Assorted links

by on August 27, 2014 at 11:58 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. The benefits of early work experience are declining, especially for men.

2. Interview with Pete Best, who is happy and still alive.

3. 38 maps of the global economy.

4. How the Japanese messed up Pearl Harbor.

5. Very good (and complex) FT Alphaville post on long-term unemployment this time around; “…about 10 per cent of men who are laid off en masse are never employed again. Intriguingly, the overall health of the economy at the time of getting laid off does not seem to play much of a role, although age does.”

6. Carrying costs > liquidity premia, unsheared sheep edition.  And can a panda fake pregnancy for better treatment?

1 JonFraz August 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm

It makes sense that if someone is approaching retirement and is laid off without immediate prospects they may just coast on savings and unemployment for a while until they can collect Social Security. “Never work again” means something different at 60 than it would at 35.

2 mulp August 27, 2014 at 5:36 pm

If you are qualified for the job, you are denied the job because you were paid a lot more than the offer and nothing you say will convince most employers you will work hard or if you work hard demand higher pay or use it to get a better job with a competitor.

If you are unqualified for the job, training you for the job will cost too much because you will retire in five years just when you get well integrated and most productive, or you will demand higher pay or leave to work for a competitor.

When you are older and lose your job, you must either go to work for a surviving competitor or become a competitor, or accept a low wage job that will pay for the costs of going to work at the job is you are lucky, leaving you to rely on savings to pay for health insurance and housing. If you were a saver, the house is debt free, but you still end up paying taxes out of savings because the low wage job will barely pay living expenses and the cost of a reliable car and gas so you can get to work on the erratic schedule you must work at a job with no future and no benefits.

If you have a lot of savings, you could start your own business, and maybe you will not lose your shirt.

A career change means you are just five years away from when any employer believes you will retire when you finish school, so you will leave just when you become worth hiring.

3 JonFraz August 27, 2014 at 7:02 pm

None of which says anything about my basic point.

4 anon August 28, 2014 at 8:52 am


5 Peter August 27, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Serious question: would you rather have John Lennon’s short, intense life, or Pete Best’s longer, mundane-yet-happy life? I can’t decide.

6 Artimus August 27, 2014 at 12:22 pm

When I was younger I would have said John Lennon. Now that I’m older Pete Best. FWIW.

7 Peter August 27, 2014 at 12:29 pm

I’m on the cusp of middle age. Maybe that’s why I have trouble deciding. I also would have gone with Lennon when younger.

8 JasonL August 27, 2014 at 12:52 pm

In my early 40s. I would take Best’s life now and I can’t remember when I would have preferred Lennon’s. Probably says something about me but I’m not sure what. Some combination of the ick of peaking early in a life, undesirable features of freakish fame, and a sense that pleasurable events themselves have a marginal utility such that a life where new experiences must be worked toward has some advantages of one where I burn out on sensations all at once because I’m unconstrained. I have become a wine drinker over the years. I would not have wanted to start that journey with the greatest burgundies. I would not appreciate them.

9 Jeff August 27, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Depends. If I take Lennon’s life, do I still have to marry Yoko?

10 TMC August 27, 2014 at 2:15 pm

You would WANT to marry Yoko, which is even worse.

11 Jeff August 27, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Yeah, that won’t do at all. I’ll go with Mick Jagger instead.

12 anon August 28, 2014 at 8:52 am


13 Peter August 27, 2014 at 1:25 pm

I’m about the same age as Lennon was when he and Nilsson had their famous “Lost Weekend”. It just seems like he was profoundly unhappy around that time, and he didn’t have much time left after that. George was pretty cynical and reclusive during the last decades of his life. According to the disclosures around Paul’s divorce, he’s become a paranoid, reclusive pothead who is worried (with good reason) that someone will try to kill him, or that people in general will try to use him. Meanwhile, Ringo and Pete Best happily tour the world and enjoy themselves, and nobody says they’re geniuses. What price genius, etc.

