Assorted links

by on March 3, 2012 at 11:08 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Why is the demand for Treasury securities robust?

2. If at first you do not succeed…, and here is a brief explanation of Target and Target2.

3. The value of college and university, by me.

4. Jennifer Homans remembers her husband, Tony Judt, and discusses his last book.

5. Will Wilkinson on country music, and other matters.

6. Using placebos to boost educational performance.

joe March 3, 2012 at 11:15 am

Hey Tyler, are you or Alex ever going to write about the Kochs’ lawsuit to take control of the Cato Institute? I’d be curious to hear your take on it…

Jeff March 3, 2012 at 11:48 am

I’d imagine there’s a reason he’s not commenting: http://mercatus.org/charles-koch

Cannot imagine him supporting what they (or perhaps just Charles?) are doing. Suspect his take is similar to that of Jonathan Adler: http://volokh.com/2012/03/02/koch-v-cato/

Willitts March 3, 2012 at 12:23 pm

1. It’s very obvious – foreign nations are buying our bonds to support their export promotion policies at home. They bought other assets during the bubble, but got slammed like the rest of us.

Jason March 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Your first link seems like there might be confirmation bias at work. The first graph at that link is actually talking about the tiny fiddly bit at the end of this graph:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fredgraph.png?g=5rA

The increase seems like a recovery back to the trend!

Easier to see on a log plot:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fredgraph.png?g=5rz

Another place where the basic system seems like a straight line on a log plot with fluctuations around it (like NGDP).

Zachary March 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Statistical trend is not economically meaningful. In light of that, any gains that would bring us back to statistical trend is reflective of a marginally more strong performance of the determinants.

Ron Potato March 6, 2012 at 7:07 am

That trend is only from 2008, which is the current recession, when the Fed started pumping, and when capital moved to the safer investment.

Law Schools Lie March 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Will forgot to mention the outstanding aspect of country music: it really, really sucks.

shecky March 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I guess this is why I left country music. Rather, country music left me decades ago. When I listened, it was most often about cheating and leaving, gambling, and overall the lives of marginal characters.

msgkings March 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm

It does have some of the all time great song titles:

http://www.tysknews.com/LiteStuff/cm_song_titles.htm

My favorites are 6, 16, and 18

Claudia March 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm

LSL, Seems like country music can scratch a particular itch….and some of it is excellent.

When I want to listen to (and actually understand) an upbeat or sentimental story, it can be great. For example I love listening to Godspeed (Sweetdreams) by the Dixie Chicks about raising small kids. Wil argues that country music resonates with conservatives since it celebrates tradition and the everyday. Well, liberals have plenty of everyday experiences too whether they want to admit it. Too bad he didn’t explain why it’s his driving music.

spencer March 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I suspect that demand by foreign government is not the main reason that demand for US T bonds is so strong.

Rather, it is probably much more the collapse of borrowing by individuals and businesses so that the sum of all borrowing is actually down sharply from the pre-recession peak.

As the Wall Street Journal editorial page take great pleasure in pointing out when Republicans are in the White House, the correlation between federal government debt and interest rates is negative.

DK March 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm

#3. What a weak piece. Writing that “good colleges and universities have never been more important” without addressing what “good university” is and what it means is to evade any serious consideration of the issues altogether.

Paul Brassey March 3, 2012 at 11:07 pm

It’s probably the case that college and university professors are uniquely disqualified from being able objectively to asses the value of their profession. Almost no one will conclude from any data set “My profession is worth less than I’m being paid.”

Mario Rizzo March 3, 2012 at 6:26 pm

On colleges and universities, I think a good question from a social perspective is: Can whatever is valuable in what they produce be produced more cheaply in some other way? Is government adding to this cost unnecessarily?

Neal March 3, 2012 at 6:27 pm

“Why go to college? So you get screwed less.”

Doc Merlin March 3, 2012 at 7:54 pm

“Why is the demand for Treasury securities robust?”

It isn’t. The federal reserve is buying the vast majority.

patrick w March 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm

That site about treasuries is devoid of actual content. Thanks for pointing out a few small events and then tying them abruptly together into a doomsday prediction. Terrible.

Nick C March 4, 2012 at 3:25 am

Its amazing that you note firefighters now need masters degrees without so much batting an eyelid about your claim that education is so important. Isnt this obviously evidence of Caplans education as signaling thesis? College teachs you next to nothing about being a firefighter.

sort_of_knowledgeable March 4, 2012 at 10:59 am

A masters degree for a regular firefighter may be excessive, but I note that my local community college has several courses on fire science technology designed for potential firefighters and it is apparent that firefighters need to know a lot more than your regular retail worker.

Ron Potato March 6, 2012 at 7:29 am

Right, a few subject-specific courses that do not add up to an Associate’s Degree is real similar to six years of general university.

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