Assorted Links (7/29/2010)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:

Dipping and Deflating — The American, A Magazine of Ideas

“A double-dip recession now appears all too probable, likely tipping the U.S. economy into deflation.”

SEC Says New FinReg Law Exempts It From Public Disclosure

“Under a little-noticed provision of the recently passed financial-reform legislation, the Securities and Exchange Commission no longer has to comply with virtually all requests for information releases from the public, including those filed under the Freedom of Information Act.”

Court: University Can Expel Student Who Opposes Homosexuality

“A federal judge ruled in favor of a public university who removed a Christian student over her belief that homosexuality is morally wrong. The decision, according to Julea Ward’s attorneys, could result in Christian students across the country being expelled from public university for similar views.”

The United Mistakes of America – Freakonomics Blog –

“Kathryn Schulz, the author of Being Wrong, has been guest-blogging for us about being wrong – and admitting our mistakes. Her latest post examines the historical culture of error in the United States.”

Q&A: Are Treasury Bonds Risk-Free? – Fama/French Forum

“EFF/KRF: TIPS aside, U.S. Treasury bonds and the government bonds of other countries are not now and never have been risk-free since they are subject to inflation risk. Given the current borrowing binges of governments, the temptation down the road to use inflation to kill the value of these nominal promises.”

Economic Scene – Study Rethinks Importance of Kindergarten Teachers –

“A new study found students with better teachers learned more in kindergarten — and earned more as young adults.”

Religion: Countercyclical church attendance | The Economist

“Every day, the economist Daniel Hungerman looks at the graph that hangs above his desk at the University of Notre Dame. One jagged line goes down and up. This is America’s gross domestic product since 1972. Another jagged line goes up and down. This is the religiosity of Americans over the same period.”

How the Great Recession Was Brought to an End?

A new working paper entitled “How the Great Recession Was Brought to an End“, by Princeton’s Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics, was released two days ago. In his blog posting entitled “The Impact of Another Kind of Stimulus”, New York Times reporter David Leonhardt characterizes it as “…the first serious attempt at analyzing the effect both of the stimulus programs passed by Congress and of the various financial-market policies put in place by the Fed, the Treasury and Congress” and summarizes some highlights of their analysis.  Yesterday, the New York Times published an article about the Blinder-Zandi paper entitled “In Study, 2 Economists Say Intervention Helped Avert a 2nd Depression” and also quotes Stanford professor John B. Taylor as saying that Blinder and Zandi’s empirical results were quite different from his own empirical work on the policy responses to the crisis.  Today, Professor Taylor provides a detailed critique of the Blinder-Zandi paper on his blog (see “More on the Blinder-Zandi Working Paper on the Crisis”).  Anyway, an interesting and very public academic debate is unfolding here which obviously has critically important policy implications; there’s a lot here to “chew” on!