Assorted links

by on October 8, 2012 at 11:52 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Anti-Gangnam markets in everything.

2. Some remaining problems for self-driving cars (temporary road signs, snow, going in reverse).

3. Swedish lunch egalitarianism, and some policy lessons from Sweden.

4. Draft version of new Jeff Hummel book on war as the health of the state.

5. Monsanto seed patent case to get Supreme Court review, lots at stake here.

6. Bloggers and economists are failing on immigration.

axa October 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm

#6: so, alex & you are ahead the curve?

Kyle October 8, 2012 at 3:54 pm

The farmer should just claim that since he doesn’t live in California the GMO seeds weren’t labelled, and there’s really no difference between GMO and normal seeds anyway.

KLO October 8, 2012 at 4:18 pm

The arguments in favor of high-skill immigration tend to also argue against low-skill immigration. But most of the people who believe in more immigration by high-skilled immigrants do not favor greater restrictions on low-skill immigrants.

awp October 10, 2012 at 11:46 am

Actually the arguments for allowing more immigration are the same no matter the skill level. The only thing that changes is the benefit relative to the cost. A lot of people who believe we should have more immigration over all focus their time on arguing for allowing high skilled immigration because restricting high skilled immigration is particularly stupid.

HM October 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm

#3.2:
Aslund seems to be lying about Sweden’s GDP in 1990, saying that “Two decades of low growth ensued, and by 1990 GDP per capita had fallen to 18th in the world.”

According to PWT, in 1990 Sweden had a higher GDP/capita than:
UK, Spain, New Zealand, Netherlands, Italy, Ireland , Hong Kong, Germany, France, Finland, Denmark, Canada, Australia and Belgium

It had a smaller GDP/capita than: Luxembourg, US, Switzerland, Austria, Iceland, Japan, Norway

Have I missed 10 rich countries?

The important point here is the question to what extent Sweden’s loss of relative position was due to the severity of the financial crisis in the beginning of the 90s. If this is the case, the interaction between policy, financial deregulation and relative loss of GDP/capita is harder to disentangle. That Aslund chooses to lie about Sweden’s economic position after 20 years of what he calls “left-wing craze” means that this complication is lost.

Millian October 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Perhaps small rich countries? I don’t know which petro-states were stupidly rich in GDP terms back then, nor statelets.

Memnon October 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm

HM: very good comment. Aslund probably used 1993 ranking. Together with his not very stringently phrased critique of past policy this leads one to question Aslunds competence as writer. The overall message is unassailable though.

Jon Martin October 9, 2012 at 10:53 am

Aslund’s piece is odd in many ways. Sweden is still a heavily redistributionist country, more so than Finland, a bit less than Denmark. To say it has a right-leaning government is to mask the fact that its government is significantly to the left of New Labour and the Democrats in the US (as is Finland’s “conservative”) government.

His point about Swedish schooling versus Finnish schooling is also perplexing. The Swedes have a voucher system yet their results are significantly worse than the Finns, who have no such system. Yet he is clearly in favour of free-market solutions. As I said: odd.

Jon Martin October 9, 2012 at 10:55 am

Oh and the “Scandinavia being inspired by the Baltic countries” is not apparent to even a careful observer.

Brian October 8, 2012 at 6:22 pm

#6 Immigration:

Ok. The Republican Party is throwing away its future by being on the wrong side of the immigration issue. Economic Conservatives and libertarians might be better served if they just jump ship and join the Democratic party in droves – a full sectoral shift on the magnitude of the Southern states switching parties in the 1960s. Moderate Mitt just may be enough to hold the bandaid on a while longer, but if he loses, the Republican Coalition is over.

Sahar October 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Not obvious-an unprecedentedly high % of whites are voting GOP.

prior_approval October 8, 2012 at 11:55 pm

This is simply not true – what is true is that the number of people who are not whitewho are now able to vote, in large part to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, has increased dramatically.

What is true is that the number of people voting Republican who are not white is a fairly minor number, and that the Republican Party seems to feel this is a desirable thing in the main. The Republican Party also seems to feel that creationists on a House science committee is also fine. One could sense a certain longing for another age in the those who consider themselves Republican.

Andrew' October 9, 2012 at 4:55 am

How is the Republican party on the wrong side of the issue when the story is we should only let in high human capital immigrants? That sounds like exactly what conservatives have been saying all-along.

That in contrast to the Democrats who would prioritize the lowest human capital immigrants because of the welfare we can provide to them without acknowledging that either their culture, country, or person has been lacking.

