Assorted links

by on January 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Upstart.com, venture investing in human capital.

2. This American Life covers Honduran charter cities.

3. Where does the stochastic discount factor come from?

4. Life of Pi is a global hit.

5. How to pick a husband if you want kids.

6. Panagariya defends Indian cash transfers.

Cliff January 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Penelope seems to be obsessed with “big time” jobs that no one actually has or needs. I mean okay, you can’t be CEO and work 40-hour weeks. But you can be an engineer for the government and make six figures before you are 30 easily if you are smart, and work 40-hour weeks or less. My wife gets paid to work out at her government job! So there is no reason you can’t work and make plenty of money and still have lots of time to raise kids, especially kids who are in school most of the day anyway.

somaguy January 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm

The premise was good, but very quickly devolved into “money, money, money, have a pile of money.” Then the author starts rattling off a list of Myers-Briggs type indicators. At this point I happened to scroll up and read the blog title, then everything made sense.

RPLong January 10, 2013 at 2:15 pm

+1

I had the same reaction. I’m fairly certain that basing your child-rearing options on a Myers-Briggs chart is a terrible idea, especially considering that hardly anyone has actually taken a formal M-B assessment. She’s basically telling people what to do based on internet Myers-Briggs entertainment pages. Scary.

Zephyrus January 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm

There’s also the minor fact that Myers-Briggs is a giant scam with no meaningful science backing it up.

Marie January 10, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Ha, you must be an ENTP too (or at least partially, I’ve taken those tests a few times for things and am only strongly NT). According to her links ENTPs are generally skeptical of the whole personality type business.

RPLong January 10, 2013 at 4:15 pm

I’m not an ENTP, but I totally agree with you. Major pseudo-science. I don’t believe people are born into boxes that preclude them from thinking in certain ways and damn them into thinking in others, come what may.

Nathan January 10, 2013 at 2:21 pm

The whole post is grade A trollbait. She must be aware that there are something like 50 million full time working women in the US, and they don’t all have two nannies. I guess they must all be deeply unhappy while they fail their children, especially all the non-*NTJ’s. “Because nothing else will seem worth it to put yourself and your family through what they will have to go through.” Give me a break, lady. I thought we liked “Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids” around here.

bluto January 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm
Sbard January 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm

She also neglected to mention another option with regards to being the breadwinner and childcare: the Asian solution aka “have parents or in-laws live with/near you and help extensively with childcare.” All my Asian co-workers who had kids during grad school had family come over for extended periods of time to help out after the birth of the child. The apartment complex my then-girlfriend/now-wife used to live at was filled with Chinese grandparents pushing strollers in the evening.

somaguy January 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm

This definitely came up. It’s how I was raised (despite being non-asian). And yes, very common, esp in Asian households.

Claudia January 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I enjoy reading Trunk…one of the happy additions to my RSS feed due to MR. I am not like her and I don’t agree with all her advice, which she herself does not always follow. And yet, I think her message that choices matter and know thyself is so important. Too many women get the idea you can have it all … which is just not true or healthy or desirable. Or maybe they have my stupid mantra of ‘when there’s a will there’s a way.’ Sometimes there is no way, especially if you’ve set yourself up to fail or you are just not well suited to the task. In any case, her post was thought provoking as usual. I thought that’s what we liked around here.

Norman Pfyster January 11, 2013 at 10:57 am

Pretty much every woman I know with children too young to be in school are either stay-at-home moms or have caretakers/nannies for their children. That includes the secretaries. You have to do something with the kids while you go to work.

Finch January 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Good point. But I think her target audience is the modest-6-figures set. Women who are, or aspire to be, doctors, lawyers, consultants, that sort of thing. The 1% or so who can make a few hundred grand a year working 50-80 hour weeks. These jobs are basically incompatible with a normal family life, and are a whole lot less satisfying than 20-somethings seem to think they will be. I typically don’t like Trunk, but I think she has a point there.

Another major omission is “choose where to live early and wisely.” This whole exercise becomes a lot easier if you live in Austin and not Boston. Raleigh and not San Francisco. And despite what you think, it will be hard to move when you’re 35.

Cliff January 10, 2013 at 2:56 pm

But law and medicine are two careers where it is usually easy for someone to downshift to a roughly 40-hour work week by going in-house/small firm, or private medical practice. Is going from $300,000 to $150,000 and 70 hours to 40 hours not an option?

Finch January 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I don’t actually know many people who sustain that choice, though you see lots of people doing it transitionally. But I don’t really know the numbers. I get the impression a lot of professional environments are all-or-nothing kind of places. I don’t have broad enough experience to judge everybody, though so I’m just conveying an impression and not trying to be authoritative.

Trunk also doesn’t enough talk about childcare, which puts a lower limit on the pay where two incomes make sense. Two incomes and kids sort of works between $60k and $150k. Below that it isn’t worth paying for childcare if you can’t get it for free, and above that you wind up working so hard you need to outsource parenting. The exact numbers vary a lot based on location, child count, and other details, but I don’t think my guess is crazy. Trunk wrote about people on the right-hand side of that distribution. The article wasn’t systematic or careful or anything like that, that’s her style, but it was thought-provoking.

