Assorted Links (11/27/2011)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading (and videos that I have been viewing) lately:

How the Dow Distorts the History of Wall Street: Echoes

“On Nov. 23, 1954, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, after 25 long years, finally surpassed the high it had hit on Sept. 3, 1929. It remains, by far, the longest period between new highs on the Dow in the 115-year history of the index. And the story behind that long recovery tells us a lot about how statistics can distort our view of the past.”

Intrade Update: The Gingrich Surge

“Intrade odds for Gingrich are up to an all-time high of 19.3% and Romney’s odds are down to 60.6%, the lowest since early October…” I have blogged extensively over the years about how useful prediction markets such as can be in assessing political events (e.g., election outcomes), as well as various other kinds of contingent events related to the economy, climate, entertainment, scientific discoveries, etc.; see for various examples. It remains to be seen whether Gingrich continues to gain on Romney or whether he is yet another in a long line of GOP “flavors of the day”. Also, for what it’s worth, currently puts the odds that the Democratic Party will win the presidency in 2012 at 50.6% and the odds that the Republican Party will win the presidency in 2012 at 46.5%…

George Will: Privatize the Postal Service

“Today, the U.S. Postal Service, whose financial condition resembles that of the federal government, of which the USPS is another ailing appendage, is urging cancellation of Saturday deliveries, perhaps en route to three-days-a-week delivery.”

Faith Matters Sunday: The Jewish Discovery of Jesus | Via Meadia

“Years ago I had some friends in a klezmer band in New Orleans; one of the members of the band was an African American musician whose church was so taken with the music that they wanted to produce a klezmer gospel album.  This unfortunately never happened, but something almost as remarkable has just been published by Oxford University Press: The Jewish Annotated New Testament.”

Freakonomics » The Inefficiency of Local Food

“Two members of Congress earlier this month introduced legislation advancing a food reform movement promising to help resolve the great environmental and nutritional problems of the early 21st century. The intent is to remake the agricultural landscape to look more like it did decades ago. But unless the most basic laws of economics cease to hold, the smallholder farming future envisioned by the local farming movement could jeopardize natural habitat and climate change mitigation efforts, while also endangering a tenuous and temporary victory in the battle against human hunger.”

Mayans Call the Stock Market

“Maybe there’s something to this Mayan calendar, end-of-the-world-in-2012 thing. Al Lewis thinks the ancients concluded the world would end badly once the debt-laden global financial machinery unwound.”

Dostoyevsky on Gratitude

“Wonderful passage on gratitude from ‘The Brothers Karamozov’…One of the best paths to both truth and happiness is to learn to be grateful to be proven wrong.”

Memo to the Occupy protesters: here are ten things we evil capitalists really think

Hat tip to University of Michigan economics professor Mark J. Perry for this article (cf. I particularly appreciate the following quote: “There is a world of difference between being pro-market and being pro-business. Sometimes, the two positions happen to coincide; often they don’t.”

Cairo: Paris of the East?

“With the accelerating euro crisis in Europe, the geopolitical revolution in Asia and increasing doubts about the Chinese economy, the increasingly misnamed Arab Spring sometimes has to struggle for airtime these days.  But the struggle in Egypt has entered a new phase, one which will test the strength of the various groups struggling to control the country in the wake of President Mubarak’s fall from power.”

The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin

“Wired follows the story of Bitcoin, the virtual currency you can actually spend—if it doesn’t get stolen first.”

Milton Friedman – Redistribution of Wealth

“Milton Friedman clears up misconceptions about wealth redistribution, in general, and inheritance tax, in particular.”  Hat tip to Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, who hat tips University of Michigan economist Mark Perry for pointing to this classic video of Milton Friedman opining on the question of the redistribution of wealth…

Milton Friedman Schools Young Idealist

A second tip of the hat to Mark Perry by way of Greg Mankiw for pointing to this classic video of Milton Friedman opining on the role of government in a free society…

Tracking Europe’s Bond Yields—Interactive Graphic

“See how yields on 10-year bonds have risen in the economic crisis. Rising yields signal a lack of trust in a government’s ability to pay off the debt; yields above 6% are particularly risky.”

Roger McNamee: Six ways to save the internet

“The next big shift is now, and it’s not what you think: Facebook is the new Windows; Google must be sacrificed. At TEDxSantaCruz, tech investor Roger McNamee presents 6 bold ways to prepare for the next internet.”