I agree with neither of course, but the Republican meme is more consistent.

Cowboy October 8, 2012 at 7:00 pm

That immigration link to Forbes really was a joy to read.
Unless the author’s intent, not made explicit, is the ridding USA of its White population, which I have reason to understand is the prime motive behind the changing of the immigration law back in 1965, it makes no sense economically. This is one of the rare Jewish gentlemen who is AGAINST the invasion from Third World, well worth reading:
http://www.vdare.com/users/edwin-s-rubenstein

Simon C October 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm

A particular problem with economists writing on immigration seems to be that their questions are often framed as a question about the interests of US citizens.
Krugman - ”First, the net benefits to the U.S. economy from immigration, aside from the large gains to the immigrants themselves, are small.”
Cowen – “If businesses have this liberty to behave selfishly, why do not governments?”
Surely an impartial economist is not tied to advocating the interests of the US or its government. The question they should debate is whether a policy is better for the world or not, without giving any preference to people born in one place over those born in another. If they want to argue the case with regard to the interests of a select group of people they should explain that this is an answer to a political view of the question and not the purely economic one.

Andrew' October 9, 2012 at 5:05 am

Wait, wouldn’t a large influx of immigrants boost demand?

I’m only half-kidding. We had the perfectly reasonable ‘adopt-a-house’ proposal which went nowhere. Now Mexican immigration has ground to a halt and reversed. If our immigration policy is doomed to never make any sense, then why shouldn’t it at least be counter rather than pro-cyclical?

nydwracu October 9, 2012 at 11:16 am

Governments are to govern in the best interest of their citizens; to do otherwise is treason. (More generally: representatives are to act in the best interest of their subjects.) Since immigration is a question that will be decided by political representatives (and lobbyists acting in the best interest of their industries or ethnic groups, of course, but it’s not their hands that sign the bills), this is how the question is going to ordinarily be framed.

Of course, economists *could* ask the question with the goals you give, and then start lobbying, manipulating the news, etc. from that standpoint. But as far as I know, they haven’t.

Simon C October 9, 2012 at 11:42 am

I appreciate your point that this is how the the question is ordinarily framed and it practical terms this is the relevant question. Still I feel that the role of the economist is to address the overall welfare effects. If we were discussing tariffs on sugar say, an economist could say, it’s in the interest of US sugar producers and they are legally allowed to lobby for laws in their favour so it’s all to the good that they get this done to their own benefit. But it seems to me that economists should be saying actually overall consumers lose and other producers lose and the net effect is a less productive economy. That’s the relevant question. I don’t see why an economic question should be about the interests of a select group.
I agree that the practical question is the political one, but that really seems like a different one to the economic one to me. I feel like economics should be neutral as to where you happen to have been born.

Simon C October 9, 2012 at 11:53 am

If a US politician wants to argue the case of border restrictions in US terms that is fine. But if Tyler Cowen or Paul Krugman says that he is not in favour of open borders then I want to hear him explain how the whole world is better off with restricted borders. If he just explains it in US terms, it means that he personally puts the interests of US citizens above non-US citizens. Why should this be so?

Brian Donohue October 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Excellent comment- not limited to immigration either. Don Boudreaux, it seems to me, is an economist with such a ‘worldly’ perspective.

Tom October 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm

How much do you want to bet Clarence Thomas won’t have the integrity to recuse himself in this case due to his conflict of interest?

Anti-Gagnam? October 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Re #1: what do you mean by anti-Gangman, exactly?
It seems to me that the socks don’t mean Anti-Gangnam style. the tone is cute and funny. It sounds like a young girl talking to an older guy (Oppa) in a close relationship, in a sweet way. I don’t think Koreans think it’s anti-Psy.

Dan in Euroland October 9, 2012 at 12:28 am

RE 6:

Bowles et al have a paper that takes into social networks, peer effects, and demographic composition on the accumulation of human capital. Applied to immigration a sufficiently large influx of low skilled immigrants could lead to a collapse in overall human capital acquisition. (Although this may not occur is segregation is maintained.) Ancient Rome may in fact be a good application of this theory as much technological know how was “lost” or not implemented in the Western empire following Rome’s collapse.

hannu October 9, 2012 at 6:35 am

Scandinavia inspired by Baltic countries.
Are you talking to us?

Saturos October 9, 2012 at 8:04 am

“Where is the tirelessness of the market monetarists when it comes to high skilled immigration?”

Two words: comparative advantage.

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