greek words amphi (around) and dromos (running), referring to the rotary tides running around them.... Amphidromic points occur because the Coriolis effect and interference within oceanic basins.... At the amphidromic points of the dominant tidal constituent, there is almost no vertical movement from tidal action. There can be tidal currents since the water levels on either side of the amphidromic point are not the same. A separate amphidromic system is created by each periodic tidal component. In most locations the 'principal lunar semi-diurnal', known as M2, is the largest tidal constituent, with an amplitude of roughly half of the full tidal range...

Continue reading "" »


Very Briefly Noted 2019-10-09:

  1. Ray Kluender: Lost Income Is Bigger Burden Than Medical Bills for U.S. Workers https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-10-08/lost-income-is-bigger-burden-than-medical-bills-for-u-s-workers_: "Most workers lack protection against disability...

  2. Daron Acemoglu https://economics.mit.edu/faculty/acemoglu...

  3. Quantitative Economics: Linear Regression in Python https://python.quantecon.org/ols.html...

  4. Shauna: On Edge: The Santa Ana Winds in Literature http://pasadena-library.net/adult_services/2017/the-santa-ana-winds-in-literature/...

  5. TV Tropes: Raymond Chandler https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Creator/RaymondChandler...

Continue reading "" »


Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, and James A. Robinson (2001): The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation https://delong.typepad.com/files/colonial-origins.pdf_: "Europeans adopted very different colonization policies in different colonies, with different associated institutions. In places where Europeans faced high mortality rates, they could not settle and were more likely to set up extractive institutions... [which] persisted to thepresent.... We estimate large effects of institutions on income per capita. Once the effect of institutions is controlled for, countries in Africa or those closer to the equator do not have lower incomes... https://delong.typepad.com/files/colonial_origins.zip

Continue reading "" »


David Y. Albouy (2008): The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Investigation of the Settler Mortality Data https://delong.typepad.com/files/albouy.pdf_: "In a seminal contribution, Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson (2001) argue property-rights institutions powerfully affect national income, using estimated mortality rates of early European settlers to instrument capital expropriation risk. However 36 of the 64 countries in their sample are assigned mortality rates from other countries, typically based on mistaken or conflicting evidence. Also, incomparable mortality rates from populations of laborers, bishops, and soldiers-often on campaign-are combined in a manner favoring their hypothesis. When these data issues are controlled for, the relationship between mortality and expropriation risk lacks robustness, and instrumental-variable estimates become unreliable, often with infinite confidence intervals... https://www.nber.org/data-appendix/w14130/

Continue reading "" »


Nathan Masters: The Devil Wind: A Brief History of the Santa Anas https://www.kcet.org/shows/lost-la/a-brief-history-of-the-santa-ana-winds: "Scholars who have looked into the name's origins generally agree that it derives from Santa Ana Canyon, the portal where the Santa Ana River—as well as a congested Riverside (CA-91) Freeway—leaves Riverside County and enters Orange County. When the Santa Anas blow, winds can reach exceptional speeds in this narrow gap between the Puente Hills and Santa Ana Mountains. The earliest-known written reference to the 'Santa Ana' winds appeared in the Nov. 15, 1880, edition of the _Los Angeles Evening Express. Winds were ferocious in Santa Ana Canyon on the night of January 6, 1847, when U.S. forces under Commodore Robert Stockton camped near the canyon during their conquest of Los Angeles. Stockton's diary describes their ordeal: 'Taking advantage of a deep ditch for one face of the camp, it was laid off in a very defensible position between the town and the river, expecting the men would have an undisturbed night's rest...In this hope we were mistaken. The wind blew a hurricane (something unusual in this part of California), and the atmosphere was filled with particles of fine dust, so that one could not see and but with difficulty breathe.' If the windstorm Stockton and his troops endured was the source of the name, little evidence exists in the historical record...

Continue reading "" »


Raymond Chandler (1938): The Red Wind https://delong.typepad.com/files/red-wind.pdf: "There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge...

