Assorted links

by on December 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. These kitchen equipment guides always amaze me.

2. Why aren’t there more retractions in economics journals?

3. There is a new Claudio Borio paper.

4. From Hyderabad: he can’t decide if he loves the new fish-like structure or hates it.  That is from the excellent blog The View from Chennai.

5. Jodi Ettenberg photos and narrative from Vietnam.

Anthony December 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm

The building is awesome. If a country has to have a National Fisheries Development Board, a building shaped like a fish is cool! It also limits the growth of the Board.

Mark Thorson December 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I’m sure it simplifies directions. “Just turn left, go straight for 3 or 4 kilometers, and you’ll know our building when you see it.”

Orange14 December 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm

#1 – in what way? Lots of us cook regularly and are interested in what works and what doesn’t. My only quibble with Megan’s blog post is that you really don’t need most of the stuff she writes about. I’m rather minimalist and the only things that are an absolute necessity are: good set of knives (Bob Kramer’s are the best but pricey), All Clad set of pots and pans (the D5 series are the best I’ve found and the 6 qt essentials pan eliminates the need for a La Cruset Dutch Oven which as Megan notes is over priced), a Kitchen Aid mixer (again, this is the best one out there), a good burr coffee grinder and Melitta coffee pot (it’s cheaper than the Chemex and does the exact same thing drip by drip). The key thing is buying the best ingredients available.

#2 – simple answer is that economics is not a science and it’s difficult to refute papers that lack a decent, well thought out hypothesis.

albert magnus December 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I thought you would want more thermal mass in a Dutch Oven than a clad pot.

Thor December 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I liked #1!

She didn’t say you needed it all, of course. She just said that she is a gearhead, that many of these are highly useful, and that these make good gifts, even auto-gifts.

All Clad D5′s go into the oven a’la Le Creuset pots?

BTW, you can get IKEA’s version of the 5(ish) qt. Le Creuset pot for 40 bucks.

El December 16, 2012 at 2:32 am

Pretty sure any All Clad can go into the oven – anything that’s stainless steel.

William Sjostrom December 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Note that she correctly names the city Saigon, rather than by the colonialist occupier name of Ho Chi Minh City.

Jodi December 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm

@William – I asked Vietnamese friends in town which to use and they said Saigon, but both are used here.

prior_approval December 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm

‘rather than by the colonialist occupier name of Ho Chi Minh City’

You know, I don’t often repeat this story from my military brat first girlfriend, but it may help you understand just how ludicrous your statement of ‘colonialist occupier’ is. She overheard a NCO explain to his son, in the very early 1980s, that the Vietnam war was a civil war, and that the Vietnamese settled it in the end, regardless of what the Japanese, the French, or the Americans had desired. This was, of course, after the Vietnamese successfully defended themselves from an invasion of their former ‘allies,’ the Chinese.

Which happened in response to this –

‘The Sino–Vietnamese War (Vietnamese: Chiến tranh biên giới Việt-Trung), also known as the Third Indochina War, was a brief border war fought between the People’s Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in early 1979. China launched the offensive in response to Vietnam’s invasion and occupation of Cambodia in 1978 (which ended the reign of the Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge),[7] which Chinese Vice-premier Deng Xiaoping saw as a Soviet attempt “to extend its evil tentacles to Southeast Asia and…carry out expansion there.” (see also: Sino-Soviet split.[8]) As Dr. Henry Kissinger notes: “Whatever the shortcomings of its execution, the Chinese campaign reflected a serious, long-term strategic analysis.”[9]

The Chinese entered northern Vietnam and captured some of the bordering cities. On March 6, 1979, China declared that the gate to Hanoi was open and that their punitive mission had been achieved. Chinese forces retreated back across the Vietnamese border, into China. Both China and Vietnam claimed victory in the last of the Indochina Wars of the 20th century; as Vietnamese troops remained in Cambodia until 1989 it can be said that the PRC failed to achieve the goal of dissuading Vietnam from involvement in Cambodia. However, Moscow surely realized that any attempt at expanding its foothold in SE Asia would have involved risk of military confrontation with China. Followed by the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Sino-Vietnamese border was finalized.’

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Vietnamese_War

Though possibbly when talking about a ‘colonial’ name, you meant this the renamed city of Prey Nokor –

‘Ho Chi Minh City (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh; About this sound listen), formerly named Saigon (Sài Gòn; About this sound listen), is the largest city in Vietnam. It was once known as Prey Nokor, an important Khmer sea port prior to annexation by the Vietnamese in the 17th century.[citation needed]

Under the name Saigon, it was the capital of the French colony of Cochin-china and later of the independent republic of South Vietnam from 1955–75. South Vietnam, as an anti-communist, capitalist republic, fought against the communist North Vietnamese and Viet Cong during the Vietnam War, with aid from the United States and countries including Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. Saigon fell when it was captured by the communists on 30 April 1975, ending the war with a Communist victory. Vietnam was then turned into a communist state with the South overtaken. On 2 July 1976, Saigon merged with the surrounding Gia Định Province and was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City after Hồ Chí Minh (although the name Sài Gòn is still commonly used).[2]‘

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho_Chi_Minh_City

My apologies if you were referring that far back, however.

Peter Schaeffer December 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Yet another person who doesn’t know the difference between power wires (electrical) and telephone wires. Not surprising. Most Americans in the USA aren’t clear on this point either.

