Assorted links

by on December 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Cliff December 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm

First link is wrong

2 Andrew' December 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm

After he fixes it, I suspect it will still be wrong.

3 Ray Lopez December 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm

@1 – link was fixed, and I lost some respect for Bork in the late 1990s when he became a hired gun for anti-Microsoft litigants. Then again, money is green and a man has to eat. From news archives: WASHINGTON — Robert Bork, a conservative legal scholar who helped redefine U.S. antitrust enforcement, called for a new Sherman Act antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. MSFT +1.21% and said he has been retained by a key competitor of the company, Netscape Communications Corp., to advise on legal strategy. Mr. Bork, who was retained by Netscape about a month ago, said his call for a new case against Microsoft doesn’t conflict with his views about enforcement in his 1978 book, “The Antitrust Paradox.”

4 Cliff December 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm

He actually changed both the link AND the title of the link- neither is the same as the original

5 Alexei Sadeski December 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Quite fashionable to hate on Taleb lately.

6 Thor December 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm

It’s true. It used to be a rare, black swan event.

7 Jacob December 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm


8 Rowz December 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Re 5: Bad box(es)! Oy.

9 FredR December 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm

For some reason, James Wood has been a lot less interesting since moving to the New Yorker.

10 MD December 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm

It’s hard to judge a court’s ruling without knowing the language of the applicable statutes and/or contracts, and the case law interpreting those statutes and contracts. That said, the ruling in 3. seems a bit odd.

11 MM December 20, 2012 at 8:53 pm

It’s worth noting that the decision was in relation to the worker’s compensation arrangements for federal government employees which are governed by their own statute.

It’s still ridiculous, but worker’s compensation policies for private sector employment are probably a little less “generous.”

12 MD December 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I guess the article only mentions “course” rather than “course and scope,” which could make a difference – when you are on a business trip, you are wherever you are in the course of your employment, but not necessarily within the scope of your employment – but that could just be because the article was not written for lawyers.

13 zbicyclist December 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm

“Articles published in the American Statistician soon after The Black Swan appeared chastised him for his alleged ignorance of “entire subfields of statistics,” committing mathematical errors, and lobbing “gratuitous insults” at statisticians. The opprobrium was mixed with gratitude that, whatever his faults, Taleb had managed to shine a bright light on an arcane topic. Still, you got the sense that statisticians were smarting.”

I remember that issue, which has a commentary by Taleb.

Taleb’s point in Black Swan, to oversimplify it, is that much statistical reasoning leads you to be more confident than you really should be. Amusingly, the article immediately after these articles, by Jesse Frey, spends a lot of time explaining how you can get the “right” results when you are dealing with events which are certain, such as the sun rising again tomorrow — i.e. get a probability of 1 for the sun rising, rather than a probability of, say, (n+1)/(n+2), where n is the number of days the sun has risen in the past.

14 Hopaulius December 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I’ve been married to the same woman for 31 years. There has never been a year in our marriage in which I have earned more than she. Her career choice turned out to be much more in demand than mine, and of course there are other reasons. We decided that we wanted to raise our children ourselves, so for the past 27 years we have been arranging our work schedules so that one of us is always home after school. About 12 years ago it became clear to me that since my wife’s earning power continued to grow and mine did not, the economically responsible thing to do was for me to further subordinate my schedule to hers. Fortunately we live on a property where I can do some guy stuff, like cut and split firewood and work on a tractor. I am my own small business, with which I earn supplemental income. I also do a lot of low-or-no-pay work in the community in my areas of interest. It grates me when I hear conservative talk hosts call any man who earns less than his wife a loser. Sometimes it’s a winning strategy for a healthy family.

15 Marie December 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Thanks for this. I read The Economist’s article and unwisely skimmed the comment section. It’d make your toes curl.

16 Thor December 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm

The Economist is preferred reading in many parts of the world, amongst the elite anyway. These places are not bastions of progressive liberal / social democratic thought. Many are quite traditional, under Western veneer. (Singapore, e.g.) So the comments don’t surprise me.

17 zbicyclist December 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm

This will become increasingly common in the US. Both of my daughters (20’s, 30’s) have higher incomes than their spouses, not that either is on the CEO track. With females having a higher percentage of college graduates than males, it is inevitable.

