by Tyler Cowen
on April 18, 2017 at 7:33 am
1. Amazon is now a major force in literary translation.
2. New paper on minimum wage hikes in San Francisco.
3. Johnson and Koyama paper on state capacity.
4. Monique (Alex’s wife) in the NYT, more on Komodo dragon blood.
5. “Curious heifers marched after beaver, rancher calls event a very Canadian moment”
6. “So, Zhao went online and bought a “building shaker” for 400 yuan, looking to give the noisy neighbors a taste of their own medicine.“
2. “Fittest” seems a misnomer. Yelp star-ratings conflate two different factors — how well run a business is and how upscale it is (even the best run Subway is not going to earn a 5-star rating). This matters because restaurants may be operating on low margins because either A) because they’re not well run or B) because they’re targeting a price-sensitive, lower-income customer base. A higher minimum wage is likely to harm both kinds — poorly-run restaurants for rich people and even well-run restaurants for poor people. I’m reminded of this:
GIGO, Garbage In, Garbage Out. Like you say, Yelp is unreliable and hence any study based on Yelp is likely biased. But–and this is what the researchers will hang their hat on–if it’s consistently biased (unlike what you claim for 5-star ratings) then it doesn’t matter if Yelp is biased, you can still use the data.
I see the 3.5 star places as complacent compared to the 5 star which go out of their way to get that high rating. Thus higher wages punish the complacent.
Are you in favor of more complacency?
If only every restaurant could be better then average. What a wonderful world that would be.
If we make it illegal for the poor to work, live, or eat in our city, they will have to leave.
Our stats look better, and we can make fun of those other cities that have all those poor people. Then demand that they follow our policies, because they help poor people. The proof is that we have no poor people.
4. But will dragon blood turn one’s skin into lizard skin? Lloyd Conover died in March, he the inventor of tetracycline in 1955. Many children who grew up in the 1950s and early 1960s won’t forget him, because they can’t. The side effects of tetracycline are rarely if ever mentioned. No, tetracycline fortunately doesn’t produce lizard skin. Will an antibiotic produced with dragon’s blood?
So you’re saying Alex has access to Dragon Blood and is currently on a spiritual journey in India .. I look forward to the graphic novel.
6. – “So, Zhao went online and bought a …”
This sentence is like “Panda, eats, shoots and leaves.”
Are we taking about two people named “So & Zhao”? GM Wesley SO for example (a Chinese surname). Or, is “So” an adverb (?), and there’s only one person, Zhao?
I need a building shaker myself for my upstairs neighbors. They practice what sounds like marching band, basketball, and wrestling at all hours of the day and night.
What a colorful actress from yesteryear. Wikipedia says her third marriage was to Bozo the Clown (R).
I was just thinking someone should import these to the U.S. They would sell very well.
Amigo – I had a friend whose wife and children had to live overseas for a couple years; he was a crotchety middle aged man at the time, and reluctantly moved to an apartment building while they rented out their family home. He reported that for the first six months of his apartment life he wished his upstairs neighbors were quieter and did not bump around so much. Then he met them – a sad sack friendly dad, a sad obese friendly mom, both very polite, and their two active little children. He reported that, after he had become friends with them, he found the intermittent sounds from upstairs to be comforting, and when the upstairs was too quiet for too long a period of time, he felt sad himself, and a little concerned. Sort of like, for those of us who have lived near the Arctic circle, the way we miss the uncertain reoccurring cold hard rumbling noise of the wind in the trees and on the roof; sometimes the window panes rattle too. As for me, there used to be a little dog that lived upstairs from me: I liked the little fellow (he had very black eyes and beautiful white fur like a llama or the white parts of a panda bear), and he yapped at me in the friendliest possible way when I often met him walking his owners around the apartment grounds: looking back, I must have heard his unexpected little sprints over my head 20 or 30 times a day. Good times, good times. I still hear those sprints in my sleep sometimes.
Rereading Pascal, I wonder why he was not more clear that he was not discussing infinitesimals with respect to his wager (which I have to assume he had no idea would become widely discussed, otherwise he would have explained things better) or why he did not just say there are no “friendly” primes if that means there are also “unfriendly” primes (or God forbid every non-prime being classified as other than friendly). Maybe, like so many of us, he was eloquent but just that not perceptive – even today, with our more comprehensive educational methods, lots of math professors just do not get why the Monte Hall problem is simple enough for (again, even today) multiple non-primates to intuitively get it; and he may have just not known that an infinite string of numbers cannot include both an infinitely recurring string of discrete long strings of numbers ***and*** an infinitely increasing likelihood that progressively larger strings of numbers will not reoccur. (This comment is not off topic; take my word for it).
Voltaire (most of my neighbors) : is this plausible ?. Pascal (some of my neighbors) : does this explain something that needs explaining ?. (I have had between 50 and 100 noisy neighbors over the years, so, on this limited subject at least, I know what I am talking about. The Voltaires outnumbered the Pascals at least two to one. I moved to a top floor several years ago (too many Voltaires in the building), although I moved back to the first floor for a couple years because of my elderly dogs’ arthritis (stairs became more of a problem). “We know the truth not only by the reason but by the heart.”
1. “1. Amazon is now a major force in literary translation.” – I would say Google Translate is now a major force in literary translation. Their Greek English is pretty good, better than before. The true test however is “Language A Language B” and then back and forth, 1000 times, and see if the final product is intelligible compared to the original input.