Continue reading "" »


Paul Krugman (2013): Is Tired of Trying to Reason with You People https://www.bradford-delong.com/2013/10/paul-krugman-is-tired-of-trying-to-reason-with-you-people-john-taylors-award-winning-paragraphs-noted.html: "John Taylor has accomplished something sort of amazing: he has managed to write the two worst paragraphs I’ve read this week. Here they are: (1) 'Federal debt held by the public has increased to 73% of GDP this year from 41% in 2008—and according to the Congressional Budget Office, it will rise to more than 250% without a change in policy. This raises uncertainty about how the debt can be brought under control...' (2) 'Despite a massive onslaught of legislation and regulation designed to foster prosperity, economic growth remains low and unemployment remains high. Rhetoric aside, many both inside and outside the government quite reasonably seek to return to the kinds of policies that worked well in the not-so-distant past. Claiming that one political party has been hijacked by extremists misses this key point, and prevents a serious discussion of the fundamental changes in economic policies in recent years, and their effects...' Start with the first paragraph, and notice the lack of a time frame.... Actually, I’m not sure where Taylor gets that number from; CBO has stopped doing ultra-long-run projections.... What it does do is 25-year projections... CBO is projecting a debt level well within historical experience for advanced nations. By conveying the impression that explosive debt growth is just around the corner, Taylor is actively and deliberately misleading his readers. But what I really found noteworthy is Taylor’s declaration that we must not say that the GOP has been taken over by extremists, because it prevents a serious discussion. Suppose we just posit the possibility that the GOP really has been taken over by extremists; are supposed to pretend otherwise, for the sake of discussion? When does it become OK to acknowledge reality? And of course the GOP really has been taken over by extremists.... Anyway, congratulations to Taylor, who wins some sort of prize this week...

Continue reading "" »


Clayton Yuetter (March 24, 1992): When 'Fairness' Isn't Fair https://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/24/opinion/when-fairness-isn-t-fair.html?searchResultPosition=1: "Class warfare, discredited throughout the former Communist world, seems to have found new life in American political circles. A front-page article in the March 5 New York Times described one example: an allegation that the recovery of the 1980's—and hence the conservative philosophy of the Bush Administration—helped the rich and hurt the poor. This analysis, a reprise of the so-called fairness argument, rests on a Congressional Budget Office study and an analysis by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist, Paul Krugman. The C.B.O. and Mr. Krugman have played prominent roles in shaping the liberal version of the fairness debate, and their allegations have become a staple in the speeches of Democratic politicians. But the analysis suffers from grievous flaws. I will cite just a few. First, the claim that the top 1 percent of taxpayers raked in 60 percent of the benefits of the Reagan-Bush boom rests on a statistical sleight of hand. The C.B.O.-Krugman analysis masks the progress of the Reagan-Bush expansion by throwing in data from the Carter era, when the poor got poorer and the rich got poorer. During the Reagan-Bush boom, by contrast, the rich paid more in taxes and the poor made more in income. Minorities enjoyed a greater leap in wealth, employment and mobility than whites. The middle class shrank because more people became 'rich'. That's the Reagan-Bush record...

Continue reading "" »


CBO (March 1992): Measuring The Distribution of Income Gains https://delong.typepad.com/cbo-income-gains.pdf: "For several years, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has developed estimates of the distribution of income and federal taxes in response to requests from Committees of the Congress. CBO published the original estimates, and various publications of the Committee on Ways and Means have included more recent estimates along with explanations of the methodology used to calculate them and the staffs descriptions of the patterns they reveal. Policy analysts, commentators, and the media frequently reconfigure, interpret, analyze, and criticize the estimates. In the process, the interpretations and conclusions of these secondary appraisals are sometimes-and incorrectly-attributed to CBO. A case in point: recent media stories have used CBO statistics on incomes to buttress a contention about the increasing inequality of after-tax incomes among families. For example, The New York Times reported on March 5 that 'The richest 1% of families received 60% of the after-tax income gain' between 1977 and 1989. That figure, which was attributed to both CBO and Professor Paul Krugman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was actually Professor Krugman's reconfiguration of CBO data contained in a December 1991 report issued by the House Committee on Ways and Means. Many of the commentaries that resulted criticized CBO's estimates and methodology or ascribed the conclusions in the original article to CBO. This memorandum seeks to clarify some of the confusion...

Continue reading "" »


Sylvia Nasar (December 12, 1992): Tapping the Rich May Prove Tricky https://www.nytimes.com/1992/12/12/business/tapping-the-rich-may-prove-tricky.html?searchResultPosition=257: "Getting the really rich—the people who reaped an outsize share of the economic gains of the 1980's—to pay more was a major plank of the Democratic campaign.... The problem is that while higher tax rates on high incomes are likely to provide a good deal of new money, they are not likely, barring an unexpectedly buoyant economy, to generate the 92 billion over four years that the Clinton camp has claimed.... 'If there's a significant change in rates, say from 31 percent to 41 percent, people will change their behavior to take advantage of ways to defer income', Professor Poterba said. 'It would set into motion a return to pre-1986 tax shelters'.... Mr. Clinton's strategists must find roughly 100 billion a year through permanent tax increases or spending cuts to fulfill his deficit-shrinking pledge...

Continue reading "" »


Sylvia Nasar (August 16, 1992): THE NATION: The Rich Get Richer, But Never the Same Way Twice https://www.nytimes.com/1992/08/16/weekinreview/the-nation-the-rich-get-richer-but-never-the-same-way-twice.html?searchResultPosition=274: "IN the late 1970's, during the Carter Presidency, the super-rich commanded a smaller slice of America's wealth than at any time since the 1830's, when Alexis de Tocqueville was struck by 'the general equality of condition among the people' in the fledgling democracy. By the end of the 1980's, soon after Ronald Reagan left the White House, wealth in this country had become more concentrated than at any time since the Roaring Twenties. The share of net worth—assets minus debts—held by the top 1 percent of households jumped from below 20 percent in 1979 to more than 36 percent in 1989, according to a new historical data series compiled by the economic historians Claudia Goldin and Bradford De Long at Harvard University and the economist Edward Wolff at New York University.... If the pattern suggested by the data is accurate, the wealthy's share of the total wealth expanded as much during the Reagan boom as it did in the 100 years—roughly 1830 to 1929—in which America transformed itself from an egalitarian land of small farmers into the world's reigning industrial power...

Continue reading "" »


Sylvia Nasar (July 20, 1992): The Rich Get Richer, but the Question Is by How Much https://www.nytimes.com/1992/07/20/business/the-rich-get-richer-but-the-question-is-by-how-much.html?searchResultPosition=239: "Trying to challenge the widespread impression that the rich got a wildly disproportionate share of the gains from the Reagan economic boom, the Treasury has been quietly circulating a 'primer' on income distribution to journalists and economists. The 24-page document, prepared by R. Glenn Hubbard, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis, asserts that the richest 1 percent of American taxpayers reaped only 11.3 percent of the income gains in the 1980's.... But experts in the field who reviewed the Treasury's calculation were highly critical, saying that the Treasury economist had fallen into a well-known statistical trap that all but guaranteed that the gains for the top group of income earners would appear modest. 'It's not a meaningful calculation', said Lawrence F. Katz, an economist at Harvard University.... Its calculation contrasts sharply with one by an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Paul R. Krugman, that the richest 1 percent of American families reaped 70 percent of the growth in average family incomes from 1977 to 1988. Professor Krugman's data are now enshrined in Gov. Bill Clinton's economic program as the Democratic Presidential candidate and dismissed by the Treasury as a 'meaningless statistical artifact'...

Continue reading "" »


Sylvia Nasar (June 17, 1992): One Study's Riches, Another's Rags https://www.nytimes.com/1992/06/17/business/one-study-s-riches-another-s-rags.html?searchResultPosition=233: "Two teams of researchers asking the same politically sensitive question—both tracking individual households over the decade—have reached quite different conclusions. A Treasury study released earlier this month said it was relatively routine for someone who started out poor to end up affluent. But a study by the middle-of-the-road Urban Institute concludes that such Horatio Alger stories were, in fact, rare..... Both also confirm one of the best-known facts of modern economics: for rich and poor alike, earnings rise from the time individuals enter the work force through middle age—roughly doubling, on average—and fall after retirement.... Leading labor and tax economists said that the Treasury study did not shed much light on the matter of how much social mobility there is in America.... 'This isn't your classic income mobility', said Kevin Murphy, a labor economist at the University of Chicago. 'This is the guy who works in the college bookstore and has a real job by his early 30's'. The conflicting studies have appeared in the midst of a bareknuckled election-year debate over who won—and who lost—from Reaganomics. In a period of slow economic growth, income distribution has elbowed its way into the political arena...

