Monday assorted links

by on March 20, 2017 at 12:34 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 libert March 20, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Shorter 6:

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2 libert March 20, 2017 at 12:46 pm
3 Anonymous March 20, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Question for someone with access: The abstract talks about those “older than 75 than for those aged 18–39.” That leaves out most of those in politics, and donor classes (and most of us?).

What is going on there?

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4 Ted Craig March 20, 2017 at 12:58 pm

1. More like “The NFLPA is the worst union in pro sports.”

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5 Urstoff March 20, 2017 at 8:02 pm

Yep, although that leads to better competition. In the NBA, max contracts leads to superstars getting vastly underpaid (in basically a redistribution scheme to non-superstars) and thus only a few teams are really in the mix each year.

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6 Patrick M. March 20, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Regarding the NFL and veteran salaries I’d argue that outside of QB and maybe a few elite players that the players are largely fungible. I know they don’t want to hear this but I think it’s true. The Ringer had an article before last season regarding the average age of players and how it’s been dropping. Obviously teams are putting less emphasis on NFL experience.

I think the game has suffered because of this. Play seems to be increasingly sloppy over the past five seasons. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an extended drop in viewer ratings as top tier QB’s like Brady and Roethlisberger retire in the near future.

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7 Shane M March 20, 2017 at 3:35 pm

I think fantasy football players can view the same when building their teams. Once you get to the bottom rounds of your draft, it really doesn’t matter that much who you take because so many players have about the same projected contribution to your team at a given position. The projected value curve flattens considerably.

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8 Dick the Butcher March 20, 2017 at 1:19 pm

6. Are the most-polarized groups also least likely people to have been brainwashed by public education (somehow evaded indoctrination and were not absorbed by the BORG) and were not subverted by Marxist catch-phrases, political tirades, liberal gibberish, and Soviet-style (some materials seem to be plagiarized from scripts used to brainwash US POW’s during the Korean War) propaganda that America is all, and only, evil?

Or, is “polarized” a term used to describe being “. . . shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” William F. Buckley, Jr.

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9 Hua Wei March 20, 2017 at 3:32 pm

“some materials seem to be plagiarized from scripts used to brainwash US POW’s during the Korean War)”
Oh, God. It must be those Trotskist-Zinovievist wreckers and the imperialists’ doing…

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10 Art Deco March 20, 2017 at 5:01 pm

The fellow from Brown has an earlier draft of the paper on his site. The measure of ‘polarization’ is constructed from a gordian knot of equations which include scores on likert scales for party preference, ideological self-assessment, self-reported churchgoing habits. It’s not a con in any obvious way.

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11 Anon. March 20, 2017 at 1:36 pm

The key line from Douthat is: “A sprawling empire of free spenders is never going to be as disciplined as a city-state ruled for 30 years by Lee Kuan Yew.”

If you’re not willing to have a monarch, this is just wishful dreaming.

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12 msgkings March 20, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Just because we will never be Singapore doesn’t mean we can’t make marginal (see what I did there?) improvements.

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13 Ricardo March 20, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Interestingly, Singapore’s own marginal changes over the past 18 months have been to make insurance mandatory for all citizens and to reduce deductibles. Basically, Singapore’s system is what America’s would be if the government took over the bronze plan market, lowered deductibles, required everybody — including those with employer-sponsored plans — to enroll, and also made health savings accounts mandatory.

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14 Thomas March 20, 2017 at 10:02 pm

So like ACA except actually mandatory, no carveouts for unions, cannot be substituted by employer health insurance, lower deductibles, and includes HSA. So, nothing alike.

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15 BC March 20, 2017 at 11:17 pm

Free spending is fine if people are spending their own money. The key line is actually, “Singaporeans pay for much of their own care out of their own pockets, and their major insurance program is designed to cover long-term illnesses and prolonged hospitalizations, not routine care.”

Never reason from a results change. If spending goes up because costs and benefits are internalized, then it means that people are getting the higher levels of health care that they want. If spending goes up because demand is subsidized, then it means that we are spending too much on healthcare. If spending goes down because costs and benefits are internalized, then it means that people would rather spend their own money on something else. If spending goes down because of “death panels”, then that means rationing is denying people treatment.

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16 kevin March 21, 2017 at 8:32 am

Rationing is always denying people of treatment, in both “death panels” and “costs and benefits are internalized” scenarios. At a certain point the price just gets too big relative to the benefit regardless of the payor.