14 msgkings August 27, 2014 at 4:47 pm

The drummer is typically the least neurotic guy in the band, for whatever reason. And while he doesn’t get as much groupie action as the singer and the guitar player, he gets more than the bass player.

15 msgkings August 27, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Also, I think with the Beatles it’s more ‘what price massive fame’? Geniuses or not, I think people that become so staggeringly famous almost always have a hard time just enjoying their lives. I’ve always wanted to be rich, but never one bit famous.

16 Peter August 28, 2014 at 3:46 am

I think somebody like Tom Waits has the perfect balance. He’s famous enough to enjoy most of the benefits of fame (world travel, access to interesting people, wealth, creative control), but he’s probably not famous to experience the downsides (lack of privacy, etc.). He’s probably also rich, but not so rich that it’s a problem. I think I would choose Tom Waits over Pete Best.

17 Max August 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm


18 Art Deco August 27, 2014 at 2:21 pm

If you can pay your bills and retire comfortably, Best’s is by far the better life. Money’s a burden, beyond a certain point, and I’ll wager the attention gets to be for all but a few. I cannot imagine wanting to be in an occupation where creativity is a must.

19 Todd Kreider August 27, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Not that I could possibly judge different lives like that, but Best is only 72 and while he jokes that he doesn’t plan too far into the future, he might live *decades* longer with very good health considering how anti-aging research is advancing. Go, Best!

20 TerriW August 27, 2014 at 8:17 pm

I think Homer had a few words to say about that.

21 Todd Kreider August 28, 2014 at 3:20 am

Well, which words oh, erudite one?

22 TerriW August 28, 2014 at 6:38 am

Achilles spent the Illiad waffling about it, then finally chose the John Lennon route. And then when Odysseus goes to the Underworld in the Odyssey and runs into him down there, he’s all full of regret and wishes he chose the Pete Best route.

23 Todd Kreider August 28, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Thanks! I thought it was a specific passage…

24 TerriW August 28, 2014 at 5:06 pm

I guess I should have said “a few hundred thousand words.”

25 Artimus August 27, 2014 at 12:19 pm

#3. Nice presentation of charts.

26 prior_approval August 27, 2014 at 12:25 pm

1. I remain confident that the effects of being born to the right parents hasn’t declined at all.

27 dearieme August 27, 2014 at 5:49 pm

My father used to say “Remember that not everyone has had your advantages in life”. I opened a novel the other day and there was the same statement. I suppose it must once have been common parental advice. Much better than much of the modern gush, I’d think.

28 Eric S. August 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm

As someone who worked steadily from ages 15-21 before getting a “real job,” and who also has young kids, No. 1 is a real gut punch.

29 prior_approval August 27, 2014 at 12:37 pm

See this post – – and then mull over the fact that ‘(unpaid) internship’ is what successful ‘work experience’ looks like. And note how that it really doesn’t apply to high schoolers in any sense.

30 Dan Weber August 27, 2014 at 1:25 pm

It’s a real hollowing out of the middle. I was thinking that my son might get a part-time job at something like a Subway, but we’re moving uncomfortably in the direction that Mcardle calls the Mandarin setup.

Even if it doesn’t directly promote his employment prospects, would it at least help him learn the value of money?

Since age 11 I’ve had maybe 2 ~6-month breaks in employment, otherwise pretty constant work.

31 FC August 27, 2014 at 1:41 pm

If he has at least an average IQ, it will teach him the values of time and status.

32 JonFraz August 27, 2014 at 7:05 pm

When I was a teen (80s) just about everyone (middle class at east) over 16 had a job, though of course a very part-part-time job. Even the jocks got jobs when their sport was not in season.

That started to change sometime in the 90s.

33 anon August 28, 2014 at 9:04 am

I worked when young (age 9 on) and my children all worked in late elementary, middle and high school *and* college (lawn mowing, snow shoveling, baby and pet sitting, part-time jobs after 14, web design, selling snacks out of locker at high school, waiting tables, etc.), not to enhance their future employment prospects, but so they could learn the value of making and spending their own money wisely. And help pay their own way. And so they learned that money doesn’t grow on trees or magically drop from the skies/heaven.

