Wednesday , January 29 2020
Home / Tag Archives: Economic Methods

Tag Archives: Economic Methods

Don’t Be a Modal Weasel

I often hear academics say things like: “It is not necessarily the case that the evidence would support that.” Is this sentence meaningless or just trivial?  I don’t know, but I am still surprised by how many otherwise reasonable people hide behind such verbiage.  Other common examples of the defensive use of modal diction: 1. “It could be impossible.” 2. “It’s certainly possible.” 3. “It mustn’t be inherently so.” 4. “It must indeed be admitted both that it would...

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The Simple Economics of Comparative State Lying

As rumors of war smoulder, the question becomes even more important: Between two states who issue contradictory statements, which one is it safer to believe? The economic answer is, of course, the one that has the lowest incentives to lie. Keep in mind that states don’t lie, only their rulers do, and we know that it is often in their interest to, but the question remains. Answering it is not difficult, at least in some cases. In a free or just open society, the...

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Remember the NAIRU

Alex Tabarrok is convinced we’re at full employment: To begin, full employment does not mean the lowest possible unemployment rate. We are at full employment when we are at the natural rate of unemployment… When the production of apples is bigger this year than last year we don’t jump to the conclusion that last year the apple market was out of equilibrium. Similarly, the fact that unemployment was lower this year than last year does not mean that we weren’t at full...

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Psychiatry and Radical Forgiveness

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. – Matthew 5: 34 I’ve been reflecting further on this passage in Scott Alexander’s critique of my perspective on mental illness: And the others? The alcoholic who says “Yup, I’m drinking myself to death and you can’t stop me?” I agree that it is in some sense rational. It is rational because that person has so...

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The United States Killed Soleimani, Right?

Everybody seems unanimous, from the Left to the Right. MSNBC wrote: “Iran Will Retaliate for U.S. Killing of Soleimani.” The Wall Street Journal: “Tensions Rise in the Middle East After U.S. Killing of Iranian Military Leader.” Time: “Iran Has Vowed Revenge Against the U.S. for Killing Qasem Soleimani.” Fox News: “Trump Warn Iran: US has targeted “52 Iranian Sites”.” Al Jazeera: “US Kills Iran’s Qassem Soleinani in Air Strike.” NPR: “Was It Legal for the U.S. to Kill...

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My Complete Bet Wiki

By popular demand, I’ve created a publicly-viewable wiki for my Complete Bet Inventory.  From now on, I’ll edit it when I make new bets or when old bets resolve. To repeat, my track record now stands at 20/20.  Twenty of my bets have come due, and I have won every single one of them.  Six victories ago, I wrote: A guy who wins one bet could easily have gotten lucky.  But someone who wins 10 out of 10 bets – or, in my case, 14 out of 14 bets – almost certainly has...

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I Win My EU Bet

Happy New Year! Twelve years ago, I was struck by the following passage in Mark Steyn’s America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It: The U.S. government’s National Intelligence Council is predicting that the EU will collapse by 2020. I think that’s a rather cautious estimate myself. Ever since September 11, I’ve been gloomily predicting that within the next couple of election cycles the internal contradictions of the EU will manifest themselves in the usual...

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Immigration Research for the Future?

Question from an anonymous reader, reprinted with permission: Hi Bryan, First of all, I’d like to say that I really loved your new book Open Borders! It’s an amazing feat in terms of making a clear case, exploring many arguments and counter-arguments and presenting everything in a fun, engaging way. I have one question for you. After having gone through all the literature for this book, where do you think additional research is more likely to have a high marginal...

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So If Incentives Are Overrated…

New Nobelists Duflo and Bannerjee in the NYT: [E]conomists have somehow managed to hide in plain sight an enormously consequential finding from their research: Financial incentives are nowhere near as powerful as they are usually assumed to be. David’s critique is excellent.  But supposing Duflo and Bannerjee are right, I have a few questions. If incentives are overrated… 1. Is it OK to reduce penalties for tax evasion? 2. Is it OK to cut regulatory enforcement? 3. Is...

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Nobel Laureates Aim Too Low on Global Poverty

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will award the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences to Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Michael Kremer of Harvard “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.” The award reveals a deepening fault line among economists about how best to fight poverty. What’s striking about the award is that the Nobel committee gave it to the three economists specifically for addressing “smaller, more...

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