China Open to Canadian Oil

“This is what bad energy policy looks like: as the US dithers over Canadian tar sands oil, China is ready to buy. Access to reliable oil from a friendly neighboring country like Canada is one of America’s greatest geopolitical blessings. Throwing this away would be the height of folly…”

The New Tammany Hall

“Matthew Kaminski interviews economic historian Fred Siegel on Occupy Wall Street, public unions, and the future of New York in The Wall Street Journal.”

Send These, the Homeless, Tempest-Tost to Me: I’m Thankful for Immigrants

“Let’s give thanks for immigrants past, present, and future.”

The Grover Norquist tax myth

Quoting from Charles Krauthammer’s essay, “Raising revenue through tax reform is better than simply raising rates, which Democrats insist upon with near religious fervor. It is more economically efficient because it eliminates credits, carve-outs and deductions that grossly misallocate capital. And it is more fair because it is the rich who can afford not only the sharp lawyers and accountants who exploit loopholes but the lobbyists who create them in the first place.”

Are the Unemployed Victims of Discrimination?

“In The Wall Street Journal, Michael Saltsman writes that the push is on to make the jobless a new protected legal class, but there’s little evidence to justify it.”

How America Can Escape the Energy Trap

“In The Wall Street Journal, Mortimer Zuckerman writes that our soaring natural gas production has already helped cut the share of oil consumption met by imports to 47% last year from 60% in 2005.”

Stringing Up Gibson Guitar

“In The Wall Street Journal, Potomac Watch columnist Kimberley Strassel writes about the federal raids on Gibson Guitar, set in motion by environmentalists and trade protectionists coming together to trap American businesses.” This is a fascinating case study of unintended economic consequences of well meaning, but often overly complicated laws and regulations…

Fairness and the ‘Occupy’ Movement

“Arthur Brooks writes in the Wall Street Journal that the Occupy Wall Street protesters are on firm ground when they denounce those who get rich because of their political pull.”

Assorted Links (11/23/2011)

Here’s a list of articles (and podcasts) that I have been reading (listening to) lately:

The Truth Is Out There…Isn’t It? A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Freakonomics authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner “…try to answer a few fundamental questions: how do we know that what we believe is true? How do we decide which information to trust? And how do we quantify risk — from climate change to personal investments?” What results is a very interesting discussion concerning confirmation bias and the nature of risk and uncertainty. They discuss how even the smartest people can be duped into bad risk assessments, and how cultural values (often more than science) shape public risk perceptions.

CBO: Stimulus hurts economy in the long run

“The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday downgraded its estimate of the benefits of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package, saying it may have sustained as few as 700,000 jobs at its peak last year and that over the long run it will actually be a net drag on the economy.”

U.S. Political Ideology Stable With Conservatives Leading

From the Gallup organization, “Americans’ political ideology at the midyear point of 2011 looks similar to 2009 and 2010, with 41% self-identifying as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 21% as liberal.”

Mystery of Dead Sea Scroll Authors Possibly Solved

“The Dead Sea Scrolls may have been written, at least in part, by a sectarian group called the Essenes, according to nearly 200 textiles discovered in caves at Qumran, in the West Bank, where the religious texts had been stored.”

Handicapping ObamaCare’s Day in Court

“There is an older vintage of the Constitution in exile that might need to make an encore appearance.”

Congressional Republicans’ strategic shift on taxes

“The most significant element of the failed Super Committee negotiations is that Republicans offered to cross the no-net-tax-increase line in exchange for structural entitlement reform or structural tax reform and a permanent answer on tax rates.”

The President’s missed opportunities for deficit reduction

“In a politically balanced Congress, is significant deficit reduction possible without Presidential leadership or even involvement?”

And the Fair Land

“‘For all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators.”

It’s Still Possible to Cut Spending—Here’s How

“In The Wall Street Journal, Glenn Hubbard writes that the obvious place to begin is the repeal of ObamaCare, then we need to empower the states, streamline the federal government and modernize Medicare and Social Security.”

If Only Obama Had Been This Guy

“In The Wall Street Journal, Business World columnist Holman W. Jenkins Jr. writes that President Jimmy Carter at least did not substitute his priorities for the nation’s.”