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17 Ricardo March 20, 2017 at 1:42 pm

“Ross Douthat praises Singapore”

This phenomenon of conservatives praising the Singaporean health system has been going on for years. Yet, key features of Singapore’s system include the fact that the state runs basic health insurance and premiums are subsidized for those with low incomes. Additionally, the government recently lowered deductibles and co-insurance rates. Republicans in Congress appear to have an agenda that moves in the opposite direction: there is no interest within the GOP in nationalizing any part of the health insurance market while there is substantial support for cutting premium subsidies for those with low incomes and increasing deductibles (which, as far as I can tell, are already higher for PPACA bronze plans than they are for Singapore’s MediShield Life).

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18 Turkey Vulture March 20, 2017 at 1:47 pm

1. I think a lot of players are in fact fungible, but I don’t think the NFL does a very good job of valuing players either — whether their value in terms of competitiveness or in terms of entertainment. I am not convinced that the high-priced superstars are truly delivering that much more value than an average player or even a marginal player (all of whom are, of course, actually extremely talented athletes who probably dominated in high school and still excelled in college football – even the most marginal NFL player is the cream of a crop selected from among the cream of another crop).

Regardless, it presents a lot of interesting issues that should be explored in a more systematic fashion. And you’d think there would be money to make in doing so.

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19 The Engineer March 20, 2017 at 2:01 pm

On the one hand, you have Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. Clearly superstars. On the other, you have whatever nameless non-superstar they are throwing to. Clearly, the haves and the have nots!

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20 msgkings March 20, 2017 at 2:19 pm

QBs are the only truly unique, non-interchangeable players in the game, and having a good one is basically the difference between good and bad teams. All other players are pretty fungible. Coaching is the other important factor, the players are pieces in the scheme of a coach.

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21 Alain March 20, 2017 at 9:35 pm

QB’s have the most leveraged position on the field, it is true. But I would wager that all HoF players make a rather large contribution to their teams chances on any given Sunday.

To take two “middle of the pack HoF” players : Jim Kelly vs. Terrel David, which one would you rather have? I think it is a toss up, both are excellent.

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22 Alain March 20, 2017 at 10:15 pm

Terrel Davis, dammit autocorrect.

23 Turkey Vulture March 20, 2017 at 11:38 pm

This may have been different in different eras, but today, I would take any top 10 QB over the best running back in the game (is that Zeke now?), if the alternative is an exactly average player at that position.

So between Kelly and Davis, I’d take prime Kelly vs. prime Davis for my team today, even though (despite being a Bills fan) I might be convinced that Davis is higher in the HoF RB depth chart than Kelly is on the QB chart. The value of a great QB is far higher in today’s league than the value of a great RB.

24 Turkey Vulture March 20, 2017 at 11:53 pm

I think this is true, but it also is just so hard to tell with a comparatively small sample size to examine every season and so many parts moving at once. It seems that Matt Ryan is in the “Elite” tier, but the Falcons were 4-12 in 2013, 6-10 in 2014, and 8-8 in 2015. The Packers seem to be regularly in the second tier of NFC teams even with Rodgers. Then there are the damned Pats. Is the difference that Brady is that much better than other “Elite” QBs, is it largely coaching, or are the other pieces of the team still really important collectively, even if nowhere near the value of a QB individually? I really don’t think it is option 1: I don’t think the Pats are worse over the past 5 seasons if they have Rodgers instead of Brady (I think Brady clearly gets the “best ever” title at this point though, no one take this to be arguing otherwise). But I am still torn on the extent to which the other two options is right.

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25 Careless March 21, 2017 at 3:29 am

The patriots haven’t been any worse without Brady over the past 10 years. It’s coaching and player management (by the coach). They have, by an enormous degree, the best coach in the history of modern sports.

26 Careless March 21, 2017 at 3:27 am

Unless you’re Belichik, in which case whomever you put out there performs well.

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27 Turkey Vulture March 21, 2017 at 11:10 am

I think it must be more than just Bellchick, though I agree that he seems to be the best coach in any modern sport. The whole Pats organization seems to be doing something right, just like it seems that the whole Bills organization has been doing something wrong post Bill Polian. Robert Kraft bought the Pats, and then they turned from a joke to playoff and even Super Bowl contenders, even before Brady and Belichick.

So I guess the question for me is: how does Belichick do if he came to Buffalo in 2000, right after their last playoff game, and how have the Pats done without him? I think the Pats are worse and the Bills better, but I really have no good sense as to by how much.

28 msgkings March 21, 2017 at 11:43 am

Yes that’s exactly what I meant, the players are fungible cogs executing Belichick’s genius. Similarly you give good players to a crap coach like say Mike Singletary, and whoever you put out there does not perform well.

29 Turkey Vulture March 21, 2017 at 1:09 pm

I do think Mike McCarthy is a major drag on what would otherwise be Aaron Rodgers’ superb career. If Brady retires sooner than later, Belichick should really do him a solid and move to Green Bay. He should absolutely not bring Rodgers to the Patriots though. That is a really bad idea.