1. “1. Amazon ay isa na ngayong pangunahing puwersa sa pampanitikan pagsasalin.” – Gusto ko sabihin ang Google Translate ngayon ay isang pangunahing puwersa sa pampanitikan pagsasalin. Ang kanilang Greek English ay medyo mabuti, mas mahusay kaysa sa bago. Ang tunay na pagsubok gayunpaman ay “Wika A Wika B” at pagkatapos ay pabalik-balik, 1000 beses, at makita kung ang pangwakas na produkto ay talinong kumpara sa orihinal na pag-input.
1. «1. Amazon είναι πλέον μια σημαντική δύναμη στη λογοτεχνική μετάφραση.» – Θα έλεγα ότι το Google Translate είναι πλέον μια σημαντική δύναμη στη λογοτεχνική μετάφραση. Έλληνες τους English είναι αρκετά καλή, καλύτερη από ό, τι πριν. Η πραγματική δοκιμασία, ωστόσο, «A Γλώσσα Γλώσσα Β» και, στη συνέχεια, εμπρός και πίσω, 1000 φορές, και να δούμε αν το τελικό προϊόν είναι κατανοητή σε σχέση με την αρχική είσοδο.
not bad (God Willing)! (ليس سيئا (الله على استعداد)!
#2: The article says “exit rate”, not “new equilibrium”. Business that don’t adapt to new conditions fail, but that does not imply new business won’t replace them.
Also, there are 4.5 and 5 stars rated food trucks on Yelp. It would be interesting to see the effect on the minimum wage on food trucks, restaurants and franchised restaurants.
Finally, the tip system is broken. It is based on the illusion that the customer knows better than the manager how the restaurant works. The manager must identify good from bad workers and keep only the good ones. If the service is not appropriate, it means the manager is not doing his job. The tip system means managers don’t care about service. Good service becomes a coin flip instead the expected outcome. What’s the point of punishing the server for bad service if I did not had good service in first place? The customer loses and the server loses, while the lazy manager smiles. F*ck managers.
Are you saying that there is no possibility in change of demand if the price levels change?
One thing that worried me is that Yelp and Google ratings are fairly recent, making moble access to reviews a new thing. Glancing at the paper I see this:
“In our sample – which covers restaurants in the Bay Area from 2008 through 2016 – roughly 5 percent of restaurants go out of business each
year. Hence, the exit margin is economically meaningful.”
Yikes. Look at the Yelp growth chart:
This was not exactly a stable review regime from which to extract wage effects.
5. Curious ranchers marched after heifers, website calls event a very Canadian moment.
Limousine liberals only eat at high-end restaurants. The destruction of restaurants for the plebes has no impact on them so they don’t care. For the same reason that “sugar” taxes are limited to soda, which the plebes consume, and are not levied on high-end sugary drinks like the ones you will find at Starbucks.
The rise of Yelp has actually created an opposite effect. Restaurants with “$” in price may share the same “****” rating with one priced at “$$$$.” Whether they are equally good, or which one is better, is in the eye of the beholder.
(I think an economist would prefer the ROI of “****” for “$”, at least as the day to day preference.)
Yepic, double the pay of low wage workers while leaving incomes of limo liberals and now low wage workers are priced out of lunch and dinner because the 3.5 star places close, because workers with higher pay frequent the 5 star places, putting their old haunts out of business?
Min wage increases mostly don’t affect we’ll run restaurants with high end clientele. High end clientele don’t care if there dry aged beef burger price went from 19 to 26 dollars because of labor or food costs.
But you can bet your ass that middle to lower class people will care when there select or canner grade beef burger goes from 9 to 11 dollars because of a min wage hike….
I view min wage increases as an indirect form of nimbyism. It mostly affects consumption choices of the poor.
Considering that the poor are very highly overrepresented among minimum wage workers, it’s hard to imagine that they would have reduced buying power on average after wage hikes.
Are the anti-minimum wage types also anti-immigration/globalization? Because if the minimum wage hurts the poor by raising their costs, so do tariffs and closed borders.
Closed borders hurts the poor? lol
Higher costs for their food among other things…exactly the same as the argument that the minimum wage hurts the poor by making food cost more.
There is more than one issue at play.
A minimum wage can hurt the poor by raising their costs, or by pricing their labor below the legal floor, forcing them into the underground economy.
Mass unskilled immigration can reduce some of the costs of the inputs the poor consume (but only those produced by the poor), while also pushing their wages down.
If you are well-to-do and have no soul, the ideal situation is massive unchecked unskilled immigration, to drive down a portion of your costs, combined with a convoluted legal immigration system that keeps out skilled workers (who cannot afford to be put into the underground economy).
The argument is mostly quite different.
But the positive sign on the price change situation is common to both of them.
I am, like many others, opposed to government restriction of trade generally.
On the subject of the building shaker: In 2004 I did the same thing with some drum-heavy jazz and an extra 5.1 speaker set [$120 on Craigslist], addressing an issue from the room next to mine. My approach solved the 3AM rap music in the barracks and jammed up the NCO who ignored the original issue.
#5 “Cows They Are Just a Curious Bunch” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5ZEpJMg3-8
Yes they are curious, in a mild and inoffensive way. If you have ever had to change a tyre on a narrow country road, you may well have looked up half way through to find a line of heads gazing at you, silent but interested,over the hedge. The general impression is that although they cannot offer practical help (no opposable thumbs) they seem to be wishing you well.
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