Khan Academy finance videos

I am a big fan of the Khan Academy finance videos which are located at; these videos do a great job of effectively presenting many of the most important concepts which are typically covered in undergraduate and MBA level finance curricula. Khan Academy also covers many other important topics other than finance; I love the following quote from the Khan Academy’s home page: “With a library of over 2,700 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and 240 practice exercises, we’re on a mission to help you learn what you want, when you want, at your own pace.”

Assorted Links (11/19/2011)

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

The 25 Worst Passwords of 2011

Here are the 25 worst passwords: “1. password, 2. 123456, 3. 12345678, 4. qwerty, 5. abc123, 6. monkey, 7. 1234567, 8. letmein, 9. trustno1, 10. dragon, 11. baseball, 12. 111111, 13. iloveyou, 14. master, 15. sunshine, 16. ashley, 17. bailey, 18. passw0rd, 19. shadow, 20. 123123, 21. 654321, 22. superman, 23. qazwsx, 24. michael, 25. football”.

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 16 of Hayek’s 1948 collection, Individualism and Economic Order; in particular, it is from Hayek’s deep and profound 1945 lecture “Individualism: True and False”: There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal. While the first is the condition of a free society, the second means, as De Tocqueville described it, “a new form of servitude.””

Freddie’s Friend Newt

“In The Wall Street Journal, Business World columnist Holman Jenkins writes about Newt Gingrich and Freddie Mac.”

The Biomedical Century

“Joe Rago interviews John Lechleiter in The Wall Street Journal about the regulatory and medical challenges that drug manufacturers face.”

A Caveman Won’t Beat a Salesman

“Obama is somber but unserious, Peggy Noonan writes. Glib unseriousness isn’t the answer.”

Down and Out on $250,000 a Year

“A family of four with an annual income of $250,000 may be in the top 2.9 percent of earners. But after taxes and basic expenses, they are far from the affluent family they may seem to be.”

The Dynamics of Firm Lobbying

This Harvard Business School study finds the following: “1) Few firms lobby, even among publicly traded firms, only 10 percent of the firms in this sample. 2) Lobbying is strongly related to firm size — larger firms participate more than smaller ones. 3) The probability that a firm lobbies in the current year given that it lobbied in the previous year is 92 percent. 4) Up-front costs associated with beginning to lobby may be a deterrent for firms that do not lobby. 5) The persistence induced by these costs … raise the prospects of regulatory capture (”

The Voucher Revolution

“In this essay, the author blends prediction with prescription to paint a vivid picture of what American education will look like in 2030. The essay is from an online publication of the Hoover Institution’s Koret Task Force on K-12 Education, American Education in 2030.”

Obama’s politically strategic inaction

Charles Krauthammer writes, “Obama changes “Yes We Can” to “We Can’t Wait.””

The Technocratic Nightmare

“The European Union is an attempt to build an economic and legal superstructure without a linguistic, cultural, historic and civic base. No wonder it’s in crisis.”

Steven Chu, Energy CEO

“In The Wall Street Journal, Potomac Wach columnist Kimberley Strassel write about Energy Secretary Steven Chu and the Obama administration’s philosophy of government.”

Obama Abandons (Private) Labor

“In The Wall Street Journal, Wonder Land columnist Daniel Henninger writes that President Obama’s decision to delay the Keystone pipeline symbolizes the Democratic Party’s growing abandonment of blue-collar workers.”

Another ObamaCare Glitch

“In The Wall Street Journal, Jonathan H. Adler and Michael F. Cannon write that Congress made a legal mistake while rushing through the health law, and now it’s come back to haunt the administration.”

To Increase Jobs, Increase Economic Freedom

“In The Wall Street Journal, John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods, writes that business is not a zero-sum game—when a business grows it creates value for all of its major stakeholders, including employees and communities.”

The Keystone Debacle

“In The Wall Street Journal, Lucian Pugliaresi writes that the decision to delay the Keystone XL pipeline may be politically unwise for President Obama, as it will disrupt U.S.-Canadian trade flows that have grown thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

Tiny tech titan

Check out this TED Talks video featuring 12-year-old Thomas Suarez who programs in Java, C, and Python and owns his own iPhone and iPad app company called CarrotCorp. He literally has a “killer app” called Bustin Jieber! Hat tip to my bro John Garven for pointing this video out to me…

Assorted Links (11/15/2011)