And my children were encouraged to consider employment *and* working for themselves. Which is a lot easier to do if when kids are young they have to hustle for lawn or pet sitting jobs (learning sales, how to price work, and the value of good customer relations), not just be a part time employee.


34 prior_approval August 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm

‘How the Japanese messed up Pearl Harbor’

By attacking it?

Or, to put it a bit more straightforwardly, isn’t that supposed to read more along the lines of how the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was less than fully optimal?

35 collin August 27, 2014 at 12:47 pm

In reading the article, the plan completely depend upon the element of surprise and it would have been impossible to rehearse the bombing. It was incredible amount of logistics not have numerous errors in planning and execution.

But again the biggest failure of Pearl Harbor was, you attacked a relatively inconquerable nation in 1941 and drew them in to the war.

36 Alexei Sadeski August 27, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Indeed… The Japanese navy could have sunk every US carrier for years and still would’ve lost the war. As it turned out, their navy was destroyed a mere seven months after Pearl Harbor.


37 Willitts August 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm

An interesting article.

My first thought at its conclusion was that a similar list of blunders accompanied the American victory in the Battle of Midway.

38 mpowell August 27, 2014 at 5:51 pm

I’m not sure what you mean, but its not uncommon to hear about how the US got lucky at Midway. At the same time, the Japanese made a lot of dumb mistakes at Midway related to the organizational issues that they demonstrated at Pearl Harbor and it bit them in the ass big time. But Pearl Harbor is usually related as a big success story. I think the biggest success was realizing that it could be done and keeping it a secret. Also, they at least made sure their torpedos worked when used correctly and their pilots knew how to hit targets with torpedos and bombs. The US navy had some basically totally ineffectual practices going for a year or two into that war. Compared to that bar, the Japanese training was great. The point of the article is that from a tactical perspective, they screwed up quite a bit. I never knew about the dive bombers waking up the battleship crews thing. Pretty big deal and it sounds like it could very easily have gone much more poorly for the Japanese just due to ineptness. I loved the part about the Japanese commander being pissed off when he fired two flares and the other commander interpreted that as firing two flares. A lack of self examination seemed to be a big part of Japanese officer incompetence.

39 Doug August 27, 2014 at 2:14 pm

The intention wasn’t to fight the US in a full fledged war, but simply buy enough time to occupy the Phillipines without resistance. The thinking was that after a quick grab there and SE Asia, Japan could sue for peace, correctly anticipating that Western leaders were more focused on Europe. They’d probably have to make concessions, but still have enough breathing room to finish off the KMT. The mistake wasn’t thinking that they could defeat the US in total war, but that they underestimated how abruptly the American public would go from pacifism to war fervor.

The alternative would be to slowly bleed their dwindling resources dry defending Manchuria. The KMT could keep losing battles, and simply regroup in SE Asia. Without a mainland buffer, no access to resources and at that point no friendly Western powers Tokyo would be easy pickings for Soviet expansion. With hindsight we recognize Pearl Harbor was a blunder, but the logic is quite understandable.

40 Ed August 27, 2014 at 4:42 pm

The Japanese had a number of alternative strategic options, even assuming “withdraw from China” was not an option.

1. Join in on the attack of the Soviet Union. The Japanese were not consulted on Barbarossa, but the argument is that if they attacked afterwards, Stalin would not have been able to withdraw the units from Siberia that proved so critical at Moscow. Even if the Japanese get defeated in Manchuria, if the Germans take Moscow it wouldn’t matter as the Soviet Union collapses. However, apparently the Soviet forces in the Far East outnumbered the Japanese even after the divisions were withdrawn to be be used in the West, meaning they might have been withdrawn anyway and the Japanese still got beaten. And the oil was in the East Indies.

2. Take over the Dutch East Indies, but don’t attack the Philippines or SIngapore. This is similar to how they occupied Indochina. The British could declare war, and try to stop them, with no forces in the area (Singapore fell so easily because the British had stripped the Far East bare to fight in the Middle East, and the quickest reinforcements they could get there were basically flotsam and jetsam). FDR could ask Congress to declare war to defend a Dutch colony no American had heard of.