30 chrisare March 20, 2017 at 1:49 pm

#6 – Age seems like a pretty lousy instrument for internet use. Especially when you could measure, you know, actual internet use and thereby control for age-polarization correlation that’s independent of internet use.

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31 Gorobei March 20, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Ross is in top Kellyanne Conway form today:

para 2: “In theory there is a coherent vision underlying Republican health care policy debates…” Ok, that’s a good start, but this can only end with “In practice, … complete incoherence or lack of vision.”

para 3: “This theory … explains why conservatives think…” What theory, Ross? Seriously, you echoed a word in paragraph 2. But, it’s a word not an idea! The whole structure of paragraph 2 is the practical lack of a coherent vision combined with Ross’s view of what the healthcare insurance vision should be. “In theory” and “my theory” are not the same thing.

Dear God, this man reminds me of the cheerleader who joined the debate club because people paid her more attention the more she used her mouth.

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32 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ March 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm

2. Relax Tyler, you are leading a model life. Any non-economist would agree.

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33 rayward March 20, 2017 at 2:42 pm

6. Maybe polarization isn’t the issue, but rather intolerance. The older people are, the less tolerant we (yes, as in I) become. It’s among young adults that intolerance is amplified (or created) by social media. Would all those students at Middlebury College have showed up with the same posters, chants, and rude behavior absent social media. What happened at Middlebury isn’t polarization (Charles Murray isn’t partisan), it’s intolerance. I understand that “Facebook vigilantism” is a thing on college campuses (a thing to be feared on the left and the right), and in any “community”.

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34 Hazel Meade March 20, 2017 at 2:45 pm

#6. Elderly people are a lot more racist. There might be two variables of polarization at play. One axis involving echo-chamber effects and a different axis involving geriatric racists flipping out that a black man got elected, which is swamping out the other axis. I wonder what would happen if you looked WITHIN age groups at measures of polarization over time.

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35 Hazel Meade March 20, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Actually I just noticed that if you read carefully, it does say that polarization increased in both age groups, but that it increased MORE for the elderly.
So that doesn’t indicate that the internet doesn’t have a polarizing effect. it’s just not AS polarizing as the effect of being born before segregation ended.

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36 Art Deco March 20, 2017 at 4:49 pm

#6. Elderly people are a lot more racist.

You’re about two generations off, Cannuck.

My grandparents’ generation were more adverse to blacks and (in certain areas) Jews. They were commonly harsher disciplinarians. They compared favorably in almost every other respect to their juniors, especially the post-1938 cohorts.

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37 Ricardo March 20, 2017 at 7:40 pm

The percentage of Americans who approved of interracial marriage did not exceed 50% until after 1995.

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38 The Original D March 20, 2017 at 8:52 pm

In Art Deco land it’s young people who are more racist, and Christians are an embattled minority. Also, Trump is very smart.

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39 Potato March 21, 2017 at 12:10 am

I guess it boils down to what the definition of racism is. If the definition of lack of racism is equal standards and expectations, liberals are insanely racist. Of course, that would be the literal definition. Using race to pre-judge another person, and ignoring other aspects of the person as an individual. You know, like racism.

Old cranky white people probably wonder why the murder rate is 7-9 times higher and think there’s something wrong with the culture and local civil society engagement. I know, right ? Saying there’s a problem with a murder rate akin to South Africa is apparently blasphemy unless it’s about gun laws. Also the labor force participation rate and public spending per capita. But apparently gun laws don’t have a statistically significant difference when accounting for socioeconomic and racial factors. Aka, see Finland and Switzerland.

No doubt racism exists among the police. It’s called statistical discrimination, and it does need addressing. It’s in essence a violation of the constitution. At the same time, come the hell on. An internal society is failing and it deserves our attention. And action.

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40 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ March 21, 2017 at 7:27 am
41 rayward March 20, 2017 at 3:06 pm

2. Duck curry with pineapple. What’s the significance (I’m gated)? Is Cowen complacent because he always orders the same dish at the same restaurant whenever in London?

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42 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ March 20, 2017 at 3:22 pm

I am no Stroussian, but as I read the big reveal, Tyler categorizes himself as complacent, and part of “the problem.”

My comment above was a dig at economists, in the sense that they might not have the right measures of progress.

More curries > more productivity.

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43 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ March 20, 2017 at 7:15 pm

I just found Samurai Gourmet on Netflix.

So funny, a retired 60 year old man learns to fearlessly fine alone, with the help of a Samurai spirit guide.

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44 Anon March 20, 2017 at 3:14 pm

1. Wonder what the Gini coefficient is here and how it compares to the national Gini coefficient.

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45 Thiago Ribeiro March 20, 2017 at 3:21 pm

#6 Are there more oldsters telling children to get off their lawns?

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46 Anon March 20, 2017 at 3:31 pm

3. One image of Singapore that sticks in my mind is getting off the plane and finding in the airport security staff that were holding up pedestrians waling in across direction to us so that we could walk faster to baggage claim. Clearly the security staff felt that both groups of people couldn’t be trusted to negotiate their pathways at the same time.

Had an opportunity for a good position there and despite the attractiveness of the location , as being close to where my parents live , making it easier for more frequent visits ( compared to from the US) , the negatives included cars that cost 4 times what they do in the US(because of Taxes) , increasingly crowded public transportation, accommodation poorer than what I had even in Dubai and a feeling that democracy was lacking .

But yes for Health care , anything will be better than saving the private Ryancare.

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47 Andre March 20, 2017 at 4:05 pm

#4 I highly recommend the whole Craft Sequence, all excellent. Full Fathom Five has the best twist though.

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48 Zach March 20, 2017 at 4:41 pm

#1 — I think the NFLPA erred in trying to set a rookie salary cap. They thought they were increasing the money available to veterans, but what they were actually doing is creating a low-priced alternative to veterans.

Football players aren’t exactly fungible — most coaches prefer veterans. But they’re not exactly not fungible, either — average career length is only a few years, and there are enough injuries that teams have to be prepared to replace anybody at short notice. In that situation, the last thing a player should want is to have a low cost almost-substitute.

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49 BC March 20, 2017 at 4:41 pm

#1) This is not another Average-Is-Over story. It’s a story about (unintended?) consequences of wage regulations. The salary cap is binding on the whole team but most impacts the highest salaries. A 10% reduction in a $10M salary creates as much space under the cap as a 100% reduction in a $1M salary. So, teams will try to offer the highest-paid athletes non-wage benefits in lieu of salary to create space under the cap. One such benefit is a guarantee of pay when injured, which is a form of insurance. The insurance premium for $10M salary is 10 times higher than for $1M salary (assuming players are equally likely to get injured). The article even mentions that players can purchase injury insurance on their own, which shows that the contract guarantees, or lack therof, are just substitutes for higher or lower base pay. At the low end, the salary cap creates less incentive to substitute non-wage benefits for base salary. Also, to the extent that league minimums are binding, there is the opposite incentive: offer higher salary to meet minimum wage in lieu of benefits like injury insurance.

The article also mentions per-game bonuses, although it’s unclear how these bonuses count, or don’t count, towards the salary cap or other wage regulations.

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50 collin March 20, 2017 at 4:43 pm

3) I am surprised Ross would love the Singapore health system as:

a) The system works better with urban people where competition can occur versus rural populations where health options are limited.
b) Singapore people don’t have many babies. For a 5.5M population they have about 34K babies. This not a family oriented society and only high immigration keeps them from becoming Japan demographic age spiral.

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51 Zach March 20, 2017 at 4:50 pm

A true Machiavellian would actually insist that rookies be paid a premium. Then the least qualified entrants would also cost the most, while veterans could hang on at the league minimum.

Surely the equilibrium here is that the cost of a fungible veteran is equal to the cost of an acceptable replacement, plus maybe a small premium for experience / intangibles. If you want to raise veterans’ salaries, you have to raise the salaries of rookies, too.

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52 Todd Kreider March 21, 2017 at 12:21 am

#7. Three points about the interesting live chat:

1) I don’t remember many saying 15 or 20 yaers ago that China would democratize by now. I predicted in 2000 that they would in part because of an upswell in computer use that would be far cheaper and all connected but grad students who would be future experts thought I was crazy and that China wouldn’t be a democracy until “never”, 2100. One person said maybe 2050. What is the evidence that China is not going backward with respect to democracy at the national level?

2) Cowen said that “The China of the future will have between 100 to 200 million at a near Western standard of living or even a Western standard of living and hundreds of million more who are much poorer.”

But China with 1400 million people already *has* 200 million people, 15%, at a Western standard of living (minus clean air and democracy) considering the GDP per capita PPP is at $15,000. Beijing at Shanghai are at $30,000. Italy is at $36,000.

3) Cowen says Chile has grown complacent in “not taking productivity to the next level,” whatever that means. Chile has steadily grown since 1990 with pauses in the late 1990s and during the great recession but its GDP per capita (PPP) was $17,000 in 2005 and $22,000 in 2015. That’s 3% GDP per capita growth a year including the flat 2014 and 2015 years.

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53 Todd Kreider March 21, 2017 at 5:45 am

That should have been: “What is the evidence that China is going backwards with respect to democracy at the national level?”

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