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

Economic Law vs. Occupy Wall Street

Interesting things are happening these days at Harvard, with a student “walkout” in professor Greg Mankiw’s principles of economics course; the students were apparently objecting to the “conservative” nature of microeconomics.  “The protestors probably should have stayed in class, because their open letter to the professor betrays a formidable level of economic ignorance. It’s highly doubtful that any of these students have actually taken the time to understand the logic behind the laws of supply and demand… ”

The 1% Across Space And Time

Apparently the growing income share of the top 1 percent is not a uniquely American phenomenon. A graph posted by Princeton economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman at shows the income share of the top 1 percent in the United Kingdom from 1908-2010. Basically the graph is U-shaped, with high (in the 15–20% range) income shares for the top 1 percent in the earlier and later periods of that century and lower income shares in between (e.g., in 1978 it was 6%, compared with roughly 15% in 2010).  Harvard economist Greg Mankiw (see notes that “You find a similar U-shaped pattern in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand but much less so in France, Germany, Japan, and Sweden”.

Catholic Losses Are Baptist Gains

“In the zero-sum game of competitive markets, one company’s misstep is often a rival’s gain. But what about in the marketplace of religion?”

Supreme Court will hear health care case this term

“The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear arguments next March over President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul — a case that could shake the political landscape as voters are deciding if Obama deserves another term.”

Obama’s Oil Abdication

“In The Wall Street Journal, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski writes that Cuba, Mexico, the Bahamas, Canada and Russia are all moving ahead on offshore oil projects adjacent to our borders.”

The growing US jobs challenge

“It could take more than five years—longer than after any postwar downturn—to replace the millions of jobs lost to the 2008–09 recession. How can the US rev up its job creation engine?”

The Devil and Joe Paterno

“When a life of virtue becomes an excuse for extraordinary vice.”

Listen Up, Boomers: The Backlash Has Begun

In an excellent essay, Walter Russell Mead calls out the boomer generation for its culture of narcissism and entitlement…

Assorted Links (11/12/2011)

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

Moody’s warns Penn State’s bond rating could be downgraded because of sex abuse scandal

“A major credit agency warns that Penn State University’s bond rating could be downgraded because of risks to its reputation and finances from a child sex abuse scandal.”

The Bystander Effect at Penn State: Why Some Witnesses to Crime Do Nothing

“From an interesting article in Time magazine: The grand jury investigation that resulted in 40 counts of child abuse against Penn State’s former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, has raised profoundly unsettling psychological and moral questions about the actions — or lack thereof — of others involved in the case.”

Generation Jobless: What Hedge Funds Can Teach College Students

“Investors who analyze the student loan market have surprising insights into college graduates’ employment prospects. Tip No. 1: Don’t go to law school.” Quoting further from this article, “Historically, investors have assumed 25% to 30% of student loans bundled into their bonds will default. But today they are baking in between 30% and 40% default rates among the current crop of graduates …Even those assumptions are a best guess and defaults could ultimately go higher if unemployment rises.” On a related note, see for the “Student Loan Debt Clock” (which is closing in on $1 trillion)…

No Business for Old Men

“In The Wall Street Journal, Business World columnist Holman Jenkins writes that the downside of longevity gets a workout at Penn State and Olympus.” Comparing governance (non)practices at places like Penn State and Olympus with most of the rest of the “real” world, Mr. Jenkins makes a compelling argument in favor of “…relying more upon impersonal mechanisms of accountability that actually reinforce the desired behavior, rather than simply demanding it from a pulpit.”

Happy Valley Now the Heart of Darkness

“A firestorm has engulfed what was once a great university — and in the process it has destroyed the reputation of a great coach.”

Pipeline decision signals U.S. not open for business

“So much for the U.S. being the bastion of free enterprise and respecting due process.”

The Government and the Guitar Man

“In The Wall Street Journal, Nancy deWolf Smith interviews Henry Juszkiewicz, as the guitar maker for the stars talks about making instruments, why audio equipment isn’t dead, and watching federal agents storm his office.”

The unions are the worst thing that ever happened to education

According to Steve Jobs, “I’d like the people teaching my kids to be good enough that they could get a job at the company I work for, making a hundred thousand dollars a year. Why should they work at a school for thirty-five to forty thousand dollars if they could get a job here at a hundred thousand dollars a year?”

The Undeserving One Percent? – Raghuram Rajan

“Reading some economists, it might seem that the answer to all current problems is to tax the richest 1% and redistribute to everyone else. But if governments tax their rich more, they should do it with the aim of improving access and opportunity for all, rather than as a punitive measure to rectify an imagined wrong.”

The 2011 elections: A split decision

“Between now and 2012, things can go either way.”

Social Order? There’s No App for That – Forbes

“There is, however, the market process.”

Taxing Stock Trades Will Hurt Main Street

“In The Wall Street Journal, Yakov Amihud and Haim Mendelson say that a securities transaction tax will drive down stock and bond prices and hurt investment.” Professors Amihud and Mendelson are bona fide experts on “market microstructure” (cf., having worked for the past quarter century writing seminal journal articles in this area, so their opinion actually does matter…

Assorted Links (11/10/2011)

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

Students Pick Easier Majors Despite Less Pay

“College students continue to gravitate toward liberal-arts majors despite better pay prospects for those who study engineering, science and math—disciplines deemed too rigorous for many.”

Toll on Parents When Kids Return Home

“Many young adults find themselves still tethered to the Bank of Mom and Dad and living at home, and that dependence is taking a toll.”

Intrade – Rick Perry to be Republican Presidential Nominee in 2012 is 5.0% probable

Last night’s GOP debate apparently has resulted in a major sell-off of Perry for president futures contracts, which now indicate only a 5% chance of winning the GOP presidential nomination…

Want to Make a Banker s Day? Yank Your Deposits

“There’s bad news for those who withdrew funds on Bank Transfer Day to punish the targets of their ire. Most banks don t really need their money — at least not right now.” Tip of the hat to my Baylor colleague David VanHoose for pointing this article out to me – this is quite ironic indeed!

I Was Wrong, and So Are You

“A libertarian economist retracts a swipe at the left—after discovering that our political leanings leave us more biased than we think.” Dan Klein on the importance of avoiding confirmation bias and groupthink…

Three Cheers for Income Inequality

Excellent essay by NYU law professor Richard Epstein; see for a proof in support of professor Epstein’s thesis…

Higher Education Tip-Toes Toward Real Reform?

“Could the growing crisis in American academia be eliciting some smart thinking from the inside? Maybe so.”

Ditching the Ivy League

“According to the Wall Street Journal, the rising cost of a college education and the impact of the recession is causing even wealthy, affluent students to consider state and local schools over their more prestigious and expensive competition.”

The Public-Union Albatross

“In The Wall Street Journal, Philip K. Howard examines what it means when 90% of an agency’s workers retire with disability benefits.”

The Realtor Subsidy –

“The Wall Street Journal highlights crony capitalism on parade, featuring the National Association of Realtors lobbying for higher limits on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan guarantees.”

132 American Economists Say GOP Jobs Strategy Better Than “Stimulus” for Job Creation in Both Short-

131 of my closest American economist friends and I agree on this!…

Mario Vargas Llosa: Literature and the Search for Liberty –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa writes that what is lost on collectivists is the prime importance of individual freedom for societies to flourish and economies to thrive.”

Student Body Left

“The Wall Street Journal writes that the President wants everyone in college on Uncle Sam’s dime.”

Bloomberg’s Broken Windows

“In The Wall Street Journal, Main Street columnist William McGurn revisits the broken windows theory and writes that progressive mayors who tolerate lawlessness by Occupy Wall Street protesters are ruining their cities.”

Public School Teachers Aren’t Underpaid

“In The Wall Street Journal, Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute and Jason Richwine of Heritage Foundation present research suggesting that overall public school teacher compensation is about 52% higher than teachers could earn in private business.”

Assorted Links (11/7/2011)

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

Cadillac Pay in the Land of Lincoln

“Illinois public employees likely receive a significant pay premium over similar private sector workers.”

Occupy Wall Street Faces a Winter of Discontent

“When a vehicle parked at Wall and Broad Streets exploded, it was a deliberate attempt at mass murder. The year was 1920. Historian John Steele Gordon looks at anti-capitalist sentiment through the ages.”

Best College Majors for a Career

“Choosing the right college major can make a big difference in students’ career prospects, in terms of employment and pay. Here’s a look at how various college majors fare in the job market, based on 2010 Census data.”

The Infrastructure Death Rattle

“The incessant discussion and demand for job-creating infrastructure spending on the part of the news media, Democratic politicians, and some unreconstructed Keynesian economists is both frustrating and pathetic. It is frustrating because how many times can people repeat the same thing without listening to the objections? It is pathetic because the level of understanding is akin to pre-Newtonian physics.”