3. Go for the East Indies and Singapore, but ignore the US. Same as #2. The US might be more or less likely to go to war if British colonies were attacked, since it would draw the US closer to getting involved in Europe.

4. Attack the US, UK, and Dutch as they did historically, but no Pearl Harbor. Instead intercept and deploy the US fleet trying to relieve the Philippines.

I think any of these options would have worked better, but I think #2 would have worked best, followed by #4. They could have continued to opportunistically gobble up colonies of European nations that had been overrun. If they did wind up fighting the US and UK, the UK could never really send sufficient forces to stop them, and their advantage in carriers at the time over the US was so great that Pearl Harbor wouldn’t have been necessary. The American public would have reacted differently to an attack on the Philippines, which had already been promised independence, as opposed to Hawaii.

As for the tactics, my understanding was that the Japanese had hoped to hit the carriers and made them their top target, and were disappointed to find that they were not in port. They probably should have done a third strike, against the oil refineries, but if the carriers had returned at the wrong time you would have gotten the same situation as occured at Midway. It was a really risky operation.

41 PD Shaw August 27, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Since the U.S. was actively supporting the Chinese, the Japanese had reason to believe that it could not defeat the Chinese without attacking that lifeline, and that the U.S. would actively intervene anyway at some point. My grandfather was assigned to the Burma theatre, and one of his curious experiences was meeting a Flying Tiger late in the War on the way to Shanghai. When asked how long he had been over here, the Flying Tiger said Fall of 1941.

42 mpowell August 27, 2014 at 5:55 pm

PD – sure they had to be worried about that, but it wasn’t what I would call likely. They probably had a better chance of keeping the US uninterested and unwilling to get involved rather than guarantee involvement as the price for a reasonably effective sneak attack.

43 carlospln August 27, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Not targeting the refinery & tank farm behind the harbour was the biggest blunder. If Nihon had taken this out, the US Navy would have had to pull back to Long Beach for at least two years, ceding the entire Pacific to Japan, before the infrastructure could be rebuilt.

Was surprised to see this entirely missing from the article.

44 JonFraz August 27, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Why the assumption that if Moscow fell the Soviet Union would collapse? Napoleon took Moscow and it did not win him his war.

45 JC August 27, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Japan would have been better off to agree to withdraw from Manchuria in exchange for free(ish) trade with China and the rest of Asia. Given the problems Holland, France and Britain were having by 1941 those countries would probably have agreed. A Japan not consumed by war, with access to raw materials from America and Asia would have been a great world power by 1950 and would have dominated Asia. It might even have resulted in the KMT defeating Mao.

46 prior_approval August 28, 2014 at 8:53 am

‘Not targeting the refinery & tank farm behind the harbour was the biggest blunder.’

Maybe, maybe not – as this is truly the first time I’ve run across the idea of the tactical/strategic importance of oil in terms of Pearl Harbor.

But as was seen at Ploesti – which was very much a subject of much military planning involving destroying it from the 1930s on – it is pretty hard to actually take out tank farms/refineries in a significant way in a single strike. See

This link might provide some insight into how the American military, at least in the past, used to think about the importance of oil in strategic thinking.

47 prior_approval August 28, 2014 at 8:54 am
48 NPW August 27, 2014 at 1:53 pm

The article is about the attack not being a tactical masterpiece and the flaws in execution. The strategic blunder of deciding to go to war with the US isn’t within the bounds of the article.

49 Willitts August 27, 2014 at 1:55 pm

If you are a military historian (or a law scholar) you are more concerned about the reasons for victory and defeat and the factors notwithstanding than the body count.

50 dearieme August 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm

The article included the usual “That same day, America entered into World War II” which always seems to me false in a rather vainglorious, self-congratulatory way. Japan attacked her, so she was undoubtedly at war, but what has “entered” to do with it, implying some bogus choice in the matter? Moreoever, a war against Japan was not WWII: she was thrown into that four days later when Hitler declared war on her – so again “entered” would be rather misleading. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an American writing that Poland “entered” the war when she was invaded.