Cliff January 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm

What do you mean, “sustain that choice”? They make the choice and then later go back to their previous job? Lawyers go in-house all the time, even big firm lawyers (perhaps especially big firm lawyers). And anyone with their own client base can always decide how many hours they want to work, ultimately.

I agree with the rest of your post. But why not mention the choice of downshifting from over $150k to $150k-ish? For many in her audience that is a very real option.

Finch January 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm

I guess I meant downshifters usually quit to become SAHMs after they get a taste of that and realize it’s not what their working colleagues made it out to be. This is an impression, and I don’t have hard data. Professionally, I try not to assume anything about colleagues in this respect. FWIW, I’ve seen a number of guys go through similar transitions.

But I agree with you, it’s an important omission in the article.

Obvs January 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm

That’s the problem with bloated government jobs. Trunk is talking about the real world.

Cliff January 10, 2013 at 11:17 pm

I still disagree that you have to work more than 40 hours a week to make enough money for it to make sense to work full time with kids. Even if you’re talking about 3 kids, you only need about six figures for it to make sense, and lots of lawyers, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, etc. can make that around age 30. Even some engineers can make that much.

prior_approval January 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm

‘You cannot pick a husband to have kids with until you know if you want to work full-time while you are raising them.’

The very first sentence – and here I was, expecting something somewhat more biologically based. Since, numberous exceptions granted, you can’t have a husband to have kids with unless you can create children with him.

Too much German female pragmatism has rubbed off on me, it seems – most Germans of roughly my age (and a decade or two younger) seem to have waited until pregnancy before bothering to get married. And this is a southern German region, dominated by Catholicism.

post_approval January 10, 2013 at 1:50 pm

‘But there are actually only two choices: be a breadwinner or marry a breadwinner.’

I expected she would at least consider a third choice, as there are in reality at least 14 options. Most obviously, there is the “breadsharer” path.

Most families in my building growing up near DME were breadsharers. Two-income families easily converted to single breadwinner families with the arrival of children. The state took care of most everything for people then, including paid maternity, yet people saved.

mulp January 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm

What strikes me is not so much how naive a liberal economist is in thinking the market can replace big government, but the fact that Romer is actually trying to put his economic theory into practice. What I see in most cases is conservative economists mostly demanding that others do what they say, but refuse to attempt to do because it requires effort and risk.

If government isn’t the solution, then stop demanding government force the non-government solution – go out and just do the non-government solution without the government.

Of course, Romer is a liberal because he seeks government authority to do a government authorized non-government takeover of 100% of the economy of a city.

The Anti-Gnostic January 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm

If government isn’t the solution, then stop demanding government force the non-government solution – go out and just do the non-government solution without the government.

This conservative/reactionary agrees with you 100%, and in all seriousness.

If Romer wants a charter city in Honduras, he needs to go wrest that territory from the Honduran nation-state with his own blood and treasure. Of course, Romer doesn’t want to end up like William Walker, so he goes on public radio and naively blurts out his plans to colonize Honduras instead of quietly hiring mercenaries and stuffing envelopes of money to pass out to Honduran legislators and generals and the local jefes. Amateur.

Why does a nice, 53-yo economist with a family want to insert himself into Central American land disputes anyway? The guy could very well end up getting himself killed and frankly, depending on who he pisses off down there, the hit could just as easily occur up here.

Pat Buchanan is absolutely correct: Americans make terrible imperialists.

AC January 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm

#1

This is an obviously great and Pareto-improving service that is so certain to crash and burn terribly.

axa January 10, 2013 at 2:57 pm

#1: Interesting, no collaterals

Anon. January 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm

#3:

Fantasy and pseudoscience.

Warrg January 10, 2013 at 5:42 pm

#1

Interesting.

Thtat’s exacly what Friedman proposed in “Capitalism and Freedom” to replace student loans.

Ethan January 10, 2013 at 7:11 pm

man, ‘the browser’ is solid gold am i right? second time this week

asdf January 11, 2013 at 12:43 am

How could taking advice on marriage from a psycho divorcee drama queen narcissist with a fucked up live ever go wrong?

asdf January 11, 2013 at 1:11 am

#1 was the subject of a dystopian science fiction novel.

Nick January 11, 2013 at 10:33 am

Oh god. The Unincorporated Man is real.

Save us.

freethinker January 12, 2013 at 8:36 pm

About 6: Panagariya’s arguments about cash transfers are right in principle but ignores ground realities. Few villages in India have a bank. That is why the nation’s finance minister had initially claimed that cash transfers will be trouble free but now concedes there are hurdles and he has cut down the number of districts where the scheme is to be introduced. Panagariya’s argument that rice can be sold to buy ice-cream ignores the fact that it is not what happens in most cases. It is easier to spend wastefully if given cash than rice or wheat in kind. And he ignores the fact that many men in low income groups will use substantial amount of the cash on liquor . Even a defender of the free market like Jagdish Bhagwati concedes in his book In Defense of Globalization that in poor economies steps have to be taken to ensure that the poor do not yield to the temptation of wasting their incomes.

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