The top 1% on EconTalk

“This week’s EconTalk guest is Steven Kaplan talking about the top 1%. He and c0-author Joshua Rauh gathered as much data as they could about the composition of the top 1%. They get all of the CEO’s of publicly-traded companies, the richest hedge fund managers, Wall Street execs, athletes, celebrities and some lawyers. They miss some lawyers, some celebs, execs and owners of privately-held companies. Kaplan argues that the richest Americans today are richer than the richest Americans of the past is because of globalization (scale to use one’s talents) and technology.”

Not From The Onion

“Here’s an astounding illustration of my argument that “American students are not studying the fields with the greatest economic potential.””  According to this article, the financial returns to graduate school puppetry studies just aren’t there…

Conservatives and Social Justice

Market economies, free enterprise, and private property are important, and so their defense is also important. But as important as these ideas and institutions are, they aren’t enough for a complete account of the rights and duties in the economic sphere of our lives. Nevertheless, many conservative…

After student complaints, Utah professor denied job | Inside Higher Ed

“Some students didn’t take well to Steven Maranville’s teaching style at Utah Valley University. They complained that in the professor’s “capstone” business course, he asked them questions in class even when they didn’t raise their hands. They also didn’t like it when he made them work in teams.”

Capitalism can’t just be about money

Tim Harford takes on OWS…

The riddle of experience vs. memory

“Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our “experiencing selves” and our “remembering selves” perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy — and our own and our own self-awareness.”

Money Made Simple

This is a series of excellent, very short videos that clearly explain basic economics and finance concepts!

Assorted Links (11/5/2011)

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

You Want More Equality? Support More Capitalism

“A person can’t go but a few clicks on the Internet these days without tripping over some shocking item about the “explosion” of income inequality that has, like the dark smog of capitalistic excess, been choking the life out of this unjust nation.”

Hooray, a Financial Firm Fails!

“In The Wall Street Journal, Business World columnist Holman Jenkins writes about the failure of Jon Corzine’s MF Global company.”

Who Lost Iraq?

“Charles Krauthammer writes on NRO: Barack Obama was a principled opponent of the Iraq War from its beginning. But when he became president in January 2009, he was handed a war that was won …Obama was left with but a single task: Negotiate a new status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) to reinforce these gains and create a strategic partnership with the Arab world’s only democracy. He blew it. Negotiations, such as they were, finally collapsed last month. There is no agreement, no partnership. As of December 31, the American military presence in Iraq will be liquidated.”

Freakonomics » The Academic Origins of China’s One Child Policy

“In our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast, “Misadventures in Baby-Making,” we describe an academic paper by a Dutch mathematics professor that might have been one of the inspirations of the controversial One Child Policy in China.” This is very tragic indeed… The podcast that accompanies this article also explains, among other things, how China’s so-called “one child policy” has given rise to severe gender imbalances in some parts of China (note: this is basically a euphemism for wide-scale sex-selection abortion)…

Occupy, the Tea Party and Media Bias

Media bias: coverage of the Tea Party Movement versus the coverage of OWS

What’s the Matter With Oakland?

The ever insightful Meghan McArdle hits the nail on the head about the whole OWS “movement”…

Iniquity, Irresponsibility, and/or Incentives?

“What’s behind the recession and slow recovery?”

The Shale Gas Revolution

“The United States seems to possess a 100-year supply of natural gas, a cleaner, cheaper energy source than other fossil fuels. Will America blow this blessing?”

The GOP Candidates Square Off on Taxes

“In The Wall Street Journal, Stanford economist Michael J. Boskin writes that Republican tax proposals range from modest to bold. All include lower rates, which will stimulate growth.” Here are some interesting facts from this article: “the U.S. already has the most progressive tax system in the 34-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The top 1% of taxpayers, with 20% of income, pay 38% of income taxes, whereas 51% of Americans pay none. The U.S. has the second-highest corporate income tax rate (35% federal plus 4% average state) of any advanced economy.”

Obama’s Perplexing Populism

“In The Wall Street Journal, George Melloan writes that inflation hits lower-income people especially hard. So why is the president ignoring rising food prices?”