51 Al August 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm

enjoyed the interview of Pete Best. thanks for the link.

52 Axa August 27, 2014 at 2:01 pm

#3: a) interesting to see the difference in unemployment inside Spain. b) I still don’t grasp how San Francisco is 100 miles closer to Dubai than Houston. Common knowledge says that polar routes are used to minimize Transatlantic flight distances but I need one of those old globe models and a tape. This proves how projections you use to go from a geoid to a plane can really distort distances.

53 Artimus August 27, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Dubai to San Francisco and Houston are both flown via the Polar Routes. Houston is further South making it a longer flight.

54 mulp August 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm

The flights only approximate great circle; only over the oceans are the airways able to approach free flight great circle routes, but the upper air currents make non great circle routes lower cost. Once you get into controlled airspace, like interior to US air space, free flight is restricted and you still must generally follow flight paths defined in the 40s and 50s.

The rules have been relaxed, but the objections through Congress to all aircraft being mandated to have new smart transponders to support free flight has been effective, so the investments in ATC to support free flight are not paying off, and the airlines that invest in the new technology to enable free flight are not paying off.

55 Merijn Knibbe August 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm

#4. Interesting. But this was, contrary to what the article states, not the first battle of WW II. WW II started september 1, 1939, 5:45. Google the single world: “zuruckgeschossen” (‘retaliate fire’ in German).

56 Spencer August 27, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Be sure and note that teen employment has fallen because the return are lower.

This implies that the opponents of the minimum wage are wrong in blaming lower teen employment on the minimum wage.

Of course, among main stream labor economist this was already a well documented conclusion.

I find it interesting that those who teach intro economics spend much of the class trying to induce a belief that if you want more of something, raise the price. Next, they turn around and say that if you want more employment you should lower the price, cut wages.

Finally, they wonder why the students do not seem to get it.

57 mulp August 27, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Teen workers are allowed to work at much lower wages than the minimum wage in almost all States.

And the top job for teens, waiter etc has a minimum wage in most places of $2.13.

Further, teens can work on farms harvesting crops for no minimum wage, earning based purely on productivity. That should really promote the work ethic for the strict pay for performance farm labor experience.

yeah, right…

Teens don’t need to be taught economics to figure out employers are only out to screw them by paying them nothing and treating them like crap.

58 JonFraz August 27, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Those under 18 and still in school often worked in small, locally owned businesses, of which there are quite a bit fewer nowadays than there used to be. These pretty much ignored work rules as to how many hours and how late teens could work. (This was definitely true at the place I worked in my teens). Large corporations like Walmart tend to play by book on these things and since the laws greatly restrict high schoolers’ work availability, they are seen as not worth hiring, especially by firms practicing “just in time” scheduling.

59 triclops August 27, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Spencer, you might want to think for a minute about what you just wrote.
No economically literate person would argue that raising the price of something in which supply already outstrips demand would lead to more supply.

60 Spencer August 28, 2014 at 10:08 am

That is what is taught in intro economics.

Remember, in intro economics the economy is always at equilibrium so there is never any excess supply.

61 andrew' August 28, 2014 at 5:04 am

B. Caplan and Bob Murphy have shown some basic supply and demand curves on the relatively subtle effects. I have also asked whether the main effect of the Krueger paper on fast food wage and employment are a result of competing counties as an artifact of their natural experiment.

62 andrew' August 28, 2014 at 5:06 am

Also, Card and Krueger may have substitution effects.

63 jacobus August 29, 2014 at 4:50 pm

“Be sure and note that teen employment has fallen because the return are lower.”

Indeed. Working a whole summer for near minimum wage covers how much of a semester of college? 10%? Not really worth it.

64 Andrew West September 4, 2014 at 9:17 am

“Pearl Harbor
Facts, information and articles about the attack on Pearl Harbor, the first battle of World War II”

This is unbelievably stupid. I’m having trouble articulating how stupid.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: