Assorted links

by on September 3, 2013 at 4:08 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Robin Hanson on automation and wealth.

2. Currency substitution models as they curse India, and what India should do.  And problems with Indian land reform.

3. Will Big Data bring more price discrimination?  And Diane Coyle on starfish, economics, and Average is Over.

4. Are bicycles better than cash? (pdf)

5. China’s dilemma concerning interest rates and financial repression.

6. Short, nostalgic autobiography of Scott Sumner, who also loves Knausgaard.

Tyler Fan September 3, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Hanson: “Tyler has the pundit style of trying to make everything seem as if it turns on today’s fashionable worries.” Jealous much? Self-contradictory much?

JWatts September 3, 2013 at 7:07 pm

“I disagree that it is getting easier to measure performance and productivity overall, or that smart phones will give useful life advice anytime soon. Yes smartphones and other machines may measure your heart rate and keystrokes more easily, but as we work in larger and more coordinated organizations, it gets harder not easier to measure individual performance.”

Woosh, Tyler’s essay was about smart phones affecting individual behavior, not about their use to measure performance for a third party. So this paragraph completely misses the point.

Anittah Patrick September 3, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Knausgaard is everywhere! I’ve been calling him ‘Mouthguard’. FWIW here’s my husband’s review of My Struggle Book Two http://philadelphiareviewofbooks.com/2013/05/23/500000-scandinavians-cant-be-wrong/

and his review of A Time For Everything
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/688879785

Anonymous coward September 4, 2013 at 2:29 am

Just wondering, what if Big Data results show disparate impact?

TMC September 4, 2013 at 11:54 am

Hire some soon-to-be unemployed climate fellas to tweak the algorithms.

zbicyclist September 4, 2013 at 11:05 am

Not the first time that the bicycle has had a role in improving the lot of women.

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ug02/hendrick/women.html

bob September 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Browsing history can, and will, be gamed to get lower prices. As long as people are aware of the price differences (and why wouldn’t they?, it’d not be difficult to create an open database of prices paid for items on online sites, and automatic updates of said prices), we’ll see people try to game the discrimination. At worst, someone could be paid to look like a consumer that only purchases on big sales, and to purchase items, at his price, on demand.

If the algorithms are naive enough, we’d just have browser plugins that fabricate history just for you, so you can switch into different price conscious personas whenever you want to purchase something.

Now, there’s value in mining, but for it to work, we need to make sure that the people whose data is mined are actually willing participants, because their experience will be better the more accurate the models are. It’s just very hard to do this through price discrimination.

freethinker September 6, 2013 at 12:07 am

About #4: Libertarians may be distressed to learn that giving people freedom to choose does not necessarily enhance the quality of life of poor groups in traditional societies like India . If cash was given to the girls’ families, it would have been spent on clothes or trinkets or, more likely, on liquor for the fathers. It is because bicycles were gifted to the girls directly, there is a greater incentive to go to school .The bicycles improve mobility of girls outside the home, which is known to contribute to their empowerment. By the way Jagdish Bhagwati, by no means a left-winger, says in his book on globalization that in poor nations it is necessary for the state not only to provide social security to the poor but to ensure they do not use it wastefully

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