Assorted Links (8/5/2010)

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

Nature or nurture: What determines investor behavior

Here’s the abstract from this fascinating article: “Using data on identical and fraternal twins’ complete financial portfolios, we decompose the cross-sectional variation in investor behavior. We find that a genetic factor explains about one-third of the variance in stock market participation and asset allocation. Family environment has an effect on the behavior of young individuals, but this effect is not long-lasting and disappears as an individual gains experience. Frequent contact among twins results in similar investment behavior beyond a genetic factor. Twins who grew up in different environments still display similar investment behavior. Our interpretation of a genetic component of the decision to invest in the stock market is that there are innate differences in factors affecting effective stock market participation costs. We attribute the genetic component of asset allocation—the relative amount invested in equities and the portfolio volatility—to genetic variation in risk preferences.”

Unions and the Obama Administration

Here’s the latest from Gary S. Becker, 1992 Nobel economics laureate, on the topic of unions and the Obama administration: “Are the Democratic-controlled Congress and President Obama very much pro union? Unquestionably. Do the economic effects of unions on the welfare of workers as a whole justify that union bias? No. Has their pro-union orientation seriously retarded the recovery from the recession? Probably…”

Housing markets: Doomed to repeat history

“Now, qualified homebuyers in the three states pioneering Affordable Advantage do not need to put down the 3.5 percent minimum down payment required by the Federal Housing Administration, or much of a down payment at all. They can get 100 percent financing — a loan as big as the purchase price of…”

Art Sales Revive From Their Swoon –

“It looks like the art market’s Blue Period is over. A year and a half after art prices plunged, the world’s chief auction houses say they have recaptured much of their pre-recession momentum.”

Daniel Henninger: The Great-Guy Theory of History –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger writes that Charlie Rangel forgot that America’s voters want more than a great guy.”

GM’s Latest Nemesis: VW –

“Holman Jenkins writes in The Wall Street Journal that the real test will be whether GM can go forward and adapt successfully to a relentlessly competitive market.”

Betsy McCaughey: ObamaCare and the Constitution—An Update –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Betsy McCaughey notes that a federal court has denied the government’s motion to dismiss the challenge to the health reform law. Courts will have to take the arguments against the law more seriously.”

Dorothy Rabinowitz: Liberal Piety and the Memory of 9/11 –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Dorothy Rabinowitz says the enlightened class can’t understand why the public is uneasy about the Ground Zero mosque.”

More U.S. Children Being Diagnosed With Youthful Tendency Disorder

“REDLANDS, CA–Nicholas and Beverly Serna’s daughter Caitlin was only four years old, but they already knew there was a problem.

Obamacare Only Looks Worse Upon Further Review: Kevin Hassett

“The new law creates 68 grant programs, 47 bureaucratic entities, 29 demonstration or pilot programs, six regulatory systems, six compliance standards and two entitlements. Getting that massive enterprise up and running will be next to impossible. So Democrats streamlined the process by granting Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius the authority to make judgments that can’t be challenged either administratively or through the courts.”

American Thinker: Paul Krugman Gives Up “A marvelous thing happened over on Paul Krugman’s blog at the New York Times last week. Krugman effectively conceded defeat on a range of economic debates. Who defeated him? People who posted comments on his New York Times blog. Mere commenters.”

Texas: The lone star

“AMERICA’S recession has been a bad one, but it’s been much worse in some states than in others. The downturn in the West and Midwest has been long and deep. In the plains and on the East Coast, the recession was a bit milder and ended sooner. And among large states, no one matched Texas…”

Paul E. Peterson and Martin R. West: African-Americans for Charter Schools –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Paul E. Peterson and Martin R. West write that new survey data show black support for charters is on the rise. So why is the NAACP opposed?”

Virginia & the ObamaCare Legal Challenge –

“The Wall Street Journal writes that a U.S. district judge rejected the Administration’s argument that one of the key Constitutional challenges should be dismissed outright.”

Bret Stephens: Is Afghanistan Worth It? –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Global View columnist Bret Stephens writes that the U.S. cannot remain a superpower if the suspicion takes root that we are a feckless nation.”