Jodi December 15, 2012 at 10:34 pm

You’re saying they are a mixture of both? Will make a note on the post but yes, of course I don’t know the difference between the two. Jumbled knots of wiring not so common in Montreal ;)

Yancey Ward December 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm

In regards to #2:

How many times have you heard an economist admit he was wrong in any manner other than he didn’t realize how right he actually was?

Ray Lopez December 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm

The Austrian economists never retract research since they deal with thought experiments that cannot be refuted (in their mind).

Claudia December 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Many times, Yancey. You need to learn how to listen for the admissions. Just this week, a careful listener to Bernanke’s press conference would have heard him explain why (or at least one possible reason why) the FOMC forecasts had been too optimistic in the recent past. Interestingly, his explanation involved the ‘woolly concept of potential output’ noted in #3. Economics is not about economists it’s about the economy and real people, so there’s not so much time spent on the scorecard of he was right and he was wrong. Outside of academic dishonesty you don’t really need retractions #2. The field generally does not telescope far back in economic history (with some notable exceptions). So if a new paper comes out and tells us that the earlier one was garbage, well the new one (eventually) gets the citations and is the starting point for new research. No, the marketplace of ideas in economics is not perfect, but it’s fairly effective. Oh and it is complete hooey that economics papers are hot air or don’t have testable hypotheses. Sure some are, but compared to a lot of other discourse (ahem blog comments) they do pretty well.

Dale December 15, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Claudia, I disagree. Economists never really admit to being wrong – they will acknowledge a mistake (if forced) and then find a new model that shows what they said in the first place. Further, they rarely reveal their data – proprietary is claimed more often than the government claims “national security.” For publicly available data they respond that the data is publicly available. I’ve asked people for their dataset numerous times and never been successful, having been told it is publicly available. Of course, you can’t replicate their results – they don’t tell you how they dealt with missing data, how they merged data from different sources, etc. I have never been able to replicate exactly somebody’s results and I’ve tried a lot (I used to do a lot of expert witnessing that prompted the need to try to replicate other people’s studies).

To make things worse, when mistakes are found, the profession does not punish the perpetrators in any way. Reputations seem to be intact, regardless of how bad the analysis was (either do to poor work, or intentionally deceptive work). I hate to be so negative about our professional standards, but I really believe it is accurate and needs to be said.

maguro December 15, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Sounds like climate science.

Ray Lopez December 15, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Reinhart and Rogoff (he is a chess grandmaster) in their book “This Time is Different” complained governments all over the world do not have good data for economic series, so I can imagine a small private party would also be at a loss to produce good data.

Claudia December 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Dale, sorry to be pain but economists, as a group, aren’t allergic to admitting mistakes. I named a high profile example and there are plenty more. I suspect our host has fessed up to some errors too. An essential part of learning is letting go of prior misconceptions. Now is the discipline super about this? No. Could it be better? Of course. The low premium on replication studies (that you mention) is one real shortcoming. I am sorry that you had trouble getting data. Top journals now require authors to publish their data and codes. I always give mine out when requested. Of course there are some results that are suspiciously hard to replicate, but word gets around. Reputation among economists is a big deal and it does take a beating when someone cuts too many corners. I don’t want to diminish your concerns, but I know many economists who are humble and careful in their work. No one is mistake free…especially on the frontier of knowledge.

Rahul December 15, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Outside of academic dishonesty you don’t really need retractions

That’s not true at all. There’s various reasons for retractions, at least in the physical sciences. Dishonesty is only one of them.

Negligence, inaccuracy or sloppiness in record-keeping can be one. Irreproducible results.can be another. A glaring error in reasoning or analysis has also known to result in a retraction.

If Claudia is indeed right, and academic dishonesty is the only reason for a retraction in Economics Journals then that bolsters the case about economists not willing to admit mistakes.

Claudia December 16, 2012 at 8:26 am

Rahul, I was wrong to be so breezy about retractions (happily never been involved in one), but I still think their rarity is not a sign of hidden wrongheadedness. Economics has a much longer publication lag than the natural sciences. A typical paper percolates for years as a working paper, being presented at conferences and seminar, then being run through a lengthy peer review process. Almost no one gets a paper accepted without revision. And referees and editors get very grumpy if authors explain away all their complaints and make no changes to a paper. By the time a paper has appeared in a good journal, that is a place where it might influence future research or policy, it has gone through many changes and robustness checks. Of course, this process is not perfect and problems are discovered later. I have seen a lot more Errata in journals than retractions. If I were going to highlight a bigger area of concern it is that so much attention is given to working papers before they have been reviewed by peer experts. I would be thrilled to see economists (and everyone) be more open about their mistakes, as they are a common fact of life, especially for people who are innovative. I don’t worry too much about economists (in most settings) because they are excellent at telling other people how they are wrong…those with ears eventually absorb some of the critiques directed at them. I get antsy when anyone (including an economist) is held above direct critique, but those are special cases and we know how that ends.

Zach December 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm

To hear Krugman talk about it, the words “liquidity trap” are not just a retraction, but an actual repeal of macroeconomics.

Norman December 15, 2012 at 3:27 pm

#2: Because it is almost impossible to retract what is, effectively, a whole lot of hot air.

Matt Young December 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm

FInancial cycles, what are they?

They result from laziness, the desire to assume existing trends continue. We like this because the trend math is a very handy short cut across the economy. Easy for business, individual and the rest to calculate future incomes and simplify planning.

Unfortunately, the corridor hypothesis says that trend planning only works for a while until we have to requantize.

RM December 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm

1. At last an Megan McArdle piece that I found interesting, but over $50 for an electric kettle?

5. The View from Chennai is funny, funny. IMO, highly recommended.

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