This will cause some angst, although I would bet it will produce less angst than societies which have a surplus of males.

18 The Anti-Gnostic December 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm

That’s all great, but what works for individuals in the upper percentiles of earning capacity is rarely transferable to everybody else. Women are wired to marry up; men are wired to marry laterally or down. It’s not an impossible situation, but it’s an obstacle for a lot of people.

Of course, poor Tyler is doubtless enraged over the fact that you’re spending time with family and doing low-remunerative work instead of paying taxes and inventing solar-powered driverless cars .

I have strongly encouraged my wife to out-earn me but so far, alas, she hasn’t.

19 MD December 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I prefer to make more than my wife because it gives me an excuse to be a lazy sod with the housekeeping. A shitty excuse, but a (lazy) man’s gotta do what a (lazy) man’s gotta do.

20 Claudia December 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I am disappointed with the paper (though my reading was partial and quick)…and while I find the title of the Economist piece and this link totally annoying, the paper does little to discourage it without IMO supporting evidence. I am shocked that they did not exploit the panel dimension of their data in section 5 of the paper. My conjecture is that their results there are identified from households in which the man experiences a sudden drop in income, not by women who ‘dare’ to earn more. Households like Hopaulius’ in which men earn less and that gap grows slowly over time, are probably not the source of relative unhappiness and instability. So what? Well, maybe the primary issue is not inflexible gender roles, but it’s the stress of unemployment or job switches or health shocks. The authors had panel data so it should have been possible to try to separate out direct-change effects and time-constant effects of the disparity in spousal income.

21 zbicyclist December 20, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Claudia, you realize you could make an entire research career out of that paragraph?

22 emir December 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Claudia — If it were shocks to men’s income that mattered, this would be absorbed in the impact of men’s income on the outcome. Keep in mind that we are looking at the impact of relative income _conditional_ on men’s income and women’s income. Also, most of the analysis draws on the Census, which is not a panel. Section 5 draws on NSFH, which is indeed a panel but that is a pretty small dataset, so there is insufficient power to isolate the variation in relative income that comes from particular shocks to income. With good panel data there are many additional things one could do, but most of relevant panel datasets (including the PSID) are too small for our purpose. We do something close to what you ask in Section 3 where we use exogenous industry-level aggregate shocks as a source of variation in relative income in marriage markets. We find strong evidence that when women start to earn more than men (due to these shocks), marriage rates decline.

23 Claudia December 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm

No, Emir my point about within household changes in relative earnings is not captured by controlling for the log of male earnings…or the distribution at a point in time. I am sympathetic to the limited (or noisy) panel data, but the intro got my hopes up by touting the use of panel data. One approach might be to use a cross section which has current and ‘usual’ income like the SCF. Otherwise I worry that some of your results could be relabeled ‘men who dare to lose their jobs.’ I would assign that more to labor market polarization than feminist advances. But I agree that you asking an interesting question.

24 Engineer December 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm

“My experience is that money and transactions purify relations,” he writes. “Ideas and abstract matters like ‘recognition’ and ‘credit’ warp them, creating an atmosphere of perpetual rivalry.”

Taleb is right about that one.

25 Unlearningecon December 20, 2012 at 6:28 pm

As if capitalism is not characterised by perpetual rivalry?

26 Thor December 20, 2012 at 9:08 pm

C’mon, there’s rivalry and then there’s rivalry. Isn’t there such a thing as the benign rivalry of creative destruction? It’s not “nuclear”, it’s just business: my widget costs less than yours, ergo I will sell more and you will lose customers.

Another point: is there NO rivalry you cannot countenance?

27 Urso December 21, 2012 at 10:57 am

In less generous terms, “economists have a startlingly reductionist view of humanity.” Film at 11.

28 Shane M December 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm

#5: I also I wonder if guys try harder when their wife’s income increases? It’s not just about keeping up with the Jones’ but also keeping up with the Julies’. The older I get the more I appreciate the qualities of women that many men just don’t have. Men largely have a fewer outlets to prove worth (workplace being primary one) – but women tend to have other outlets, and tend to be better at those other (most other?) things. With more outlets I actually would expect women to more readily and naturally branch into other activities/efforts besides career.

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