Continue reading "" »


Sylvia Nasar (May 18, 1992): Rich and Poor Likely to Remain So https://www.nytimes.com/1992/05/18/business/rich-and-poor-likely-to-remain-so.html?searchResultPosition=305: "In the continuing debate over the distribution of wealth and income—the richest 1 percent of American families control more wealth than the bottom 90 percent—one school of thought says findings like this, however extreme, do not present a true picture.... Even if the raw numbers are accurate, these economists say, the portrait fails to capture the amazing fluidity and flux of American society, the hardscrabble beginnings of many a millionaire, from Bobby Bonilla to Ross Perot. And the richest person in America these days is not a Rockefeller or a du Pont but William Gates, founder of the Microsoft Corporation, the leading software company. But... rags-to-riches remains the economic exception, not the rule.... If anything, economists say, the climb out of poverty has become harder in the last decade or two...

Continue reading "" »


Sylvia Nasar (May 11, 1992): The Richest Getting Richer: Now It's a Top Political Issues https://www.nytimes.com/1992/05/11/business/the-richest-getting-richer-now-it-s-a-top-political-issue.html: "When Bill Clinton wants to galvanize his audience, he thunders from the podium that the top 1 percent of families got 60 percent of the gains from economic growth during the 1980's and owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. Governor Clinton, the likely Democratic Presidential nominee, had been searching for months for facts to illustrate his claim that America's middle class benefited little from 12 years of Republican rule. The explosion of riches at the top struck him as a perfect vehicle. Not only did the widening gap between the rich and the rest of Americans conflict with traditional notions of democracy, but it also went right to the pocketbook sources of middle-class discontent...

Continue reading "" »


Sylvia Nasar (March 5, 1992): The 1980's: A Very Good Time for the Very Rich https://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/05/business/the-1980-s-a-very-good-time-for-the-very-rich.html: "An outsized 60 percent of the growth in the average after-tax income of all American families between 1977 and 1989—and an even heftier three-fourths of the gain in average pretax income—went to the wealthiest 660,000 families, each of which had an annual income of at least 310,000 a year, for a household of four... giving them 13 percent of all family income, up from 9 percent. The average pretax income of families in the top percent swelled to 560,000 from 315,000, for a 77 percent gain in a dozen years, again in constant dollars. At the same time, the... American family... smack... at the median... saw its income edge up only 4 percent, to 36,000.... 'We know that productivity has increased since 1977 and that more people are working', said Paul Krugman, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author of The Age of Diminished Expectations.... 'Where did all that extra income go? The answer is that it all went to the very top'.... The broad pattern disclosed by the latest data is not in dispute, but the reasons for the shift are...

Continue reading "" »


Sylvia Nasar (February 14, 1992): Economic Scene; Puzzling Poverty Of the 80's Boom https://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/14/business/economic-scene-puzzling-poverty-of-the-80-s-boom.html: "In at least one vital dimension, the 80's were totally unlike the 60's. The official poverty rate, which counts the number of people whose income falls short of some minimum level, did not come down as the economy rose. While poverty shrank by a quarter in those golden Kennedy-Johnson years, it was actually higher at the end of the Reagan boom than in 1979.... How come trickle-down economics did not work last time around, especially given that the unemployment rate fell by half, or more than five full percentage points, from 1983 to 1989? Some bright young labor economists—two at Harvard, one at Princeton—have taken a look at a variety of explanations and offered some intriguing ones of their own.... David Cutler and Lawrence Katz point out in 'Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged'... the fact that... benefits are excluded is irrelevant to the 80's because such benefits did not grow much in that decade.... Perhaps poor people were living high and hiding more of their off-the-books income?... Mr. Katz and Mr. Cutler discover... 10 percent based on consumption as compared with 13 percent based on reported income in 1988.... But, even on this measure, poverty did not decline in the 80's.... Labor's share of the economic pie, about two-thirds, did not shrink an iota in the union-busting 80's.... A widening disparity between low-wage and high-wage workers is to blame.... Not only did jobs in manufacturing, where unskilled workers used to be able to earn premium pay, shrink as a share of total jobs, but within virtually every industry, demand for unskilled workers either slipped or grew more slowly than for workers with more to offer...

Continue reading "" »


Very Briefly Noted 2019-10-07:

  1. clearkimura: How to Convert Document from Google Docs to Text File https://askubuntu.com/questions/998384/how-to-convert-document-from-google-docs-to-text-file: "No need to pipe to other program to convert the file. You can download from Google Docs in any supported format, by using the existing parameters in the URL address: https://docs.google.com/document/d/FILE_ID/export?format=FORMAT; where: FILE_ID is string ID of target file and; FORMAT is file format of choice i.e. txt.... Then, downloading the document from Google Docs as text file is straightforward by using wget or a web browser. Both methods will download the document as text file as expected.... In terms of documentation, the only relevant guide I found was this dated blog post circa 2014. There is this page of developer guide for Google Drive but not useful as it is. That is all...

