Assorted links

by on April 7, 2010 at 6:51 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. Links to rumors of Larry Summers leaving the Obama administration.

2. Bill Simmons endorses sabermetrics.

3. Doctors with ownership of surgery center operate more often.

4. Albert Hirschmann is 95 years old today.

5. Markets in everything, end grade inflation: outsource grading to Bangalore.

6. Strip mall vacancy rate hits 10.8% — good for ethnic food?

7. Dick Thaler replies to libertarian critiques from Glen Whitman and the gentlemanly Mario Rizzo.

Andrew April 7, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I had an idea, we obviously can’t make them doctors, but let’s put all the wise guys in charge of the economy for a set period and see how they do. Oh wait…1!

E. Barandiaran April 7, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Thanks for the link to a good post on Albert Hirschmann’s main contribution. Because of his work in Colombia for decades he has been well known in several LA countries. Years ago I was surprised to see part of his life in a movie about how Varian Fry helped people to escape from the Vichy’s France during WWII.

dearieme April 7, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Re 1: “What I do know is that it would be unfortunate for the country if Larry left.” Taken in isolation, I suspect that that sentiment is wrong.

charlie April 7, 2010 at 8:38 pm

I had a wonderful talk with Hirschmann a few years about Varian Fry and his time there. Much is lost and forgotten, and I got the sense he thought it was all very youthful excess.

That movie, however, was largely unwatchable.

Anyone from Peru would also appreciate the role of the Bingham family during that time.

Another character from that time was the one who helped get us into helping the Afghan rebels — did the movie that got Charlie Wilson interested.

Small worlds.

DK April 7, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Next after grading: outsource professors. Those folks in Bangalore will almost certainly do a better job anyway.

Bill Stepp April 7, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Richard Thaler writes:

The anarchist would allow anyone to sell and eat everything. No food or restaurant inspections and no penalties even for those who knowingly sell food that makes people sick.

I stopped reading here. If he thinks libertarians
oppose legal sanctions against fraud, he really doesn’t have a clue. Does he think libertarians are okay with murder and robbery?
And at least some of us libertarians advocate a society positioned less than two ticks from anarchy; we want a completely stateless society.

Barkley Rosser April 8, 2010 at 3:18 am

Bill S.,

OK, I’ll bite. In the absence of a state, who is going to enforce the “legal sanctions” you appear to support against fraud? It seems in most anarchist lit that it is the market demonstration effect Thaler implies; people learn to avoid the bad restaurant by hearing about people getting sick who eat there.

Mario Rizzo April 8, 2010 at 6:38 am

On Thaler: Keep in mind that Glen and I have two articles — one that shows that paternalists cannot meet the knowledge requirements to help people make better choices by their own (the peoples’) standards. The other is the slippery slope argument made at Cato Unbound. The forum is about the latter topic. But the two points go together: (1) Libertarian paternalists cannot do what they claim or desire to do and (2) When they try they set in motion slippery slope processes.

Rob April 8, 2010 at 9:07 am

re doctors with ownership of surgery center operate more often

Perhaps doctors who perform lots of surgeries are more likely to invest in surgery centers? If anything, since doctors are usually paid on a pre-procedure basis, doctors who perform more surgeries have more cash on hand available for investing.

sm April 8, 2010 at 12:12 pm

I attended an interesting seminar recently by Laurence Baker from Stanford on a similar topic as the doctors/surgery link. Doctors that purchased an MRI increased the number of MRIs by something like 30% compared to a control group of traditional users. I forget the details but I remember finding the analysis to be very convincing. http://healthpolicy.stanford.edu/events/economic_incentives_diffusion_of_mri_and_ct_and_social_welfare/

Barkley Rosser April 8, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Mario,

I asked this over on Coordination Problem, but neither you nor Glen (nor anybody else) has
replied. Given that there do exist in many situations in the real world default setups,
particular for employer-managed savings plans, do you two oppose making those default plans
be “as good” for the agents as possible? Or do you oppose having any such default plans and
demand that agents always make a choice, or that there be no such plans at all, since part of
the problem of default plans arises when agents refuse to make a choice?

Note, this point does not support the “bathmophobic” arguments of Thaler, nor does it deny
that there is a danger of a slippery slope.

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