#shouldread Feed

Apropos of Wigner has many friends...: Renato Renner: It’s hard to think when someone Hadamards your brain: "Hi Scott: There are currently many who are blogging about our result, so I started to use my little quantum random number generator on my desk: outcome 0 means I don’t react to it, outcome 1 means I write a reply. For your blog the outcome was 1! Now, we are already in a situation that involves superposed agents...

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Diane Coyle: The Long Arc of UK Productivity: "Nick Crafts has a compact book... about the trajectory of the British economy... Forging Aahead, Falling Behind and Fighting Back.... Nick’s somewhat idiosyncratic–but highly plausible–view that the seeds of the country’s post-world war 2 relative decline were sown in the institutions that enabled it to perform so well during the 19th century...

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Judea Pearl: "Confounders, Colliders, and Mediators: As you surely know by now, mistaking a mediator for a confounder is one of the deadliest sins in causal inference and may lead to the most outrageous errors. The latter invites adjustment; the former forbids it..."


Antitrust law and policy is probably the most "relatively autonomous" piece of our whole legal system. The laws as enacted by Congress and signed by the President change rarely and slowly. How those laws are enforced—and how business is then conducted in the shadow of the possibility of resort to the courts for antitrust cases—changes much more radically and substantially. It is a dance of intellectual fashion, some serious benefit-cost analysis, and a great deal of lobbying and lobbying-funded motivated reasoning. My view is that the answers to the three questions Michael Kades suggests the FTC examine are: yes, no, and no, respectively. But it is very good that the FTC is thinking about this: Michael Kades: In re: Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century: "Equitable Growth suggests that the hearings include the following three topics: 1. Is monopoly power prevalent in the U.S. economy?...

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It could have happened this way—a Heisenberg: the GOP's attempts to inoculate Kavanaugh against an accusation that Christine Blasey Ford had decided not to make pubic lead them to leak enough to reporters to convince CBF to come forward: Nicole Belle: Don't Kid Yourself. The GOP KNOWS Kavanaugh Tried To Rape Someone: "Blasey Ford... sends a letter to her representative... Anna Eshoo.... Eshoo passes Blasey Ford's letter on to Dianne Feinstein.... After several back-and-forths, Blasey Ford tells Feinstein's office she does not want to be put through testifying publicly...

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Bayesian odds Brett Kavanaugh has a drinking problem at 70%: Josh Marshall: "Kavanaugh asks Sen Klobuchar multiple times if she's had alcoholic blackouts..." Jeet Heer: @HeerJeet: "For me, this exchange between Kavanaugh and Klobuchar was... I won't say triggering but it really made and impression and resonated...

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Is Any Conclusion Possible Except that Brett Kavanaugh Is a CRAZYPANTS LIAR?

Clowns (ICP)

How do you avoid the conclusion that Brett Kavanaugh is a CRAZYPANTS LIAR?: Brett Kavanaugh: “I may have met her, we did not travel in the same social circle, she was not a friend, not someone I knew...”

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A Baker's Dozen of Fairly-Recent Links

stacks and stacks of books

  1. Björn Richter, Moritz Schularick, and Ilhyock Shim: The Costs of Macroprudential Policy: "Macroprudential measures['] effects on the core objectives of monetary policy to stabilise output and inflation are largely unknown.... The output costs of changes in maximum loan-to-value ratios are rather small.... Such policies successfully reduce household and mortgage credit growth.... Central banks could be in a position to use macroprudential instruments to manage financial booms without interfering with the core objectives of monetary policy in a major way...

  2. Mark Thoma: C.V.

  3. Fandango Restaurant: "Pacific Grove...

  4. Brett Kavanaugh

    • Frank Wilhoit: [The Travesty of liberalism1709279: "Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect
    • Brad DeLong: Why Would Anybody Sane Ever, Ever Choose Brett Kavanaugh Over Amy Barrett?: "Amy Barrett has faith and principles: they do not know what the key issues will be 20 years from now, and they are scared to appoint somebody who may turn out to be like Justices Kennedy and Souter, actually have principles and faith, and so go off the reservation...
    • Stephanie Mencimer: The Many Mysteries of Brett Kavanaugh’s Finances: "Who made the down payment on his house? How did he come up with $92,000 in country club fees?...'"
    • Wikipedia: Amy Barrett
    • Wikipedia: Brett Kavanaugh
    • Neal Katyal: @neal_katyal: "Regardless of where one stands on the Kavanaugh nomination... with his former clerks, his mentoring and guidance is a model for all of us in the legal profession...
    • Paul Krugman: @paulkrugman: "The way law professors rushed to endorse Kavanaugh—who got his career start pursuing conspiracy theories...
    • Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Jessica Glenza: 'No Accident' Brett Kavanaugh's Female Law Clerks 'Looked like Models', Yale professor Told Students: "'I have no reason to believe he was saying, "Send me the pretty ones", but rather that he was reporting back and saying, "I really like so and so", and the way he described them led them to form certain conclusions"...
  5. CIA: Soviet Jokes for the DDCI

  6. Urban Dictionary: UHB: "Comes from the film Metropolitan in a bar scene where two young republicans define themselves as cultured post-modern upper-middle class sophisticates; thus, Urban Haute Bourgeoisie, or UHB. 'That girl won't date UHB, she's strictly prole; dating a frickin' electrician!'...

  7. Sententiae Antiquae: Tell Me Aristotle, Why Do We Have Butts?

  8. Wikipedia: Ken Ribet

  9. Wikipedia: Lisa Goldberg

  10. Beatrice Cherrier: Theory Vs Data, Computerization, Old Wine and New Bottles: Morgenstern and Econometric Society Fellows, 1953: "Morgenstern proposed that candidates be required to 'have done some econometric work in the strictest sense' and be 'in actual contact with data they have explored and exploited for which purpose they may have even developed new methods'...

  11. James Davis Nicoll: Why I Don't Think Lunar Catapults Will Be Useful Weapons Against Targets on Earth: "If the catapults were able to fire stuff at velocities comparable to Earth's escape velocity... the energy content of the incoming rocks is something like 6x10^7 J/kg. For comparison, fission peace enhancement devices are good for about 9x10^12 J/kg, ims, and fusion PED for 8x10^14 J/kg. It still compares well to TNT's 4.6x10^6 J/kg but note we are not talking the five to seven orders of magnitude between atomic and chemical but one order of magnitude...

  12. Ruthanna Emrys and Anne M. Pillsworth: Old Powers Rising: Nadia Bulkin’s “Pro Patria”: "The book Fileppo puts on Joseph’s desk is leatherbound, redolent of the dungeon. The King in Yellow. Sounds like a child’s book, and Joseph immediately hates the thing. Adela, however, would like to read it. Fileppo looks over dark-skinned Adela and remarks that the book hasn’t been translated yet. Grimly she says she doesn’t need it translated. She knows their former conquerors’ tongue...

  13. Center for Effective Global Action


How much of this correlation is causal? And how much is associational? I do not think we really know, in spite of studies of the build-out of broadband in France. The U.S. is a different country. Nevertheless, I for one think that it is long past time to put universal broadband in the same bucket as basic sanitation and rural electrification—as something that is part of the citizens' share of being an American: Delaney Crampton: Why accessibility to broadband matters in reducing economic inequality in the United States: "A strong correlation between household income and in-home connectivity—a pattern that persists across both rural and economically depressed urban communities...

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Cosma Shalizi (2009): Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour and Richard Scheines, Causation, Prediction and Search: "Re-read as part of preparing for my lecture on casual discovery. I spent much of the winter of 2000 working my way through the first edition, and wound up completely imprinted on its way of thinking about what causal relationships are, how we should reason about them, and how we can find them from empirical evidence... http://www.stat.cmu.edu/~cshalizi/350/lectures/31/lecture-31.pdf...

.... On causation and prediction it now has an equal in Pearl's book (and I admit the latter looks prettier), but on search, that is, on discovering causal structure, there is still no rival. Their key observation is that even though correlation does not imply causation, correlations must have causal explanations. (This idea goes back to Herbert Simon, and Hans Reichenbach [see above] at least.)

So patterns of correlations, among more than just two variables, constrain what causal structures are possible. Sometimes they constrain the causal structure uniquely, in other cases it's only partially identified by the dependencies. And of course there is always the possibility of making a mistake with limited data. But none of this is any different for causal discovery than it is for any other form of statistical inference. The great contribution of this book is showing that causal discovery can be just another learning problem. They have transformed metaphysical misery into ordinary statistical unhappiness...


#shouldread

Arindrajit Dube and friends have a pick-up discussion on how to characterize the impact of employer monopsony power: Arindrajit Dube: @arindube: "I think growing evidence suggets "laissez faire" equilibrium is monopsonistic. So shocks like de-unionization, outsourcing and eroding wage norms can push down pay in ways hard to understand with competitive lab mkts. But the shock may not be increased concentration itself...

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IMHO, this is closely akin to William Julius Wilson's "the declining significance of race"—i.e., the rising significance of class: Robert Manduca: How rising U.S. income inequality exacerbates racial economic disparities: "In 1968... median African American family income was 57 percent of the median white American family income. In 2016, the ratio was 56 percent. The utter lack of progress is striking...

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Duncan Black: Remember When Bill Clinton Ended Welfare As We Know It And Took That Off The Table Forever?: "There's barely anything resembling 'welfare' (aside from rich people welfare) but that doesn't stop them: '(CNN) Republican Rep. Jason Lewis has repeatedly demeaned recipients of welfare and government assistance, calling them "parasites" and "scoundrels," and said the black community had "traded one plantation for another.' Conservative white people believe there's a secret welfare system for black people. You cannot convince them otherwise, no matter what you do..."

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"[All of] his college acquaintances who weren't part of the hard-partying prep school crew though [Kavanaugh] was an incredible ass----. And he was an ass---- when he was working for Ken Starr and an ass---- when he was part of hacking and stealing Democrats' emails in the 2000s. And an ass---- as a judge, e.g. the SeaWorld case that Steve Greenhouse wrote about recently. That's the word David Rothkopf uses, and I think it's the word that all information, even dubious freshman memories, supports..."

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Wigner has many friends, and they can disagree: Daniela Frauchiger and Renato Renner: Quantum Theory Cannot Consistently Describe the Use of Itself. Lidia del Rio: Journal club: Frauchiger-Renner No-Go theorem for Single-World Interpretations of Quantum Theory: "In this talk I will go over the recent paper by Daniela Frauchiger and Renato Renner, "Single-World Interpretations of Quantum Theory Cannot Be Self-Consistent" (arXiv:1604.07422)...

...The paper introduces an extended Wigner's friend thought experiment, which makes use of Hardy's paradox to show that agents will necessarily reach contradictory conclusions-unless they take into account that they themselves may be in a superposition, and that their subjective experience of observing an outcome is not the whole story. Frauchiger and Renner then put this experiment in context within a general framework to analyse physical theories. This leads to a theorem saying that a theory cannot be simultaneously (1) compliant with quantum theory, including at the macroscopic level, (2) single-world, and (3) self-consistent across different agents. In this talk I will (1) describe the experiment and its immediate consequences, (2) quickly review how different interpretations react to it, (3) explain the framework and theorem in more detail...


Scott Aaronson: It’s Hard to Think When Someone Hadamards Your Brain: "So: a bunch of people asked for my reaction to the new Nature Communications paper by Daniela Frauchiger and Renato Renner, provocatively titled 'Quantum Theory Cannot Consistently Describe the Use of Itself'...

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Josh Marshall: @joshtpm: "Even before this came up, Brett Kavanaugh seems to lie a lot. The stuff with the Manny Miranda hacking scandal is what really stood out to me. Aside from denying the central accusations, he’s even more obviously lying about the ‘Renate alumni’ stuff...

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I have been a "China is unlikely to keep its model going for more than another five years—a decade tops" perma-bear since 1988. All I understand is that I do not understand the Chinese economy. I wish I did understand it: Arvind Subramanian and Josh Felman: R.I.P. Chinese Exceptionalism?: "Over the past few decades, China’s growth has appeared to violate certain fundamental laws of economics.... China’s debt keeps on rising.... For any normal country, the build-up of extensive surplus capacity would lead to sharp declines in investment and GDP growth. And that, in turn, would produce financial distress, followed by a crisis if the warning signs were ignored. But China has had a different experience...

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Simon Wren-Lewis: Another Lesson of the GFC Unlearnt: The Consensus Assignment Is Dead: "Martin writes: 'There was broadly shared understanding.... Fiscal and budgetary policy should be set to achieve microeconomic and distributive goals, and the desired share of the state in the economy; while monetary policy should take care of stabilising aggregate demand.'... This is what I call the Consensus Assignment...

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On Kavanaugh, Alexandra Petri is on fire: Alexandra Petri: The Kavanaugh Accusations Are Horseplay, You Say?: "To comment, I have a horse (not that Kavanaugh was even at the party, of course, of course): 'To Whom It May Concern: I am a horse. I know horseplay. This, my friend, is not horseplay. Ask yourself: Was someone frolicking in a beautiful, verdant field? Was a mane billowing in the breeze? Did you feel a stirring of joy in your heart for the first time in months, like a crocus bursting from the winter soil? Was a long tail flapping freely in the breeze? Was it unbelievably majestic? Was Misty of Chincoteague there?...

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Statement from James Roche: "I was Brett Kavanaugh's roommate at Yale University in the Fall of 1983. We shared a two-bedroom unit in the basement of Lawrence Hall on the Old Campus. Despite conditions, Brett and I did not socialize beyond the first few days of freshman year. We talked at night as freshman roommates do and I would see him as he returned from nights out friends. It is from this experience that I concluded that although Brett was normally reserved, he was a notably heavy drinker, even by the standards of the time...

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Duncan Black: Who Talks Like This: "I have some opinions about elite law-and The Law as a "scholarly" endeavor-which I might share sometime after a few lines of coke (joke), but something which drives me nuts is how they all talk about each other in terms of 'giant intellects' and 'intellectual prowess' and 'my friend, the jurist, has always impressed me with his deep intellect'...

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Rob Johnson and George Soros: A Better Bailout Was Possible: "A critical opportunity was missed when the burden of post-crisis adjustment was tilted heavily in favor of creditors relative to debtors.... When President Barack Obama’s administration arrived, one of us (Soros) repeatedly appealed to Summers... [for] equity injection into fragile financial institutions and... writ[ing] down mortgages to a realistic market value.... Summers objected that ... such a policy reeked of socialism and America is not a socialist country...

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Yale Students To Prof Who Denies Coaching Kavanaugh Clerks: You're Lying | HuffPost

Sara Boboltz and Emily Peck: Yale Students To Prof Who Denies Coaching Kavanaugh Clerks: You're Lying: "Yale Law School professor Amy Chua strongly denied that she told students that Brett Kavanaugh, now a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, liked his female law clerks to have a certain feminine appearance, in a statement emailed to the Yale Law community on Saturday...