  2. Gustave Dore: Inferno Illustrations http://www.templarinfernobookreview.com/inferno_illustrations_dore.htm

  3. Nasir Tyabji: Review by "MITI and the Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial Policy, 1925-75" by Chalmers Johnson https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/robert-shiller-discusses-narrative-economics/id730188152?i=1000452370005...

  4. Scott Lemieux: BREAKING! Access to Health Care Improves Health Outcomes http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/10/breaking-access-to-health-care-improves-health-outcomes: "This may seem like 'studies report that water is wet', except for the cadre of know-nothing libertarian hacks determined to deny the obvious, and whose mission to take health coverage away from as many people as possible may yet succeed...

  5. Scott Lemieux: The Infuriating Bad Faith of Arguments That Health Insurance Doesn't Improve Health Outcomes http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/06/infuriating-bad-faith-arguments-health-insurance-doesnt-improve-health-outcomes: "It’s like, how much more McArdle could this be?: 'Republicans want to kill you. Worse than that, they want to kill you so that they can give your money to rich people who don’t need it'. Why, yes. This is entirely accurate. Well, actually, 'you' should be replaced with 'poor people'—the typical McArdle reader isn’t very likely to have their access to healthcare being put at risk...

Continue reading "" »


Wikipedia: Ötzi the Iceman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi: "Born near the present village of Feldthurns (Velturno), north of Bolzano, Italy. Died c. 3300 BCE (aged about 45) Ötztal Alps, near Hauslabjoch on the border between Austria and Italy.... Currently, it is believed that Ötzi bled to death after the arrow shattered the scapula and damaged nerves and blood vessels before lodging near the lung..... Ötzi was 160 centimetres (5 ft 3 in) tall, weighed about 50 kilograms (110 lb), and was about 45 years of age.... Analysis of pollen, dust grains and the isotopic composition of his tooth enamel indicates that he spent his childhood near the present village of Feldthurns, north of Bolzano, but later went to live in valleys about 50 kilometres farther north...

Continue reading "" »


Giovanni Federico and Antonio Tena-Junguito: The World Trade Historical Database https://voxeu.org/article/world-trade-historical-database: "Global trade data for periods prior to WWII are notoriously incomplete and unreliable. This column describes a new dataset of historical world trade that addresses many of these flaws. The World Trade Historical Database comprises imports and exports for polities beginning in 1800, and also includes international prices for 190 products, freight rates, and exchange rates, where available. Though focused on aggregate trade, the data include information on the composition of trade from numerous sources...

Continue reading "" »


Richard Grabowski (2002): East Asia, Land Reform and Economic Development https://delong.typepad.com/land-reform.pdf: "In trying to explain the economic success of East Asia (Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) reference is often made to the fact that all three of these countries had extensive land reforms. These land reforms are thought to haue significantly contributed to the rapid growth of the region by eliminating the landlord class and providing the basis for an equitable distribution of the benefits of growth...

Continue reading "" »


Gary Forsythe: A Critical History of Early Rome: "Perhaps the single most intriguing site of the late and final Bronze Age in Italy (c. thirteenth to eleventh centuries B.C.) is that of Frattesina located in the eastern part of the Po Valley. By prehistoric standards it was quite large, 700 by 190 yards, an area of 27.5 acres, and its remains show that it was an industrial community that refined metal, fashioned deer antler into tools, and produced colored glass beads, making it the earliest known site in Italy to manufacture glass. Ivory, amber, and fragments of ostrich eggs have been uncovered there as well.... The progressive and innovative character of Bronze-Age northern Italy is further demonstrated by the fact that during the thirteenth century B.C. the spring safety pin was invented, probably in the area between Lake Garda and the Austrian Alps. Termed a 'fibula' by modern archaeologists from its Latin name, the pin was henceforth used throughout antiquity to fasten at the shoulder or chest a garment wrapped about the body. Fibulae are therefore often found in graves, and the changing decorative style of their catch-plates provides archaeologists with valuable information for dating and concerning possible artistic influence...

Continue reading "" »