Assorted links

by on October 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Is economics becoming more mathematical?

2. Can algorithms help explain art and what you like?

3. Technical analysis?

4. Caplan reviews the new James Flynn book.

5. The wisdom of slime trails.

6. New update on Honduran charter cities, lots of detail.  Or try this link if that one doesn’t work.

Enrique October 10, 2012 at 12:47 pm

the link in #3 goes nowhere

Mark Thorson October 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Delete the spurious %20 in the link and it will work.

happyjuggler0 October 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Link 6 is incorrect; it should be http://qz.com/12436/behind-the-race-to-build-utopian-city-states-in-the-honduran-jungle/

It is also outdated, or at least radically incomplete. There has been a provisional ruling that RED‘s are unconstitutional, with a more final ruling due within days. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162-57525844/honduran-court-private-cities-unconstitutional/

prior_approval October 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

‘Is economics becoming more mathematical?’

Well, the title of the paper is ‘The use of mathematics in economics and its effect on a scholar’s academic career’ which might suggest that the topic being explored in it is a bit different than the question, if one is sufficiently cynical.

Or if one just reads to the end of the abstract – ‘It also appears that being an empirical researcher as measured by the average number of econometrics outputs per paper has a negative correlation with someone’s academic career success.’

But then, buried in section two is this perspective – ‘Regardless of this discussion, the incidence of mathematics being utilized in economics has undoubtedly increased, and nowadays an advanced knowledge in mathematics is a basic need for any economist willing to go beyond the undergraduate level.’

So, to answer the question – no and yes. Which pretty much sums up the field perfectly.

(And it is not a Nobel prize – it is the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. From wikipedia – ‘Although not one of the Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, it is consistently identified with them [Does one need to wonder by whom?]. The Prize in Economics, as it is referred to by the Nobel Foundation, was established and endowed by Sweden’s central bank Sveriges Riksbank, in 1968 on the occasion of the bank’s 300th anniversary, in memory of Alfred Nobel.’ What makes this interesting is how terms get bandied about in the economics field, and how important it is to try to use the prestige of something established to add a bit of lustre to something that isn’t actually what people generally mean when using that term.)

Enrique October 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Of course, Ronald Coase, who won a “Nobel Prize” in economics, did no mathematics, except for some basic arithmetic on page 3 of “The Problem of Social Cost”

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2129315

Jonathan October 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm

We all understand that it wasn’t in Nobel’s will. But it’s given by the Nobel Foundation (if endowed by the Swedish bank) and they call it the Prize in Economics. That’s why it’s “consistently identified with them,” just as the Barnes Collection is consistently identified with Barnes even though he said it should never move to Philadelphia.

DocMerlin October 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm

“It also appears that being an empirical researcher as measured by the average number of econometrics outputs per paper has a negative correlation with someone’s academic career success”

This just means you need to spread them out more!

Alina October 11, 2012 at 7:15 pm

“It also appears that being an empirical researcher as measured by the average number of econometrics outputs per paper has a negative correlation with someone’s academic career success”
A conclusion they reach by utilizing empirical data, and econometric outputs. Ohh the irony!

Andrei October 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Alina, where is the irony? Why are you assuming that the paper is done with the aim of any “success”…. On the other hand, it seems you have problem understanding the reading of econometric results!!!! See the sample… For instance…and see what the effect means

Andrei October 11, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Of course, saying nobel prize or not is just fool to clarify….even the awarded used to say they have been awarded with the nobel prize….of course when there are not deep comments the best is just to critize…..

Johannes October 14, 2012 at 7:46 am

I liked very much the paper, I think that is quite creative, very organized, concrete and answer several very interesting questions….can improve a bit in grammar….i wonder where they will publish it…..well done authors!

Grumpy October 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm

#1, Tyler acknowledge where you found the link. http://economiclogic.blogspot.com/2012/10/mathematics-econometrics-and-top.html

This is not the first time you do not give a hat tip to Economic Logic.

prior_approval October 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Oh wait, I think the answer to number 3 is yes and no, based on a statistical word count and weighing the importance of mathematical symbols in the footnotes.

Actually, after several pages, the paper seemed to be a kind of sly joke – ‘First we measured five things, using four methods, applying 3 variables. Then we looked at four factors with three statistical measures using 2 perspectives,’ and so on, and so on.

But finally, and actually regretfully, it became clear enough that the authors were actually unaware that the importance of being earnest is comedic. Especially in attempting to measure the importance of mathematics in economic over a century while drawing a conclusion using a primary baseline of an award that has only been around since 1968. (Yes, they also used other awards for their model(s), but they focussed extensively on the Riksbank one.)

Still, it was a fun read, even though the humor was most likely unintentional.

Andrei October 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm

mr prior, it seems you did not read the paper carefully….for instance, although the nobel started in 1969 (not 1968 as you said) most of the awarded are quite old when they receive the award, that means that most of their work is really comprehensive in the 20th century…..no more to say to your fool comments…my advice: read it again…and try to read an econometrics book before…..

Michael October 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm

#1:

Anyone else find this kind of funny?

“Our results provide concrete measures of mathematization in Economics by giving statistical evidence on the increasing trend of number of equations and econometric outputs per article…It also appears that being an empirical researcher as measured by the average number of econometrics outputs per paper has a negative correlation with someone’s academic career success.”

IE, “our results show that writing papers like this one doesn’t help your career.”

Alina October 11, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I am stil laughing over that one. It is very funny,

pwyll October 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm

I’m disappointed that so much of the coverage so far on the Honduran charter cities project has followed what seem to be self-serving talking points from Paul Romer. For an alternate perspective, check out these posts from the Thousand Nations blog:

http://athousandnations.com/2012/10/05/romer-offers-more-complaints-in-the-economist/
http://athousandnations.com/2012/10/03/romers-resignation-adds-credibility-to-the-honduran-project/

Marome1 October 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm

#1
Michael,

I am one of the authors of the paper. Our aim was not to be awarded anything by writing this article, but rather try to answer an interesting question in a rigorous fashion. That said, we did think about that exact statement after we ran the regressions and had a good laugh about it.
Cheers,

Mauricio

Alina October 11, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Is good that you guys were self-aware of the joke in the making.

Silas Barta October 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm

On link #2:

Robert Storr, dean of the Yale University School of Art, has his doubts. “It depends so much on the information, who’s doing the selection, what the criteria are, and what the cultural assumptions behind those criteria are,” Mr. Storr, a former curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, said. In terms of art comprehension, he added, “I’m sure it will be reductive.”

Quote from an elite art school academic? Check.

Disdain for work that could put him out of a job? Check.

Scattered comments about not having the right criteria? Check.

Use of “reduction” in the negative? Check.

Wow, I totally didn’t see that coming…

Brian Donohue October 11, 2012 at 9:39 am

+1 on #5.

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