by Tyler Cowen
on November 23, 2010 at 11:19 am
1. Very good post on Ireland.
2. Economists working at hi-tech firms.
3. Tuataras routinely live to 100, or longer.
4. Markets in everything: dealing with your health insurance paperwork.
5. A dispute over Peter Diamond's district.
6. The world's most powerful economist.
7. Via Ireland, a good argument for a King.
8. Chalmers Johnson has passed away.
9. David Nolan, founder of the Libertarian Party, has passed away; more here.
Re: Economists working at high tech firms.
I totally agree on the need for more economists to work at high tech but really any firm.
As a lawyer, I have recommended many clients to engage an economist, not in litigation, but in restructuring how they do or don't do things, how they should react to a competitive threat, or how they should procure, how they should bid, etc.
When you start mentioning some of the more detailed and non-obvious things–combinatorial procurement auctions, meet or release clauses and mfn clauses leading to price stability, etc.,–management eyes gloss over. From whatever you may think, very highly paid executives are usually well equiped infighters and not the brightest on the block (some exceptions for some of my smaller very high tech clients).
The problem of introducing new ideas into organizations is that new ideas are a threat to a supervisor, simply because the supervisor doesn't have the time to learn, say, about auction design, and will have to delegate that to a person he/she supervises. That is a threat to authority, because how do you supervise someone who knows more than you and how do you put aside the worry that this low level specialist, if he/she suceeds, will not jump over you or be your boss.
Business is not that hospitable to new ideas, but they are quick to emulate if someone is eating their shorts. (I know I'm going to get a comment on that last line.)
That health insurance link is interesting, and tempting due to the pain of dealing with health insurance. But the price is pretty steep.
Actually, only a half-good post on Ireland.
Though Krugman is probably right that the loans won't sort out the crisis, he is blatantly wrong in conflating Ireland's problems with those of Greece and Portugal. Unlike the latter two countries, Ireland has no competitiveness problem: it just has too much debt.
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