Assorted links

by on June 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Markets in everything.

2. Automated coach to practice conversations (pdf).

3. Will Wilkinson on fairness, norms, and inequality.

4. Food trucks for dogs (MIE), and use Kinect to control your cockroaches.

5. The shadow banking culture that is China.

6. Miles Kimball and Matt Rognlie on wage stickiness, price stickiness, and TFP.  That is also a good post showing some differences between blogospheric economics and academic economics.

7. How to give the audience too much power.

Enrique June 26, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Great quote about appeals to fairness in #3:

“Appealing to fairness is a strategy for bargaining over the division of the surplus, not a way of determining in advance the “correct” division”

NPW June 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm

When children say, “It’s not fair”, because they don’t get their way, I do not feel compelled to make the world fair in their eyes.

When teenagers say, “It’s not fair”, because they don’t get their way, I do not feel compelled to make the world fair in their eyes.

Why do reasonable adults allow for “fairness” to be part of their logic? My fairness compass is skewed. Can anyone honestly say that theirs is not? Why would one rely on their sense of fairness for a policy discussion, other than to manipulate those whose self interest overides their introspection?

One can consider inequality an issue without considering fairness an appropriate metric for an adult mind.

Rahul June 26, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Why the antipathy to fairness? Isn’t the veil of ignorance one pragmatic construct for judging fairness?

I think a notion of fairness is embedded in a lot of what we consider we ought / ought-not to do.

Mark June 26, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Rahul asks: “Why the antipathy to fairness? Isn’t the veil of ignorance one pragmatic construct for judging fairness?”

Yes, but one that is formed ex-ante, not ex-post, which is the point made by the quote in Enrique’s comment.

“Appealing to fairness is a strategy for bargaining over the division of the surplus, not a way of determining in advance the “correct” division”

JRPtwo June 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm

My law professor for corporations would ask us to explain the court’s decision in a case without using the f word, by which he meant “fair.”

uffy June 26, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Fairness is too hard to judge so let’s not even bother. Same goes for equality of opportunity and actual merit.

kiwi dave June 26, 2013 at 4:14 pm

The problem with fairness is not that it’s too hard to judge (in fact, if anything, it’s too easy) — it’s that it doesn’t even have an abstract existence. The subjectivity problem goes beyond the fact that different people will judge the fairness of a situation differently; it’s that there are no systemic criteria underlying fairness, just a snap judgment. By contrast, “justice” and “right” suffer from subjectivity in that they (in the end) need to be assessed by a human with a subjective consciousness, *but* at least everyone agrees that there is a systemic basis for those terms (although they may differ about the specifics of that basis, e.g. supporters of natural law vs. legal positivists).

Because there is no systemic underlying basis for “fairness,” it’s a dialogue stopper — it’s an aesthetic judgment not an analysis (in fact, I strongly suspect that the use of the term “fair” derives from the aesthetic sense of the term). That’s why a lot of academic lawyers — by no means all of them right-leaning — try to avoid use of the term “fair.”

mw June 26, 2013 at 6:20 pm

It’s also a complete red herring. There’s the reason Tyler chose to link to that rather than some actual data showing that kids are indistinguishable when young and when old the rich succeed and the poor fail.

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/bridging-the-income-barrier-at-top-colleges/

kiwi dave June 26, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Logic fail. They’re operating on different levels. You can’t use data to uphold an idea that’s analytically incoherent (actually, “fairness” is worse than that, it’s analytically non-existent).

mw June 26, 2013 at 7:23 pm

No, but you can use logical analysis to divert attention from data, which is really the whole point here.

Kiwi Dave June 26, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Nice job mind-reading Tyler. But seriously, you don’t think it’s useful to examine our priors in regards to major political issues so that people can avoid talking past each other?

lxm June 26, 2013 at 6:32 pm

#3 WW pretty much devastates the fairness argument except when he doesn’t.

At the end he says “…there is probably more promise in labour riots…” Or to put it in other words, when the inequalities and unfairness get bad enough people revolt. Why? Because societies structures are unfair! See Arab Spring for a current example. So even though the fairness argument doesn’t work in economics or politics or in pure academic arguments, it sure as hell works on the streets.

So according to WW we can’t do anything about unfairness until it is too late.

Dr. D. June 26, 2013 at 10:01 pm

#4 Actually the roaches will be used to invade the Dean Dome and Cameron Indoor. Go Pack!

Ed June 26, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Anyone have a link to an ungated version of the Wall Street Journal article on China’s shadow banking culture?

NeedleFactory June 27, 2013 at 2:02 am

#3: And what does Will WIlkinson have to do with this?

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