by Tyler Cowen
on September 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm
in Uncategorized |
1. Is there a fiscal cliff in Japan? And what macro do we teach at the Principles level?
2. What is, was, and will be popular?
3. Is having a lot of children now a sign of status?
4. In the S&P 500, the average company lifespan is getting shorter. And the economics of new re-translations.
5. What if they made a trailer today for Monty Python and the Holy Grail?
6. Angus on the Pigouvian fate of the University of Florida economics department.
One of my favorite bits of trivia about how much change we have seen in the last century is that General Electric became one of 12 Dow Jones Industrials corporations in 1899. One of the firms that GE replaced was “Standard Rope and Twine”.
-Hmm, let’s see…? Confederated Slave holdings. How’s that one holding up?
-It’s, uh, steady…
5. Yes, because it would be marketed as an action picture today rather than as a comedy. Please. Also, I’m not convinced the original trailer was that compelling:
Impossible to believe, though, that a contemporary marketer would not make the very most of the utter viciousness and delicious gore of the killer rabbit (or its dispatch with the Holy Hand-grenade of Antioch).
Didn’t see enough skin from the cloistered beauties that Michael Palin’s Sir Whichever was obliged to fend off and escape, either.
Tsk and tut: wonder how sales of Malory are these days: illuminated homepages, anyone?.
#6: I’d always assumed that Theil went to Florida because it was a way to retire to Florida without actually retiring. Maddala however seemed to spend his peak years in Florida.
My initial reaction was that the closing of the PhD econ program was due to tightfisted state government, but I quickly realized that although the governor might be hostile to anthropology programs, he and other conservatives would be unlikely to want to kill economics programs. The article in the Chronicle of Higher Education makes it clear that a combination of quirky probably faulty cost-and-revenue accounting procedures and campus politics is what is dooming the program.
There are some campuses where econ departments in business schools thrive, often side-by-side with econ departments in an arts and sciences college. E.g. I couldn’t even tell you which economists at Chicago or MIT were in the b-school or the econ department, they were simply Chicago and MIT economists.
But there are other campuses where the econ department is neither fish nor fowl and becomes a bit of a political football to be kicked around. They often don’t fit with the other departments in a business school, being more oriented to academic than to professional training. But they might not fit in with (or not want to be part of) the arts and sciences college either.
There’s also a bit of a question about the strength of econ programs at public universities. Declining public support must make it harder and harder for them to maintain quality compared to econ programs at private universities. I’ve always figured that one of the things saving Berkeley from steep decline is that it is located in a place where a lot of professors would like to live. Florida perhaps not so much.
There has been a positive correlation between a man’s wealth and his fertility even in developed countries — it’s just that the threshold where that positive correlation starts is far above the middle class level it was during the 1950′s — that decade hated by Hollywood almost as much as the Nazis the fathers of those middle class families fought in WW II.
Is #3 just that more people have “some college” or higher than they did in 1960? And particularly, more women?
FWIW the economist link is broken for me so I’m just going off the blurb linked to here. Why not directly link the economist?
> Is #3 just that more people have “some college” or higher than they did in 1960? And particularly, more women?
This. A study that ignores this demographic change is worse than worthless.
Buttonwood is not accessible from The Economist website either; it’s not the link that’s the problem.
The graph doesn’t show it, but the text says that “in the U.S., the fertility rate of wives whose husbands are in the top decile of income is back where it was a century ago.” So your point might be relevant to explaining the graph, but it doesn’t explain the whole phenomena. And based on my circle, I completely believe it’s a real phenomena.
The link is working now:
And it’s much more interesting than the blurb that was linked to.
People did not have children in the past because children were renumerative. As Bryan Caplan has pointed out, the older generation ALWAYS subsidized the younger in the absence of the welfare state, even as their productive capacity diminished in old age. If you want to know why people had children anyway, ask an evolutionary biologist rather than an economist.
#4 says that the average company is in the index for 18 years and then says: “Yet at today’s fast rate of turnover, three out of four names on the list will be banished into obscurity within the next fifteen years.”
It does not make sense to me that an average life of 18 years would translate into 3/4 of existing companies “dying” within 15 years.
3. I don’t think it can be. If you know (or know about) a person well enough to know their family, you should already know their status.
Well, on the plus side, UofF is known in the NCAA as having the best pay structure for assistant athletic coaches in the country. Theses southern schools have their priorities.
Thankfully, due to the generous support of a concerned citizen, FSU may add donor approved and privately funded members to it economics faculty – http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/billionaires-role-in-hiring-decisions-at-florida-state-university-raises/1168680
#3–I’m not so sure it is a matter of status (although I have heard of wealthy Manhattanites saying something similar). The very wealthy also have the means to hire child care, cleaners, sometimes a cook. If paying for the child’s school also isn’t a pressure, a lot of the work associated with raising children is being done by someone else; this frees up parent’s bandwidth and probably increases their desire for more children.
I remember watching the documentary Queen of Versailles (obviously choosing an extreme outlier), where Jackie Seigel says that once she realized that she could hire help, she wanted large family.
Everything is supposed to be about status lately, so this has to be about status too. I think it’s a silly explanation.
But I also don’t agree with your budgetary argument. Kids are cheap. Status is expensive.
I suspect the real answer is that if you can’t maintain a relationship or don’t want kids, it’s never been easier to drop out of the gene pool than it’s been for the last 50 years or so. I’d expect to see this effect be strongest in the populations most affected by careerism and effective birth control. Which is to say I’d expect the wealthy and educated to have their birth rates bounce back first and hardest. On the opposite end of the spectrum, non-western immigrants may have to go through generations of falling birth rates and then rebound before they cull their population of people not adapted to modernity.
> people not adapted to modernity
I don’t mean this in any sinister way. It’s adaptation to extreme wealth and birth control that I’m talking about.
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