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GDP has its place in our national public-sphere conversation because a new number is released roughly once a month—each quarter of the year has its own GDP number, and the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis releases "advance", "second", and "third" estimates for each quarter, and then there are benchmarking revisions. To attain an equal place in public-sphere consciousness, the distributional national accounts component would have to appear also once a month. And it is not clear to me how to do that: Equitable Growth: Measuring U.S. economic growth: "The measurement of GDP has fostered a national fixation on 'growing the pie' that ignores how growth is distributed...

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Josh Marshall: Whelan Nutbar Twitter Thread Preserved for Posterity: "We still have more questions than answers about Ed Whelan’s bizarre twitter thread that accused another Kavanaugh classmate of attacking Prof. Blasey Ford and roiled the already embattled nomination. So for those who didn’t see or would like to read through it again for clues to what happened, here’s the whole thing:

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A Baker's Dozen of Fairly-Recent Links...

stacks and stacks of books

  1. Peter Norvig: A Concrete Introduction to Probability (using Python)
  2. James Gorman: Parrots Think They’re So Smart. Now They’re Bartering Tokens for Food
  3. Paul Moses: Tackling the Wrong Problem: "Pope Benedict XVI’s Removal of Bishop William Morris...
  4. Weekend Reading: John Maynard Keynes on the "Euthanasia of the Rentier"
  5. Rachel Feintzig: Tax Change Helps Executives Afford Pricier Planes: "The recent changes to the tax code are giving business executives a new perk: the opportunity to deduct the entirety of a corporate-jet purchase.... The price of a new or used airplane purchased by a company can be a 100% write-off against its earnings. That is a major change...
  6. Robert Farley: The Queen Elizabeth Class Battleships Were Among the Best Ever Built. What If They Never Happened?
  7. Erik Berglöf: The Evolution of Globalization: "Around the turn of the century, critics of trade and capital-market liberalization had good reason to worry that emerging and developing economies would fall further behind the developing world. But the opposite happened, and now the world must worry about the trajectory of advanced economies and the fraying of multilateral arrangements...
  8. Adair Turner: Japan’s Successful Economic Model by Adair Turner: "Japan’s GDP growth lags most other developed economies, and will likely continue to do so as the population slowly declines. But what matters for human welfare is GDP per capita, and on this front, the country excels...
  9. Very, very, very, very smart: Brad Setser: Three Sudden Stops and a Surge: "Fundamentally, the crisis was a crisis of confidence in the health of the balance sheets of the great financial houses of the United States and Europe.... The line between banks and shadow banks was thin, it turned out...
  10. Martin Sandbu: Salzburg Changes Nothing: "[May] far from giving up on Chequers, will be prepared to make further concessions on the specifics to gain agreement from the EU27 on the plan’s basic principle.... Britain... will have to sign up to a permanent customs union with the EU in all but name, and accept the full force of European jurisdiction in everything to do with production and trade.... It would be a good deal for the EU for its regulatory authority to be accepted by such a big third country...
  11. Tim Duy: Fed Interest-Rate Debate Misses the Bigger Picture: "It’s better to let economic conditions dictate when to pause the monetary tightening process...
  12. Olla Cocina: "Downtown San Jose Mexican Restaurant in the historic San Pedro Square...
  13. Benjamin Wittes: Brett Kavanaugh Bears the Burden of Proof: "The question isn’t whether he can win confirmation—it’s whether he can defend against the charge he faces in a manner that is both persuasive and honorable...

#mightread

A very interesting paper. My first reaction is that the effect of salt iodization is just too large—that iodine deficiency in utero is highly unlikely to rob you of 11% of your lifetime income. Thus I suspect that something has gone wrong with the identification. But I cannot figure out what. Great kudos to Nguyen and company for being willing to put this out there for us to look at: Achyuta Adhvaryu, Steven Bednar, Anant Nyshadham, Teresa Molina, Quynh Nguyen: When It Rains It Pours: The Long-run Economic Impacts of Salt Iodization in the United States: "In 1924, The Morton Salt Company began nationwide distribution of iodine-fortified salt...

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