The Churches of Cain and Obama

“In The Wall Street Journal’s Houses of Worship column, Bishop Harry Jackson writes that theological differences between the two yield different understandings of the path to economic advancement.”

Assorted Links (11/2/2011)

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

What to Do with Super-Achievers?

“Society is better off when super-achievers do their striving within the private sector rather than in government.”

No Lehman on the Aegean

“Can we be spared a Lehman-style crisis when Greece’s hard default occurs?”

Student Loans for Dummies

“Accumulated student loan debt now totals $1 trillion. The Super Committee should fix the student loan program by requiring evidence of ability to repay guaranteed loans.”

Obama’s Weakness in Historical Context

“On a variety of indicators, President Obama has far more in common with incumbent presidents who lost their bid for reelection than with those who won.”

Obama’s Biggest Problem: Europe, Not GOP

“The more one sees of the Republican field, the more it seems clear that President Obama’s biggest problems do not come from his domestic opponents.  The more voters, even Republican voters, learn about the candidates jostling for the party’s nod, the less they like them. The more the President’s opponents campaign, the stronger the White House becomes. The primaries and caucuses that really worry the White House are happening in Europe.  Elections in Greece and caucuses in Brussels at this point will do more to determine the President’s fate in 2012 than anything that happens in Iowa or New Hampshire.”

Why We Can’t Escape the Eurocrisis

“In The Wall Street Journal, Gerald P. O’Driscoll Jr. writes that the overwhelming debt problems on either side of the Atlantic are interlinked through the banking system.”

Cooking the Books on Grandma’s Health Care

“In The Wall Street Journal, Betsy McCaughey writes that Medicare patients who get less care have a higher risk of dying—so don’t believe the hype that implies otherwise.”

A Slow-Growth America Can’t Lead the World

“In The Wall Street Journal, Stanford University economist John B. Taylor writes that after World War II, the U.S. promoted international economic growth through reliance on the market and the incentives it provides. Times have changed.”

JoePa gets record in 10-7 win against Illinois

“Joe Paterno broke Eddie Robinson’s record for victories by a Division I coach with No. 409 in Penn State’s sloppy 10-7 win against Illinois.” Joe Paterno is a class act – when asked how he felt about eclipsing (Grambling coach) Eddie Robinson’s record previous NCAA Division 1 lifetime record of 408 wins (the win over Illinois this weekend is his 409th), here’s what JoePa said: “It really is something I’ve very proud of, to be associated with Eddie Robinson.”

Luck Is Just the Spark for Business Giants

“Bill Gates and other hugely successful entrepreneurs may have had good fortune in their lives, but they knew how to turn those lucky breaks into life-changing events.”

Euro Crisis — Doubting the ‘Domino’ Effect

“In The Wall Street Journal, Stanford University’s Edward P. Lazear writes that preventing a Greek default will not reverse the lackluster growth that has plagued the other vulnerable euro-zone countries for many years now.”

What Business Wants from Washington

“In The Wall Street Journal, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney discusses the super committee’s deliberations and the need to restore confidence in the business community that Washington can lead.”

Steve Jobs’s Advice for Obama

“In The Wall Street Journal, Information Age columnist Gordon Crovitz notes that Steve Jobs’s ideas on how to bring manufacturing jobs to America were ignored by President Obama.”

What Tax Dollars Can’t Buy

“Soaking the rich can’t fix a broken government.”

The Divider vs. the Thinker

“While Obama readies an ugly campaign, Paul Ryan gives a serious account of what ails America, Peggy Noonan writes.”

The Inversion of America’s Dominant Ideology

“According to an ABC News report last week, At a million-dollar San Francisco fundraiser, …President Obama warned his recession-battered supporters that if he loses the 2012 election it could herald a new, painful era of self-reliance in America.” Sounds good to me!

Economist Kevin Murphy Talks NBA Lockout Negotiations

“We’ve written a lot about University of Chicago economist Kevin Murphy. He teaches at the Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory, where Steve Levitt is the director. Murphy was a MacArthur Genius Fellow back in 2005, and Levitt readily admits that Murphy is the smartest person he knows.”

Can you be a little less specific?

“Can you be a little less specific? …Game theorists are beginning to produce rational models of deliberate vagueness.”

How the Death Tax Hurts the Poor

“In The Wall Street Journal, economist Steven E. Landsburg says the death tax encourages the rich to pick extra fruit, leaving the trees a little barer for the rest of us.”